“I’m not Married, but I’m Engaged”
(Repost from my Facebook account)
If you own a television, computer, smartphone, are on twitter or facebook, you know there’s a verbal attack on the state of black women’s marital statuses. We’re not married for so many reasons. There aren’t enough men, black men don’t want black women, blah, blah, blah.
For the record, the black church,( what’s that?) is not “keeping black women single”.
I’m in the church of Christ, it has no color requirements. There are more single, white females in the U. S. than single, black females, so please, CNN get your numbers right and stop trying to hold back the sisters.
With the barrage of reasons why we’re not married comes a resolve: you’re not ready.
The Amplified Bible says: 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Simple, right? (This comes with the assumption that you actually want to be married.) This verse isn’t talking specifically about marriage, just waiting. While we live in a microwave society, it’s often hard to hurry up and wait but with patience comes growth.
I think back on my life and the decisions that I’ve made. The people I’ve dated. My relationships, etc. Everything. Speaking for myself, I needed to wait to see what God would do. So, now, I’m waiting and even better, I’m engaged but I’ll explain that later.
I often tease my friends that it’s their fault I get the reactions to being single. If they hadn’t gotten married/engaged, no one would have that expectation of me. So, Elaina, Vicki, Shawntay and, now, Syndy, it’s still your fault. 🙂 Here’s where it started:
It was spring 2007. Yet another couple had announced their engagement at church. The total number of engaged couples at my congregation had totalled 3 or 4. As I was about to turn around to speak to a visitor an older sister embraced me in a bear hug. She whispered into my ear solemnly, ” Don’t worry, Chanell, your day will come soon.”
Me: *Blink* *weak smile*
How do you respond to that?
I now laugh thinking about that day and the days following (even recently) when I was asked: “Chanell, why aren’t you married?”
Only because I know the person I was then was not prepared for marriage. Maybe I would’ve loved picking a wedding dress and going on honeymoon (seriously), but that’s the extent of my desire for marriage. See, God had a lot of work to do on me. I had to cry more, laugh more, live more (not to mention move to NY 😉 ).
I will put it out there that, YES, one day, I’d love to have the privilege of being a wife and mother, but there’s so much I can do in the meantime. First, I can get engaged. Yes, engaged. Engaged in work for the Lord. Single women should be about the work of the Lord. According to 1 Corinthinans 7:34:
The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.
That’s an example that we (unmarried, single, fabulous) women should follow.
Sounds corny, easy, boring? Nah, not at all. Giving your time is fulfilling and it helps time pass more quickly. After God comes your passion. Who knows? You may be able to incorporate the two! Go figure!
Does this mean you can’t have a life? Why, no! It means you’ll redesign your definition of living. What’s the ultimate goal in al this? *let’s say it together* Giving God the glory.
Think of a way you can give Him your all. Maybe you’re not married because you haven’t shown Him a commitment first. Get engaged first. Engage yourself in study. Reading His word gives you access to Him. It builds a closeness, a Father-daughter relationship. His word promises to give us an abundant life.
Abundance is defined as:
1. an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply: an abundance of grain.
2. overflowing fullness: abundance of the heart.
3. affluence; wealth: the enjoyment of abundance
He’ll give you more than any man can. Like, seriously!
It’s also dependent upon your attitude about waiting. I’m the first to admit that I don’t like to wait. I detest waiting. I was born premature. I couldn’t even stay in the womb for 9 months. I was ready in 6 1/2. Even as a child, I couldn’t plant a flower because I watered it and patted the soil so much it never bloomed (aha moment?!).
But in all seriousness, besides marriage, what else do you have to wait for? Are you really ready? Is your attitude where it needs to be? Are your finances in order? Speaking of finances, do you give as you should? Are you ready to put someone else’s needs before yours? Are you selfish? Even if you’ve answered these questions in a “positive way” God may not be ready for you to be married. Don’t worry about your timelines, or what the world expects of you. Just wait on God. He already worked it out, we just have to let it play out patiently. Isn’t that amazing?
Now, before I continue, I want you to know, I’m not THE AUTHORITY on being single. I’ve been single (not married) for about 25+ years, so I know how not to be married. With that being said, I make mistakes, too. Huge mistakes. I’ll try to make better mistakes tomorrow but in the meantime I’m striving for perfection and allowing God to help me work on my flaws.
What else can we do to help us while we wait?
Oh, yeah, you know there are female friends you can build friendships with, right? Do that! Make it your business to have friends who can be your support system (and bridesmaids once you get the ring- hahaha). You all can be engaged together! Yay!
Being single is a gift, whether you know it or not. You’re free to travel, move to NY, cut your hair off, basically make decisions that only require that you consult with God.
