When you were a kid did you ever sing that song “The wise man built his house upon the rock”? It’s the one with the disco actions that most Christian children’s songs were given. It may be a simple tune that was sung in countless assemblies and Sunday School gatherings, but the truth of building our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus is one that can radically change our lives.
This is especially true when it comes to dating and marriage. For many people their life is built on the sinking sand of believing, “If I could only find someone to marry then I will be happy.” While some might openly admit this, many wouldn’t verbalise it but their lives speak loudly enough: constantly searching, constantly disappointed, never at rest.
I get it. Until the age of 32 I had only dated for a total of 3 months so I can empathise with the struggles of singleness. I know what it’s like to feel lonely, to feel left behind, to wonder if it’ll ever happen. I didn’t discover romance in my twenties but what I did discover was far more valuable, far more life-changing, far more wonderful. What I discovered was the importance and beauty of building your house, your life on a firm foundation.
Through the loss of jobs and health and friendships I learnt that Jesus is the only constant one and anything else I had as my cornerstone would leave my life on shaky ground. I learnt what it means to turn to Jesus in times of loneliness, to trust him in times of disappointment, to find comfort in him through times of pain. When the rains came down and the floods came up my life didn’t fall flat. Yes it was horrible at times but I experienced a peace that passed understanding that couldn’t be taken away. I experienced some of what Paul describes as “the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). This was a gift far greater than any blessing God could have given me, including a wife.
When you’re able to reach that place of contentment it’s the secret to stress-free dating. Why? Because you go into the process with the firm grounding of knowing that you don’t need a romantic relationship to be content. This is massive because it takes the pressure off of the dating process and you’re free to enjoy it, take it slowly, and not fear that dating this person must work out as it’s your only shot at joy and so you need to cling onto it tightly and make something work at all costs.
Marriage is good, but it’s not God. If you think getting married will mean you’ll never feel incomplete or lonely or unloved or unvalued – or in other words, you think marriage will be your salvation, then your life will fall apart when you don’t get it, or will fall apart when you do and it doesn’t live up to the expectations you’ve placed upon it.
If you want to experience wholeness, completeness and love then the place to find it is in Jesus, not in any person or thing. It’s how our hearts have been hard-wired by our creator. As church father Augustine once prayed, “You made us for yourself, and our hearts find no peace, until they find their rest in you.”
And this is not just a message for singles looking for someone to date or marry but a message to all of us as followers of Jesus. If we think our joy is found in getting that promotion, or house, or child or whatever it may be then our hope and joy will always be built on sinking sands. But if our primary focus is to love God and to know his love, to seek first his kingdom, then all the things we need will be given to us.