Updated: Feb 17, 2021
This is part 2 of the Relationship Goals series by Pastor Mike Todd. This is a post to share the main ideas and my thoughts of all that I learned from this sermon.
Mike Todd started off by saying that the topic of singleness is super important to discuss because the issues in most marriages are a result of something that went wrong when both parties were single. There is so much pressure from the church, parents, and society to get married that the importance of singleness is often lost. Not only that, but people make marriage "the ultimate goal" and that everything you do should be to get to that point. And while God created marriage as a wonderful union of two people, whether or not you get married is not the end all, be all. It almost becomes a game or a race to see who can get married first or who can snag the best husband that the sacredness of singleness and marriage is muddled. Instead of marriage being a choice that only happens when two people are ready and right for each other it becomes a mandate that determines your worth. I believe that if people spent more time focusing on themselves when they're single, maybe they wouldn't have so many problems when they get married.
"Singleness might be the most important time of your life; the time when you are not responsible for anybody else except yourself". This is the only time you have to fully concentrate on bettering yourself in PREPARATION for something more. It's not just a period of time, it's a period of change and growth. If you are not where you need to be BEFORE you get married, don't expect marriage to fix it. Marriage is not always the solution to the problem, and often times a marriage can complicate things and make them worse.
Check out this statistic: 50% of marriages in America end in divorce. Why is that? A lot of people jump into marriage without really understanding all that it entails. People think being single is hard, think again, marriage is a lot of work, even more so for people who don't adequately prepare. People spend too much time looking on the outside appearance and forget to look deeper inside. Not only that, but people think that when they get into a marriage that they can act the same as they did when they were single, or act how they wished they had acted while they were single. Like boo boo, that time is up. You're a married girl now. You can't be married and act like you're single. It just doesn't work. You should have figured all that out BEFORE you got married, not during your marriage.
Take the single period in your life to figure out who you are, what your place is in the world. You need to know what your likes and dislikes are, what your values and beliefs are, your pet peeves, your favorite foods, your political affiliation, and other important information BEFORE you try to join with someone. If you don't know who you are, how do you expect to pick the right person to marry? You're going to end up choosing someone that is based on what you SPECULATE is good for you, who you FEEL shares your beliefs, and who you THINK will add to your happiness without knowing for certain.
Also, when you do enter a marriage relationship you need to take the vows seriously. In the eyes of God, you are married and will stay married until someone dies. Even if get divorced for any reason other than adultery, you are committing a sin. You don't get divorced because "you've grown apart" or "we just don't relate anymore" or "he's always gone"; no, you're in this for life. You can't leave marriage as haphazardly as you entered it because now you're not just ripping apart two people, you're ripping apart their souls. I talked about this in the previous post, but when you have sexual relations with someone you are joined in more ways than just physically. You and this other person have now become "one flesh" and there is no governing body or influential leader that can separate you two.
What God joins together shall not be separated. But if you really think about this verse the reason why you are so eager to leave your marriage and why it is seemingly so easy is probably because God didn't join you two together. If God had been active in that union, then you'd be able to work out the problems and come out stronger. This doesn't mean that because God wasn't involved in the equation that you can just throw away your marriage. No, it's still important and that sacredness must be protected, but it just lets you know that you let your feelings for or obscure view of this person lead you to pick the wrong person. But every action has consequences. There's gonna be intense hurt and emotional scarring that comes with a divorce.
Matthew 22:36-39 says, " 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law'? And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind'. This is the great and for most commands. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself". Everyone has heard these verses many times, but what does the second commandment really mean. Remember: Jesus regarded these two commandments as the greatest and equally important. The first part of the second commandment says that we should love our neighbor, but how should we do that? Well, the Bible says that we should love them the same we love ourself. Hmm, well if you don't love yourself, how do you expect to love anyone else? This is why singleness is so important. Singleness is the time to figure out how to love yourself before you learn how to love others. The formula goes like this: Love God, love yourself, and love others. Nothing can be switched around or it doesn't work.
If you get into a relationship without knowing how to love yourself, then it is inevitable that you will hurt the other person. You think your problems only affect you, but when you're in a relationship, they affect the other person too. If you don't know how to accept a compliment because you feel unworthy, how do you expect to know how and when to give your partner a compliment? You can't. You can't give something that you haven't experienced or don't understand. It's impossible. You end up putting your unrealistic expectations on another person who already has their own problems and this creates chaos. No one can make you happy. You have to happy on your own first and then they can add or take away from that happiness. It's the same thing with feeling whole. No one can complete you. You should have felt whole before you got into the relationship because no one can incite that feeling in you expect for you and God.
