Now before you get all up in a tizzy, let me explain that I’m not ignorantly refusing to pray for God’s hand and blessing over my future. In fact, no longer praying for my future husband is part of how I am surrendering the days and years (God willing) ahead of me to His purpose.
My whole life, I have never seen a complete, satisfying future for myself apart from being a wife. All of my mental images of what adult life and growing older would look like involved being a wife and mother. From a young age, I knew that I had this desire to be a wife, and I talked myself into believing that God would not give me such a desire without fulfilling it. However, that belief was not based in biblical truth. Rather, it was birthed out of my dire longing to hold onto the idol of marriage, an idol that had seeped its way into my heart through church culture, movies, and the incompletion I felt in being single. Correction: the incompletion I still feel in being single.
I do believe that God gives us certain desires. However, I don’t think that every desire of our heart is God-ordained or destined to happen just because of its strength. God doesn’t promise me a husband, children, a satisfying job, or a house. I refuse to buy into the idea that “God has someone special planned for you. One day you’ll meet a man who will love you for who you are.” I might. But that man, just like tomorrow, is not something God has promised me. What does he promise me? Steadfast love. Eternal life. Forgiveness of everything I’ve ever done wrong. Grace upon grace upon grace. Who am I to ask for more?
You see, wanting a husband is not an inherently wrong desire. God said it is not good for man to be alone, and I don’t think He wants me to be alone either. But I’m not ignorant enough to think that the only way He provides for me not to be alone is through marriage. He has given me friends, and His body, the church, not to mention the fact that He never leaves my side. Being without marriage does not equal being alone.
And even though desiring marriage is not inherently wrong, it does not mean that such a desire is exempt from sinfulness. In my past, I have felt that my life would not be complete if I never married. This means that I have been given more than I could ever imagine through God’s sacrificial gift of His Son, and yet I am unsatisfied with Christ alone. That realization has made me sick. I have prioritized my longing to find a lifelong earthly companion over serving the One in whom all my joys may be found. If I cannot see a future without a husband, then do I really love Jesus as much as I claim to? Am I really satisfied with the promises that He has given me? Do I really trust Him to give me everything that I need (and trust that when He does not give me what I want, He still has my best interest at heart)?
“The Lord is my shepherd; [therefore] I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
In Christ I have everything, therefore I have no need for anything else.
If I never marry, then I have everything I need in Christ.
If I marry, then I have everything I need in Christ.
It has been this recent realization that has led me to address my idolatry of relationships and marriage. God may not give me a husband, and then what? Will I be angry? If He gives me a husband, what a blessing. If He doesn’t give me a husband, what a blessing. His blessing is not determined by His giving me what I want. Praise the Lamb, God does not dole out his goodness in the ways that I think He should. He knows what I need far better than I do, and His blessings are far greater than anything I can dream up. And if Him denying me marriage is what it takes for me to realize that my satisfaction must be found in Him, then I shall thank Him a thousand times for not enabling my idolatry-twisted set of priorities.
So, to finally address the title: I no longer pray for my future husband, simply because I do not know if he exists. I pray that God will put people in my life that will point me toward Him, and I pray that He will give me wisdom in discerning which relationships, romantic or otherwise, should be pursued. I pray that He will humble me and use me in the lives of those around me and those I will encounter in the future. And I pray that IF God wills for me to marry one day, that I would still put Him first above all else, and that such a relationship would be a reflection of His love for the church.
But my prayers don’t sound like they used to. They don’t sound like, “God, give me a godly man who loves you. Help him to lead me spiritually. Be with him in whatever struggles he faces. And help me to trust your timing in bringing a husband to me.” These prayers were desperate pleas for my perfect husband covered in the guise of asking for God’s will.
And so, in rewiring my heart to be more Christ-centered and less focused on what I want for my future, I have chosen to reorient my prayer life, as well as my thought life, toward how God can use me right where I am. Instead of trusting that He’ll bring me a godly husband in His perfect timing, I trust that He will be sufficient for me no matter what my future holds. It is a daily – make that hourly – struggle to surrender my life and my future to His will, but I think it’s a battle worth fighting. I pray for contentment in my current stage of life, and I pray that God will continue to remind me that in Him I can find true joy, love, comfort, and peace.
I’m not there yet, but I trust that one day I will be, so long as I press into Him and trust in His goodness.
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3