As a stick-thin girl growing up in the middle-of-nowhere California, I used to think I'd never get married.
When everyone around me was boy-crazy, I wasn't. I was just... me. Boys were just as cute as they'd always been, but I didn't want to date one! When I moved across the country to go to college, my mom started praying I'd find love someday. She prayed that God would give me someone to love and share life with. At the same time, though, Dad discouraged dating until I was at least 35.
I'm an only child, so you can safely assume I was more spoiled than the average kid. If you're an only child, you know what I mean. I wouldn't say I was spoiled, but by default I was spoiled simply because I got all the attention.
Anyway, I was raised in a loving, Christian home. My parents struggled for more than 8 years to have children, and then plop, I came along. I was literally a miracle baby. We lived in the boonies in Northern California, and I never went to public school. It was private Christian schools from Kindergarten through college (my choice). A lot of people might gawk at that and wonder if I was allowed to pick out my own clothes! But it wasn't like that. My parents weren't strict. They didn't have to be. For whatever reason, I didn't get into trouble. I didn't push boundaries or hang with the wrong crowds. The worst act of disobedience I can recall committing over and over as a kid was lying to my parents that I'd brushed my teeth. (Sorry, Mom!)
When I was 12 years old, my grandfather gave everyone in the family a large sum of money, and with that money, I bought two horses. I'd been taking riding lessons for years, and I was OBSESSED with the creatures. Every drawing I brought home from school was of horses. I had toy horses, the Barbie Race and Ride video game, and posters on posters on posters of horses. (My parents let me choose horseback riding over piano, so it's their own fault!)
Horses. I think they were part of God's protection around me. I'd race home from school and head straight to the barn. I'd ride, clean and feed my horses. On weekends, I'd go on 3-hour long trail rides, then spend the day cleaning the barn. It was a big job, one I couldn't just skip because I didn't feel like doing it. So, I didn't hang out with people after school; I hung out with my horses. I was the farthest thing from a socialite. I didn't crave attention. I didn't feel the need to go to parties or drink or do any of the stereotypical things teenagers do. And I never felt the desire to date.
Dating is serious, and it seriously wasn't for me.
At first, my reasons for not dating were pretty solid. Simply, I felt no desire to date. It didn't make sense to me to go out with guys that I didn't have feelings toward. It didn't make sense to even date guys to see if things would go anywhere or feelings would develop, because I was just in high school. I knew nothing of the world or myself, and that much I knew. What would be the point of dating? I'd watched plenty of The OC. I knew how young relationships went: crazy, wild obsessions with each other that eventually led to pain, drama and heartbreak. I figured that would come in my 20s, when I could actually handle it--at least with a bit more poise, dignity and maturity. (For the sake of reason, I know not every high school relationship is like that. I have plenty of friends who dated in high school, got married and are still happily wed.)
Above all, I realized my worth was in Jesus. I was content to be alone. Didn't mean I didn't dream of having a husband. I just wasn't obsessed with finding a man or upset at God for not sending him. I knew I had to work on myself.
I am very thankful God protected my heart when I was a teenager. I can see now that He kept me away from a lot of potentially bad relationships. He gave me the courage to say no. He gave me the strength to go against the crowd. I didn't even know it was happening, but He was guiding my path.
I'll never get married because...
In college, there was a shift in my perspective. It's like I lost that blind childhood faith. I started thinking to myself, "I've never wanted or felt the need to date or be married, but is that because deep down I think there's something wrong with me?"
It wasn't until recently that I recognized I'd always thought that there was something wrong with me, deep down. It wasn't until recently that I figured out most other girls think the same thing, too. Oh, how many girls must cry themselves to sleep wondering what's wrong with them? All you have to do is watch one episode of The Bachelor to realize that even the most beautiful women have terrible self-esteem. This was all hidden away in my subconscious, but I think it directly affected my reasons for not wanting to get married:
I didn't want to get married because I had never had those kind of feelings for anyone. When I was 15, one of my friends became boy-crazy, and she was younger than me. I was told, "Oh, you're just not there yet." But I never got "there." Deep down, I assumed there must've be something wrong with me. Or I was called to be a nun.
I didn't think anyone could love me the way I was: a weird, loud, independent, rambunctious girl. The girl who'd rather watch a hockey game with her dad than go to the mall with girlfriends. In college, I'd watch the girls that had boyfriends and fiances. They were quiet, sweet, friendly girls. I was loud. I preferred being blunt and ridiculous. And I didn't care to be friends with everyone. I had my close friends, and I was content with that.
I didn't think anyone could meet my standards. As a teen, I had ridiculous, crazy standards! I wanted a Japanese-Italian man who loved Jesus and played video games and drove classic cars. Eventually that shifted, and he had to be blonde, bald or bad--but still love Jesus. Soon that changed to he just had to be Jonathan Cheechoo (a San Jose Sharks hockey player). After that rush, things settled down. Really, he just had to love Jesus with all his heart, have a wonderful personality, make me laugh, be a leader, and just click with me. But deep down I knew, he'd have to date me differently than how the world dated. I wasn't sure exactly what that looked like, but I knew I wanted to save myself for marriage, and that included kissing.
