Discontentment is a struggle for many singles. Sometimes we think: “I’ll feel better once I’m married.” And we have these inflated ideas about marriage. We expect it to make us whole and happy, to bring us ultimate bliss, and to give us purpose.
But that isn’t the point of marriage. Instead, it’s meant to mold us into the image of Christ and to illustrate the relationship between Christ and the church. The Bible doesn’t say anything about us being fulfilled by our mate. In fact, if we put such high expectations on our future spouse—the responsibility for completing us—we’re doomed. Because no human is capable of fulfilling us—only God is.
There are many married people in the Bible, but if you look closely, you’ll see that it isn’t their marriages that bring them fulfillment; it’s their relationships with Christ.
And, interestingly enough, those who expected their spouse to make them happy ended up disappointed. Just look at Rachel. She married her dream guy, Jacob, but she was pretty miserable. It seems she never understood this truth: only God is enough to satisfy the longings of your heart.
Corrie ten Boom says, “Marriage is not the answer to unhappiness. Happiness can only be found in a balanced relationship with Jesus Christ. When you belong to Christ, you can be happy with or without a husband, secure in Christ alone.”
Contentment in Christ is something King David eventually recognized. He had his choice of women. He married a princess and he even stole the wife of one of his warriors. But those wives didn’t satisfy him. It was his close relationship with the Lord that brought him perfect contentment. He elegantly captures this sense of fulfillment in the Psalms. Here are a few examples:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand
Let them give thanks to the Lordfor his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
And the beautiful thing is, those who find their satisfaction in Christ are also able to be content and faithful in marriage, no matter how difficult it may be. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, had anything but the ideal marriage. Her husband was an unbeliever, yet she didn’t fade away into depression. Because of her strong faith, she found purpose. Through Christ she was able to raise a godly son.
Christ is sufficient for all, whether single or married, whether in a good relationship or a terrible one. Jesus is enough.
So don’t put your happiness on hold until your wedding day. Get your eyes off your relationship status and on to Christ. In the words of my favorite preacher, Charles Spurgeon:
Happiness lies more in the mind than it does in the circumstances in which any individual is found, and the man within has far more to do with his own joy or sorrow than anything outside of him has. There have been some who have been perfectly free in a prison, while others have been in absolute bondage with wide estates to roam over. We have known some, whose spirits have triumphed when all around has tended to depress them; and we have seen others, who were wretched and desponding when they had, apparently, all that heart could wish. It is the mind which is the main thing; it will bring thee daylight or midnight, wealth or poverty, peace or war.
I ask you, friend, if you are struggling to find satisfaction in Christ, are you focused on your circumstances or on the Lord? If Jesus is not enough for you now, will He ever be enough?
Many people simply go from a discontented single life to a discontented married life. However a single person who is content in the Lord will transition into a happy married person. Because Christ has filled them, they can focus on pouring love into their spouse rather than focusing on what they can get from the relationship. I believe the healthiest marriages are not when the partners attempt to fulfill each other. Rather it is when they point each other to Christ for fulfillment, demonstrating the love that overflows from their close walk with Him.