I was visiting with my best friend in her matrimonial home when she told me something that I can't forget in a hurry. She has a good marriage, her husband is a good and caring man, a caring father.
Not regretting her marriage, she however, made a statement saying how much she sometimes find the issue of submission hard to bear, the fact that she has lost that liberty which singles enjoy of being able to make decisions for themselves without consulting and getting the approval of a spouse.
We both laughed, but the point she passed across was that marriage is not something singles should be eager to jump into for the sake of status.
Sex and companionship are good reasons to seek marriage, but singles must understand that marriage has its own challenges which can be nasty if the covenant is entered into for the wrong reasons and with the wrong person.
You can find fulfillment as a single. You don’t need to wait for marriage to be fulfilled.
Right now, God wants you to live a life of contentment, maximizing the potentials and advantages of singleness even while you wait for marriage.
Satisfaction or fulfillment as a Christian single is not a state of self-sufficiency or the absence of the desire for marriage. It is also not an absence of the challenges of being unmarried.
Rather, it has more to do with looking at singleness as a normal life; refusing to see singleness as a miserable, inferior, and second-class living.
It is refusing to see singleness as a curse and marriage as a blessing to be sought after at whatever cost.
Everyone is single at one time or another. Singleness is not a curse, it is a stage of life.
As a Christian Single, you can know you are contented and fulfilled when you desire marriage, but are not desperate for it.
The mindset you have as a Christian single determines whether you will enjoy or not enjoy this stage of life.
It will affect how you embrace and face the challenges of singleness.
It will also affect your general comportment in regards to relationships and marriage.
Your mindset may be a product of your upbringing and/or the influence of your environment.
For example, if you’re a Christian single in a church environment where singleness is made fun of or demonized, where marriage for the status’ sake is glorified, where there is stigma to being single at a certain age, you may dislike your life and ignore the impact you could be making as a single.
Contrarily, if you are to be found in environments where marriage is held in high esteem, and the single is encouraged to live a good Christian life and to prepare for an enjoyable marriage, your perspective on singleness and marriage will be different.
One way of avoiding finding marriage unsatisfactory is to have a right mindset as a single.
Adam was not miserable when God brought to him Eve, neither did God bring a miserable Eve to Adam. God saw the man was in need, not misery, and brought a suitable helper and companion for him.
Marriage satisfies but not completely. Your primary source of satisfaction is God. If God cannot satisfy you, nothing and no one else will do.
When God is allowed to fill the void in your heart which only he can satisfy, you will seek to be married in order to get marriage fulfill its own singular purpose.
A spouse cannot and should not play the role of God in your life.
Your second source of satisfaction should come from appreciating and accepting your worth and uniqueness as a person. Then you can be able to give and receive love in a healthy way.
If you hate who you are, you will either not have the right standards for the kind of mate you want, or you will so much expect perfection and flawlessness from your mate in order to compensate for your insecurities; and that can wear them out.
Especially for the female, you must not comport your life as if you’re just languishing and drifting along, waiting for a guy to come give you a reason to live for. That is ungodly.
A Christian single should be in the pursuit of God and his plan for them even while desiring and expecting marriage.
If your life as a single is miserable, marriage may make it twice miserable.
A good marriage doesn’t come by accident; it is prepared for.
The kind of wife or husband you want to be causes you to begin preparation towards that goal while still single. It provokes a prioritization of what you want in a mate.
Whatever causes acceptance of anything less than God’s standard and best today will cause pain and regret tomorrow.
The right mindset in a single should not only seek marriage, but good marriage.
The right person for you is someone who’ll love you for who you are and not what they hope you were.
They will encourage you to become a better you, not because they are ashamed of and can’t have the now you, but because they believe the improvement they encourage is needed and good for you.
They’d still encourage you to become a better you even if they were not courting you.
Anyone who sets out to turn you into someone you weren’t meant to be, someone you don’t like to be, is not the right person for you.
In my novel, Gold of Ophir, Harvey tells Helga he can’t marry her if she doesn’t go get a college degree. Helga has only a Higher Professional Diploma in fashion designing and loves her job.
But in order not to lose Harvey, she closes her thriving shop, collects her savings from the bank and heads to college to study Journalism.
She eventually burns out financially, and also burns out emotionally and psychologically when Harvey walks away even before she completes her program.
The right mindset in a single says Mr. or Miss Right will love me for who I am. If he doesn’t or if she doesn’t, they are not the one for me. Mr. or Miss NOT RIGHT is not worth risking my happiness for.
To be blunt, it is shameful for a Christian Single to behave as if God doesn’t want them to get married; as if God is some sort of hindrance to you getting married.
This mindset may be subtle, but expressed through actions that portray a lack of faith in God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Such actions may include marrying someone who is not a Christian because a Christian is not forthcoming, marrying a Christian amidst numerous red flags and roadblocks because if let go, someone else may never come, or searching for marriage in ways that show it is indispensable for survival.
