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Sometimes, the Valentine’s and Spring seasons creep in like a ghostly reminder of the failures in our romantic pasts.

As Florida’s brief “winter” ends, the return of sunny humidity seems to usher in the flood of announcements that close friends will soon be crossing into the “promised land” of marriage. Somebody call Noah and tell him to build a bigger ark! Everywhere you look couples seem to be traveling two by two – from the birds and squirrels to that friend who swore off dating forever.

This used to be the time of year when I began my annual wallow. I’d start with the traditional questions: Why me? Am I too broken to receive God’s blessing for the romantic life I desire? Will I ever escape this lonely, unfulfilling season of singleness? 

Then, I would overindulge in romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Princess Bride. Episodes of New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and Friends played like background music on a loop during chores and lonely meals. I had deluded myself into thinking, at least I’m not as toxic as people who choose to watch “unreality shows” like 90 Day Fiancé, The Bachelor, or Love is Blind. 

But when my dissatisfaction with singleness finally peaked, I began to recognize the impact countless hours of swimming in romantic comedies had had on my heart, soul, and mind. 

Entertained But Still Discontent

When real-life romance brings confusion, disappointment, and heartbreak, diving into the deep streaming libraries is easy. There, we find a cozy escape into predictability. We long for the experience of “love at first sight” and “happily ever after” – with all the cliche plot points in between. But the idealized portrayals of love form our unrealistic expectations and perpetuate the fantasy that finding your “soul mate” is the ultimate storyline of life.

In singleness, dissatisfaction will drown us if we approach life demanding that it follow a witty rom-com script in which we are writer, director, and main character. Our discontentment will distract us from God’s perfect plan and purpose for our singleness. But we were never meant to sink in this season. 

The Gift We Didn’t Ask For

Many of us unmarried Christ-followers have, at some point, had to sit uncomfortably through a “singleness is a gift” sermon delivered by a pastor who married his high school or college sweetheart. It’s easy to dismiss these sermons as irrelevant based on our perception of the speaker’s singleness experience – especially when it’s not something we want to hear. I believe that’s why, in God’s infinite wisdom, He spoke to Christian singles in 1 Corinthians 7 through the apostle Paul, a fellow unmarried Christ-follower. 

Yes, Paul did say, in verse 7, “But each of you has your own gift from God,” in reference to marriage and singleness, but he also prefaced the statement with “I wish all of you were as I am [unmarried].” He didn’t treat the subject with the typical “singleness is a waiting season before marriage” approach we often hear in church circles. Neither did Paul treat singleness as if it were a second-class status. 

Paul wrote to remind us of the unique goodness of each season, guarding us against the “grass is greener on the other side” mindset. We must see the bigger picture of how marriage and singleness both allow us to glorify God in how we live. While biblical marriage displays the loving union of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33), godly singleness can reflect Christ’s deep longing for the consummation of that union. 

Jesus spent His entire life and ministry on earth as a single man, demonstrating how to thrive in singleness. The unmarried status did not diminish Christ’s delight in doing the will of the Father. Nor did being unmarried quench His passion for marriage. Several of Jesus’ parables are related to weddings (Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 25: 1-13, and Luke 14:7-14). Jesus even called Himself the “bridegroom” (Mark 2:19-20). Did Jesus spend His time at the wedding in Cana pouting at the corner table because it wasn’t “His big day”? Nope, He kept the celebration going with His miraculous wine! If the life of Jesus set the model for contentment and joy in singleness, I’ll have what He’s having!

The Ultimate Romance We Desire

The unmarried life may not be the gift we always wanted, but this gift that we may have received reluctantly can prove to be more valuable than we thought. The life of Jesus Christ shows us that we don’t have to view singleness as a deficiency to overcome or a status to escape. We can embrace it as a purposeful season to pursue godliness with contentment and undistracted devotion to the Lord. 

Why should we want to continue distracting ourselves with stories that inspire us to view ourselves as the main characters and limit our lives to small, predictable subplots? I’m not saying we should never watch another romantic comedy. It’s critical, however, to examine our ways and take captive our thoughts so that we don’t drown or numb out in the streaming content we consume. 

There’s a larger story unfolding. The ultimate romance calls to us in the deep longing of our hearts. 

We long for “love at first sight.” Yet the Lord was in love with us before we were even visible (Psalm 139:1-18).

We hope for a “happily ever after.” There’s no better ending than God dwelling with His people in Revelation 21:1-7.

Not a single romantic gesture of our own making can outshine the Gospel. 

God didn’t lift a boombox to get our attention. He sent his only son, Jesus Christ – the actual main character – down into our sin and broken-heartedness to rescue us with His sacrificial love.

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