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