"If God means you to be married, guess what? You will be married. If your husband is in China, God knows that. He will bring it about. Stop trying to work things out. He knows the end from the beginning."
The Search for a Soulmate (part 2)
By Jennifer E. Jones
I recently chatted with documentary filmmaker Andrea Wiley on her new DVD, Soulmate. In our previous interview, we discussed why so many African American women are single and the importance of finding one's purpose in Christ.
Along with the struggles of singleness, Wiley tackles dating in the Christian culture and how the process should prepare couples for marriage rather than be a stumbling block.
From Waiting to Dating
Among the well known women interviewed in Soulmate, Wiley talked to writer and speaker Michelle McKinney Hammond who is known for her books on singleness. Wiley asked McKinney Hammond why the prolific author was still single.
“The first part of my life I made really bad choices,” she said. “I liked the wrong kind of men. One day I realized it wasn’t them; it was me. We attract what we are. Subconsciously, I was commitment-phobic and didn’t realize it.. So I was very comfortable with other commitment-phobics, even though intellectually I was insisting that I wanted this wonderful relationship. I wasn’t willing to do the work that it takes to have a good love relationship.”
Wiley agrees that singles make wrong decisions in dating that can lead them off track, and it’s up to God to bring them back.
“What could be the greatest time-saver is prayer. God answer prayers, and He increases your spirit of discernment,” Wiley tells CBN.com. “All you have to do is ask. A lot of times we make the mistake of going on raw emotion and passion. We don’t check in with the One who knows so that He can impress upon our spirits. The most important thing we can do is spend time with God.”
Wiley encourages singles and married people alike to start their days with devotional time.
“There’s a practice that I do called ‘FLY’ time,” she says. “It stands for: first love, yes – saying ‘yes’ to your first love, who is God, first thing in the morning. Like bread, we are freshest in the morning. Why not get up and get your marching orders from the leader?”
Here Comes the Bride (Finally)
Soulmate not only chronicled the lives of single women but it also looked at women who married over the age of 40.
Valorie Clayton married just before her 40th birthday. She confessed that she spent most of her adult years as the perpetual bridesmaid. Then, after years of frustration….
“Jerome and I knew each other from church,” she said on the DVD. “He ended up being my secret admirer. He sent a dozen roses to my job, and for 30 days he wrote poems and letters. I didn’t know who it was from. Then he sent an invitation for me to meet him at dinner. I walked in, and it was someone I already knew.”
“I wanted to give women hope as well,” Wiley explains. “If you noticed, every single one of those women said that they would not have traded one day of their prolonged singleness for anything, because they realize that was the time the Lord was using to prepare them for marriage.”
Wiley believes that many singles get engaged without fully understanding what it means.
“We walk into marriage for the most part clueless about what to expect,” she explains. “Yet we’re all pining, ‘We want to get married; we want to have children.’ Do you know what that entails?”
She references the heart-wrenching story of Paula Bond-Fitten, a woman interviewed for Soulmate who got married only to become her new husband's caretaker after learning he had cancer. Wiley challenges singles to be prepared for any situation and that life after “I do” may not be as easy as one thinks.
She continues, “I wanted women to see the reality of marriage and also to have hope… Trust in your singleness, and perhaps God has a husband for you, perhaps He doesn’t. But look at how these women surrendered and look at the fruitful marriages they’re having. Look at how they allowed the Lord to prepare them for how to be married.”
About Andrea Wiley
The woman behind Soulmate has a love story all her own that is full of trials and redemption.
"This is my second marriage. I was married at 25 for the first time. To be honest with you, if I were where I am now in my walk with the Lord, I'd still be married," Wiley shares. "I was one of those selfish, ambitious women. I had a good husband, but again I was not prepared."
Wiley's parents divorced when she was eight years old. She found that when the hard times came into her marriage, she didn't know how to stick it out. Her first marriage lasted only three years.
"I was remarried at 33. I went to a political fundraiser, and it was the kind of thing where our eyes locked from across the room. We started dating, and we had a really good relationship."
So what has Wiley's own romantic journey taught her about life?
"The Lord did and is continuing to break me and make me understand that it is not about me. I have to break out of the mindset of the culture daily," she says. "[I need to] esteem my husband as greater, to learn to submit even if I don't agree."
Without reservation, Wiley believes that marriage is one of the hardest jobs that God will ever call a woman to. However, the blessings that flow through it are worth the struggle. She says that, whether married or single, a life in pursuit of Christ is the only path to true happiness.
She continues, "That's spiritual maturity. Are you willing to follow Him no matter what?"
Got comments? Drop me a line.
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