Originally published Monday, 29 August 2016.
If you would have told me as a single person that I would be married and lonely, I would have laughed in your face.
Actually, many people did warn me. Various women and men I looked up to and respected told me many times that it's better to be single and lonely than married and lonely. They told me it's better to wait for the man God has for me because a man cannot satisfy my soul, only God can.
At least I thought I understood.
I had no clue what they were talking about until I married my husband Marc. They were right. My husband couldn't satisfy the deepest parts of me. Only God could satisfy me full to overflowing. When I began to experience loneliness, I knew.
Loneliness in marriage felt much worse than experiencing loneliness as a single person.
When I was single, I could fix my mood. I wasn't dependent on another person. If I wanted to get a massage, go out to eat, or partake in shopping therapy--it was all up to me. If I didn't like the church I was at, I could immediately find a new one. There was no discussions, no debates. Just action.
When I was single and lonely, I cried to my girlfriends. I cried at church. I cried during prayer time. I cried in the arms of my parents. I got over my loneliness because of the support and love of my community. When I was married and lonely, I cried to my husband. It felt much more difficult to me that I couldn't just fix our lack of community. It takes years to build friendships. We tried over thirty churches in less than four years of marriage and made a total of three friends.
I wasn't expecting to be miserable and happy at the same time as a married woman.
I was miserable without a community, but happy with my husband. When Marc and I got married, I thought that my loneliness in the church would end. I was wrong. I thought being single in the church was the worst position. I, again, was wrong. Being married without kids feels much lonelier than when I was single. I quickly found out how important finding the right church was important. I couldn't just find a new one. It had to suit both of us. Finding community as a married person is harder than finding community as a single person because it involves two people.
I am still trying to find my fit in God's Kingdom and His church.
When I asked Marc what he thought or if he wanted to contribute anything to my blog, he said that it's been hard for him too. He said that it was such an exciting thing to get married. He didn't want to join Men's ministry and be a part from me. He also said most Men's ministries are geared towards older men who already have kids.
I have felt the same thing about women's ministry.
A lot of it is geared towards women with children.
We both waited a long time to get married that it was pretty depressing when we couldn't find community together.
As a body of believers we all need each other. Whether we're single, married, or married with kids—we need community. Even though we had the support of both of our parents, what we craved was so much more. A small group. Friends. People to share life experiences with. It got so frustrating to find a place to worship and connect with its community that we moved. It did help to move to Texas from California because the church climate feels a lot more open and inviting.
Now that we are finding community, we are still running into the same problem: being the only married couple without kids. But instead of allowing this to hinder us from finding community, I'm diving in. Before we moved, God impressed a verse on my heart from Romans 1:11-12 that says,
11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me (KJV).
The word established in Greek is sterizo. It means:
- to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix
- to strengthen, make firm
- to render constant, confirm, one's mind
My parents came out to visit us this past week. My dad asked me how many friends we've made since we moved to Texas. I joked with him that it was more than the three friends we made while visiting numerous churches in California. It was so refreshing to introduce them to our new friends.
I long to be friends with those who want to be friends with me. Mutual friendships.
Maybe I don't have kids yet, but I do have gifts and strengths to contribute just as much as I want to receive from others. I long to be mutually encouraged by the men and women God places in our lives during this season. I love that the word established from Romans 1:11-12 is the same word strengthen from Luke 22:31-32. Let's read:
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you,Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Friends, we need to strengthen others so that we can receive strength when we need it the most. Even though I am still finding my place, I love how marriage has sharpened me to see how much I desire to be in community. If nothing else, marriage has taught me that it's okay to be lonely. It's okay to cry out for community.
Question: What makes you lonely as a single person? As a married person? What do you most long for?