One thing I hate when it comes to talking about singleness is the assumptions – well, actually, just one assumption that lurks behind ideas that singles are miserable and pinning away, waiting for some knight in shining armour to free us from this horrid state of unmarried-ness or that we are super-Christians who never long or lust. The bothersome assumption behind these ideas is that singleness isn’t a good gift to be celebrated and cherished and used for as long as it lasts, whether that is for months, years, or a lifetime.

I want singles to fight for their singleness – fight to enjoy it, to use it wisely, to let it point them to the Bridegroom, Who nourishes, cherishes and “loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (see Eph. 5:25-27). I pray they’d hear the vows of love God makes to His people and that those words would thrill their hearts:

And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ […] And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. (Hosea 2:16-20)

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jer 31:3)

…whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. (John 6:37)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39)

In Jesus, every believer, married or not, finds their true heart’s satisfaction: Someone who sees them as they are and chooses to love them anyways; Someone who lived the life they could not, died the death they should have, and rose from the dead to offer forgiveness, meaning, love, and life. Oh, for grace to comprehend but a glimpse of the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ and to love Him in return. I pray that we would have the grace to turn to God with every heartbreak, disappointment, feeling of loneliness or rejection and find a faithful Friend who loves us and invites us to cast our cares upon Him.

I hope that teachers and preachers celebrate and even encourage singleness – that they challenge singles to consider the unique opportunities that an unmarried life can offer them (1 Cor 7), if only for a season.

I pray that singles know and feel (by the help of the local church) that to be unmarried is not to be alone.

I know that what I am asking isn’t easy. When the disciples heard Jesus’ teaching, they figured it must be better not to marry. Jesus had an intriguing response:

Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. (Matthew 19:10-12)

Benson’s commentary on this passage was very helpful to me:

The gift of continence is given to three sorts of persons: 1st, To some by natural constitution, without their choice. 2d, To some by the violence of men, against their choice: and, 3d, To others by grace, with their choice; who steadily withstand their natural inclinations, that they may wait upon God without distraction, and may glorify him in a single life, judging it to be a state more free from worldly cares, and more friendly to devotion, than that of marriage. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it — He that has this gift, in any of these ways, whether by natural constitution and disposition; or by the injury of human force used upon him, rendering him incapable of the matrimonial union; or by an ardent desire of promoting the interests of religion, animating him to subdue his natural appetite, and enabling him to live in voluntary chastity, unencumbered with secular concerns…

I am a 28-year-old single woman. That has been my choice. Have pride and fear been factors? Yes, and God is still working on those. But I also believe Paul when he said it was better (1 Cor 7:38). Now, this was said to a specific church in specific times, and so I may one day accept the other good gift of marriage. But for now, the perfectionist in me strives to embrace the “better” gift of singleness, since that is the gift I have right now.

Perhaps that is the gift, wanted or not, that you have right now too? Some days, choosing to embrace this gift is easier than others. Just because singleness is the default does not mean it is to be embraced passively. No, we must be intentional.

We must fight for purity in mind and body.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
   By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
   that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)

Paul says, “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.” (1 Cor 7:34). Is that true of me? Of you? Am I concerned about the things of the Lord? Am I busy serving Him in unique and various ways? Or am I thinking that my time is my own because I am not bound to a family?

Matthew Henry notes that Paul “exhorts all Christians to holy indifference toward the world […] That condition of life is best for every man, which is best for his soul, and keeps him most clear of the cares and snares of the world.” We all have gifts – the gift of singleness only one of many. Are we using our gifts to the best of our ability with undivided devotion, all to His glory? Lord, help me do so.

So, if a God-fearing, preferably handsome, compatibly-quirky man comes along and I find it is time to exchange the gift of singleness (a gift that shows the sufficiency of the gospel) for the gift of marriage (a gift that is a symbol of the gospel), good; I will thank the Lord. But if that day never comes, good, maybe even better, and I will still thank the Lord. Because in the end, we are all single (Matt 22:30) and we are the Bride of Christ. After all:

Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

About the Author

Anna Garas is a high school science and English teacher. She is currently working towards getting her counselling qualifications. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, telling them funny stories or having deep conversations. She loves adventures, especially in beautiful places. In terms of ministry, she has a passion for youth and missions, waiting for the day when there are no more unreached people groups; she also longs to see the abolition of human trafficking.