I am not a parent and I’ve only babysat enough times to know that children are a lot of work. And what if your husband is a rich, hard-working basketball player who has odd hours? Who’s going to run after the kids? Change their diapers? Sit up with them when they don’t feel well? Help them with their science projects at the last minute? Um, you are! That’s like having 3 full-time jobs! I commend all the young (and old) women I know who hold down their households and have impeccably dressed children and well-fed husbands. That’s talent.
Don’t think I’m complaining, I’m just putting things into perspective. When you ask for a husband/marriage with the possibility of children, you’re asking for more work. It’s kinda like asking for patience because when building your patience, God gives you more trials. That’s where this thing comes full circle.
Just be patient. Wait. But don’t sit idly by. Get engaged. Engaged in serving others, developing skills necessary for growth.
Figure out who you are! Learn how to cook, manage money, clean up after yourself, change a diaper. Attack your passion. Exercise. (I’ve heard these are very important)
There’s so much you can do besides twiddling your manicured fingers.
A few things to consider/what I’ve learned through other people’s mistakes:
1. (This is a huge one, GI-NORMOUS): DON’T GO TO CHURCH “LOOKING FOR A HUSBAND” PLEASE. DON’T. DO. IT!
That’s not why you’re at worship service, Bible Study, a gospel meeting, concert or minister’s appreciation. Get your word and fellowship. Brothers can smell you coming. Especially when you all wear the same perfume. It’s a French scent called, Le Desperation. I threw my bottle away in 2007! Ha!
2. Remember: God never promised you a husband. Drop the sense of entitlement! : We think we’re entitled to everything! Remember this: He’ll give you what you need. Yes, the Bible says He’ll give you the desires of your heart but your heart must be aligned with His first. Stop treating God like the stork. He’s not a stork, He does not just drop off men. He sends many blessings. There’s one thing to have faith but having an attitude with God for not sending you a man is out of line!
3. Not everyone will get married: Well, let’s put it like this: every black woman won’t marry a black man. If inter-racial is your thing, go for it. There’s so much more to life than being married. I have a list of things in my head. Start making one 🙂 What happens if you don’t get married? Does your purpose in life end? (Not likely)
4. Learn to nod and smile/don’t listen to everything from everyone about your NEED TO BE MARRIED: I was told that I wouldn’t get a husband from an older woman because I had natural hair. Seriously? I gave her the lips-only smile out of respect for my elders and kept it moving. People will always have something to say about your singleness, but no one person can tell you everything there is about “catching a husband”. As a matter of fact, everyone has a different tip to give us single women. If you were engaged in working toward His will, you wouldn’t even have time to entertain silly conversations.
5a. Don’t settle. Ever : I read about a woman – obviously not a Christian- who married herself just to get the fantasy of having a wedding out of her system. I beg you: don’t be her! I smell Le Desperation.
5b.Don’t share/ Know Your Worth: The Bible says there’s nothing new under the sun. In the Old Testament, there was a shortage of men in a certain region- sound familiar?- Lot’s two daughters struck up a plan to get their father drunk so that he would impregnate them. They didn’t wait. Their offspring produced present-day strife.This may sound far-fetched. But check this out:
30 Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. 31 Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, “Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” 35 Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day. – Genesis 19:30 – 38
While I don’t think anyone with good sense would go to those lengths, there are women openly sharing men. In 2010, there are proud mistresses (or jump-offs/sidechicks like the young folks say), I know I don’t have to say this, but I will: don’t be that girl! You’re worthy of so much more.
6. Stop wasting your time. Get to work: Self-explanatory. But, use your talents for His will. Teach a class. Help out the elderly. Do something! Stay busy. Don’t waste your time with people or activities that don’t work towards His purpose in your life. Yes, you may have to spend some time with God (read: alone) but the Father-daughter relationship you’ll build will be well worth it. Everyone knows how much I LOVE NY. One thing I admire about that place is this: even in the church people aren’t in a rush to get married. While they could use a little balance with not being so career-driven, the young women I know there weren’t as obsessed with marriage as some people I know here( Hey Keri, Shervon, Nia, Linda, Lindsay and yall 🙂 ). (But if you’re being fed marriage, marriage, marriage then what else would you want? I’m just saying!)
*Sidenote: no offense to my friends and loved ones in the south. Just calm down a bit. You might not get married though, so, then what? What’s your plan? See what I mean? Keep it moving.
7. Get ENGAGED! Fall in love with God. He’ll love you better than anyone else and His promises are far richer. Guess what? He’ll NEVER GO BACK ON HIS WORD! That’s so amazing!
Remember: everyone won’t get married, the numbers don’t stack up on the side of women. So, shift your focus. When you realize that the ultimate goal is getting to heaven and making sure your dash (i.e.1982- date of death) is filled with experiences and fruit that will bring glory to God, it’ll be easier to be engaged in pleasing God.