Sunday, June 23, 2013

the "problem" of singleness

We enjoy the Ludys writings very much. We were also blessed to hear both Eric & Leslie speak at our home school convention last year. They're love story is fascinating; both came from sinful backgrounds, Eric more so, yet the work the  Lord has done in both of their lives & the love story He has written for them is beyond beautiful. Our God, the God of the Bible is the God of restoration, I believe this. He can bring 2 broken people together & form a beauty no man can attain apart from Christ. Well, enough of that, I can go on & on! 

Quick reminder: I share articles here on my blog, but may or may not always agree with every bit therein. I post agreeing with most, but there are always a few things I would strongly disagree with. Searching the web for articles on relationships & young ladies can be challenging. There are so many different perspectives out there, some true through & through & some with very little truth. So please, when reading, use discernment & discretion. I dont always agree with doctrines of the writer themselves either. Im just putting stuff  out there to gleen from. The Word of God is the only true source we can live by. After all, this is a fallen world & we live in a fallen state. What I post is not always necessarily my view :)

The “Problem” of Singleness
I am currently a college sophomore and have never been in a serious relationship with a guy. In high school I prayed that God would "write my love story,” but it’s often been a difficult commitment to keep. I feel uncomfortable by the fact that our culture (even Christian culture) praises relationships tremendously. When someone gets a boyfriend or even a date, they are praised and congratulated to no end, but Christ-centered singleness is rarely applauded. Most Christians I encounter give me the message that one day God will put a husband in my life – as if that is the ultimate meaning to my life. I do want a Christ-centered relationship someday, but I want to be treated as equal whether I am single or in a relationship. How do I address these well-meaning people without sounding like a prude, or jealous of not having a man in my life? Am I being selfish because I am tired of others getting praised while I sit on my lonely bench of singleness?
Leslie's Response:

This is a bleak irony that countless Christian single women face. They struggle daily with surrendering their dreams for marriage back to God and being content with singleness. They come to church hoping to find love, support, and encouragement – but often the very people who should be cheering them on in their life of abandonment to Christ are the ones who overlook or disregard them because they are not married yet. 

I’ve heard many single young women say that being around Christians only seems to breed discontentment, impatience, and insecurity, rather than joy, inspiration, and strength for the journey. There is no question that modern Christians are insensitive to single young men and women. American Christianity does not typically encourage or support the concept of letting God orchestrate your love story – especially once you are older than twenty-five. At every turn, single girls are invited to Christian singles groups where they can meet available men, or told about online Christian dating services where they can be matched with their soulmate, or given books about how to find their perfect prince and become more “dateable.” 

There is endless pressure – both from outside and inside the church – upon single young women to take matters into their own hands when it comes to marriage. Principles such as waiting on God’s perfect timing for marriage, trusting in Him to orchestrate the details of our love story, and finding contentment and purpose in singleness, are not only being questioned by these authors, but openly mocked.

Here’s a quote from the book Getting Serious About Getting Married – Rethinking the Gift of Singleness“The belief that remaining single is legitimate and godly is a work of the devil. Read that again:  Satan dishonors marriage by fooling us into believing that singleness is okay” (p. 43).

The author goes on to commend Calvin’s view of singleness: “…men and women who are not connected in marriage are like the mutilated members of a mangled body” (p. 28).

Wow. Talk about putting pressure on young women to shed the stigma of singleness! According to this author, they have actually been fooled by Satan if they think that their singleness is legitimate and okay! She contends that their singleness is far more than just a stigma – it has actually made them like the mutilated members of a mangled body! If that’s the case, they’d better hurry up and find a husband at all costs, so they can finally be in God’s perfect will and get out of such a horrible pit!   

And sadly, all too many single young women settle for mediocre, self-focused guys because of messages like this one. As my husband Eric says, “If a young woman follows that kind of advice, she’s more than likely going to end up with a total jerk for a husband!”

Rather than being preoccupied with solving the “dilemma” of our singleness, God’s Word says we should be consumed with loving, knowing, serving, and worshiping Jesus Christ.  It may sound impossible to become excited and fulfilled in your singleness, but I guarantee that if you submit your mind, will, emotions, and desires to Christ, He will supernaturally enable you with the joy and peace you need in order to walk this narrow road.

My amazing sister-in-law, Krissy, lived out her single years one day at a time.  When her brother Mark asked her once if she was called to singleness, her response was, “Today I am.”  She didn’t worry about the next ten years; she trusted God for the grace to live joyfully and contentedly for that day alone, knowing that she would have everything she needed.

I’ve encountered many radiant single young women who are completely unconcerned with the disapproval and opinions of others. They don’t get ruffled by the “singles support groups” all around them. They aren’t shaken by the subtle pressure of friends and family members to hurry up and find a guy. Why? Because they understand that their bodies are living sacrifices to the King of all kings. They have become the bond-slaves of Christ. They are ravished and captivated by their soul’s Husband.

