I am your typical college student, asking questions on relationship and love. I have been reading Boundless' articles for a couple years now and have your book Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen.
I've never had a boyfriend. To love a man with the love God has given me for others is one thing I desire above all else. But I've yet remained "invisible." Is something wrong with me? Every person I know tells me "Oh, you're the sweetest person I know," "You're so loving," and so forth. From others' compliments I don't think I'm hard to get along with, and I think I'm average looking.
I try to get myself involved with different social circles and activities, but I'm invisible. And the guy friends that I've thought, Maybe there is something here, end up dating other girls. I'm happy for them, but it makes me wonder what's wrong with me? What is your suggestion for shaking this feeling of "something-must-be-wrong-with-me" syndrome that I seem to be struggling with?
When I think a guy is interested in me, is there a tactic to keep him? I see young ladies around me that seem to collect guys like magnets. As soon as there is a split-up, they've got another man. How do they do it? What's attracting the guys to them?
Boy, can I relate to your question! I was sure something was wrong with me. Being overweight in college and for most of my 20s, I was certain that if only I could lose 30 pounds, I'd have a boyfriend. That feeling was intensified by all the "you're such a great gal; some guy is going to be very lucky to get you," comments I heard from older, married Christian men. I could almost hear the subtext I assumed went with their complements: "You're a great gal, though a bit on the chubby side, but you sure are nice and have a pretty face."
Ugh. The longer I went with failed dieting attempts, the more frustrated and lonely I grew. If all that was keeping me from a good man and a godly marriage was a smaller dress size and if I lacked the self-control to lose weight, then it was my own fault for being single for so long.
Thankfully, there was a lot about that "what's wrong with me?" way of thinking that wasn't true. Yes, I was overweight. And I suspect there were guys who may have found me attractive and asked me out if I'd been thinner. Maybe. But even more important in my getting married was God's timing.
It's evident throughout Scripture that God does indeed "govern in the affairs of men," as Benjamin Franklin notably said. That includes every detail down to the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7, Matthew 10:30). He made you and designed your height, weight, skin tone, hair color, tone of voice, sense of humor and all the rest. He knew from before the creation of the world what your life would look like, how long it will last (Psalm 90:12, Psalm 139:16) who your parents would be and whether or not you'll get married. There's great freedom from fear in acknowledging and giving thanks for His sovereignty.
What's not helpful is to say, "Therefore, I can do nothing to help His plan," or conversely, "I can do anything at all, including living sinfully" and God's perfect man for me will come to my doorstep. That's because we also see throughout Scripture the reality of our responsibility. God's sovereignty, our responsibility: they work together and sometimes, exist in tension. It's one of the mysterious, inscrutable things about this world God made (Isaiah 55:9, Romans 11:33).
You have a role to play in getting married, something I discussed at length in Get Married. You're called by God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to obey His Word, including striving for sexual purity; being a good steward of your time, talents, and treasure, as well as of your opportunities and your fertility; seeking out and actively participating in Christian community; and waiting to date someone who is spiritually mature (being equally yoked). In short, you're called to discipleship (2 Peter 3:18). As you are conformed to the image of Christ, you are being equipped for Christian marriage, should the Lord bless you with that.
Do you think you're too fat? Too thin? Too tall? Too short? Too shy? Too outgoing? Too ugly? Too pretty? Too blonde? Too old? Too spiritual? Too something? Or maybe you think you're not enough. Not funny enough. Not thin enough. Not smart enough. Not spiritual enough. Whatever it is that you think you've identified about yourself that's keeping you single, it's not the whole picture. There may be some areas where you need to mature, and if you're persisting in sin, then certainly you must repent and turn away. But it's possible that it's simply not time yet. This became clear to me when Steve started dating me before I started shrinking. I talked before about finally losing weight. And though I'm glad for that, I'm equally glad that our relationship took off while I still had weight to lose. Turns out there wasn't anything wrong with me. It's simply that before Steve, it was the wrong time.
Focus not on who gets the guy or how many guys they get, but on Christ and His kingdom (Matthew 6:33-34). You've already begun to do that insofar as you rejoice with those who rejoice. You're not invisible to the God who made you — He sees! And when the time is right, He'll open a man's eyes to look and see in you a potential wife. Until then, you can rest in your Father's provision and for His sovereign care. And in every season, it is your duty to keep your eyes on Him. Remember Peter, who when He fixed His eyes on Christ, was able to walk on water. It was when he focused on the waves around him that terror overtook him, and he started to sink.
Ask the Lord to reveal areas of sin in your life and make it your daily prayer to be sanctified. Focus on growing in spiritual maturity (2 Peter 1:5-7). This is how you should spend your unmarried season, however long it lasts. It's far more productive and fruitful than wondering why everyone around you seems to attract men to themselves.
I pray God will give you the grace to do it.
Copyright 2012 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.