Shame, Sanctification, Singleness, and Marriage

It seemed like there was no good age to be to talk about the difficulties and the blessings of the season in which I was called to by God.

I don’t want to be ashamed of the fact that at 35, I’ve only been married a year and while most of my peers are coming into their second decade of marriage, I am still a baby at it. I don’t know how to do it well, but I also take great delight in it. Please don’t say to someone who is newly married, “Just you wait.” You have no idea how they are being painfully cracked open and splayed out today. You have no idea what kinds of identity they’re wrestling with. What things they are grieving. When you say, “Just you wait,” you’re telling them to live in fear of tomorrow.

 

When I was still unmarried and wrote about singleness a lot, sometimes I’d get particular responses from people who’d been single a year or two longer than me OR twenty years more than me, “Yeah, just you wait…it gets harder.” I was trying to be faithful with what the Lord was teaching me and I felt ashamed that I wasn’t 36 or 37 and single, or 55 or 60 and single. It seemed like there was no good age to be to talk about the difficulties and the blessings of the season in which I was called to by God.

Now I’ve been married a year and I’ve heard from married folks things like, “Just you wait, it gets harder,” or “You’ve experienced nothing yet,” or with eyes being rolled, “Honeymooners…” and more.

Or from single friends, “As hard as it is, at least you get to have sex,” or “But would you really trade marriage for singleness again?” or “At least you get to live with your best friend,” and more.

And I’m realizing, I’m walking in shame about whatever season of life I’m in. God called me to be sanctified in singleness until the year 2015, and then He called me to be sanctified in marriage, and who knows what the future holds. I have been married for a mere 16 months, easily the best and the hardest 16 months of my life. God is still sanctifying me deeply—and in many ways this time of sanctification feels more painful than it did when I was unmarried, though I know ahead of me there will be times when the sweetness of the season makes it worth it.

I don’t want to be ashamed of the fact that I was unmarried for 34 years, many years longer than many people and many years shorter than other people. I’m not ashamed of the fact that God gave me a rich season of singleness that I love to talk about and testify about to others in that season. Singleness was God’s best gift to me—and I said that often while I was in it, so it’s not some nostalgic longing for yesteryear that has me saying it now. I longed for marriage, prayed for it, but tried my best to be faithful to what God was calling me to that day.

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