Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about the kind of 'happy' where you feel momentarily pleased by your current circumstances - I really do hope that on some level I will actually enjoy spending time with my future husband! No, I'm talking about the kind of happy that is a constant state of joyful satisfaction. The kind that is consistent, even if there are struggles, disagreements, or your favourite Downton character dies (Yes, I still miss Sybil), as it is simply not dependent on your circumstances.
Our culture tells us that if we just find 'The One' then we will live 'Happily Ever After' with our token 2.3 kids, comfortable jobs, and loveable family dog all in our 4-bed detached. I'm sorry to mow down the picket fence and smash the Aga, but finding your 'Prince Charming', 'Mr Right', or 'insert female equivalent', is not going to guarantee that you will be undeniably happy from hereon in.
I think that when we believe someone is going to enter our lives, declare their undying love, and magically make all the bad days vanish, we are attempting to cover up a much larger issue in ourselves. They may well make the world seem a little brighter, the good days better and the bad days fewer, but they do not change the fact that the problem starts with ourselves: If my future husband does not make me completely happy, that is because I am inherently unhappy.
There are several reasons why I believe expecting our marriages to fulfil our happiness is not only wrong, but also unhealthy and destructive to ourselves and our future relationships:
We are setting ourselves up for tremendous disappointment. I understand how the thought of being loved unconditionally, cared for, and served by another person for the rest of our lives might lead us to expect happiness, but if your child came to you with their broken tamgotchi you wouldn't staple it to a broken furbie to fix it. When both item is broken, how can they fix each other? Expecting your future spouse to forever fix your happiness will ultimately leave you unhappy when you realise that they are just as broken and incapable of finding or supplying happiness as you are.
Not only will you be disappointed and dissatisfied, but it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the other person. Before you've even met them - let alone got engaged and married - you are already expecting them to be the antidote to every moment of unhappiness you ever experience. That's a pretty tall order, don't you think? It also disallows us to see their beauty as an individual and how we can love and serve them. We simply become obsessed with them fulfilling our needs and confused by why we're not experiencing the aforementioned uncontainable happiness just yet, both of which are unloving and unjust to our spouse.
Expecting my future husband to make me happy denies the fact that my happiness, joy, contentment and satisfaction are found through my relationship with God and my desire for all things to be for His glory. If I feel convinced that at some distant point in the future I am going to get married and then automatically become happy, then it placates my longing to seek absolute contentment and satisfaction in God - something that He is ready and willing to offer through Christ Jesus. It also leads to my marriage being based on our individual cravings for happiness not a shared desire for our relationship to reflect God's glory.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 says, 'Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.' This verse demonstrates how God did not design any earthly, human or material thing to fully satisfy us. It is in God, and God alone, that we are satisfied and content, and subsequently find our happiness. That is why the psalmist declares, 'You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine' (Psalm 4:7). The joy that God provides is not fleeting or incomplete. It is an absolute, overwhelming, unwavering state of joyful satisfaction that surpasses all earthly circumstances.
Is this a comforting truth? Yes.
Is it really a comforting truth? Possibly not.
This truth means that we can no longer comfortably sit in our discontent and wait for someone else to fix it; we need to deal with it now. Don't wait a few more years to finally discover that binding two broken people together will not completely fix either of them. Stop hoping you'll find 'The One' to complete you and whining that you're desperately unhappy without them. Have fewer hopeful Christian side-hugs and more intense time basking in God's glorious and joyful presence. Stop flirting and start fighting to be won over wholeheartedly by the beauty of the gospel.
It's scary. Terrifying, in fact. But the key to eternal joy was intended for you for all eternity, cost a perfect sacrifice and was handed to you by nail-pierced hands. It requires you to surrender your will in favour of God's, that He may work in his beautiful ways 'for the good of those who love Him' (Romans 8:28).
I urge you to please unlock that joy and discover it for yourself, so that you may glorify God as a perfectly content, satisfied and complete creation in Christ. Single or otherwise.