It’s an old expression: “I can talk till I’m purple in the face, but it won’t change anything.” This is often how I’ve felt about there being no spouse in my house. I could whine, wish, hope, and dream for a spouse until I was purple in the face, but at the end of the day, I’d simply be standing there with no spouse in my house and be walking around with a purple face. And that’s just not attractive when the color is needlessly placed there by me! So it seems more than obvious that to avoid this unattractive facial-color issue, I need to put forth an effort to change the major element in the scenario above that I can control: my reaction to the fact that my relationship status remains singular. And the same holds true for you—or someone you care about.
You may be divorced, widowed, or someone who has never been married, but the principles in this post apply to anyone with no spouse in the house—for whatever reason. While I often share thoughts, ideas, and resources in these posts, I also use many verses from the Bible, because the Bible doesn’t change! Its principles remain true, even when my thoughts and ideas change with my mood or my season of life or due to the filter through which I’m viewing life at that particular moment. But when the thoughts that God recorded for us are what we use to form the foundation for our thought process, we can’t go wrong! The Bible is filled with timeless truths.
One such truth is the fact that God created us. Psalm 139 states that He formed us for a reason and with a purpose:
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
—Psalm 139:13–17, NIV
Now I don’t know about you, but those verses give me a sense of value. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I’ve done something to earn God’s care or his love. I’m saying that I am to value what is valuable to Him, and that includes His created beings, which includes each of us!
Here’s a glimpse at one way in which He placed value on something He created: God had such an amazing, unconditional, uncommon love for what He created that He provided a way that would bridge the gap between His absolute perfection and our imperfection. The only Son God had, Christ, paid the requirement that gave us access to the One Who created us! Everything you need in order to have value is already taken care of! Okay, I simply have to say that again: everything you need in order to have value is already taken care of!
Trust me, I often struggle with finding my worth rather than in recognizing my value. I rely on my “stuff,” my intelligence, my friends, my relationships, my finances, my expertise, my…whatever…to create a feeling of worthiness. Yet when I gather my sense of being from those sources, I never seem able to settle that worth once and for all. It’s an ever-changing standard of achievement.
Think about it: when I base my life (who I am) on stuff, I need more stuff, or the stuff that I have becomes outdated, insufficient, or inappropriate for the occasion or location. In other words, even the value of what I’m basing my worth on is in a constant state of change. No wonder we walk around restless and unsettled—and feeling undervalued as individuals.
Maybe you’re rolling your eyes right now, because you think the idea of establishing your value based on “things” is silly. You’re already aware that stuff is nothing more than…well…stuff. You recognize that it’s temporary at best. But let’s take a look at the area we as individuals with no spouse in our house might struggle with the most when it comes to our humanly formed measurement of worth—relationships.
Just because someone does not value you
does not mean that you have no value.
Your value was demonstrated when Christ,
the Son of God, died in your place,
and that makes it permanent!
My friend’s husband of seventeen years came to the dinner table two years ago and said, “It’s time for me to be honest with you. I’m just bored with being married. There is so much more to life than this. There are women who are so much more beautiful than you are, and I can have fun with them, be carefree, and move on to the next one—with no commitments. I’m moving out tonight, and my lawyer will contact you about the divorce arrangements.” This is a true story, and I have my friend’s permission to share it with you (with no names, as I promised her). It happened. And sadly it’s happened to some of you. I have not had this happen to me, so for me to say, “I understand” would be foolish. But I do know this: just because my friend’s (now former) husband did not find her worthy did not make her unworthy. It did not decrease her value even one iota from the value God placed on her when the very lifeblood of His Son was given for her—for us. That, my friends, is a value that cannot be given or taken away.
But what about my wonderful friends who had a spouse who is no longer living? Sadly, many women have erroneously linked their thoughts of personal worth to the position, career, or name of their husband. (And I’m sure that some men have done the same.) What I mean by this can be seen through another real-life situation I just learned of this past month. A woman’s husband was a well-respected community leader, and this dear woman had wrapped her own view of her worth as a person around her husband’s position and titles. Basically, she thought her only worth came from the fact that she was “Mr. So-and-So’s wife.” So naturally, when Mr. So-and-So suddenly passed away, she began to say, “I’m nothing without him.” She was wrong. Her value had not only not increased when she had married him; it also had not diminished now that he was deceased.
And to you who as of today have never married, I do understand—firsthand—your struggles with the concepts of worth and value. If you’re like me, you’ve said (usually internally), oh, maybe a gazillion times, “What’s wrong with me?” as you’ve wondered why you were not worthy of a loving marriage relationship. You (we) mistakenly equivocate marriage with value. Unfortunately, our current culture often feeds into that thought process by indoctrinating us with the belief that beauty, wealth, intelligence, etc. are what make us worthy of marriage.
In fact, allow me to insert here that maybe this is also why so many marriages are ending before the “till death do us part” promises with which they began are fulfilled—because the standards used to determine who was “worthy” of love were constantly changing. Looking for someone better/prettier/smarter/wealthier became a way to increase one’s own sense of worth. So it is no surprise—though it is horribly sad and horrifically wrong—when spouses begin seeking for worth from whomever or wherever they can find it.
But back to you, my never-been-married friend. Your current marital status does not determine your value—ever! Today, in this moment, you have no spouse in your house. If tomorrow you were to marry the man of your dreams, would your value as an individual have increased? No! Of course not! So why are you wasting precious energy and irretrievable hours pining over your assumed lack of value because you’re not married? By determining that marriage does not give you value, it is conversely true that lack of marriage does not mitigate your value!
Since it’s clear that whining, pining, wishing, and dreaming “till you’re purple in the face” won’t change your value (or your marital status) even a smidgen in this present moment, here’s another reminder from God’s Word to help you remember that you are greatly valued by the incredible God of the universe:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
—Jeremiah 31:3, NIV