The title is built on two foundational blocks. One, that there is a a right endeavor one should take to attain a marital relationship. Two, that there is a greater goal to attain than marriage.
By right endeavor I mean the proper fulfillment of responsibilities to be capable for a marital relationship. A part of this would be the action of loving one’s brothers and sisters in Christ by building relationships with them while resting and trusting in the Lord is part of proper fulfillment. Being self absorbed and telling yourself that God will provide your dream spouse is not an aspect of a right endeavor. Now, this is just scratching the surface of understanding and living out a ‘right endeavor.’ There is much much more explanations and thoughts one can write. For a sum-up let me say that it is living out the over flow of gospel community as commanded in passages like Rom 12:9-21; 13:8-14, Phil 2:1-12, Col 3:12-17, 1 Thess 4:2-8, 1 Peter 3:8-9 in and around one’s proper role in finding a spouse. There is the actions one takes to put them in a position that a relationship can grow to be a healthy marriage.
By greater goal I mean the the aim of our predestination, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29). The greater goal is God’s work in the believer’s life to make him or her treasure Christ more by growing him or her in holiness.
So how does one not waste their endeavor to be married?
The endeavor to be married can be wasted if one does not see it as a time for God to work the gospel into their life during this specific time. So on the reverse, one does not waste the time, the work and wait for marriage if they let God grow them in love, patience, service, and humility through the time.
Now, this is way more than taking a 3 month long mission trip during the single years. This is about letting the gospel change yourself as you run into the sins of yourself.
I know for myself that as I had followed, and still follow, the aim to be married my own sins have be demonstrated again and again. I have seen my own distrust in the goodness of God. I have seen my own pride and self-dependency. I have had my eyes opened up to the extent of my own selfishness and discontentment. All of this has come to light as I have pursued relationships and been involved in relationships. On the flip side, there has been trust, contentment, service, humility, and dependency worked into my life by the Spirit through each and every trial.
It is a very hard and trying time. There is the hardness of not having a good thing and having the desire for that good thing stalled again and again. Though, there is, also, the hardness of my sins working their destruction in me. There is the hardness of not being more satisfied in Christ as I could be. There is the hardness of being depressed night after night. There is the hardness of my frustrated selfish control of others. There is the hardness of not enjoying the glory of the day because I am discontent. This is hardness that God is gracious enough to mold out of me through the hardness of the right endeavor.
Through my years of walking on this road of endeavor I am learning that my Savior has plans for this time that span to greater places than just giving me the good thing of marriage. There is the place of receiving the best good of being more like the Savior. And attaining the best only makes all the other goods better.
So keep your eyes on being faithful to what Christ calls you to through His word. Don’t waste your endeavor to me married.