From Joel Beeke, on the Puritans and marital love:
It is an entire love, a fulsome love, a love that pours itself out between spouses constantly and without reservation in a variety of expressions, gestures, looks, and actions. This love, Daniel Rogers (1573-1652) wrote, is not “raised suddenly in a pang of affection, ebbing and flowing…but a habitual and settled love planted in them by God, whereby in a constant, equal, and cheerful consent of spirit they carry themselves [towards] each other (Rogers, Matrimonial Honour, 137-138).
The whole thing is worth reading, but what jumped out at me was the “love planted in them by God.” As a single lady approaching her mid-30s, it’s easy to let the fears in. I must not be attractive. I’m too old. I don’t have the right body type. I’m too much. I’m not enough.
The underlying assumption: If I could just figure out and fix what is “wrong” with me, then dating wouldn’t be so hard. Now to be sure, we may carry certain attitudes or perspectives or habits regarding dating that ought to be addressed or reconsidered. There may be times when we need to take a long, hard look at our lives and what our constant video games or Netflix bingeing or general laziness might say about us. But if, after working through all of that, we’re still single, what then? What’s left to do?
Nothing, really, as infuriating as that may be. I can be friendly and open. Be active at church. Be brave and try online dating. Realize that’s not really what I want and delete my profiles that are way too easy to restart. Ask friends and family to keep their eyes peeled. Stay busy. Press into the life I have, not the one I thought I’d have. When no one materializes despite my most reasonable efforts, I’m left with one conclusion: God has not planted that love in my heart for someone, nor has He planted love for me in a man’s heart. He may yet, or He may never.
I don’t have nearly as much say in dating as I want to believe I do, because my life isn’t my own. Like I said, infuriating. But also comforting—it’s not me. It’s Him.