I feel the need to clarify something.
First of all, I appreciate the response to my last blog post. I really do. It means so much that people comment on my post, like it, share it or excerpts from it, and message me about it. It is overwhelming and humbling, and I love y’all.
But, as I usually do, after I hit “Publish” and then hit “Share” on Facebook, I began to over-analyze what I just posted. And as I over-analyzed, I also became more aware of comments about “just waiting for God to bring the right person along” or “can’t wait to meet my knight in shining armor” or even encouragement from other Christians about being patient until God brings “the one.”
I know these people are well-meaning. And while young women do need to be reminded to wait on God’s timing and trust that the right person will come along eventually, I’m afraid all this facilitates a mindset of “I won’t be happy/satisfied/truly serving God until I’m married.” And that just isn’t true–or at least shouldn’t be true.
I’ve been wanting to blog about this for a while now, and I was thinking about it as soon as I woke up this morning knowing I’d have some time to sit down and write today. “Where is that passage about singleness?” I groggily thought as I dragged myself out of bed. Funnily enough, I was scheduled to read that chapter in my Bible plan today. First Corinthians chapter seven holds some tremendous truth about marriage and singleness. Paul wrote about marriage as God told him, and also wrote about singleness from his own perspective of being unmarried (verses 6 and 25). I’m going to focus on verses about the latter, so here they are in case you don’t have a Bible nearby:
I would that all men (or women) were even as myself. . . I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is a difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. Verses 7a, 8, 27, 32-35. Parentheses added.
I appreciate Paul’s direct approach to the topic of singleness. He wished that everyone could stay single and serve God wholeheartedly! Obviously we know that’s not realistic because reproduction is important; but Paul looked at his own life, saw how much he was able to throw himself into the ministry of the Gospel, and wanted that for everyone.
The main point of this passage is really found in verse 27 when Paul said that if you’re married, don’t look to stop being married! Don’t be “loosed” from your spouse, instead be content with the spouse you have. But on the other hand, if you’re already not married, don’t seek a partner.
Part of the problem is that for some reason, young Christians, especially young ladies, are made to believe that they will not be fulfilled or be fulfilling God’s purpose in their lives unless they are married. But Paul disagrees. “The woman who is married is mostly concerned about how to please her husband,” he said. And rightfully so, as he wrote in Ephesians 5. As a married couple, my goals are both to please my husband and glorify God. As I mentioned in my last blog post, during our marriage counseling we were asked if we would be able to serve God better together or apart. It is not an easy question. If the answer is ever, “Apart,” you need to examine the relationship and possibly end it. Paul wrote that it is difficult to completely, wholeheartedly serve God when you are married.
Young ladies, marriage is not something to be taken lightly. Don’t hop into it with both feet thinking everything will be beautiful and Instagram-worthy and he’ll sing you to sleep every night and all will be right with the world. It is a beautiful gift from God, but it takes work! Marriage was not designed to make us happy; it was designed to make us holy. If your relationship does not bring glory to God before marriage, get out of it. And choose instead to pursue God with all that you have.
As a preteen and teenager, I was I had chosen to do this, but I was boy-crazy. I wouldn’t have admitted it then, but I admit it (ashamedly) now. I was obsessed with finding “the one” for me, and subsequently had my heart semi-broken a few times because I didn’t understand why that guy who was a Christian and so cute didn’t “like” me back.
Because I grew up wrongly believing that I had to have a man to be happy and fulfilled, you can imagine my exuberance when I was finally asked to be someone’s girlfriend. I jumped in without knowing him very well–and in spite of some red flags. I was determined that this was it. He was the one. I was done searching. He was my first boyfriend and my last. First kiss and my last. And I ignored the warnings from my family, red flags in the relationship, and unrest in my own heart. All because I thought that getting married would be the fix-all, end-all. My life would be complete because I would be getting married to my first boyfriend.
I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to do the same thing. It’s not worth it. Maybe you’re in denial about how much you really want to be loved by a young man. Maybe you pretend like you are devoted to serving Christ and being a Godly example, but inside you are really doing it because you’re hoping to impress someone, or meet a guy at a church event. Maybe you’re okay with being single now, but you also think that you will finally be happy and complete when you get a boyfriend, get engaged, and get married.
Discontentment is a very slippery slope. If you’re not content with being single, you might feel happy for the first few weeks or months of having a boyfriend. But soon you won’t be content with just having a boyfriend anymore. You’ll want to be engaged (or be physically intimate which is another blog post for another day). And then you’ll be impatient to get married. And once you get married, you think the discontentment just disappears? Oh no, honey. You’ll start wishing you had a puppy, or a bigger house, or a more successful job, or a baby, or an older kid, or more money . . . and the list goes on and on.
Where is your heart when it comes to your relationship status? Are you truly content with being single? What if God knows you can serve Him better alone? Will you surrender to God the possibility of staying unmarried? Have you found peace in simply being married to Christ, Who gave His life for you? Examine where you are spiritually, and ask God to reveal any secret desires or sin you may even be hiding from yourself. He wants to you to know Him intimately. Serve Him with every fiber of your being. Rest in His unending, graceful love for you.
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17