This week, I asked my son a very “serious” question: “What should dad do for Valentine’s Day?” His answer, dripped in sarcasm, was, “Dad, I know! You should find a nice dark corner and cry.” We laughed; however, I promptly proceeded to eat 15 double-stuffed Oreo cookies dunked in whole milk, which is the best remedy for depression, in my humble opinion. Outside of finding the long lost partner of my favorite sock, Oreo cookies are the best way to get rid of the dark dungeon of despair. With the divorce rate in my sock drawer currently sitting at a record high, cookies will have to suffice.
Valentine’s Day has become the one holiday that single people want to expunge from the calendar. The worst feeling in the world is when married people ask a single person the dreaded question: “What are you doing on Valentine’s Day?” Really? What does Stevie Wonder do at a fireworks show? Exactly, he doesn’t go!
Of course, the silly answers that single people provide only gives credence to our “losership”:
“Oh, I’m attending a Galentine’s Day party with just my gal friends,” or, “oh, it’s just another day to me. No biggie.” Yeah, suuuure. You answer the question with a fake smile so as to hide that you are as irrelevant to the opposite gender as the T in Tsunami.
Marriage: A Good Zenith all Should Aspire To
Here’s the deal: The real reason why Valentine’s Day is so awkward for single people is because society, and rightfully so, has taught us that marriage is the zenith everyone should aspire to if they are a person capable of romance. From birth, marriage is what everyone anticipates their lives will eventually reach. Little girls play “house” with dolls, and they imagine living in a home with a white picket fence. The truth is that a society that does not hold the institution of marriage in high esteem is doomed for gradual extinction, mainly because marriage serves two crucial purposes: childbearing and childrearing.
The Primary Purpose of Marriage
The Bible gives us several purposes for marriage:
1. Companionship (Amos 3:3)
2. Enjoyment (Hebrews 13:4)
3. Childbearing (Genesis 1:28; 1 Peter 3:7)
4. Protection (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:4-5; Malachi 2:15; Psalm 112:1-2)
However, the primary purpose of marriage in Scripture (Ephesians 5:25-30) is for it to be a permanent relationship that models to the world Christ’s unconditional love for His church. In other words, marriage is a microcosm of Christ’s relationship with His future bride. Marriage is meant to display the glory of God.
Marriage: An Instrument of God’s Glory, Not the Glory Itself
Unfortunately, a large portion of the single community has made marriage, not the instrument to display God’s glory, but the glory itself. We have made marriage the end and not the means to an end. Loneliness, a need for companionship, and a need to fit our family’s definition of normalcy have become some of the determining factors in causing us to get married prematurely and to seek it despondently at all costs.
I know of Christians who in their desperation to appease society’s expectations have looked outside of their faith for marriage, as if somehow marriage is what gives their lives meaning. Marriage is placed above the God it is supposed to portray. When ones desire to get married supersedes ones desire to please God, marriage becomes idolatry.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not romanticizing the idea of singleness to make the single community feel better about them, but I do want to point out that marriage is a temporary institution slated only for this world. “In the resurrection,” Jesus said, “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). See, marriage will be extinct someday. There will be no need for marriage in the resurrection because what marriage was pointing to will be fulfilled when the church is finally married to Christ.
The good news for singles is that you don’t have to live your life feeling that because you’re not married, you’re only enjoying God’s “leftover” blessings. The hero in the story of redemption, Jesus, was unmarried. Arguably, the second most influential person in Christianity, the apostle Paul, was also unmarried. Singleness provides plenty of opportunities for glorifying God. The duty of bringing glory to God does not rest solely upon the shoulders of married people; it rests upon the shoulders of single people as well. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?
This Valentine’s Day, let’s bring glory to the God of marriage, who is also the God of singleness, by placing Him above everything. Honor the institution of marriage, but refuse the urge to worship at its altar. May God have preeminence over every aspect of our lives, including every desire for marriage.