I didn't think anyone would find me or my personality attractive. I've always been stick-thin. It's in the genes. Until I was in my mid 20s, pimples plagued my face. I hate my veiny arms. I have a long, pointy nose. No hips (and after all, guys like hips, right?!). Throughout my life, I subconsciously believed that I wasn't pretty enough. I believed that my weird personality was a turn-off. I was the girl next door who you could throw a football with, who could beat you in Call of Duty, who was obsessed with The Lord of the Rings, who thought having movie nights with her girlfriends was eons better than being social at a party. (I still am that girl.)
Most of all, I didn't think that in this great big world, I'd find the one right guy (because despite all I'm told and all the books I read on the contrary, I believe God created one right person, at least for me). As a small town girl who wasn't a socialite, who didn't hang out at bars to meet guys or generally go out of the way to meet them, odds were against me. As the doubt plagued my mind that I could ever be loved or found attractive, I guarded my heart so well that I walked around closed-off. I decided it was never going to happen, and honestly, I was content with that. To this day I'm not sure if me walking around closed-off was a bad thing. In fact, I believe if I hadn't been closed off, I may have lowered my standards. I may have gotten swooped up in the dating game. I may have missed my Mack.
Ignore the lies you tell yourself. If God wants you to find a husband, He'll make it happen.
Too often we forget that God has already written our stories. He knew me before I was born. He knows my desires. He sees my needs. He has a plan--a good plan. As his children, He wants to give us a future and a hope. That doesn't mean He'll bring you a husband, just like it doesn't mean He'll bless you with riches. But why can't we rest in the PURE BEAUTIFUL FACT that He does have a plan. The reasons why things don't happen on our timeline--or at all, for that matter--most likely have nothing to do with the lies we tell ourselves.
What I believe is that if God wants you to get married, He'll make it happen. I don't have the time or energy to get all theological about it, I just know that from the time I was a kid, I trusted God to guide me. Later in life, I told Him I was content to be alone (even when I had days of weakness, loneliness and doubt in my own words). And I had faith that He would bring me my husband if that was His will. I finally stopped believing that there was something wrong with me and that my standards were too high. I gave my worries to God.
I can't explain what happened.
In late August 2012, something within me changed. I started praying daily for my husband. Not my maybe-in-the-future husband, but my husband. That one guy out there in the world who God made for me. Deep down, I believed God designed me to love one man, no matter what lies tried to get inside. Even if we'd missed each other or it would take years for us to meet, I felt like he was real. It didn't make any sense--still doesn't. But I had faith he was out there. I felt called to pray for him to be encouraged, to grow in Christ, and to find joy and hope in the everyday.
I was stunned when 4 months later, I met Mack. This is how God works, people. Unexpectedly. Miraculously. God showed me how awesome He is. He surprised me. He created the seemingly impossible. I was even more stunned and honored when 2 months later I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to marry Mack. And the thing is, I like to share this story because IT GIVES GOD ALL THE GLORY. I didn't do this on my own. Seriously. I met Mack and was ready to look the other way.
I want to share this because I've witnessed God do amazing things, and I felt called to write it for the world to read. I'm not trying to make you feel bad for not having a husband. It's not my intention to make you feel like crap or jealous if you've had that tugging on your heart to be a wife, but he hasn't arrived. God's plans generally make no sense, and you probably think God's plans are unfair. Well, I think they are totally unfair. But that's OK. I've realized that life is not about me.
Embrace God's plan, whatever it looks like.
Maybe you won't ever get married. Maybe God needs to work on you. Maybe you're not ready. Maybe you are and you're so lonely because you've been doing everything right. Maybe you need to become content with singleness (like I did) before God brings you someone (I know, I know. All single ladies can insert their vomit here). Maybe you will NEVER be content, and hey, God knows that. But here's a thought: Maybe God's working on getting your future husband to the place where you'll actually notice him. Maybe it's not even you... maybe it's your future husband who is a total mess and needs God to make him into a man. I don't know. You don't know. Doesn't matter.
Remember that God does have a plan, and it's His perfect plan. It may not be easy, may not be pretty, may not be like mine, may not be the way we want it to be. At all. But take solace in the fact that He LOVES YOU LIKE CRAZY, and He works in every situation--to those who are obedient to Him and to those who aren't.
He is a great God. He wants to prepare you, so LET HIM. Give in. Be transformed. Become more like Christ. Listen to Him. Rely on Him. Pray. Cry. Be OK when you fail, fall and sin. But return to the straight and narrow. Return to worshiping Him. Be thankful for what He HAS given you.
Let your focus be on God.
And do not pursue any man more than you pursue God. Be careful not to desire a husband more than you desire Jesus.