As a young woman called to marriage, I know sometimes it’s hard to stay patient. After all, our culture is always telling us things like “live for today,” and “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” And I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s easier to buy into those lies, and hope that — with some careful tuning and grooming, of course — Mr. Right Now can magically transform into Mr. Right.
Of course, that’s nonsense. Men may have been made of clay once, but they’re no more malleable than shale. Try too hard, and they shatter. Push gently, and you can draw pretty designs on the surface, but what’s underneath remains unchanged. Only God can change the hearts of men, and assuming that one can be like God is what got us all into trouble in the first place, yes?
The other temptation is to try and make every social opportunity into a matchmaking service. It makes sense. How else are we supposed to meet “the One”? My Catholic young adult group has recently gotten into a bit of a bind where a lot of the single members won’t show up for events because there are too many couples in the group. It’s understandable, I suppose. It’s frustrating watching happy people in love when you’re lonely. And how are you supposed to find love when everyone’s already courting?
But here’s the kicker: no other single people are going to show up if everyone thinks no other single people are going to show up. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Besides, there are so many benefits to being in peer groups that <gasp> might not lead to romance. The chief one is friendship. I know most of my best friends are paired off, but they are still my best friends, and we have a lot of fun together. To spurn the beautiful offering of true friendship because someone slipped a bit too much Envy in your coffee this morning is to lose out on one of the greatest gifts God has given humankind. And Envy’s capitalized for a reason. It’s a deadly sin, kids.
So how do we combat this Envy? Well, let’s look at what causes it.
Why are we envious? Because we are not in a romantic relationship, and we want to be in one.
Why aren’t we in a relationship? We haven’t met the right person yet, or the right person hasn’t realized we’re the right person yet, or we don’t have any place to meet the right person.
So if we can’t change the circumstances on our own, who can? God.
And there’s the root of the problem. Our Envy comes from a lack of Trust in God’s plan for our lives. He already knows exactly who He’s going to bring into our lives. He knows when and where. We don’t have to worry about it. We don’t have to feel like there’s no one left. God’s got it all under control, and we just need to chill.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is the Book of Tobit, mostly because it’s pretty much the perfect story. It’s got everything. But in particular, I love the character of Sara. I mean, no one has it rough in love like Sara does, and it certainly isn’t from the lack of suitors. I might have a history of bad relationships, but none of my paramours have ever suffered from a fatal case of demon-strangling.
Sara is pretty human about the whole thing. Naturally, by about the sixth or seventh, she realizes that this is getting to be a bad pattern. Maybe it’s not them, it’s her. So she finally runs out of hope, and. . . prays for death. Really, really just begs God to strike her down, so men won’t try to marry her any more. (That’s pretty dramatic, but to be fair, it took her a lot of death to get to that point. She was a strong-willed woman.)
But what happened? Did God strike her down?
No. He sent the archangel Raphael to handsome young Tobias and pretty much gift-wrapped the lad along with some complimentary demon repellent. Because he was the one God set aside for her, her true love — and even more importantly, because they both had Faith in God’s plan — they lived happily ever after, demon-free.
So even in the heart of despair, when everything is hopeless, remember that God has not abandoned you. He knows the desires of your heart. And maybe you’re lonely right now because He’s trying to save you from some bad heartbreak.
Have faith. And don’t be afraid to socialize with couples. They don’t bite (as a rule).
Our time will come, single ladies.
-E. G. Norton