The more you become fervently in love with Jesus Christ, the less you will be concerned with what other people think, as your eyes are seeking only the applause of heaven.  And, like Christ, you learn to approach every circumstance in life with the knowledge that your heavenly Father is handling the situation. Your role is not to manipulate or control – your role is merely to yield fully to Him. There is great joy in this abandoned life, so much so that you will be able to truly embrace singleness as a gift, rather than resenting it as a stigma.

I’m not talking about an arrogant feministic, “I don’t need a man in my life” kind of attitude. And I’m not talking about losing all desire for marriage and family. I’m simply talking about a joyful yielding to Jesus Christ, trusting in His perfect timing, and building your life and focus around Him rather than the pursuit of marriage.

Don’t take the advice of the modern Christian culture to “hurry up and get married already.” Don’t be riled by the insensitivity of friends and family.  Take the advice of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, and discover the incredible opportunity awaiting you in your singleness – whether for a season or for a lifetime.  

And remember that He is enough.

If you need a little extra encouragement for the boundless frontier that singleness can provide, just read the stories of some amazing single women who radically transformed this world for the kingdom of God. Here are some of my favorites:

Gladys Aylward – Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman by Gladys Aylward and Christine Hunter
Jackie Pullinger – Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger 
Amy Carmichael – A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
Corrie ten Boom – The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom


  1. Oh wow. What a beautiful article. Eric and Leslie must be very gifted--my sister read a couple of their books, but I haven't. But it seems like everybody really likes them :) It'll be interesting to see what they have to say.

  2. Before even reading this entire article I have to say--that first paragraph is EXACTLY why I so detest Christian singles groups and dating sites. I know with my whole heart that God is capable of bringing me a husband, and while I believe in being active in my community (aka, homeschool/Christian circles,)I feel strongly that singles sites are desperation; they show a lack of faith. I've been harassed a bit for that view, but really, if we're honest with ourselves. . .what is the point of dating sites? The online world has made commitments and relationships nearly impossible--there are countless girls and guys out there to examine, "play with", and drool over. No commitment needed. To make myself clear--there is NOTHING wrong with putting oneself "out there". Never promoting or advertising, but socializing is perfectly acceptable. My point? I see no use in scoring the internet for potential spouses, and yes, that includes (especially!) dating sites. Can the internet be used as a tool? Absolutely, especially in long distance cases. HOWEVER I serve a God that is bigger than "Christian Mingle". Yes, He can use anything, and YES, there have been successful marriages from singles sites, but--there is something so beautiful, so pure, so special. . .about just waiting. Be active. Don't be afraid of guys. Stay guarded. Not judging anyone who uses Christian dating sites, but personally, they aren't for me.

    Wow. I just really went off on a rabbit trail. :P Anyway, my two cents.

  3. Hmm. Hmm. Ok, read some more. Leslie touched on another important subject--ladies falling for just *anyone*, and like Eric said, marrying a total jerk. :P Personally, I wouldn't say the "pressure" put on women is the problem. It might be, in some cases, but I think its the very romance novels, movies, and even "courtship" books, that are putting on the pressure, and creating silly, naive women. Its interesting to me that often the most "set apart" or "pure" girls are the one who are the most boy crazy. The ones who just "fall" for anyone. Again, like I said in my last comment, not judging, but I feel strongly about these things! ;) (can't tell, of course. :P ) Set apart and pure in the goal--it is exactly what we should be, but the whole concept of "oh my goodness, I can't like that guy. It's lusting!" (aka, "emotional purity,") has made a mess of single Christian girls. The concept is good, right, even, but it's been taken to such an extent, but women AND men, that NO ONE is getting married. Combine that with the internet addiction, and voila! We have a serious problem on our hands.

    1. I agree with you that the romance novels, movies and even some "courtship books" create people with mistaken ideas (I've known men in this category too). My sister, mom and I all "swore off" romance novels years ago. None of us liked the way they were affecting our thinking. And, they do make people have false expectations of an unrealistic "happily ever after" life. In fact, even television and online commercials imply that by using some product our "single problem" will be resolved in 30 seconds. :-P We are literally bombarded with false ideologies about how to attain to "relationship-hood".

      As a woman who was single till she was 38 and having other single women friends who have confided their struggles in me, I have to say the pressure that comes from others can be a serious struggle. Even the most well-meaning people and folks close to us can make it hard by talking and dreaming on our behalf, and not necessarily because they have totally imbibed the fantasy world of "happy endings". Sometimes I know their motivation is honorable, but how they deal with it is hurtful to the single person. Even insisting on praying with a single person about "their problem" can be hurtful. (I recommend closet praying for this!)

