Congratulations! You are now in the majority. 51% are singles, compared to 37% in 1976. And yet singles sometimes feel like the exception. Understandable. The center of gravity rests with marriage. It’s God way to keep the race supplied (“be fruitful and multiply”). Marriage is God’s plan for most, but not for all. Don’t worry; if want to get married, you probably don’t have the gift of celibacy (Matt. 19:10-12).
In I Corinthians 7, the chapter that talks more about singles than any chapter in the Bible, Paul gives the edge to singles. He regarded marriage as a kind of concession: “Better to marry than to burn with passion” (9). Good chapter to see advantages of single living. Paul encourages the unmarried and widows to consider them. Here are some exhortations to the unmarried, especially if you feel singled out:
FORGIVE. People will hurt you. All of us need to live above offense. Be thankful you get opportunities to practice. One of my sisters said that before she got married she would always be asked to bring the salad/vegetable plate. Assumption: singles can’t cook. Don’t tell my daughter Karis, the kulinary kween.
One gal in her late twenties said she now felt younger than her younger sister, because the sister had married. The mother treats her differently, as if she is not as mature. As if marriage automatically matures you. It takes whatever you have and intensifies it, like grace or anger.
Another said that singles are sometimes made to feel not as successful. A single girl who was nannying was thought to be wasting her time and should get a career job. By contrast, a married gal who was nannying was thought to be using her time well. Ouch! “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
LIVE HOLY. It’s clear that marriage is the proper atmosphere for physical love. Singles need to learn how to deal with the flame that brings an urge to merge, a flame that burns for years. Paul would say that “undivided devotion to the Lord” (I Cor. 7:37) can make up for it. Go after God, the greatest Lover. He doesn’t have skin on, but medieval saints who chose a life of prayer often bear witness to the ecstasy of a life lived with God. You will not be disappointed, but live with honesty and vulnerability. It helps to take the pressure off. Being outside the will of God makes a poor solution to unhappiness.
SERVE GOD’S KINGDOM PURPOSE. Major thrusts in missions from the 14th century on were accomplished by passionate young adults. Marrieds are not in the same position to respond to the call to take the gospel to the nations. Be exceptional! Make people proud of you rather than seeing you as failures for not being married.
Don’t over-spiritualize marriage. Being married to someone you cannot get along with is not fun. That includes truckloads. Ultimately, joy is found in God, not in either being married or being single.
STAY GOOD-LOOKING; DON’T BECOME A VICTIM: “I am the neglected single person.” Self-pity is not close to attractive. Life is hard. Don’t make it about you or it just became harder. Die to yourself. Security is not a wedding ring.
God knows you. He knows who you are and where you are. He is a good Father with great plans for you. Believe it—regardless!