Marriage isn’t for everyone.
There. I said it.
We live in societies and cultures that turn marriage into a non-negotiable part of life and as a result we have people living like pressure cookers thinking marriage is the answer to everything.
And marriage isn’t for everyone.
Yes, it can be a delightful aspect of life but it is not mandatory. Contrary to Hollywood tales, it is not the sole key to happiness and fulfillment.
You are not less human, less woman or less Christian if you remain single for the rest of your life.
The caveat I intentionally give here is that your reasons for staying unmarried need to be from a place of wholeness and revelation. If you’re running from marriage because of some level of heartbreak or fear of it, or to prove a point, then that needs to be addressed.
It takes supernatural grace to be divinely married. But it also takes supernatural grace to be divinely single – whether for a season or a lifetime.
I have a deep appreciation for my single years that grows with every year of being married. Because who you are when you’re single, is magnified when you start dating and amplified even further in marriage. Being in a relationship will not magically make you someone different.
There was a season in my life where I couldn’t be bothered to even date because I simply didn’t have the bandwidth for another human being in my life at that time. There was such an inner working God was doing in me that it took all of my attention and affection. Trying to date someone then would have been a great disservice to them and myself. God released me from the societal pressure of putting myself out there and I was more than happy to live in my single bubble with Him. (Wrote about that here: Marrying The Perfect Guy.)
In my single years, I got to know myself through God’s eyes. It’s astonishing how many people don’t know who they are devoid of their relationships with others; how many people don’t know how to be with themselves. I love my own company. My thoughts are a happy place. I am at home with myself. I am able to enjoy these fruits now because of the seeds I planted when I was single.
It’s dangerous to be in relationship when your identity is not anchored in Christ. You can easily get carried away with your emotions and end up enthroning a fallible human being in your heart instead of the Lord. When a person becomes your end all be all, what happens when they can’t be there for you? What happens if things don’t work out and you break up? What happens if their version of who you’re supposed to be is different from who God intended you to be?
There’s a sacred trust and supernatural ability required in yielding your identity to another; human beings, no matter how much they love you, are limited in their capacity to shape who you are. There is a grace God can extend to certain people based on their role in your life but even in this a high level of maturity and submission to Christ by all involved is required.
I found healing and wholeness in my single years. He lavishly poured out the balm of Gilead on things that had happened in my life that were sore spots. He engineered closure for me in ways I marvel at to date. A lot of unnecessary baggage I would have carried into a relationship was sorted through and traded for peace and joy. I had beauty to bring into someone else’s life not ashes of brokenness. I didn’t need someone to fix me. I was confident in my worth and value.
My relationship with God grew in my single years. There was a fundamental foundation laid when I was single that has been able to carry the weight that dating and marriage built upon it. God and I became friends. He’s so much more fun than He’s been made out to be! I can’t imagine life without Him now. I learned what it really means to be with Him wholeheartedly. I thought I knew who I was but God blew that right out of the water. He shocked me with how big His dreams for me were and it made the ones I had for myself utterly trivial in comparison (and I’m pretty ambitious, mind you).
I developed and grew healthy relationships with the men in my life in my single years. I can’t understate how important it is to develop healthy relationships with the opposite sex. It’s essential for us to learn how to relate with one another as men and women in a non-romantic context because we are co-labourers in Christ. There is no sphere of life you will go into where you won’t have to deal with someone of the opposite sex on some level. For some of us, we will be tasked with raising young boys to become Godly men. How can we do that if we have no revelation of who man is in the eyes of God?
A lot of the dysfunction found in relationships and marriages has its roots in our ignorance and wrong perceptions of how to relate with one another platonically. If you cannot relate in a healthy way with your father, uncles, brothers, male friends, etc there is no magic potion that you drink in a relationship that will instantly make you capable of dealing with your boyfriend or husband the way you need to.
We need to know how to guard our hearts where necessary, how to share our hearts and minds wholesomely, how to work with one another, how to lay down boundaries and maintain them, how to honour and cherish one another. Again, these things won’t magically be your portion once you enter a relationship.
I developed and grew healthy relationships with the women in my life in my single years. It’s been said that you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. I’ll take it further and say as a woman, you’re the average of the five women you spend the most time with. If you don’t know how to relate in a healthy way with other women, what does that say about your relationship with yourself? You are a woman, after all. And everyone else cannot be the problem, except you. C’mon now. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself, what hope does someone else have in relating with you?
Many of us are buried deep under the debris of everything “wrong” with womanhood and we need to fight our way out from under it. As a woman, you need women in your life. Not just any kind, but those who will ground you in your divine femininity, cheer you on as you pursue God’s purpose for your life and fearlessly take on the enemy by your side. If you can’t find one, then be one to someone else. It has to start from somewhere.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
– Psalm 139:16 ESV
It’s unfortunate that so many of us treat being single as a misfortune we need to quickly get over. There is time and season for everything under the sun. God intentionally planned out every day of your life including those that you would be single.
There is a divine purpose for your singlehood. It’s not for nothing. It’s not a bus stop where you wait for a ride to destination marriage. Don’t waste it wishing for a different season that you’re completely unprepared for.
If reading this as a single woman, my prayer for you is that God would unveil the beauty of this season for you in a very unique and special way. May you cherish every moment for the treasure it is. May you grow exponentially in your awareness of your value inside out. May you flourish in the love of God that will never be surmounted by the love any man can give – even the one who may someday marry you.