The Rose-Tinted Bachelor Life Glasses
The First Layer of the Onion
It is common to be conversing with a young person between the ages of 16-24, and when asked about marriage, the response is something along the lines of, “Yeah. I’m not in a rush. I want to get this job, travel, have a nice nest egg, buy a house, enjoy my freedom while I still have it, and then I’ll think about marriage.” While some of these thoughts might be wise, the church is not addressing the underlying issue. More on that later, for the story continues. The sad reality is that married people can construct their relationship to resemble more of an agreement to follow each other’s passions and hold off on having children instead of submitting to God’s design for the family. Lastly, the continuation moves on to those that are married and have children. Temptations for this group can look like running away, refusing to sacrifice for your family, and daydreaming about when you had more time/freedom/space.
The crazy part is that all three of these instances have one fundamental similarity. They have allowed what the bible would call the “blessing of singleness” to become an idol in their hearts. So let’s dive in a little deeper.
I remember being at the ripe age of 22, working a good-paying job for 50-60 hours a week, and spending most of the rest of my time playing video games or in the gym lifting weights. At this time, I usually only had one and a half off days. I would work hard on my half-off day to clean my apartment, organize, and finish any leftover chores. Then on my full off day, I would do nothing. I would order delivery for almost every meal, maybe not even open the curtains, and just play video games and watch TV...ALL-DAY. If you had asked me if I thought I was a full-fledged adult, my answer would have been emphatic and somewhat offended that you would even ask that, yes! Besides, I paid my bills, made extra payments on my car, performed well at my job, moved up quickly into management, and was in good physical shape. What more could I be missing in this adulting equation? Looking back six years later, it is unbelievable to think of the time I wasted, how thoughtless I was, and how genuinely self-centered and self-serving I had become.
My story is not unique in our day and age. Why? Well, for one, people will usually rise to the expectation set for them in life, either by family, culture, or friends. But, unfortunately, we treat our teenagers like children, college students like middle schoolers, and college grads like high schoolers. This delayed maturity allows for an unhealthy view of self, marriage, family, and the lifestyle God calls us to.
Wrong Perspective, Wrong Agenda
Many of us have heard of the phrase, “Glass half empty or glass half full?” The concept is simple. You look at the negative aspect of your glass, how much water is or is not in it, or the positive aspect. Some of us might be upset because we feel thirsty, so a full cup would be better than half. Some of us might be upset because we just cleaned the cup and wanted it to stay clean, not have water in it. Whatever the case may be, it all comes down to perspective. How are you going to choose to view the half-filled cup of water? I say it that way to remind us that it is a choice. This is not a viewpoint or stance that has been forced upon us. We might be used to seeing things in one way, have been taught our whole lives to view the cup in a certain way, or simply might have our preference on cups and how much water should or should not be in them. We all must be willing to throw away our tastes, habits, and ideals for whatever the Bible says about water and cups, metaphorically. Despite our desires, thoughts, and upbringing, we can choose to die to ourselves and live this aspect of our lives for Christ.
Simply put, if you do not think in God’s ways, you will never act in God’s ways. It is easy for us to settle into what we are comfortable with, what we know, or what we have always done regarding marriage and having kids, much like our glass of water analogy. Unfortunately, when we approach parenting and marriage in this way, we will miss the joy, growth, and peace found in God’s plan. At the same time, Paul does let us know that we are blessed if we are single because we have more time and energy to devote to the church’s ministry and God. I want to clarify that this is a discussion for those who have yet to marry and those who are married/have kids currently. Suppose we choose to worship at the altar of singleness, extra time, autonomy, or less responsibility. In that case, we will never be content with the sacrificial calling to be a godly spouse and parent.
In Ephesians, men are instructed to love their wives as Christ loved the church by giving up His life for her. Women are instructed to submit to their husbands. Parents are instructed not to provoke their children to anger, which looks like a simple command, but as you look at the entirety of this concept, you can be overwhelmed with the depth, gravity, and breadth of this command. To summarize these instructions, Paul says, “ Lay down your life for children and spouse. Your life is not your own. Sacrifice and love just as Christ did.” That is the Abridged Dan Version, but you get the picture. If we do not see marriage and childrearing through the correct biblical lens, we will always find ourselves wishing and hoping for the greener grass on the other side of the proverbial fence. I pray that you walk away from this discussion with more clarity, encouragement, and a determination to engage in God’s design for marriage and the family with new enthusiasm.
Have you ever experienced rose-tinted bachelor life glasses? What advice or wisdom would you give to your younger self? Is there anything I said with which you disagree? Let me know!
Grace and Peace,