Waiting isn't a word we like very much. It's not something we have to practice much either. Food comes in "instant" packages, there are express checkout lanes, internet is high-speed, your cell phone is within easy reach wherever you need to make a call, and highways make commutes quicker. None of these things are necessarily bad (except perhaps the "instant" food for health reasons!) but they have contributed to our impatient society. We complain if our food doesn't come promptly in a fast-food restaurant or if the checkout line moves too slowly. We drum our fingers if a web page doesn't load immediately, and fret if our phone gets a bad signal. We get angry in traffic jams, especially if it throws off our carefully planned schedule.
"If you don’t believe love is best when it’s pure and new, you won’t wait patiently for it." - Come What May
But often, if we wait, things are better in the end. A meal made from scratch may take a lot longer to prepare, but it will be more nourishing and delicious. A handwritten letter will be treasured much more than a message in cyberspace that is easily deleted. A phone call made when you have the time to listen and talk is more meaningful than an occasional, distracted "mm-hmm" as you multi-task. And if you take the time to enjoy the scenery when the cars are moving slowly, you'll be put in a much better mood!
I'm certainly not against time-saving measures, and I do strive to as efficient as I can, but there is value in waiting.
So, why am I still waiting if I believe that marriage is something I am called to someday? I'm waiting for God's timing. He'll bring a relationship about when it's right. Also, I wait for a young man to express interest in me - for I believe it's his place to do so.
But if I know a Godly young man who would make a good husband, shouldn't I secure him before he gets away? No. Like most women, I want to be pursued. If I lead the relationship in the beginning, it will get off to the wrong start. I believe that the man is to be the head of the home, the leader. It is his place to initiate - not mine.
Oh, there are feminine ways to show availability and encourage expressed interest - but we don't want to come across as desperate women! ;) For good ideas, read Candice Watters' book Get Married, for it is subtitled "what women can do to help it happen." And no, it doesn't involve chasing after guys and placing yourself right where they are at every turn! :)
Is it hard to wait? Most definitely! We wonder if we'll ever be noticed, if a man will ever be interested enough to ask. We see a friend's status change from "single" to "in a relationship" and sigh over the sweet couple pictures that appear. We wonder when our turn will come.
It is hard to wait for a man to express interest, but it can also be hard for the men to know who to ask and how and when! They can be terrified at the thought of putting their hopes on the line when they ask a girl (or, preferably, her father first!) if they can begin a relationship. It may be hard for you to consider trusting a man to lead you, but it can be a huge burden for them to even feel ready or responsible enough to lead and provide for a family.
I'm an advocate for younger marriages than the national average of 27 and 28. Yes, there are some people who wait that long as part of God's plan (my own sister Miriam didn't marry until she was 28, but her wait was definitely worth it!), but as a whole, I think our society delays it too much. Part of it is the expectations we hold; our parents took years to arrive at the economic status and character development they're at now - we can't expect a young man to be as mature and established as our own father! Carolyn McCulley's article Faith for the Man He'll Become talks more about that fact. Of course, we should still have high standards for the one we'll marry. we should also prepare ourselves for marriage while in our youth instead of wasting the time. After all, we mustn't allow the low expectations of this culture to shape us!
Waiting is a Biblical principle. One year I studied all the different places it's mentioned in the Bible and was amazed at the number of places that talked about it! However, waiting isn't a passive verb; it's active - you're to do things while waiting, not just sit around! Verses that talk about waiting also tell you to "delight yourself in the LORD" (Psalm 37:4), "keep His way," (Psalm 37:34), put your hope in God's Word (Psalm 130:5-6), "be strong and take heart" (Psalm 27:14), follow God's commands (Psalm 119:166), "hope for what we do not yet have," (Romans 8:25) and "watch in hope" (Micah 7:7). Patience is closely tied to waiting, with many verses exhorting us to "wait patiently." This season of waiting is a good one for teaching us patience, which is an important character quality!
You won't be done with waiting once you find your special someone either. There will be waiting for engagement, for the wedding, for children, for a permanant house, for direction for the family... Waiting is a part of all of life, so you'll be well prepared if you learn to do it now with joy.
Though this is a hard season at times, it can also be a very fruitful one. With the time such a close and intimate relationship involves, you have more time to spend with the Lord, with family, with close friends, and in serving others. The longings and desires can be very strong, but they can also push you into Your heavenly Father's arms, into a deeper reliance on Him.
This is definitely an interesting time, being ready for marriage, yet not sure when it will happen. Will I be waiting for another year? Or will it be three, or five, or ten years? Even more? I don't know. And though I am tempted to doubt or complain, I am learning to trust in the Lord and wait for God's time. He won't keep me waiting longer than necessary. Though I can't always explain the wait, I know that His time will be much better than my own.
"Times of waiting take us to deeper levels of trust, strengthen our faith, remind us to abide in Christ and teach us to delight in the Lord. There will be periods of waiting all through life, but for us as single young ladies, this season of life provides an ideal opportunity to learn the secret of being content in any situation (Phil. 4:11-13) If we can learn now how to patiently rest in the Lord, think how invaluable this 'skill' will be throughout our entire lives." - from Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Malley