That stretch of time from May -August when everyone of marriageable age goes a bit wedding crazy. For me, it started when I was 21. Friends from the summer camp I worked at got married in June. It was lovely, my boyfriend at the time and I had a great time with all of our friends, and I couldn’t help the fleeting thought… I wonder when it will be my turn?
The next summer turned out to be my wedding bootcamp – 11 weddings in 3 months – none of them mine. I was required to wear pale yellow, bright red, dusky pink, and lots of black. Bed, Bath and Beyond knew me by name because I was in there so often buying wedding gifts. In the years following, my friends married off and wedding season is much slower now. But there is still a wedding or two every summer where I dress up, buy an expensive gift, sit off to the side with the other singles, and try to avoid catching the bouquet.
And this morning there were no less than 3, three, articles in my twitter feed offering advice to singles on how to survive wedding season. The Center for Disease Control released a recommended wedding survival plan, quasi joking on their blog that, “Being in the throes of wedding season, many of us here at CDC realized that planning for a wedding isn’t that much different from planning for a disaster.” As if I don’t know that, I am a wedding pro. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the ‘I Do’ – I’ve seen it all.
And I’ve seen weddings become something of a catalyst for single girls to throw a pity-themed after-party for themselves about their single state. I’ve wasted way too many post-wedding evenings sitting around listening to (and sadly participating in) the woe-is-me-I’m-single moan-fest. In the past couple of years, I’ve heard these 3 statements over and over again, from single girls of all ages…
Being single at a wedding means: No one wants to marry me!
Carolyn McCulley, single Christian author, admitted, “[After my pastor preached on God’s plan for marriage] I wanted it. A lot. Thus, a new idol was created: Husband of My Dreams, the reward for my new obedience in chastity. When this wonderful husband didn’t immediately materialize, I sometimes found myself shaking my fist at God, unhappy with His provision for my life.”
Marriage is not a reward. It is not a blessing awarded to good Christian girls for living a good Christian life. Marriage isn’t even about the bride and groom. The relationship between a man and a woman in marriage is a metaphor for Christ’s relationship with His Church. It’s a living picture of the mystery of Christ into His body. Christ as the head grafts sinful, yet redeemed, humans into His body, just as man and wife become one flesh. (1 Cor. 12:26-27, Eph. 4:15-16, Col. 1:18)
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-27
Marriage is about Jesus. period.
And the bottom line is…. your friend’s wedding isn’t about you being single. It’s about them taking a huge step in committing to each other and Christ for the rest of their lives. A wedding is just an event, the marriage, however, is a lifetime commitment of two flawed people who need your support, encouragement, accountability, and prayer to make it.
Being single at a wedding means: I don’t have anyone or anything that matters!
You don’t have a husband. You don’t have a wedding dress. You don’t have a wedding full of guests all focused on you. You don’t have a new Kitchen Aid mixer. You don’t have cute pictures to pin on your pinterest wedding board.
By focusing on what you don’t have, you are missing out on everything that God has given you. God has blessed the lives of each of His children, and by focusing on what you don’t have you are disregarding God’s blessings. God is at work right now and if by fixating on that one special day that you haven’t had, you are oblivious to all God is doing (and wants to do) in your life right now!
C.J. Mahaney said, “Your greatest need is not a spouse. Your greatest need is to be delivered from the wrath of God- and that has already been accomplished for you through the death and resurrection of Christ. So why doubt that God will provide for a much, much lesser need? Trust His sovereignty, trust His wisdom, trust His love.” Trust God and be grateful for all that He has given you!
“For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me….And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever.” Philippians 4:11-20 ESV
Being single at a wedding means: I can’t be happy, because I’m alone!
I’ve always hated that fairy tales stopped at “happily ever after” – talk about make believe! They leave out the struggles of the newly married Princess and her Prince Charming as they deal with unrealistic expectations and struggle to become one. Yes, marriage is beautiful, but it isn’t perfect. A union between two imperfect people is going to be flawed and require a lot of humility and forgiveness.
As a single girl, focusing on the ‘awfulness’ of being single often leads to a mindset of thinking singleness is a problem to be fixed and finding “the one” will fix all of our problems. Nothing about that mindset is biblical. Nothing.
In her book Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh DeMoss says, “The truth is that the ultimate purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but to glorify God. Women who get married for the purpose of finding happiness are setting themselves up for almost certain disappointment…. Happiness is not found in (or out of) marriage; it is not found in any human relationship. True joy can be found only through Christ.
“Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5-7
A Single Girl’s Wedding Prep List:
Before attending, serving or bridesmaiding in a friend’s wedding…
- Trust God with your desire to get marriage
- Spend time with Jesus, thanking Him for all that He has given you.
- Pray for your friends as they enter marriage in a world that will do everything to tear them apart.
- Encourage other singles to look for happiness from God, not a wedding or a person