Singleness: the state of being single without a potential husband. Depending on how society and culture tables it, singleness can be viewed as a blessing or a curse. In my experience, singleness has been a blessing, for I enjoy greater independence and freedom than most marrieds. However, this comes with certain expectations and sometimes even greater responsibility.
Like all God’s blessings, singleness can be abused, selfishly oriented, even idolised.
As Christians, it matters tremendously how we conduct ourselves as singles. Like all of God’s blessings, singleness can be abused, selfishly oriented, and even idolised. Furthermore, it is not without its struggles. In this article I hope to impress on you that singleness does not mean being deficient or incomplete, despite its unique struggles.
Is Singleness a Curse?
Christians do not always share God’s evaluation of singleness. In recent years, I have seen this compounded in my community. We tend to start worrying when a woman reaches her 30s but is still unmarried. Getting married and having children is viewed—both in the church and my culture—as the greatest and most desirable accomplishment in life. Without explicitly saying so, this means that singleness is undesirable. We might even say that singleness is considered a blessing through one’s 20s but slowly becomes a curse as the 30s loom.
Singleness is considered a blessing through one’s 20s but slowly becomes a curse as the 30s loom.
I can recall a conversation with my one of my neighbours that illustrates this point. She said, “You are such a good person. I don’t understand why you don’t have a partner. Maybe your partner is right under your nose, and you are just missing each other. Anyway, my aunt got married at a later stage in life, maybe that will be the case for you. I will be praying for a good husband for you.” Without really knowing how to respond, I thanked her for her prayers.
In conservative culture’s singleness is not wished upon anyone – it’s certainly not seen as a blessing! Prayers of thanks aren’t offered to God with regards to being single. Marriage is where we want to be and it’s what we hope for for our friends and family. Therefore, again, though few people would say it like this, singleness is seen as a curse. A curse that everyone prays will give way to the blessing of marriage and children.
My Own Struggle With Singleness
When my parents passed away I was landed with the responsibility to take care of the family. I was in my 20s at that time and I was working. Thankfully, God provided for all our needs. At a later stage, my handicapped brother moved to another home. The responsibility of taking care of a home as a single is incredibly difficult. The cultural norm is to find a male partner who will take care of you, offering security and even identity. Thus, out of sincere concern, many people in my community hoped I would find a husband, for marriage is seen as a means of stability for women. Often Christians share these same sentiments, both unwittingly and unashamedly.
Marriage is seen as a means of stability. Often Christians share these same sentiments.
The Identity Trap
As a result, it is easy to fall into the idolatrous trap of seeing marriage as necessary for not only security, but also fulfilment and identity. There have definitely been times when I’ve asked God for a husband. It’s too easy to imagine that life would be better—and I would be more content—if I were married. But this desire for marriage was not in line with God’s will. As James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions”.
I realised that, in my prayers, my heart was not in the right place. I was too quickly dismissing the fact that being single is part of God’s will for my life. For singles this is true in the present, and it may be the case for your whole life. It is not a bad thing to ask God for marriage, but one has to pray with the right motive.
I was too quickly dismissing the fact that being single is part of God’s will for my life.
The Real Power of Prayer
Thus, when it comes to dealing with these struggles as a single woman, I rejoice in knowing that I have a Father to talk to in prayer. This Father cares and knows each and every detail of our lives. So I can be honest with him about all my struggles as a single person. He provides us with his word and the right people to talk to and pray with; and also encourages me to embrace my singleness for the glory of God.
Called To Gratitude, Not Grumbling
As I continue to grow in my walk with God as a single person, the Bible helped me to understand that singleness is a blessing – a gift from God – just like marriage. In her essay from Women Helping Women, Lorrie Skowronski gives us a biblical view of singleness. She writes, “In Corinthians 7:7, the apostle Paul states that singleness is a gift from God, just as marriage is a gift from God. Both are good and God can be glorified in both. The state of singleness is meant to be good, not negative, as so many people believe”. Therefore, singles need to embrace God’s gift. We are called to gratitude not grumbling. Whether single or married we must continue to live for Christ and seek to be more like him.
I find real joy in knowing that my identity is in Christ alone and not in my singleness.
As a single person I know that I have role to play in God’s kingdom, by using all the gifts he has given me to serve him and his people. And that is a priceless privilege. I find real joy in knowing that my identity is in Christ alone and not in my singleness. Just as it should not be in your spouse.
We will find lasting and true contentment in Christ alone, for he fulfils all our desires with good things, in his own timing, and in his own way (Psalm 103:5). Ultimately, we must trust in God’s will for our lives because he knows what’s best for us.
Being Single Is A Blessing
It is important to remember that singleness does not mean you are incomplete. God created each of us in his own image, which he said is very good (Genesis 1:31). In other words, everything that God created was perfect and complete, including single people. The perfect example of this is Jesus, the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour. Despite his singleness he was the most fulfilled and human person who ever lived. Thus singleness is a great blessing from God. It is not a curse. Nor is it something we should only ever want to be rid of.
Singleness does not mean you are incomplete. For God created each of us in his own image.
In the book already mentioned above, Skowronski writes, “A content single woman is:
- confident in the truth of God’s word, in his love, and in his plan.
- consistent in her relationship with God and her daily walk.
- connected to her church, using her gifts to serve God faithfully.
- committed to accepting God’s will with a thankful heart in all circumstances”.
This is how God intends single women to live, along with all of his children. However, we cannot do Christian life alone, we will need to ask God to help us find our true contentment in him.
Finding Joy in Your Singleness
You can live as a joyful single, praying to God and serving his people.
If you are single, embrace God’s gift joyfully. Because your identity is in Christ you can find fulfilment in him alone and live your life to his glory. And since singleness has a part to play in the sovereign God’s plans, realise that you may never marry. Resist the urge to grumble and long for a spouse. Live as a joyful single, praying to God and serving his people.
What really matters is our relationship with God and how we live to the glory of his name until the glorious end. Singleness really will be a blessing when approached in this way. Yet, whether we are single or married, all of us can look forward to our wedding celebration in heaven (Revelation 19:6-8)!