By Grant Castleberry
When I was twenty-four and still single, I was sent halfway around the world to mainland Japan for a two year tour of duty. As a Marine officer, and specifically an Air Traffic Control officer, my job was to be a Crew Officer for the Marine Air Traffic Controllers at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. I remember getting on the plane in DFW to take my initial trip to Japan. I was literally going to a place where I did not know a single person, for two years. All I had with me was a sea bag filled with clothes – mostly uniforms, my computer, a Bible, and a set of golf clubs. It was overwhelming saying goodbye to my family and friends, and I remember getting on that plane and the feeling of loneliness setting in.
When I got to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, I began to meet and interact with many incredible Marines and local Japanese. For the most part of my day, I worked with Marines that I loved being around. It made working there easy. I also was part of a great church, Calvary Chapel Iwakuni, pastored by Mike Silva. However, when my shift would be over at the airfield, I would find the loneliness creeping back in, especially when I came back to my empty BOQ (Bachelor Officer’s Quarters) room. To fight the loneliness, I would spend hours each afternoon working out. I would often go on really lung runs along the seawall or spend several hours in the weight room. I would then come back to my room at 6 or 7 PM, but the loneliness was still there. I spent many hours hanging out with “Pastor Mike,” and spending time with the Marines (playing intramural football, Bible studies, etc.). I built new friendships. I explored Japan. I went to every city I could get to on the Shin trains (the bullet trains), I skied the Olympic runs in Nagano. I started taking distance seminary classes. I was deployed to Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, and even spent several months training in Alaska. But regardless of how many amazing people I knew and spent time with or how many exotic destinations I went to and trained in, the feelings of loneliness would return.
At some point during this time, I remember reading this paragraph in my BOQ room in Marvin Wilson’s book, Our Father Abraham, in the fall of 2008:
The need for companionship is fulfilled by the God-ordained relationship of marriage. Genesis 2:18 states, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” God created man and woman as social beings. He never intended for a person to be independent, cut off from the fulfilling relationship of being a companion to one of the opposite sex. Thus, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Adam and Eve had become partners for life. Commenting on companionship, the great medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides observes that marriage partnership grows from that of companions for help to companions for burdens, and is brought to its crowning height when the partners become companions for destiny.
These words cut me to the core. I realized that God was allowing the feelings of loneliness to resonate inside my soul because He desired me to pursue companionship in a godly woman. I truly realized why God said that “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
That is why this piece by our Executive Director, Dr. Owen Strachan, resonated so much with me. I have lived this article on both sides – as a young man in need of companionship and as a married man who realizes the great gain in finding a godly woman.
So I would encourage every young, single man out there that is reading this to let the truth of what Owen says to resonate in your heart and mind:
God has structured marriage so that we can enjoy great happiness and togetherness and unity in our union with a spouse. There are many women today who are alone and don’t want to be. They were made to be wives and mothers. Yet young men are struggling to know how to win their hearts; many guys weren’t trained to do this, and even though they have good intentions, they’re not sure how to get started. In such instances, young men need to identify godly men in their church or school and seek them out in order to gain wisdom. It’s out there!
Young men stand to benefit in incredible ways from marriage to a woman possessing “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4). Here are a few of these ways I know of personally and from other marriages: Godly wives encourage their husbands in holiness, edify them by cultivating their own spiritual life, bake delicious food for them day after day, care for children, contribute to the economic well-being of the home through countless creative endeavors, wash their clothes, clean the house, pay the bills, type their papers, share wisdom on big purchases (and small!), make them laugh, make them think on a deeper level, and so much more. Companionship is a tremendous blessing, in both large and small ways.
Don’t let the distractions of video games and hobbies numb your need for companionship. Instead, seek a godly wife. In marriage, God will sanctify you more than you could ever possibly imagine and will bring you more joy than you thought possible. So put away valueless time-killers that numb your heart and instead, pursue God, pursue wisdom, and pursue a woman that seeks those things as well. As Owen says:
If, in God’s time, we’re called to marry, and if we’re at an appropriate age for it, we’ve reached the point where it’s no longer good to be alone. If we’re letting games or unserious pursuits occupy us for large chunks of time, and if these hobbies are contributing to a lifestyle that delays marriage, then we’re missing out on some profoundly good things.
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