I read someone else’ blog recently about how the prevailing mindset of “True Love Waits” can, perhaps unwittingly, cause young men and women to think they are waiting as an act of obedience and expecting that God has promised them a spouse because of their obedience. I do not think that is the overarching point of True Love Waits, but I won’t deny that in some of the books and girls’ magazines I’ve read, the concept becomes almost give-and-take.
Some literature focuses on how a young woman must wait patiently, knowing that God will give them a spouse if they wait for one and don’t give themselves away physically. Others are not so extreme, simply encouraging young women to work on their housewifery skills and become the sort of woman a godly man would want to marry. Some literature strikes a good balance and emphasizes that the point of being single is not to focus on what is to come, but to spend sweet time growing in relationship with the Lord, loving who He is, no matter the circumstance.
I think the second method is the one I came across the most and fell into. I truly believe I didn’t give it so much thought that I knew that’s what I was thinking. I think I just had enough self-confidence (combined, perhaps, with a sense that all young men were idiots and unworthy of me) to believe that I’d get married someday and not worry about it now. It gave me a lot of freedom. I enjoyed being single and it was an act of God that I willingly allowed myself to be courted and pursued by my now-husband. But if another young woman talked to me about it, it was the “become a godly young woman; the kind a godly man would want” concept that I touted. What else was I to say? Sure, some women are called to be single for the rest of their lives. But generally-speaking, marriage happens.
I think I considered it incomprehensible, and perhaps the perfectionist in me wouldn’t allow the thought of dating more than one person. I wanted to date one man, marry him, and be his and his only for the rest of my life. Perhaps that mindset was given me because it was to be my future calling. But I no longer think it’s wrong for others to go other routes.
For one thing, my parents both dated more than one person before dating each other. My husband did too. I know some wonderful couples who are married now when one of them had been engaged to someone else previously. The Lord takes people through circumstances and lessons that he doesn’t take others through. I myself did not need to ever date a frog before I found a prince. Some people God allows to know the frogs for His glory, and for the personal growth of one or both people involved. I know this now.
This does not mean that people ought not to guard their hearts. But giving your heart when the Lord says so is as much an act of faith as guarding it when He says so. I firmly believe that physically giving yourself to someone who is not your spouse is harmful and out of His will whatever the circumstance. But there can be so much more to waiting for your spouse than learning to cook and working in the church nursery. Maybe God does call some young women to literally wait for their prince to come. But maybe others are called to move forward in life, enjoying their independence, growing in the Lord, making good friendships, and becoming so tuned in to the will of God that they don’t even notice the person they are supposed to marry until God says, “Oh, by the way, you need to give a little of your heart to this person.”
So yes, wait. But don’t live like waiting is a bargain with God–like if you hold up your end, He’s obligated to hold up His. And don’t stagnate in your waiting. There is much to do and to learn. I for one knew many guy friends, and by observing them, learned what character traits I liked and didn’t like. And it was right when I was growing so much in the Lord that I could hardly contain it that suddenly He saw fit to soften my heart, remind me I needed to be vulnerable, and introduced me to my now-husband, all at once. All of a sudden.
So yes, I was waiting. But waiting is such an insufficient gerund. I prefer to think I was simply living in obedience.