So many people have this false idea of a soul mate: someone who is the only right person for you and that idea is just wrong. There is more than one person who is right for you, more than one person who shares your fundamental values and beliefs, more than one person who always puts God first. God didn't give us choice in every other area of our life just to take it away when it came to our spouse. Now, there are some stories in the Bible in which God led someone to find their spouse, but even then that was because they were praying that God would show them who would a good match for them. I feel like some people today think that there is someone out there that no matter what you do, what your personality is like, or what you believe will just accept you and choose you for who you are. They believe that the person will overlook all their flaws because they were assigned to be with you and there is no one else that could make them happy. That is just false. I don't know anyone that would put up with that.
1. It is more important to be single than it is to be married.
Before God introduced married, he created a single individual. He gave him a purpose, a place, parameters, an identity and provision and let him be for a little while before he introduced Eve. He knew that before marriage, Adam had to be comfortable being single. If you picture a house, what is the first thing that has to be built? The foundation, right? In relational terms, being comfortable in your singleness is the foundation of marriage. Marriage is the prerequisite to divorce and singleness is the prerequisite to marriage. You don't have to deal with the emotional trauma and fallout of divorce if you never get married.
2. Marriage is only as good as your singleness.
If your singleness is not a good and stable foundation, then what makes you think that your marriage is going to build or save the house? If one side of the foundation is strong and one is broken, then the house is still going to crumble. Your partner cannot be responsible for patching you up and holding you steady, that's your job and you should have done the repairs before you started building the rest of the house.
One question that you have to ask yourself is "if they knew you how you knew you, would they still want to marry you?" The crazy thing about marriage is that it "doesn't improve your singleness, it exposes it. People think that marriage is the upgrade for them to become something better." That's why it's so important to take advantage of the period of singleness and devote an extensive amount of time to make sure you're ready for a commitment like marriage. First, you need to spend quality time with God, spend time alone, and then spend time with others.
You have to learn how to be self-aware. You need to be able to check yourself when you've slipped up so that you can get back on the right track. Everyone else can see what's going on, but you need to make sure you notice it too. Sometimes marriage will uncover things that you didn't even realize existed. If you read my last post you remember that I said that two heads are better than one. In this case, God has given your partner the ability to discern certain things that you might not notice so nothing that is hidden will stay hidden for long. If you are not self-aware from your time of singleness, then this will only lead to frustration in your marriage when you are exposed. That exposure will likely lead to divorce because you feel attacked, belittled, and wronged. Their job is to push you to have a deeper relationship with God and become a better person and part of that is to uncover faults and insecurities that are standing in your way.
3. It's okay to be single, but not good to be alone.
Many people confuse the definition of lonely, alone, and single all the time. The definition of lonely is sad because one has no friends or company, without companions or solidarity. The Hebrew definition for alone is "all in one." So God never wanted people to be "all in one" but he never said anything about them being single. God designed us to desire relationship with other people, whether platonic or romantic. He knew that we need others to keep us accountable, to help us when we fall, to look out for us, to trust, and so forth. He never designed us to be self-sufficient.
The definition of single is separate (apart, detached), different, unique, special, original and distinctive, whole (completely unified with self), to be one. So by this definition the more single you become, the better your future marriage will be. The more distinctive and whole you become, the better your marriage will be. God has designed humanity to have different genes. Even the people in your family don't have identical genes. He wants us to be separate, original, special, and distinctive. He also wants us to know this. There are so many verses in the Bible where God tells us how special and important we are to him. He wants us to feel valued and whole so that when it's time, we can be joined with someone who feels the same way and create a beautiful union.
On this journey of singleness we need to be careful to keep running the race that God has set out for us. We cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in the fantasy of marriage when we aren't even right with God. The Devil is crafty and sneaky. "What the enemy cannot destroy he distracts." He even uses relationship to throw you off balance. He knows how much many of us long for that deep connection and he sends people our way that do not have our best interests in mind and who will only lead us down the wrong path. It's not just the romantic relationship that we have to be careful of; it can be platonic relationships as well. They can be just as detrimental.
4. Maximize your singleness.
Use this time to get your life in order. Use this time to work on your future. Use this time to work on your relationship with God. Sadly, in today's culture if you're dating/courting someone, it's like you're already married to them. If you ask people if that's the case, they'll deny it, but that's how the majority of us act. When you get married you've committed to only see that person, to shut everyone else and everything else down. The thing is, most people act like that when they're only dating. When you get married your purposes have to align, your ideals, values, and beliefs have to align. These are not things that should be discovered AFTER you're married. You need to figure out these things long BEFORE you decide to make that lifelong commitment. "The results of not spending proper time single always ends up the same, in hurt people hurting people." "When you think someone is going to complete you, you hurry to get with them, but when you're complete by yourself, you can be choosy."
Hope you guys enjoyed my thoughts on part two and if you haven't watched this series I encourage you to do so! It has a lot of great points and even though the pastor isn't Adventist, it still spoke to me. Stay tuned for the next part! Hope you had a Happy Sabbath!