I recently read an article entitled “Oh, for Single’s Sake,” written by a girl called Tamara. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to blog a response.
The author of this article makes several great points about singleness that are worth touching on. The first point is about our assumptions regarding marriage.
I have witnessed a teaching in our society and in many churches where marriage is held to be the ideal attainment, in terms of both social status and personal happiness. At the risk of being countercultural, I would like to challenge the underpinning assumptions of this teaching.
There seems to be a gross assumption in our culture about marriage leading to happiness. While some marriages are wonderful blessings, unfortunately we know that not all marriages are as blissfully straightforward as that.
Marriage often requires work and re-work, as we discover how to serve someone beside ourselves. It’s an ongoing challenge, one that can sadly end in heartache. Some folk prefer to do without this challenge in the first place.
There is an implicit secondary assumption that the state of being unmarried is an unhappy one. We know however that this is not always the case. Some Christian singles are largely content and not walking depressives, contrary to popular belief. Such singles may not be eager to give up this contentment. As Tamara’s article points out, singleness brings many undeniable blessings.
I think it is a mistake to assume that singles are unhappy and that marriage is right for everyone. I think it is also unhelpful to suggest that singles cannot be content the way they are.
This leads me to my second point. We are on dangerous ground when we imply that our true identity can be found in marriage, or in singleness, or indeed anywhere other than in Christ. That is where our real sense of worth lies: in our capacity to love and live for Christ. Surely our self-sacrifice, obedience and generosity matter more to God than our marital status.
May we show God’s love to one another, married and single alike, by shelving our assumptions and respecting each other for who we are (not who we are married to). May we show love by including those who are single and by empowering them to serve Christ just as they are. Most of all, may we truly remember our worth in Christ.
My hope for the Church is that we stay focused on doing the work He has put before us, not bowing to society’s pressure to pursue romantic relationships. The more concerned we are with “achieving” marriage, the more we run the risk of missing out on what God wants for us.
God may have marriage in His plans for us, but He probably has other work for us as well. Jesus spent far more time talking about loving sinners than He did about marriage. Let’s keep the main thing front and centre.
The world idolizes dating and romance. Like any idol, relationships can become more important than living for Christ. That’s when we know we’ve got our values out of balance. If something other than Christ has taken greatest prominence in our lives, we need to repent and call on God’s grace to make us new.
Let us not be so concerned with whether we measure up to society’s version of success. Let us be getting on with God’s work, with our eyes fixed upon eternity.
To read the full article by Tamara, click here.