I've been thinking about the things people say to one another when they are trying to offer comfort or wisdom. I'm especially thinking about those things that I have said to friends in the past, with the best of intentions, but somehow, I missed the mark totally. Sometimes, I just needed to say what I said at a different time...like maybe years later when I actually knew what I was talking about because I had finally walked a mile in shoes that resembled theirs. More often than not, though, I needed to just not say anything.
One of those things that well-meaning people say (okay, okay, that I have said in the past, before I knew better) is, "You should be able to find all you need in God. You shouldn't need another person to be happy." That was pretty easy for me to say when I was happily married. It's pretty easy for the famous Christian author/speaker who goes home to her supportive husband after she speaks to say. But the truth of the matter is, it's wrong and it is not easy for unmarried people to hear.
God is not all a person needs to be happy.
Before you drag me outside the gates and stone me for heresy, let me explain.
When God created man, He saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31). But then in Genesis 2:18, things get a little more complicated. The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. So if God is all we need, why did God create "a helper suitable" for man? God's design from the very beginning was that people need fellowship and intimacy with other people. And He created not a same sex best friend for Adam, but a woman, a wife with whom he could have that intimacy.
Apparently God did not intend for man to find all that he needed in Himself. He intended from the start to provide for some of man's needs through the intimate relationship between one man and one woman.
Another point: Being HAPPY is not the same as being JOYFUL. Happiness depends on circumstances. Joy depends on something much deeper, in my case, a relationship with God. So although I may not be happy at times, I can still have joy. That joy is what comes from being in right relationship with God, not happiness. God never guarantees anyone happiness, and even when I am in close relationship with God, there will be times when I am in a slump where I am not happy.
As you may have noticed, I go through periodic slumps when I really miss being married. And it seems that each time I go through one of my slumps, some well-meaning friend shares that bit of widsom about finding all I need to be happy in God and God alone. While I appreciate these friends' attempts to help, sometimes I wish they just wouldn't say anything at all. Sometimes, I don't need a gem like that. Sometimes, silence is golden and a hug conveys more than mere words can.
But as I noted at the beginning, I am prone to offering such wrong advice at times myself. Thus, I leave you with this prayer I need to pray often:
God, please seal my lips with your holy muzzle (Psalm 39) and let me open my mouth only when I can say something that will glorify You! Amen.