“Satisfy me so fully now that I never look to anyone else to make me happy,” (p. 98). OOH.
I have a confession. I don’t want to be single at 23. Yet, I am. If you read my last Monthly Musings, you saw that the Lord was really challenging my thinking regarding marriage and singleness. The past year has been full of growth and I’ve honestly come to cherish this time in my life.
Actually, it wasn’t until this weekend that I really got that God is using this time in my life to pull me closer to Him and equip me for the future. He’s changing my heart to love Him instead of love the things He can give me. He is teaching me discipline, patience, perspective and independence.
A few months ago, when I saw that one of my favorite Desiring God writers released a book called Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness & Dating, I immediately wanted to read it. Right now, I am a sponge and I want to soak up all that I can on this topic! I can’t be too prepared if the Lord blesses me with a spouse.
Not Yet Married is not a 12-step program to find a spouse or 100+ pages about how “God is enough.” It is one man’s account of his missteps and the lessons he learned from them. In Marshall Segal’s on words, “Not Yet Married is not about dwelling on the negative. If we are in Christ, we are never again defined by what we are not. We have too much in him to be discouraged about not having anything else–even things as important in this life as a job or a spouse or children,” (p. 15). Simply, this book teaches that desiring a spouse is Biblical and there are ways we can prayerfully navigate this desire.
Early in the book this quote jumped out at me: “And when everyone else feels entitled to have everything now, he sets us apart as the strange and strong who are willing and eager to wait,” (p. 12). I definitely feel more strange than strong when it comes to my serious dedication to emotional and physical purity. I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know why, but God has placed this call on my life to be different from the world. Sadly, this pursuit is uncommon.
The entirety of this book is an encouragement to stay different. It’s filled with stories and wisdom from someone who was convicted by God in His own relational shortcomings. Segal is not the poster child for Godly relationships, which will make it easier for those with similar experiences to accept his advice. As someone who has the shortest relationship résumé ever at 23, it reaffirmed that this path will bring good things. (To be clear, “good things” doesn’t mean a husband.) This book continued to open my eyes to the reality that marriage is not perfect. It will not satisfy or be my joy. It is a really good thing, but it is also a really hard thing.
As a dreamer, it was really eye-opening how much Segal talked about how imperfect humans are. Even my human or your human is still human. Segal makes it very clear that trying to find joy in a spouse is a losing battle. For years, I imagined my spouse being number one in my life. I didn’t want to admit it, but now I can. That realization comes with the Lord making you stare at your naked soul in the mirror…Which, again, is something I didn’t want to do. But the Bible is alive, active and sharper than any sword (Hebrews 4:12). First and foremost, Segal is concerned about your spiritual health and personal relationship with Christ before he’s concerned about your relationship status. After all, if you have a spouse and don’t know God you’re in a lot scarier of a scenario than a believer who has no spouse.
Long story short: I haven’t read
a lot of any dating books. Although I was excited to hear from Segal, I was still skeptical that I wouldn’t be hit with the clichés the church likes to tell singles. Luckily for me, Not Yet Married covers every area of dating and pulls its advice from Scripture. It’s a fantastic supplemental material to the Bible and prayer to consult as I navigate walking with the Lord as a single lady. So, obviously, my verdict is that I highly recommend that everyone reads this.
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.