God instituted marriage and he wants you who lacks the gift of celibacy to get married. That is what his word says, ‘better to get married than to burn with passion’ (1 Corinthians 7:9)
As a caring Father, he also knows what is good and what is bad for you. In his infinite wisdom, he leads and guides. He can never be a hindrance.
What may appear as hindrance according to your limited human perception may be God’s mercy keeping his child from harm’s way.
But if you willfully push ahead your wisdom and agenda, you will suffer the consequences.
The right mindset in a Christian single says, "God wants me to get married. He wants me to be happily married.
If I let him lead me and give me wisdom, if I honor him by aligning my life to his principles, he will guide me in the right path.
"I refuse to let circumstances, my feelings and popular opinion distract me from the goodness and faithfulness of God".
When my aunt was to get married, other members of the church tried to discourage her fiancé because according to them the educational gap between the two was wide, my aunt being the lesser educated.
The man being a man after God’s heart and a man of integrity, knowing what marriage is all about, chose to ignore what others had to say. He believed God had spoken to him and he had seen in his wife-to-be what he wanted in a wife.
In the course of writing this book (this article is adapted from my unpublished book titled, Self-Esteem and the Christian Single) I asked my aunt if she did feel inferior or have low self-esteem because of the educational gap.
She replied that it never even crossed her mind. She had not only believed God for a good man, she had believed there was a specific one for her.
That is why she had turned down other men’s advances and proposals and had waited for what she had prayed for, and when that right one came and she knew he was the one, she was not terrified by whatever others found terrifying.
She didn’t think she was unworthy of him. What a mindset!
If standards have to be compromised, if integrity has to be lost, if a dirty fight with a rival has to be fought, then the object of love is not worth the effort. Let go!
God does. Purpose does. From your mother’s womb, God had unique plans for your life. That is why you are wired a certain way.
When you follow God in obedience to his plan, you are simply living out of who he made you to be. That is your identity, an identity born without the fleeting and unstable accompaniments.
This is not an anti-marriage stand; rather, it is a healthy approach to marriage.
As a Christian single, you must strive to live an emotionally and psychologically whole life in such a way that you can survive the storms of life, on your feet, holding on to the stable and unshakeable hand of the Lord.
You should desire marriage, you should expect and prepare for it. But more importantly, you need to have the right mindset that promotes realistic and healthy expectations.
Do not approach marriage because you want to boost your self-esteem, or as a means to financial freedom, or some other reasons people usually have for marriage that can result in their matrimony becoming a disappointment or an illusion.
This must be an awful thought to consider for someone who desires marriage.
But it’s really something to factor in, not as an encouragement of its possibility or an incentive to its expectation, but to unveil deeper thoughts and mentalities regarding marriage that you may have.
‘What would life look like for me if marriage never comes?’
A gloomy response would visualize a failed life, a life of mockery, regret and shame. This would be more conspicuous in an environment where status defines identity.
A healthy answer to this consideration, while acknowledging what stands to be missed – sex, biological kids, status etc. – would make room for ‘improvisations’ that could be made to still make life meaningful and impactful.
Most peoples’ lives are patterned after rote: we are born, we grow, go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, and then we retire and die.
Usually, considerations out of the pattern are not made, and that is one reason why when expectations from the pattern are not met, life may crumble or become meaningless.
If a Christian is battling terminal illness and healing seems far-fetched, and they are having nightmares about coffins, and they are afraid to die, the best thing they can do to calm their fears is to ask themselves this question, ‘so what if I die?’ The answer is, ‘I go to be with the Lord’.
They are not taking an anti-life stand by such a response, but are merely countering the intangible fears of the alternative.
That is the point to be gotten here: ‘what if marriage doesn’t come?’ When you give thought to this question, you are not taking an anti-marriage stand. Rather it helps you see whether you can still live an impactful live outside of marriage.
I believe that consideration helps you to set priorities for important and eternal values. It also helps you enter matrimony with healthy expectations.
Marriage doesn’t last forever. If your life depends on it, the crumbling or demise of the marriage would mean the same fate for your life.
A breakup for singles is usually a painful experience. The loss of a wife or a husband is and will always be a painful experience.
The pain from these experiences can be very hard (or impossible in some cases) to bear, not for love for the person gone, but because your life depended on the relationship for emotional, physical, and spiritual survival; because the relationship was the reason why your life had a meaning.
That is not the way God wants you to approach relationships, as if your life depends on it. Your life depends on God, whether single or married.
As a Christian Single, the mindset you have now determines your approach to singleness and to marriage.
I pray the Lord help you appreciate the uniqueness of this stage of life, and that you'll be able to find contentment in his identity for you so you can approach marriage in a healthy way.
Let me get your reactions in the comments section below.
Janet is passionate about encouraging the pursuit of intimacy with God, and a purpose-driven life. When she's not writing, she's reading or watching videos on YouTube or cooking African Dishes.