Time is running out. . . the biological clock is ticking. . . you’ve approached or crossed over 40 years old and still no husband. What do you do?
If you go by the media reports, black women, in particular, will die old maids. Oh, they will have their degrees, a house, and maybe even children. But what they won’t have is a true love who they spend the rest of their lives with. Don’t believe the hype. Because, if you buy into it, then your life will end up mirroring what you believe.
Today, I am answering questions from single women who are trying desperately to continue to believe in love and marriage, done the right way. Not because they stole somebody’s husband, not because they continue to give themselves away to the first guy who shows interest, and not because they will settle for less than they deserve. They want to be a good wife, married to a good husband, so they can grow a great marriage. So, they reached out for some advice about marriage, sex, prayer, and dating. What I offer is just my two cents, which comes from hearing from God, working in marriage ministry, and counseling couples. Please don’t take my responses as the final answer to your questions. Only God can reveal that to you. I’m just offering encouragement from my perspective, which hopefully, will lead you closer to the One who knows you best.
Here we go:
Q: Is it necessary to keep praying for a spouse year after year?
I believe in prayer with my whole heart. Prayer changes things! But sometimes we use prayer as a crutch and as an excuse to remain unhappy and stagnant. You don’t have to get on your knees every day, year after year praying for a spouse. That is not necessary. God heard you the first time. When you continue to pray like that (which actually turns into begging), you start doubting whether or not God will answer your prayer. You create a spirit of desperation that undermines your faith. I know about this personally. My husband and I tried to have a child for 10 years. I prayed and cried and prayed and cried. After about 5 years I noticed I was developing a “woe is me” spirit that affected everything in my life. My prayers had turned into a pity party. Around the 7th year, I stopped praying for a baby and started praying for God’s will to be done in my life. There is a difference. So, make your request known with an expectant and grateful heart, and then keep it moving. God heard you the first time you prayed. If He doesn’t respond right away, trust that He has a good reason for delaying the answer. More than you desire a spouse, desire God’s will for your life. So, in short: pray but don’t beg.
Q: Should I be specific about what I want in a spouse?
Yes and no. Most people think they know what they want and need in a spouse, but they only know the half of it, if that. I encourage singles and married couples to pray for the spiritual, emotional, and behavioral qualities they desire and let God work out the details. For example, pray for a hard working man and leave his place of employment up to God. If you limit yourself to a certain profession, you might miss your dream guy. Pray for a spouse who enjoys learning and experiencing culture; God will determine if he/she needs a college degree. There are plenty of “educated” spouses who have no knowledge about loving another person. Pray for the big picture — trustworthiness, work ethic, humility, loyalty, etc. — and God will arrange the details.
Q: What does it mean that I keep dating the wrong people?
It could be time to stop dating for awhile. There is something called the law of attraction. If you are the common denominator on these bad dates, then you have to do some self-evaluation to see what in your spirit or behavior is attracting the opposite of what you desire. It’s easy to blame the other person. However, real maturity comes in when you look inside to see what’s really going on with you. Are you appearing desperate, lonely, or sexually frustrated? You have to be honest with yourself. This is a skill you will need when you get married, so you might as well get started now.
Q: How do I know if I will be sexually compatible with my future spouse if we wait to have sex? Should I pray for that?
First of all, premarital sex doesn’t guarantee sexual compatibility during marriage. There are plenty of couples who engaged in premarital sex and then once they got married their sex life dwindled. Why? Because the day-to-day cares of maintaining a home as well as the premarital sexual baggage they carried across the altar sucked the intimacy and energy out of them. On the other hand, there are plenty of couples who waited and now enjoy a phenomenal sex life. Pray for the big picture — sexual compatibility being a part of it — and then let God handle the details. By all means, talk to God about sexual desire, intimacy, and pleasure in marriage. God created it, so He should know how it works. Most married couples grow into sexual compatibility over several years. They “learn” each other, and with God’s help their skills get better with time!
Q: How do I win at relationships?
Your primary relationship should be with God. Who is He in your life? Work on answering that question each day. The second most important relationship is with the self. Who am I? Get to know who you are so you aren’t seeking validation from another person. You definitely don’t want to go into marriage expecting your spouse to give you an identity. That’s draining for both people. It’s better to go into marriage feeling like a winner already, even if you are still a work in process. There’s nothing worse than being in a relationship with someone who sees themselves as a loser. They mope around, complain, and suck the life out of everybody around them. On the other hand, a winner goes into situations beforehand expecting victory. Winners in life and winners in marriage expect victory, but first and foremost, they make a decision to do their work. Work with God, and work on you!
Q: How can I be happy waiting so long?
Decide to be happy and then do it. If you aren’t happy single, then you will not be happy married. Whatever holes you have in your heart now as a single person will only deepen and expand in marriage. Why? Because you are expecting your spouse to fill the holes for you and then that causes more pain and heartache when he/she can’t. God completes you; a spouse compliments you. Don’t get the two confused. Whether single or married, your happiness is not determined by another person. Once you develop a good relationship with God and with yourself, then you will begin to experience joy and fulfillment in your life. From there, you will attract someone who has similar spiritual and emotional stability.
So, just to recap. You don’t have to beg God for a spouse. Pray with sincerity for the spiritual, emotional, and behavioral qualities you desire in a mate, and then get off your knees and start living on purpose. Trust God to arrange the details and to deliver the blessing. In the meantime, work on building your relationship with God and on getting to know yourself. Live each day thankful for what you do have and do not worried about what you don’t have.