For years I’ve read countless books on singleness, marriage, love, relationships, sex, etc, trying to mature my views and my heart as to what God asks of me, and to make sense of the ache in my heart. What I’ve found is that Genesis has the simplest answer to all of my questions.
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’
So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Genesis 2:18, 21-23
I put in bold the wording that really stands out to me.
Even in perfect unity with God, Adam’s relational status was not deemed “good” by the Creator until he had Eve.
There are those called to remain single, but honestly, that is (and should be) very few of us. We were not designed for it, plain and simple. And not just because we have a sex drive. It has very little to do with that. Marriage is one of the strongest forces on earth, capable of humbling us, teaching us selfless, righteous love. Marriage isn’t to make you happy, it is to make you holy. It is true that you should learn to be happy in your singleness and focus on Christ, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say you must be content in your singleness. It’s a nearly impossible goal. God didn’t expect Adam to be content without Eve. And that wasn’t because he “couldn’t control himself sexually”. After all, there was no sin, and until the creation of Eve, the thought of sex wouldn’t have entered his mind. He didn’t even know what a woman would look like.
We need companionship. The kind that connects us at the soul level, which is something that only marriage can truly bring. To be fully and completely known by another human and loved anyway is one of God’s most amazing gifts.
Secular culture is screaming at us that we can sleep with whomever we want to and do whatever we want to.
I’ve noticed the Christian trend is often saying we ought to remain single if we can “control ourselves”.
Extremes are not the answer. We are designed to be tied together by Christ with one person and through that relationship, God will smooth our rough edges, teach us how to truly love, and as a team the three of you (Yourself, your spouse and Christ) can accomplish amazing things for His Kingdom.
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.
The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
The Bible is packed with verses about marriage, speaking about it’s benefits, spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. Why we’ve taken one section in 1 Corinthians 7 and made it into this false ideal. Paul was given a very unique calling in which he couldn’t have been married. His purpose on this earth was fantastic, but full of pain and strife that a marriage just didn’t fit. God is merciful. Paul was given the gift of singleness (read “He no longer had a strong desire for a marriage relationship). Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9:
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(Note: “Widows” in that era were women no longer of childbearing age whose husbands died and were given the job of guiding younger women and being prayer warriors for the church. They had a very important roll in the church family. However, girls widowed while young were not to be cared for by the church, but were to remarry. If you doubt this, do some research about Hebrew culture at this time.)
Later in verses 25-40 he explains his view on this further, and a if you remember to read this in context with what was happening to the Christian church at the time, you will begin to see a new perspective. He begins with this:
Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
When you look back historically, the church was under attack. Christian men and women were in the midst of a different era. If you couldn’t control your lust, then get married, otherwise spread God’s word and try not to get martyred. Not a quote obviously, but that’s basically what it boils down to. If a man is asked to denounce Christ or be burnt at the stake, he can take that upon himself and ask God for the strength to hold out. But if a man is told to renounce Christ or watch his wife be burned… That is a whole different level of pain.
Paul mentions that a married man or woman’s interests are divided between God and their spouse, and that is true. However, living in such a way that you love your spouse with a Christlike love is one of the best ways to grow in righteousness. Concerning yourself with your spouses well being humbles you. Loving your spouse is a ministry. Not just to their heart, but in the hearts of those who see this love being played out. Learning to appreciate God’s design of your spouse is an experience of worship.
When I read 1 Corinthians 7, I see a highly misunderstood letter that is filled with wisdom primarily directed at those who originally received it. The church members in Corinth. It must be understood in the context of it’s time. Not that it doesn’t have merit now, those rare few who are given the gift of “singleness” (read, the gift of a lessened desire for a spouse) are more free to focus on certain aspects of God’s Kingdom. A different part of the Kingdom than that which married couples are to tackle together with team work.
If you desire a spouse, but are currently single, odds are some well meaning friend has said to you, “Maybe you are called to/been given the gift of singleness.” Noo. The “gift of singleness” isn’t that you can’t seem to get a date and thus will be single for life. It’s that your desire for a spouse is lessened by God and replaced with a stronger desire for and contentment in Him alone.
Desiring a spouse doesn’t mean God “isn’t enough”, it means God’s plan is meant to be fully realized by the connection and humility you will gain by having a spouse.
I’ve written two other blogs similar to this, feel free to check them out.