I believe in marriage: it is a God-given institution. It is blessed and ordained by God for many good reasons. In Genesis 2:18, we read that God gave us each other to create the companionship we need and eliminate loneliness. Another key reason is to propagate the race by bearing children. Marriage produces families, which are the most intimate of support groups. We need those family relationships desperately, so as singles, we should do everything we can to support families and built healthy marriages.
Our society is oriented to couples, not singles. And those subtle messages get through to us, “you don’t fit to this society, you are single.” We, single people, are very smart, we don’t miss the messages. This feeling is very obvious in the attitude taking towards singles in many churches and other societies. A single is not considered as a board member, elder or deacon in some churches. But as soon as an active single person in that church gets married, he or she is asked to do many jobs, which were not offered previously.
A single person does not have to worry about having a meal on the table each evening. So, that time can be used for other activities. He or she can get up at 4:00 a.m., and start reading, writing, or meditating without disturbing anyone. He or she can stay out late after 12:00 p.m., without upsetting any spouse’s schedule. The single can spent hours reading and meditating on scriptures and other books, shutting out all other distraction without hurting anyone’s feelings. There is no guilt to carry around because you have neglected a relationship. But a single must also recognise that he or she misses out on the many joys and pleasures shared by two people who are married. There is loneliness to cope with at times and that feeling sometimes creeps in to remind the single that he or she is not the most important person in the world to somebody. There are places the single would have liked to go and restaurants the single would have liked to eat in but which he/she has to postpone because there is no partner to go with.
There are assets and liabilities. But what the singles forget is that this is true of the other side of the fence also. There are negative aspects of marriage, even a good marriage. I can assure you that many happily married people look at a single’s freedom with some envy at times. They simply realise that they have the joys of marriage, which a single lacks, but they also have the responsibilities, which a single does not have.
They key thing we need to understand is that God has not advocated marriage lifestyle as the number one normal way to live, and the other single lifestyle as second best leftovers for those who missed the marriage boat for some reason or another. Let me remind you that there were people in Scriptures who were either certainly or most likely to be single: Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, Lydia, Mary Magdalene, Dorcas.
There are some dangers in allowing ourselves to think that marriage is the only normal lifestyle and it will solve all our problems.
First of all, you place an unduly heavy responsibility and expectation on marriage, which it will not be able to live up to. You are setting yourself up for disappointment and failure, if and when you do get married
Second, you are asking too much of that other person who will be your mate. Even if you marry the most wonderful person in the world, he or she will not be able to meet your needs totally. To expect so much is to invite disaster.
Third, a person consumed with the desire to be married becomes less attractive because that message is transmitted through facial expressions, conversations, body language, etc. The stronger the desire, the less attractive one becomes. Which creates desperateness and an even stronger desire.
Lastly, when we think of marriage as an essential, we start to make an idol out of it. It becomes more important than any thing else. That is idolatry.
So what shall we do?
Matthew 6:33 says: Seek to know your God first and live a righteous life before all other things will added to your life. Seeking God first means He is the number one in your thinking, planning, in your priorities, in your desires. If you seek the desires of your Creator first, you will not be consumed by the desire to be married or any other desire, for that matter. We will get what we need, and God knows what we need better than we do.
If you are a single person who struggles with this mistaken attitude towards marriage, you are the only one who can change that. The society, the church or your family cannot help you. I did not say you will lose your desire to be married, but rather that you will no longer be consumed by it. You will know there is a purpose and meaning in what you are doing as a single person. The thought of never being married will not send you to panic attack.
You can still have moments when that desire seems overwhelming and out of control. Time spent with God and other activities will bring such desires under control. I can hear some of you thinking aloud, “but I want to feel an arm around me, I want to hear a voice saying, ‘I love you,’ I want to snuggle in a cosy home with a real person.” These feelings and desires are quite normal, accept them and understand them but do not allow them to control you.
Be willing to allow God to direct your life in either direction-married or single. That is turning over the controls over to God without a preplanned agenda.
…with Rose Hansey (firstname.lastname@example.org)