June 14, 2012
Categories: My Faith
All the Single Ladies…
I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a life without being married…and having a family. The expectations growing up were that I would go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, have babies (although I don’t think my parents specifically stated that the married and babies part had to happen), get old, retire, die…or something like that. As a result, I believe I have a misguided perception that everyone else wants the same thing. My apologies…I really mean no harm.

Interestingly enough though, 44% of all US residents 18+ years old are single (I’m not sure if that includes divorce or not). In particular, I live in an area that has been labeled one of the top cities for being single. Furthermore, the number of dating websites has gone through the roof. With all that said, there might be a lot of singles out there, but we’re all trying to match them up so they can join the “married” club…and I’m not sure that it’s right or necessary. In this week’s message at my church, we talked about the benefits of remaining single (if we feel called to remain single) as well as the qualities we should be looking for in a mate (should we feel called to marry). If you are single, I encourage you to listen to the entire message – click HERE.
1 Corinthians 7:8, Paul writes, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried.
Stay Unmarried RS
Paul also writes that it better to marry than to burn from passion, but if we stay on this notion of remaining unmarried…what are the benefits of remaining single?
  
1. Less Stress

1 Corinthians 7:26-28 says, “Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” 

The crisis he references is a time when Christians were being persecuted. It was thought that you’d be in a better position to deal with these types of persecutions alone than to also worry about a wife and children. We don’t necessarily have the same types of persecutions to deal with today, but the theme of the message still holds true. There’s also something much worse than being single…being married to the wrong person – the later would be much more stressful!

2. Less Distractions and Conflict

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 says, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Singles should be asking themselves if they are single because God has a unique plan for them that will require them to be single. Paul suggests that if you are single, that you may live a life with undivided attention to the Lord…assuming you aren’t out partying or looking for a partner (which I think does create distractions and conflict). My husband will openly tell you that prior to meeting me, he was single for two years of his life…and rather content with what he thought was God’s plan for him. Then I came into the picture and he obviously felt as though God was leading him in a different direction. 

More times than not though, at least amongst my single friends, “we” are all looking to find the “love of our life.” When I wrote that, I had to laugh because I remember being single and being rather impatient about finding love. However, if we’re supposed to find “love,” we’ve got to sit back and wait because God is never in a hurry (his timing not ours, right?). In fact, there’s a couple of myths that need to be dispelled: 
  1. Myth #1: God chooses a mate for us. Yeah…not so much. God doesn’t really care who we marry.
  2. Myth #2: God has designed one perfect person for us. Just imagine if this were true…you accidentally marry the WRONG person, and you screw up the entire universe. Geesh, wouldn’t that be a disaster!
Now that that’s out of the way…and assuming that you still want to get married (remembering of course that it’s perfectly okay to remain single), what should you be looking for?

A. Spiritual Compatibility

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Theoretically, this one makes sense – if you can’t connect on a spiritual level, how do you find common ground long term? Granted, plenty of people go against this one…but refer back to the first item under remaining single…it’s less stressful if there is spiritual compatibility. For those that are dating an unbeliever or non-believer…we call this missionary dating because the believer tries to change their partner’s mind about faith. It doesn’t always work out, but you knew that already.

B. Similar Plan and Purpose for Life

Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” I think this is sometimes why you can be out with your significant other….see a man and woman together, and wonder “how did he end up with her?” Don’t lie – you know you’ve done it. I think the only reasonable explanation is that the two had similar plans and purpose for their lives (okay, so I’m sure there’s another explanation, but just go with it for the sake of argument).

It’s why those conversations about where you live, what you do for a living, where you see yourself in 10 years, etc. type of conversations are so important before you walk down the aisle. I’m sure that the “lion could lay with the lamb,” but this is the exception not the rule. Your values and God’s calling for you have to be aligned or at least overlap. Otherwise, I go back to the first benefit of remaining single…less stress. If left unresolved, you can expect regret, resentment and anger towards your partner. Nobody wants that.

C. Personal Compatibility

Dating websites eat this one up and will often ask a gazillion questions such as:
  • What type of family dynamic did you grow up with?
  • Do you want children? If so, how many?
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • What are your hobbies? 
  • Where do you enjoy spending vacations? 
  • Sexual preference/sex drive?
It is important to be personally compatible. I’ve looked at enough personal ads on match.com to know how these questions rank in order of importance for singles. And what’s most important may vary from person to person, but if one question is out of alignment…it’s usually a no go.

With all of that said, if you’re single…REJOICE (this is his plan for you…right now), REVERSE (reverse the energy you’re spending on finding a mat and reconnect with God) and RELAX (if God does lead you into marriage…great, but be content with life right now).

9 COMMENTS

    Wonderful post Ashley. Had to tell you. :) Hope you are feeling good. Ps I read all your posts just. ;)

    I grew up with similar expectations — nothing that anyone stated necessarily, but I guess I just assumed that it was the natural order of life. I think in my mind, however, I skipped the whole “get a job” part and just assumed that I’d meet a guy in college, get married right out of college and start a family…I graduated from college a year ago and I’m now in the “get a job” phase and am no where near the “get married” phase.
    With that said, I have learned a lot in not being in a relationship — I know that one day, God will bring someone into my life that I will be compatible with. But right now, I’ve turned to God more than ever as I watch His plan for my life unfold and as He brings new opportunities into my life and directs and shows me His way.

    A new friend of mine and I were talking about how churches need to teach this! She’s 30 and just moved back to the area and joined our church staff and there’s so much pressure for her to find someone — people playing matchmaker, etc… I applaud your pastor for this reminder and thank you for sharing. :o)

    Another insightful post, Ashley. Very interesting.

    Ok, so I’ll admit, I’m working and I just skimmed this and will come back to read later, but I am newly single… Just wondering what backs this statement “Myth #1: God chooses a mate for us. Yeah…not so much. God doesn’t really care who we marry.” up? I’m not disputing it, I’d just like to know. I guess I need to go listen to that message. Also the other Myth about how there is a perfect mate for us… I have been doing a lot of thinking about that one and actually brought it up to my sister the other day. How it would be a mess if it were true. I obviously married the wrong man… so what did that mean about the man that was intended for me and all that stuff. Did he find someone else? Does God rearrange things when we do that?… it made me a little sad to be honest…

    These are such wonderful posts! Thank you for sharing the message!

    This is the post I long thought about writing, but never did! Now I don’t have to, because it’s presented here so concisely and with so much biblical perspective and earthly reality. I want to bookmark this so I can refer others to it. Thanks for offering this potentially very beneficial post!

    I initially came to and subscribed to your blog because of the photo challenges and tutorials. BUT WOW! You are inspirational!

    Ashley – you have no idea how important it was for me to read this today. Today is a day that I am wallowing in regret and self-pity over the course my marriage has taken. It’s a day I feel rushed to find someone else to numb the pain and make me feel whole. When, really, I know that I don’t need someone else, I need to do that with God. Thank you! It is okay for me to be single (again). I guess I am living proof that when you marry a man who does not have the same spirituality, family values, moral code that you do…it is disasterous.


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