As of November 1st, 2019, I am now a married man! I love my wife Elise with all that I am, however, with just over 2 months of experience, I would not call myself an expert. I do often joke however, that I am expert in singleness. Maybe you have heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master something (1.141553 years). Well, I was single for the first 24 years of my life (210,240 hours). Deep down, I desired to be married; desired to share my life with someone more than a cat (mostly because of the language barrier). I was not alone in this desire.
A 2013 Gallup poll found 86% of single, never-married Americans ages 18 to 34 would like to get married someday. I attribute this to the design that God had for us in the garden. Now, with all of the joking about being single, or loneliness that I endured over the years, I am deeply thankful for my time being single. I want to share 2 reflections on this season of life.
#1 Singleness is an outward gift.
In the moment this doesn’t feel like a gift, but that is what Paul calls it. He writes, “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” (1 Cor 7:7). He continues his argument explaining, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife — and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world — how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor 7:32-35).
Paul makes sure to explain right before this passage that it isn’t a sin to be married (as it is part of God’s design for humanity), but his emphasis is: this season of life offers him the freedom to do ministry without being worried about the affairs of the world. He is offered the freedom to come and go when he chooses, do ministry when he chooses, and serve where he chooses without any guilt of neglecting his first ministry, his family. His argument is a practical one. Realistically, the single person has less responsibility at home therefore freeing him or her up to serve with abandon in their church community.
#2 Singleness is an inward gift.
Being single offers you a time to have undivided or undistracted devotion to the Lord as Paul mentions in v. 35. A time to grow in your relationship with God; with your Creator. Being married for only 2 months, my life has gotten much busier (especially trying to plan a wedding before that). But as a single person, do not neglect the time you have for spiritual formation. Serve at your church, but also spend time in the Word. Hang with friends, but also attend a theology class at your church or read a book. You will not regret this!
Ask anyone and they will tell you that it moves from a great season of singleness to another great season of marriage in the blink of an eye! Do not despair if you are single, but at the same time, do not waste your singleness.