“A healthy church is a married church,” my pastor at the time said. I can only guess at the meaning behind the statement. I think the intent behind the statement was: it is good when a church has people in it who want to get married. But, I began to think “does it make a church unhealthy if you have people who don’t have a desire to get married?” I looked over at a single older lady. She wore a displeased look. I admired this older woman and wondered how she felt after the comment. She desired to marry, but had become content either with or without marriage. Before she was saved, she had two marriages that ended in divorce. She wanted to get married now that she was in Christ. After church, I thought about other singles. I thought about other singles. I wondered if our emphasis on marriage leads us to forget to care for those who are single?
Marriage is a good thing. It is an honor. “Marriage is to be held in honor among all,” (Heb. 13:4). But, one can honor marriage while single. In fact, there are many advantages to being single. Paul writes in 1 Cor 7, “But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided.” Not being married means one can focus more fully about the things of the Lord. Married couples must avoid thinking something is “wrong” with someone who is not married or someone who has no desire for it. In fact, we should spur them on to devote their lives more fully to the Lord.
We also need to be careful because some will have the desire but won’t get married. If you are married, seek those who are single and come alongside them. Be transparent! Help them to see not only the upsides to marriage, but also the downsides. These are excellent discipling opportunities to share with singles. Don’t treat singles like they are second-class citizens. Singles are more than baby-sitters. They have other gifts and talents to serve the church. Get to know them outside of their singleness.
If you are single and want to get married remain content. Remember: the Lord is your joy and satisfaction. Being married does not cure the yearning for satisfaction. Don’t let marriage become an idol. Your significance does not come from marriage. Your significance and purpose comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. The church sometimes can highlight so many benefits to marriage, but we also must highlight the benefits of being single. Singles, remain content in the Lord.
Having “single” attached to your name is not a disease or a curse. It is actually a blessing. It means you have the opportunity to be wholly devoted to the Lord. You do not have the distractions present of a spouse or children. If you want to be married, continue to pray that the Lord’s will be done as you wait. If you do not want to be married, pray for those who are married. Don’t be ashamed of being single. Devote your time, talents, and possessions even more to the Lord. Seek out opportunities to minister to those who are married or others who may need to be served. May our joy and purpose be found in the Lord and not in our relationship status.