“Someday my Prince will come.”
So said the slogan on the trendy, pink t-shirt. At fourteen, I thought it was so clever… Jesus is my Prince, and someday He’ll come back for me! How wonderful! Of course, it was obviously about Jesus and I was spiritually astute enough to hide the fact that deep down, I wanted a human “prince” to come someday as well. I didn’t buy the shirt. But I thought about the slogan off and on for years, secretly cherishing the idea that I was waiting for both my Prince and my prince. (Why I thought it was unspiritual to want a man, I don’t know.)
At nineteen, the waiting was getting a little tiring. I still wanted to see Jesus someday, sure, but really? I was waiting rather impatiently for that other prince to show up. And trying to figure out who he might be. Probably one of the guys I knew, right? Of course, since I was so spiritual (even though I now thought it was fine to want a man), I evaluated them on the basis of spiritual maturity, leadership qualities, and the like. Okay, deep down I wanted him to be good-looking and have a great personality, too.
By twenty-five, the pendulum had swung to the other side again, and if I hadn’t been a bit past it fashion-wise, I might have bought the t-shirt. I was a little disillusioned with men and thought I’d had my heart broken. (I hadn’t – that was yet to come – but it had been bruised.) I was once again ready to focus on Jesus, and while I still wanted to get married, I wasn’t nearly as starry-eyed about it.
I think I was in my mid-twenties when I finally started to sort out which of my longings were for my prince and which were for my Prince. Because God has created us with a need that can only be filled with Himself, and trying to fill it with an earthly prince will never work. No mere mortal can fill our hunger for the eternal. That is something that most of us realize at some point in our journey through singleness.
But that’s not the whole picture, either.
Once upon a time, there was a garden called Eden. It was not just beautiful. It was truly perfect. A man lived in the garden, and although he had every kind of food to eat, perfect weather, meaningful work, and open communication with God, God Himself said it was not good. (Genesis 2:18)
And He created marriage.
What does that tell me? That it’s okay to want an earthly “prince.” Historically, the church has viewed marriage as a general calling: that is to say, unless you are specially called to celibacy, you can assume God has called you to marriage. This must be balanced, of course, with the knowledge that we are to be content in whatever state we currently find ourselves, but a desire for marriage is not sin, it’s a God-given gift.
But I can say this with certainty: you can only find meaning and true contentment in Christ. I was single for a long time (until I was 29), and now I’ve been married for two years, and one thing has not changed at all. Whenever discontent starts creeping into my heart, it means I’m trying to fill that “God-need” with something else. The gift, no matter how wonderful, can never replace the Giver.
So keep waiting for your Prince to come. And meanwhile? It’s okay to wait for a prince, too.
Image credit: The Graphics Fairy