At one time in my life I believed that when I finally married I would no longer be lonely. I thought marriage would be great because I would have a best friend and permanent boyfriend for the rest of my life. This meant that I would never again have to go to church alone. I would never again attend a family reunion by myself, and I would for sure NEVER sit home alone on a Friday night. My husband would be there every minute of every day and we would be so in love that I would never feel lonely. I had an expectation that my husband would meet all of my emotional needs in this regard.
Personally, I have to chuckle at my expectations and the reality of my life now that I am married. Because of Carl's job, I spend most of my Friday nights alone, I have still attended many family functions alone and still occasionally go to church by myself. And there are times that I still feel lonely.
Is this because I married the wrong guy? Or my husband needs to step it up?
Absolutely not! I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who loves me well. But he still disappoints me from time to time, and I definitely disappoint him just as often.
As a newlywed I had a few misplaced expectations. I thought we would always go to bed at the same time and was disappointed when Carl needed to stay up late to finish work when the phone wasn't ringing off the hook. I would go to bed lonely. The first time I went to my parent's house and Carl couldn't go with me, I had a little pity party thinking, “this isn't the way it's supposed to be.”
Thankfully, over the past year, God reminded me that HE needs to continue to meet the needs in my life that He met prior to my getting married. God reminded me that HE alone can fill that lonely ache in my heart. He also reminded me that although my husband has some major responsibilities in our marriage, meeting all of my emotional needs is not one of them. It is very risky for me to expect that Carl can meet all of my emotional needs. He is a guy, and I'm a girl. We think differently, we live differently and we love differently. When I expect that Carl can meet my needs the same way God has for 30 years, I am setting myself up for a major letdown.
God didn't create marriage so that we would stop relying on Him to meet our needs. But as women, when we read passages like Ephesians 5:25 where Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” we often mistake this to mean, “Husbands meet all of your wives needs as Christ has.”
This isn't what Paul was saying, and when we misinterpret this verse we end up putting pressure on our husbands that he isn't meant to be able to handle. As single women we can be tempted to try to find a man who will meet all of our needs rather that allowing God to bring someone into our lives who can love us like Christ loves the church.
Married women, realizing that God is the only one who can fill the ache in your heart that we call loneliness will free your husband to love you the way God intended. It will also free you from constantly being angry, resentful or disappointed in your man. Single women, realizing now that your husband cannot meet this emotional need in your life, will allow you to enjoy your singleness more, knowing that everything isn't going to change once you are married. What you struggle with now you will struggle with in marriage and how God provides for you now will be how God provides for you in marriage.
Understanding that God is the only one who can and will meet all of our needs frees all of us as women, both married and single, to embrace and enjoy our lives right where we are.
Getting married won't solve your loneliness issue. In fact, I would suggest that if you are lonely as a singleton, getting married will only emphasis that loneliness because your husband will constantly disappoint you in this matter. Take time today to think about the expectations you have of marriage and of your current husband or possible husband-to-be (whether you know him or not). Ask yourself if any of the expectations you have of these men are expectations you should have of God alone. Lay these expectations down at the throne of grace and allow God to again fill the role He was always meant to fill. Let Him be your everything and fill your every need!
Tomorrow we will look at the expectation, “When I get married I will always feel beautiful!”