Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

The Great Marriage Eligibility Test

on October 16, 2015

Image courtesy of Ambro/

Yesterday was my birthday, so today I thought I’d share a favorite article I wrote way back when we first started this blog in 2013. Have a great Friday, friends!


You know how they say a man will come along as soon as you stop looking and you think, “Well, I guess no man will ever come along because I’ll never stop looking,” but then, one day, you discuss with some friends how you don’t know what the next year will bring and one says, “Yeah, you might be married by then” and, for the first time in your life, you think that might not be what you want anymore and you freak out, just a little, since you’re no longer sure you want to get married because of the direction God’s leading your ministry, and piggy-backing on that thought is this:

“Wait, so if I’m no longer certain I want to get married does that mean I’m finally not looking so now God will bring me a man?”

Then you think, “I guess I’m still looking after all.”

So you sigh and shrug and figure you failed once again. After all, God will bring you a man when you stop looking. That’s what everyone says, right?

They also say your singleness implies you still need to work on your relationship with God. Or you need to lose weight. Or get out of debt. Or ________________ (fill in the blank).

Bottom line: You’re a mess. And who wants to marry a mess?

All of which sets up this underlying idea that we’re single because we haven’t figured out The Secret yet. We still haven’t passed The Great Marriage Eligibility Test. And every five minutes or so you meet some cute, young thing who’s married but definitely does not have her act together and you think, “She passed the test?! How did she pass but I didn’t?”

Well, I’m going to say something you might not like, but hang in there with me: It IS a test. But not a test to see if you’re ready for marriage or not. It’s a test to see if you will trust God, whatever happens.

Here’s the good news: This kind of testing is part of the whole faith experience. Paul even encouraged us in how to handle it:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
                                                                         ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Not everyone is strong enough to handle such a test, but God knew you could. I’m not saying this is the only reason you’re single. I am saying, though, that the next time someone tells you you’re single because you haven’t stopped looking or your relationship with God needs work or they throw some new and improved test question at you, just smile serenely and tell them:

“That’s not the test I’m working on.”


4 responses to “The Great Marriage Eligibility Test

  1. Excellent post, Sharyn! I struggled with the “why can’t I pass the test” through my 20s.

    • sharynkopf says:

      You did good, Tammie, if you only struggled with it in your 20s. I think it takes a lot of us (me!) much longer. But though I didn’t realize it wasn’t a test til my 30s, I still am confronted by test questions on a regular basis. Just this week, in fact, I got a dose of “you need to work on your relationship with God then you’ll get a man” promise. To which I often reply, “Everyone needs to work on their relationship with God. And they shouldn’t do it with the idea they’ll get something in return.”

      Thanks for the encouragement, Tammie!

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