Pictures of billboards and fliers of church events with titles like “This Beautiful Sister Must Marry” or “Lord, Give Me A Wife Or I Die” have often gone viral on the Internet and generated a good laugh. “Who Stole My Wedding Gown?” was a particularly humorous one. Whether these events actually took place or what the content of those programs were is anyone’s guess. Once upon a time, churches would establish youth events to address the needs of younger members and create avenues through which their energies could be expressed.
Initially, these fellowships provided a forum where basic Christian principles of life, marriage and courtship were taught. They grew out of a legitimate need to address the complex issues of relationship, marriage and family. Strangely, over the years, many of these meetings mutated to the point where they began to run as clinics to deliver their members from “the curse of singlehood” and obsess over marriage. It was marriage at any cost. Preparing people for marriage is a great thing, but an overemphasis on marriage as the sole objective of every single person is questionable and ultimately detrimental. This approach is not consistent with the biblical understanding of singlehood, or even marriage for that matter.
The idea that single adults are somehow incomplete or less whole than their married peers is false and has no basis in Christian thought. That unmarried persons have to attend night program to be ‘restored’ or delivered from enemy attacks is preposterous. Jesus Christ the founder of Christianity was a single man; Paul the Apostle, Christianity’s greatest proponent was also single. Paul’s assessment was that both singlehood and married life were good conditions to be in. He said being single was actually better in some circumstances than being married. In any case, whether single or married, only Christ can satisfy the longing in the soul for higher purpose and meaning.
We must beware the idolatry of marriage, which is the perception of marriage as the pinnacle of the Christian life and the answer to all of life’s problems. Not only does the propagation of this dangerous myth devalue singlehood, it also creates a false impression of marriage as a state of eternal fairytale bliss. Having spent their single years waiting for marriage, many then enter in entertaining delusions of ease, hoping to live with Prince or Princess Charming happily ever after. They are completely unprepared and ill equipped for the rude shock that the journey of marriage represents.
The best marriage on earth cannot fill the God-shaped vacuum in the human heart; only Christ can do that. We must therefore keep our priorities in perspective, seeking wholeness and completion first in a relationship with the Creator before building relationships with others.
We were not created for marriage; marriage was created for us. It was designed to enhance our purpose with God on earth, purpose that exists whether we are married or single.
Singleness is not a limitation or a negative thing. Marriage is good but singles should enjoy life and live it to the fullest on their way to the altar instead of bemoaning their single years.
Young people who spend their youthful days mourning over being single end up living below their potential. In fact, they unwittingly undermine the high purpose of their existence. Rather than put their lives in a state of suspended animation ‘believing God’ for this suppose ‘ultimate goal’ in life, single people should spend their time pursuing their divine purpose. This is the time to live with a sense of mission. A time to be equipped with spiritual strength. A time to acquire skills, hone gifts and discover purpose. This is the time to prepare young people to charge into various sectors of society and unleash change. We should be priming the vocational and entrepreneurial instincts of our youths for a life of excellence and maximum achievement. The season of youth is the time to clarify faith and values and deepen principles. Single years are a time to prepare for the great days that lie ahead.