I’m seeing a trend in today’s conservative churches concerning people who are struggling with their singleness — mostly women. Although men have the advantage since they are the pursuers, it also applies to them.
The trend is people telling women that God may not have someone for them.
I understand the heart behind that. Singleness is a foreign concept to married people, especially those who married young. It’s as if they don’t think about it day in and day out because marriage is their normal.
But for single people, the thought of marriage is always right out in front. It’s hard not to think about it. But it’s not healthy NOT to think about it.
As a whole, singleness is a phase that is waiting for a transition.
But if singleness is all we think about, it can become all-consuming. Lots of people are just waiting to be married and not doing anything for the Kingdom. They are not serving, not going on mission trips, not doing anything because they don’t want to miss out on that person who will come and sweep them off their feet. The pursuit of marriage can be an idol. So thinking about what life would look like if they knew they were never to be married should give them a perspective of what to focus on as a single person.
Where We Get It Wrong
How many times have you heard someone say, “What if you never get that car?” “What if you never get that house?” “What if you never get that job?” “What if you never get that salary?”
At the end of the day, anything we put above our Savior is idolatry. That’s the warning message would we should be sending. We should remind people what they should keep their eyes on and where their hope comes from.
The One Who Sees Me
I once dated a very beautiful girl who struggled with anxiety. It affected every aspect of her life: her work, how she interacted with people, her walk with God and our relationship. The more I got to know her, the more I got to know a person who needed Jesus. We all need Jesus, and this made me like her even more because she let me in to see those dark areas of her life. Since we’re all broken people being refined, we’re essentially choosing our problems when it comes to marriage. The problems she had were ones I was willing to marry into. Sure it would be tough at times, but I saw her the way God saw her. I saw her value. I saw what God calls beauty, which comes within.
In Genesis 16:7, Hagar was running away from the harsh treatment of Sarai. She was a servant who was unmarried and pregnant, and she most likely felt ashamed. She probably wondered where God was. Then the angel appeared and told her that God had seen her misery and that He planned to bless her and her son. In the midst of her worst day, she saw that God valued her.
What a Husband Should Be
A husband is a tangible representation of God choosing us. In a covenant, the husband says he will never leave you, even in your worst moment. Day in and day out, on your good days and on your bad days, he will still be by your side. Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV) says:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
We all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. And God has decided to use marriage as a metaphor of His example to communicate His relationship with us. How can anyone not want that? We were made for that. I believe we were designed to be married and to marry young. But then the fall messed all that up.
How Can You help?
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Understand that if someone is sharing their pain in singleness, that’s not the time to tell them God may not have anyone for them. That’s not taking into consideration their real feelings of disappointment.
You sit with them. You weep with them. You pray with them. You remind them that God sees them. You can encourage them that He’s a good Father who can be trusted.
And you can say… “I’m so sorry you’re not married.”