By Alisha Headley, Crosswalk.com
Being single has been one of the greatest seasons I’ve walked through. In fact, a season of singleness, and for some a life-long choice of being single, can be a beautiful thing as it’s a season you are able to live “without distraction” as Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 7:35.
The single woman gets to experience time with the Lord in a distraction-free way. What a special time!
Paul also mentions earlier in the chapter, that “the unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord and her aim is to be holy in her body and spirit…but the married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities caring about the things of the world – and how she may please her husband.”
There is beauty in being single and having your heart only devoted to the Lord. However, it can equally come with many challenges as well.
In the same way, being married can be one of the greatest seasons to walk through also. But just as there are hard times in being single, there are times when marriage is just as hard. I’m grateful I’ve walked through both these roles, and while both have been so very amazing, both have come with their share of difficulties.
When the challenges of either of these seasons arrive, it’s easy to desire the other.
If you’re single and you’re reading this, just know that marriage will take sacrifice.
If you’re married and you’re longing for the freedom in your single days, remember what you’ve gained when you got married. While we may need to give things up when we get married, we will also have amazing things on the horizon in return that we gain.
Here are 3 things you can expect to give up when you get married, followed by 3 things you’ll gain.
3 things you can expect to give up in marriage:
1. Undivided Devotion to Others
One thing you can expect to give up when you get married, is the amount of devotion you once had to others.
When I was single, I formed some significant life-long friendships with my girlfriends. However, the moment you get married, those relationships are not thrown out the window, but your marriage becomes your most important relationship in your life, next to the one you have with your Maker. When you get married, you must give up others that took priority over your husband prior to marriage.
This includes that best friend you’ve known your entire life, or even your mom and dad. In fact, Scripture tells us that when two marry, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
2. Priorities and Agenda
When you get married, you must expect to give up your own priorities. You certainly don’t give up your passions, desires, and interests in life. But when you get married, you’ve giving up the idea of putting yourself first.
When it comes to priorities when you get married, you now have your spouse to think of first. It’s a secret sauce of combing their priorities with yours and coming to a satisfying compromise. Everything done, becomes more about giving to your spouse, than gaining your priorities first.
Philippians 2:3-4 says “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in lowliness of mind, in humility, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others.”
3. Your Role and Responsibilities
When you meet someone and start the journey down the aisle, the role of a girlfriend will look different than a fiancé, and later as a living spouse. One of the things you give up when you get married is the role of a single women. I had to give up making decisions based solely for one person.
This includes decisions on what to eat for dinner, how to spend money, and the best way to allocate my time.
While we may have given up our role as a single woman and our responsibilities included mainly looking out solely for ourselves, we now have an influential role to play as a wife to our husbands. Genesis 2:18 says that God created us to be "help against"--supporting him in our differences.
So, before we say I do to our future spouse, it’s important to understand we give up our role and responsibilities as a once single woman. And it’s common, that a new role usually requires higher responsibilities.
Yet, it’s an honor to take on the role of a wife, you must still expect to give up your current role and responsibilities first as you go from living with a solo vision in mind, it now turns into how you can best be that helper for your spouse.
3 things you can expect to gain in marriage:
1. A Prayer Life
We are taught as Christians that prayer is part of a Christian life. When you get married, the opportunity for a richer prayer life presents itself. There is one thing to pray for yourself, but when you get married, and you realize there is an enemy out there that is out to “steal, kill” and destroy” the union of your marriage, it may push one to pray like never before deepening your prayer life.
I encourage you to begin to increase your prayer life laying a level of protection of your marriage. Begin to study the enemy, his schemes, his strategies, and get ahead of any potential attacks. He’s coming for our marriages and families and is having a hey day with all the divorces that are so rampant in today’s society. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “two are better than one…” and it continues in verse 12 saying “two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
When you get married and make your vows in front of the Lord, you become in a union with your spouse and God. So of course, the enemy want to destroy such a strong unity. Not only will prayer guard help in guarding your marriage, but prayer also allows you to have a deeper relationship with the Lord as well.
2. Learning What Loves Really Means
Many of us experience love growing up from parents, siblings, and our families.
However, when you get married, one thing you will gain, is whole new meaning of what love really means.
The world teaches us that love is a feeling and if those feelings go away, it’s ok to walk away from your marriage. Biblical love is a choice and it’s a verb.
We get a picture of what this love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
God loves us in an unconditional way. When we mess up or fall short, His love for us remains. In fact, “nothing can separate us from the love of God.” Through God’s love for us, the hope is for us to gain an understanding of what love really means, and in turn, teach us how to love our spouses in a new way – in a Christlike, unconditional love type of way.
3. A Partner and Best Friend
When you get married, you are no longer alone. You gain a partner and best friend – a true companion. God specifically had this by design as He intentionally created companionship.
After God created the first man, Adam, in Genesis, He said “it’s not good for a man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18) It was at this moment, that the idea of woman was born. God looked over all creation and proclaimed that humankind needed companionship. Someone to compliment the man, and for the man to not live a life of loneliness.
What an amazing gift from God. Someone to can travel with, laugh with, experience all highs and lows with. Someone to lean on during trialing times, while celebrating with someone during the winning times. Someone to help encourage us along this messy middle path here on earth. Someone to lead us and love us when life throws us into a spiral of doubt.
I’m grateful the Lord designed us for companionship, and it’s a beautiful thing to gain in marriage.
Embrace the Season You’re In
Whether you’re currently single by choice, dating, engaged, widowed, divorced, or married, my prayer is that you hold on tight to the season you are in.
To embrace God’s beautiful purpose for your role today as He has exactly where He intended you to be.
Although it’s expected that we give up things when we walk down the aisle, there are also so many things to gain, and in turn, can ultimately bring you closer to the Lord. Not sure what God has in store for you today, but I encourage you to surrender and embrace whatever season you are in.
If you’re single f you haven’t yet had to give anything to give up, as you’re hoping for your spouse to arrive, do as Samuel said to his people of Israel as they were anxiously awaiting a new king as he instructed them to, “stand, and see this great thing, wait and see what the Lord will do before your eyes” (1 Samuel 12:16).
The time will come friends, where you are to give up and gain, but until then, stand still waiting patiently for God to take you from this season to the next, and oh how glorious it will be!
If you’re married, ask God for a new fresh set of eyes. Rather than wishing on the former days of when you were single, ask Him to fill your heart with a newfound joy and love of being married.
He is a God of abundance and wants to bless us as Deuteronomy 30:9 says, “The Lord again will take great delight in prospering you, just He did with your ancestors.
Let’s embrace the season we are in, whether that singleness or marriage, God has you there for His greater purpose.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/saiva
Alisha Headley is a writer + speaker who has a desire to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Stepping into her true calling, she left the corporate world behind as a former-financial VP to love on her family as a stay-at-home wifey + dog mama, while also being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Healing from a chapter of life consumed with lies she once believed about herself, she is inspired to point women to Christ to experience the freedom + power to overcome those lies with the truth written in God’s word. In her free time, Alisha enjoys road trips around the country, working out so she can eat her favorite foods, and creatively styling her outfits with a craft for fashion. Alisha is a proud wifey and dog mama living in Scottsdale, Arizona.