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Putting God Before My Dream of Marriage

I'd accomplished four of the five things on my life "to-do" list. You'd think I was happy. But I wasn't; I was focusing on the one thing I was missing.

The children’s magazine I work for regularly receives letters from kids asking for life advice. The usual letters are something like: “My little brother is sooo annoying, and he makes me sooo mad. How do I not blow up at him?” But sometimes I open letters along the lines of: “I just got a dog and I love it so much. How can I focus on God more than my new pet?”

I used to laugh at letters like that. There’s no way Christians can actually focus on something more than God, right?

Wrong. It’s entirely possible. And I know from first-hand experience.

Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of getting married, then having one or two children with my husband and adopting one or two more. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about marriage, but I recently realized something was wrong when those thoughts and imaginations took priority in my brain. In fact, those thoughts consumed me, and I soon became depressed by them. I cried out to God, and He revealed three things to me.

1. God needs to be the center of my life.

I’ve always heard pastors and super-duper Christian couples say, “God first, my spouse second.” And they’re right. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, God needs to be first in your life.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When thoughts about marriage come into my brain, I immediately turn them over to God. I do pray for marriage and that God will bring a spouse into my life one day, in His time. But I try not to daydream about marriage because I know that it can easily become obsessive.

For some, this isn’t a problem, but my desire for marriage breeds anxiety, which is far from what it’s supposed to do. It took me a while to “cast all my anxieties on him” like 1 Peter 5:7 says. But once I did, I felt so much better and freer.

2. God will fulfill me, not a person.

A few months ago, I checked box four out of the five things I want most in life.

Graduate from college. Check.

Live in a foreign country. Check.

Land my dream job as a writer/editor. Check.

Become a published author. Check.

Then there’s number five:

Get married and start a family. Not checked yet.

You’d think I’d be happy to have checked four amazing feats off my list (and still in my 20s, at that). But I wasn’t. Instead, I was focusing on the one thing I was missing. I felt so unfulfilled.

God is the only one who can truly fulfill me. Not a relationship status. Not checking off all the boxes on my life to-do list. Not a person — even my practically-perfect imaginary future husband.

People come. People go. Some people may never show up. But God is always with us. If God is the center of my life, nothing else needs to fulfill me. If I do get married one day, my husband will be an addition to my life, not the fulfillment of it.

3. God won’t disappoint me.

It took me a while to realize this is true. If you put God first and trust Him wholeheartedly, you won’t be disappointed by what He does or doesn’t bring into your life. Someone I know said this to me often, and I used to not believe her. I would think, Yeah, right. If God doesn’t disappoint us, then why am I disappointed that I’m still unmarried?

Obviously, if I had trusted God fully, I would have known that He wasn’t disappointing me. I just needed to wait — and still need to wait — for marriage. We all know what Jeremiah 29:11 says. God has plans for us. Plans we need to sometimes wait for. But those plans, whether they include marriage or not, are good and for our benefit.

God’s heart is toward His children. Trust Him fully, let Him fulfill you, and make Him the center of your life. Remembering and holding fast to these three things will be hard, especially when thoughts, imaginations, jealousies and other distractions come around to refocus your attention elsewhere. I know that for sure. Continual prayer and fellowship with God have helped me seek Him — not my dreams of marriage — first. I hope you will be encouraged to join me.

Copyright 2023 Grace Kelley. All rights reserved.


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About the Author

Grace Kelley

Grace Kelley is the assistant editor at Focus on the Family’s  “Clubhouse” and “Clubhouse Jr.” magazines. Originally from coastal Virginia, Grace likes the ocean, warm weather, books and movies.

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