The dynamics of my closest friendships are interesting…my friends are all married. And every one of them agree that they could never be single these days. My friend Carrie once told me that she’d rather have no arms than be single. And I get it, being single is okay, it’s trying not to be single that’s exhausting.
People don’t meet organically anymore, they tweet. Nobody sends cards, they post. If you want to talk, you update your status. If you want to meet someone nice, you update your profile on five different social networking sites and hope someone gets twitter-pated and follows you. Once upon a time following anyone would have been considered felony stalking… now it’s just a relationship status…and it’s complicated.
“I miss the days when you had one phone number, and one answering machine; and that one answering machine had one cassette tape, and that one cassette tape either had a message from the guy or it didn’t. Now, you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.” (From the movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, 2010)
Just ONCE I want courtship to be like one of those old black and white movies, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason, and then the next thing I know, the doors fling open and I’m ducking rice while leaving a huge church in a really big and beautiful wedding gown. The End.
But the reality of living single today is brutal. The process is skewed and even simple communication is confusing. Saying you’re not single today doesn’t necessarily mean you’re married, it can mean you’re in a relationship. Saying that you’re going out with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re actually going anywhere at all. We’ve turned what it means to be single over to the hands of our younger generation and they’ve ruined it.
I remember back in the day when guys actually courted a girl. They were deliberate and took their time; bought flowers, dinner and even met the family for approval.
These days, social networking and internet dating sites speed things up until it’s almost impossible to know what you’re getting until after he sleeps with your friend or she boils the rabbit.
And who does a single Christian date in a world where you can’t tell who’s actually single and how do we “wait” in a world of compromise?
Sure, it would be a lot easier if the Bible spelled it all out for us and said something like, “if he is firm to date thee, he must first put expose his character before a council of great witness” or “Thou shall have but one boyfriend, and it is he who shall taketh thee out on three dates, and then after a fortnight, he must proposeth marriage to thee . . . and with thy lips together thou may kiss, but with thy lips parted thou shalt not kiss. Moreover, above the shoulders you shall touch freely, but below the shoulders you shall not touch.”
But it doesn’t work like that. Although the bible gives us good biblical principles that we should live by; instructing us to be Holy (1 Peter 1:16), to keep our bodies as temples and not pollute them with sin, to have control over ourselves and to flee from sexual immorality, (1 Corinthians 6:18–19) there are no ten commandments for dating.
We must follow godly standards and honor God in our lives and in our bodies as well. Anything less than that damages the soul and puts us at the mercy of sin’s consequences; compromising ourselves and lying to cover it up, hoping we didn’t get a disease, feeling used and ugly, feeling shame before God and becoming bitter and more impatient in the wait. Then just like that, the dream of a happily ever after begins its slow walk down the long green mile. And the longer the walk, the easier it gets to stop dreaming and stop hoping and stop waiting.
Meanwhile…this is the part in the movie when I’m crying for the woman who wants so desperately to be in love, and the man of her dreams, who she doesn’t see, but is buying his ticket to get to where she is. I’m sitting up in my seat by now, cheering him on and yelling at the screen to tell her to “wait, he’s coming.”
Come on, you know what I mean. We all enjoy that rush that comes with the happy ending. We all want the warm fuzzy feeling you get on that first chance encounter or the awkward moments just before the first kiss. And for me, it’s worth waiting for…waiting to share frozen pizza while cuddling under a blanket in front of James Cagney movies and sleeping peacefully with someone who loves me…resting to the sounds of, well, you know….
And despite the winding down of the grandfather clock that threatens more than a few of us, I totally get the gradual decay of timing. I myself have another two, maybe three muscles still holding up without the help of Spanx. But my prayer to God for a husband is not just about the timing, it’s about finding a good balance between the desire and the wait… in a way that honors my body, my family, and my God.
I’m waiting for the knight in shining armor with a heart like God’s heart, shoulders like the actor Bill Denum, and eyes that only see me. I’m waiting for flowers and long conversations with someone who will pray with me, fast with me, cook with me and make me laugh.
And so here goes nothing, while I’m waiting for everything!