24 March 2012

Jesus is NOT my husband!

Ok, this is a vent for single women of a certain age who have not always been chaste and are now (unwillingly at times) in the throes of a celibate life…yeah, I’m talking about ME. (and from a conversation I had at church today, I am not alone and I may be talking about you as well.)

This week, the study for our church was about LOVE STORIES found in the Bible and how these stories reveal God’s “romantic side.” The facilitator of the program loaded the choir loft (and the first few rows of one side of the church) with couples from the church, and then had a panel discussion with four couples (married for as few as 2, and as many as 27, years) about the love stories in the Bible – as well as their own love stories. Don’t get me wrong: the program was beautifully done and the information shared by the four couples was funny, informative and insightful. BUT, as I sat there, I thought, “don’t none of this apply to me. What about the single women (and men) of the church who are striving (now) to do the right thing and struggling? How are we supposed to relate to God’s examples of romantic love in the Bible?” In venting to one of the panel members after the program, she turned to me and calmly said, “Well, Jesus is your husband.”

WHAT THE HECK?! Without thinking, pausing, considering – I immediately said (with great emphasis and sternness in my voice): “JESUS IS NOT MY HUSBAND! And the very fact that you would say that to me is exactly what is wrong with this picture!” She then looked at me and told me that if He wasn’t my husband, He should be. Ok, maybe because she has been married for 27 years to a wonderful man, and she has never been a “single woman of a certain age”, she just cannot relate to where I am and what I was saying. And while I accept that, I don’t have to like it.

Let’s be honest here – I understand what she was trying to say. We SHOULD have an intimate relationship with God, we SHOULD put Him first in our lives, He SHOULD be the “end all, be all” of our lives – I get that, BUT Jesus is NOT there to snuggle with in the middle of the night when you just want a human touch. Jesus cannot take you out on Valentine’s Day (or any other “couple-mandated” night). Jesus cannot hold your hand as you walk down the street. You cannot show up to the “married lovers retreat” and say, “I’m here with Jesus because He is my husband.” And to be frankly honest, Jesus isn’t there to soothe the raging hormones that may overtake your body in the wee hours of the morning. Again, maybe when you have been married for 27 years, you just don’t remember what it’s like to be single, because surely if you remembered, you wouldn’t say such a thing to your single friend who is struggling.

In talking with my mother about this later, she said to me that it is the same for her as a divorced woman in the church – and then we expanded it to widows and widowers. While our church celebrates marriage and married couples (and they should – marriages are taking a hit everywhere – seeing couples that are committed to each other is a wonderful thing), I just feel the church (and the members thereof) should also recognize and celebrate those of us who are not married – some by choice, some by circumstance. We have just as much to offer and to bring to the table as our married friends and contemporaries.

Ok, that’s my vent. Thanks for listening.

©2012 Kristina E. Smith


Christy K Robinson said...

The Smug Married answer was always that verse from Isaiah, "Your maker is your husband." Never mind the context...

I built my life around someday marrying a man of my denomination (because we couldn't be "unequally yoked" with an apostate Protestant--horrors!!). I put 12 years of my life into running the state's single adult ministry, and we were a MINISTRY, dang it, not a meat market. As an officer of the national singles ministry organization, I went to the national and international singles' retreats and camp meetings. My conclusion in 1999 (I was 40) was that NO WAY could I marry any man in my denomination. They're too messed up by the school and church system, previous relationships, they think they're God's gift, and many single women treat them that way, doing their laundry and washing their cars!

What I've seen in churches is more like Zechariah 8:23, “In those days ten [wo]men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

Lastly, in my rant anyway, I get so ill when I hear church members fawning over "cute couples" who are living together or not living chastely until marriage--because it's all OK as long as the couple know the Truth about which day of the week to go to church. :(

Yes, I want to love and be loved, and be married to a real, live man. But I earned my own college tuition, got my own jobs, bought my own cars and homes, took my own vacations, and plan my own future. In one way, I'm proud to have done it and can't imagine living uneducated and on the dole; in another way, men want to be fixers and rescuers, so they passed me by.

Without a stark miracle, marriage isn't likely.

Emma R said...

I agree with your standpoint. It is a shame that we have to pigeon hole ourselves into boxes to fit what is a human interpretation of what the Bible expects of us as people. God gives you your season of life for a reason and right now you are serving him as a single lady and doing it very well through your blog and your book!!

I do not know what the Lord God wants for you in terms of future relationships, but I know that you are equal in the eyes of the Lord to any married lady... God loves our differences as well as he does our uniformity!

ruthwillis said...

Baby, Kudos!!!!! Rachel and I share the same feelings [divorced SDAs] and struggles and you are "right on" .... your vent here is certainly well said and shared, love ya

Dale said...

My spiritual upbringing was summed up in one small phrase: God IS Love.

I had a whole big thing I was going to add here but words just never do that justice. Say it forwards, emphasis any single word of that, say it in reverse order. It still means the same thing.

Drink of that cup and you will never thirst again. (No, really. I got that from a good source.)

RareEpiphany said...

I'm right there with ya! I told someone that I don't struggle with the celibacy part anymore...truthfully I don't. That's the easy part. The hard part is EVERYTHING ELSE! I get it. The bible says "Thy Creator is thy husband" (Is. 54) but that is not literal when studied in context. It's about provision for a people. Married folks soon forget what's it's like to be without the niceties of marriage. I have a wonderful man in my life but we ain't married yet and he lives in Philly. I miss ALLLLLL that stuff you mentioned. ALLLL UR IT lol. I wanna chunk darts at the inconsiderate married people too lol

Maxine said...

Kris, you are so on point! Thanks for taking up for us singles (soon to be) -,-