I know there's a lot I could give him for his birthday but the one thing he really wants, someone to spend the rest of his life with, that I can't find. And I understand his pain because I too am still single. No longer being in my twenties I feel the reality of being single more heavily now than before.
And its not for a lack of trying on either of our parts. There just never seems to be the right person. And every single has to wrestle at some point with whether-or-not they will allow their singleness to define them. God has been showing me that my status of married or single is just a state of being. It should not dictate my relationship with Him or my self worth as a unique individual.
Its hard for me sometimes to encourage my brother when he asks the tough questions because I still ask them too from time-to-time. But there is also a kind of bitter sweetness in being able to comfort someone when you are suffering in the exact same way.
Who doesn't dream of meeting the one person who will always be faithful to you and love you even when you are moody or ill or just having an off day? Who doesn't want someone they can build treasured memories and share life experiences with? We all want that! There is nothing wrong with desiring a spouse.
But it is wrong to become bitter, critical, cynical, and desperate. And that last one, becoming desperate, seems to be the biggest hurdle for most single women past their twenties. I can't tell you how many of my single friends are starting to turn some deep color of desperate. And it makes me very sad because they're missing out on the joys and blessings of their current years. They don't see how beautiful they are even without a mate.
I would think that being desperate would be a major turnoff for most guys anyhow. Who wants to be married to someone who looks to you for their total happiness and fulfillment in life? What happens when that person fails? Because they will. They're human and so they are fallible... just like I or you would be.
I know there are a lot of books out there in the world that say men are not doing their part to take the lead in relationships. And some of that is true. A growing number of men prefer to remain single and just sleep around while they continue with their corporate ladder climbs and X-box gaming. Committing to one woman when they can get it all for free from desperate women is so much easier.
But I think women are a big part of the problem too. They believe the lie that if they let the man they want have everything they want first, like a test drive, then he'll love them forever. That's simply not logical. That's not how a man's brain works. And women don't seem to realize what a powerful effect their actions have on men. The way a woman chooses to dress, the words she chooses to use, and the activities she gets involved in all paint an accurate picture of who she really is no matter what she says she is.
It seems to be an unspoken belief that if you just compromise enough, if you just settle for him/her, if you just try harder then it will all work out. But what does society tell the growing number of singles who find out the hard way that these things don't work?
What do I tell my baby brother?
I tell him that life is short. I tell him that ultimately we will lose everyone we love unless Christ returns first. I remind him that its more important to continue staying close to God because then we remain focused on improving our own attitudes and character. And if it is God's will that we should marry one day then it will happen as a natural progression of trusting in God and His timing.
I think that the type of person we all want for a spouse is someone who is mature, responsible, and faithful. And those things can only be found in people who learn to love sacrificially. They are not looking at life for what it can give them but what they can give to life.
The ideal spouse is someone who isn't desperate but steady and confident in who they are. They don't spend their days, months, years waiting for Mr./Mrs. right. They are working on themselves to become a better person, cultivate better habits, and becoming an all around more interesting person to know.
That is attractive. It is also inspiring. And its not impossible. All these things happen when we read our Bibles everyday. They happen when we pray to God and tell Him our worries and desires. I can't give my brother a spouse but I point him to the one who can. I don't understand why neither of us have found the right person yet but God knows. And I believe that He isn't finished with my brother or I yet. There's so much to do in life! And personally, I am willing to be whatever God wants me to be. So if marriage and kids are in my future... awesome. But if they are not... God is my strength.
Everything will be alright. God has not forgotten the singles. We have a unique opportunity to become amazing leaders in all walks of life and to show the world exactly what God can do in just one life! So if you are single... stand up! Be everything you can be today and stop putting your life on hold for someone to stand with you. God is your strength and with Him on your side there is no limit to what you can do.
Blessings to you and happy birthday baby brother!!
Dear Lord, thank you for the life of my brother.
Thank you for letting me speak truth into his life.
Help him and I to remain faithful to you no matter how long we live.
Help us on the days when loneliness seems to hurt more severely.
Show us how to use our single status to go as far as we can and please keep molding our attitudes.
Thank you for all you are doing and all you will do through our lives.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our hero, savior, and role-model, Amen.