The Trap of Romance: Finding Love To Escape Loneliness

Trying to find a spouse is one of the most daunting and important decisions we can face in life. And the journey can be frustrating, depressing and lonely. But when our desire to find “the one” increases to a certain desperation, we may begin wondering if our expectations are set too high, or if something is wrong with us. Recently, I received a question on this topic. Here is my response.
Question:
I’m just fed up with certain views within Christianity that set certain expectations high up, too high up!
I know some Christians, like myself included who’s been waiting for the partner to appear with the frustrations and disappointments growing each year. For some reason it looks like really nice Christian people can’t find a match with other Christians. It’s a wonder that I find puzzling.
I can see to certain extent why I’m single, but on the other hand loneliness is so hard and demotivating sometimes that is turning my heart more bitter. Sometimes I’m losing interest to seek God in all this.
Now the question is, is something wrong with us? Or maybe some doctrine we’ve been fed up with within Christianity worldwide is making us to look for a so called a “perfect match?”
-Layla (renamed to preserve anonymity)

Hi Layla, I’m sorry to hear about this. I can certainly understand the loneliness, and your worries of whether believing a wrong doctrine can be the cause of it. We also can worry about whether our expectations are too high, and if any of that could be a cause of our loneliness. But it depends on what our expectation of standard for a spouse is. We will not find a perfect spouse, no one is perfect. But we must value ourselves and find someone who is a good fit spiritually.

If we compromise spiritually and choose someone not strong in their faith, we will find ourselves in one of two possible marriage scenarios: 1) A marriage that is a constant battle because both parties don’t share the same ultimate goals in life for God’s Kingdom, building resentment and bitterness on both sides, or 2) A marriage where you allow the compromise to continue and end up lukewarm in your faith, or even worse, rejecting God completely alongside your spouse.  The saying “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33) is tragically true in marriages like this. In either of these cases, it would have been better to remain single. We should never make the decision to enter a relationship out of a desire to escape loneliness. What is worse than the loneliness that comes with being single, is being in a spiritually dead marriage, which can produces feelings of loneliness, entrapment and regret that is much worse than being single.

The primary reason for marriage must always be to glorify God’s Kingdom. The secular view of relationships is a selfish one, to meet one’s own needs or desires. This is why so many relationships fail, because we have focused more on serving ourselves, instead of serving the other. Yet the only way we can have a truly selfless relationship is if we follow Christ’s example, who loved so much He even gave up His life for the sake of His Bride, and who washed the feet of the imperfect.

The primary reason for marriage is to glorify God’s Kingdom!

I realized that it was when I shifted my focus from “looking” for a spouse, to focus more on God and doing His works and callings as top priority in my life, that this is when God brought my spouse into my life. My wife, Christina, can tell the same story. She watched all her friends find partners, get married, and have children while she still waited. Yet it was likewise when she stopped feeling “incomplete” without a spouse and seeing her true identity as complete in God’s eyes, called and chosen to do His will, that she was able to finally break free from the loneliness and comparisons, and pursue God without fear of the future. It is when we “give up control” and surrender ourselves fully to Him that God can guide us in His perfect will.

When we recognize our identity in God’s eyes, as “complete” in Him, chosen, and called for a powerful purpose, we can break free from the bondage of loneliness and comparisons.

God knows the desires of our hearts!

Sometimes our lives will look different from others: we will wait longer or take different paths, experience blessings or struggles that grow us in maturity and faith.  While I don’t know what God has in store for you, I know He created you for a purpose and a calling, to have a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I fully understand the natural desire to find someone (there is nothing wrong with that), and I’m not discounting it nor the loneliness it can bring – I’ve also been in this place. However, I want to also encourage you to take advantage of the great strengths and opportunities you have available while single to further God’s Kingdom using whatever talents or skills He has given you.

There is no greater fulfillment than finding God’s ministerial calling and purpose for your life and walking that out! No matter what we go through, by focusing on God first, He strengthens us in trial, fulfills us in areas we feel empty, and prepares us for whatever next season He has planned for us around the corner.

Before searching for “the one”, it is important that we become “the one” that the person we are searching for would also be searching for. If we hope to find someone on fire for God who loves others as Jesus loves, we should also make sure to pursue the same!  It’s good to take introspection on any area of our lives that need work or change, so that we can be best prepared for whatever God would have in store for us.

Before searching for “the one”, it is important that we also become “the one” that the person we are searching for would be searching for!

With regard to singleness, you asked if “something is wrong with us.”  Just because we haven’t found someone yet does not necessarily mean there’s something wrong with us, it could simply mean that God has a purpose in store for you in this season that you’re not yet aware of.  I want to encourage you in this season to continue to seek Him with all your heart, and open your heart to the idea that it may not be what you think you want or desire. We must trust that God knows better how to fulfill our needs and desires. When we fully trust our Father’s love for us, He gives us a hope and a peace that passes all understanding, because His plans are not limited by a deadline of age or time.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Pray about this before God. I am certainly praying for you!

Many blessings,
PD Vander Westhuizen

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