      A friend of mine says something like this, "When someone is bulldozing other Christians while trying to do God's work, you can be sure they either are not doing God's will, or they are doing it in the wrong way." I think this is true of some "helpful" souls who "just want to help" Christian singles. Having been through all that myself, I have pretty strong opinions on the subject, as you might guess. ;-)

    2. I believe you hit the nail on the head here Michael when it comes to the heart of the problem! Reading romance novels, movies and listening to romantic songs (even Christian ones) all the times rather than spending time studying the Bible and it's principles and living it out is the problem. It's the mind set of a person that effects their actions and it comes down to whether your mindset is continually on Christ or on our own desires (that are granted God given). This isn't just a problem with women either, I too have found myself dwelling too much on the relationships that *could be* God's will instead of focusing on God and how I can be a vessel of honor for him and in His timing a strong leader for my family!

      Totally agree with the singles group and online dating thing. I've personally been apart of the online thing for a short period of time...and can see the MANY faults in it, the #1 being a lack of commitment.
      The singles group thing is something I've never been a part of and have actually thought about starting a singles group at my church but one that prepares singles to become a godly husband/wife, to focus on Christ and to be an encouragement to each other much like this blog. It would not be about finding someone in the group to marry (not saying that God couldn't use it in that way though).

    3. The one problem I have with the idea of starting a singles group like this is I'm not really qualified to lead such a group. Anyways, that's getting off topic now...

  4. Annnnddd. . .all that to say, great article! :P Sorry for jamming your comment section. I'm done now. ^_^

  5. This was an unusually good article. I was single till I was 38. In case anyone wonders - that was a long time - lots of opportunity for struggling with contentment! :-) I also know how it is to be pushed by others towards marriage and to have it implied that you are not willing to marry or you wouldn't still be single. It can really hurt! Such thinking in fellow believers is really frustrating!

    But, God was gracious and faithful to me. My husband is 6 years younger than I am, so there was no way we could've married when I was "young". Also, he was not on the same wavelength with my family till sometime in 2000. So, God kept me single and kept me for the husband that He was preparing for me. (He also kept my future husband for me, thankfully!) I am SO GLAD I waited. I can not be thankful enough for that, nor for how the Lord has blessed me in our marriage. Yes, being single to the glory of God is hard - it is VERY hard - but, it is so worth it in the end to wait on Him - whether He wants you married or not.

    When I look back and think about some of the guys I could have possibly convinced to marry me, I am so thankful that I followed the Lord's plan instead. Even had I remained single, it would have been far better than some of those marriages would have ended up. From this distance I have a lot more knowledge of those men than I did when I first knew them because of how they've ended up. It is scary to think where I could've been today with some of them!! Thank God that we are allowed to remain single and wait on Him!

    1 Corinthians 7:32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

  6. Long comment comming.... =)

    Very interesting article, I agree with a lot of the points! There IS a lot of pressure both from friends, the world, family, the church, etc. for girls to be in a relationship, and if you're not, then something is "wrong" with you. Not at all! If you're where God wants you to be, then you're exactly where you should be in that time in your life. It doesn't mean God doesn't want you to marry, but it just may not be right now. Just like the books listed, all of those ladies lived their single lives for the Lord, and while I'm sure more than one of them would have liked to have been married, they didn't let the pressures of the world, family or friends make them cave and marry just so they could be married ( which is NOT a good reason to get married!)If they had married, who knows if they would have impacted the lives they did? You just never know what God might have in store for you if you are open to His plan, whether that is in a state of marriage or singleness.

    It is sad that so many girls feel such pressure to be married, especially from the very people who should be encouraging them the most. Yes, marriage is a blessed state, but so is singleness if used rightly, so girls should never be made to feel like something is "wrong" with them, or that they aren't doing what they should because they aren't married or in a relationship. I guess it's something for us girls to think about, should we be married and have daughters, to make sure we are encouraging them to just wait on God and serve Him, and that He WILL provide marriage for them if that is in His plan for them.

  7. Thank you for posting this article Mrs. F, it's very good and gives balance to those idea that we a Christians are being inactive in getting married with is also part of the problem. I would say the ultimate problem is that many Christian parents today are not preparing their children for marriage and it's not until they are in their late teens or twenties that they actually start the process of developing the character needed to be a godly husband/wife. I know God has personally been showing me how I have LOT of growing and maturing to do to be a godly husband. I believe a lot of young people are not married because either they or their spouse to be is not prepared for marriage yet...and God is the one that determines when they are prepared. Of course there are many other factors too, God does have some marry late in life because he wants to use them in other ways first.

    1. P.S. My above comment is mainly speaking in respect to Christian young men.

  8. The problem is that we live in a world that idolizes marriage. Christ centered singleness is not regarded as a legitimate lifestyle. And most churches today don't even have a singles ministry.

  9. Hi John, I would disagree that our world idolizes marriage basically because of the break down of the family unit & that the single population is up there. In my opinion, & again just my opinion, I think today to be a single in our society is looked favorably upon. Nothing wrong with singleness btw ;) I do agree that the churches do not minister to singles enough.