Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ephesians 5: The Reason I'm Still Single

A quick note: Some of my blog posts may be edited after their original publishing, especially but not exclusively in the case of those dealing with Scripture, as my opinions and insights may change or expand overtime.

So people ask me all the time, "Tom, you're an averagely attractive, moderately-talented guy with a decent personality, how come you're not in a relationship?" (I'm also humble!) Well, okay, maybe I don't get asked that question all that often, but it has come up in conversation a few times. When you work with younger people than yourself you'll often get asked that kind of stuff, depending on what they themselves are going through at the time.

My answer usually goes something like this: Because I'm not ready yet for the incredible call God puts on husbands, and I want to make my relationship with Christ successful before I try to do the same with a woman.

In Ephesians, we see some instruction for married couples, and that's what I'm talking about tonight.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

So that verse that I put in bold there (crazy font-changing up in here!) is sort of the basis for my current position. This is a passage that's really easy for a person to just kind of overlook while reading. The general message of it is never lost (Love your spouse, etc) but have you ever stopped and really thought about what the words in verse 25 mean? "Love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"? That's a really huge calling! Are you in a place where you feel like you're ready to make that commitment to someone? It's not even a matter of committing to monogamous relationship (though sadly many of our generation have issues with that part as well), it's a matter of committing to such a self-sacrificial kind of love as the one we're all called to!

We are called to take up their cross, to constantly reaffirm them in the Word, to feed and care for them and to do all of this in a way that glorifies the Lord. That's an amazing call that I am excited to take on one day, but right now I need to spend more time allowing Christ to take up my cross, reaffirming myself in the Word, and building a financial situation where I can feed and care for others and not have to mooch off my parents. I want to be in a place where I feel I can make that commitment and follow the call God has placed on me.

Fun story, the first time I rambled about this late at night, I was explaining to a friend of mine and cited Eph. 5:25 as "Husbands, love your bridge as Christ loved the Church." Aren't typos just the best?

Good night internet.


  1. Mine would be called Nobody Wants to Date Me: The Reason I'm Still Single.

    The command is for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, not for boyfriends to love their girlfriends or guys who have crushes on cute girls to love cute girls as Christ loves the Church. Presumably, the kind of love the author of Ephesians is talking about can only be realized in an actual marriage (even in which it is just a shadow of Christ's actual love for the actual Church). I don't think you can produce this kind of love in yourself and THEN get married; it seems like it has to grow out of the marriage. Of course, this doesn't mean you can't prepare to be a good husband in your singleness or non-marital relationships, but I'm not sure how you can say that you wouldn't want to even begin developing a relationship that would eventually lead to marriage until you were ready for marriage. It's like saying you'll never go to Hawaii until you're in Hawaii.

  2. @Josiah:
    Thanks for following! And for posting the first comment ever! :)

    I hear what you're saying, and in the last few weeks I've actually chatted with a few different people about this topic and would have to agree. I should have specified that I definitely believe there's a real value in romantic relationships outside of marriage (that is, before you're married, obviously) that comes from the support and encouragement you get from your partner to follow Christ's teachings and to learn to love them better. Someone was telling me recently that they feel further driven to work out problems with Jesus because of their significant other, and I can see how that makes sense- a girlfriend or wife should, unless something's really wrong in the relationship, be willing to call you out on the things you're struggling with and encourage you to work through them, and that sense of accountability adds extra incentive to really deal with things.

    I think my main point here was not that relationships have no value or anything, but rather that I felt I needed to spend a little bit more time just working things out with God. Reading your comment, and hearing from others, has made me rethink that, and I'm now open to the idea of a relationship, but still not desperately seeking after it because I'm content to just date Jesus for the next little while if that's where I've got to be :)