How Should We Then Marry? Singleness, marriage, and the church by Betsy Carlson

How Should We Then Marry? Singleness, marriage, and the church by Betsy Carlson

(Link): How Should We Then Marry? Singleness, marriage, and the church by Betsy Carlson

Excerpts:

    Jan 2013

    Even though ours is a good-size church (attendance runs about 400), there aren’t too many singles; and, as in many churches, single women outnumber single men—although that doesn’t mean Christian men don’t consider it difficult finding someone to date, let alone marry.

    Meeting someone at work is an option for some singles, but, of course, the majority of those in a secular workplace are probably unbelievers.

    And while sometimes friends and family will set singles up on a date, if friends and family attend their church and generally know the same people they do, they’re back to square one!

    So, if singles who’d like to marry find it difficult to meet someone at church, what can they do? What should they do? Anything? Nothing?

    And is my friend’s experience as a marriage-minded Christian single an isolated one, or could this conversation have taken place between two believers in the nursery—or at the outreach, music practice, or VBS—at your church?

    If singles who’d like to marry find it difficult to meet someone at church, what can they do? What should they do? Anything? Nothing?

    Counselors like Job’s

    Journalist Julia Duin prompts a similar question in her provocative book Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing and What to Do about It.

    In a chapter called “The Loneliest Number: Why Singles over Thirty-five Are Saying Good-bye,” Duin notes that even while churches promote marriage and family in their teaching, preaching, small-group focus, fellowship, etc., often churchgoing singles who express a desire for marriage are met with a lack of compassion, wisdom, and full-orbed Biblical counsel, which can lead to discouragement.

    For example, marriage-minded singles are often given counsel that while true is also flat, one-dimensional, and without mercy: “Be content”; “Don’t make marriage an idol”; “Jesus is all you need.” Sometimes singles receive counsel from those who, like Job’s counselors, mean well, but speak without knowledge regarding what God is doing in a person’s life, saying things like, “If God wants you to have a spouse, He will bring you one,” or “You’re not married because you want it too much.”

    While people mean well, such “help” is not helpful, often leaving singles feeling frustrated and ashamed of their desire, and leading some to quit seeking counsel at church or date unbelievers or quit church altogether.

    As an example of the counsel that some singles receive, Duin tells the story of a man who sought and prayed for a wife through his 20s, 30s, into his 40s—this man attended several churches through the years, and at each one asked for prayer, help, and counsel from pastors and other leaders regarding marriage.

    But every time, the men whose counsel and prayer he sought discouraged his desire.

    One time he was told to “stop whining,” that if God wanted him to be married He’d bring someone into his life.

    Another time he heard a sermon in which the pastor said that if a person hadn’t married by his or her 40s, “this was God’s calling of celibacy.” The man recounts, “I was rebuked by the elders because, according to them, the Bible says it is better to be single to serve God better. They, obviously, were married, and I didn’t understand, if they felt so strongly about being single, why they themselves weren’t single. When I would ask for prayer, I would get a lecture about being content, and was told I needed to stop focusing on self and serve God better.”

      Why Singles over 35 Are Saying Good-bye

      -Teaching ministries directed toward couples with children
      -Church activities and fellowships that disregard singles
      -Few opportunities for single women to develop ministry gifts
      -An unrealistic expectation that singles have more time for service
      -Few opportunities to find a Christian mate
      -Neglect of those who are divorced
      -Lack of compassion when counseling singles

      — Julia Dunn, Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing and What to Do about It

    Single for a season

    Elisabeth Elliot defines suffering as either “having what you don’t want” or “wanting what you don’t have.” According to that definition, being single when you’d like to be married is a form of suffering—minor, yes.

    But suffering nonetheless.

    When marriage-minded singles open up to other believers and “ask for bread” — share feelings of discouragement, loneliness, and despair in hopes of receiving counsel, prayer, encouragement, and understanding — we cannot give them stones! Christ is not exalted, nor is He glorified.

    Certainly the church works hard to serve many groups well—parents, married couples, students, the elderly, widows and widowers. But what about singles?

    Singleness is optional

    But interestingly, that’s not all that Scripture says on the subject—and that’s where balance is needed in counsel and ministry to singles.

    While Paul recommended singleness on several counts, including that it is good “because of the present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26), that it secures undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:35), that those who are married “will have trouble in the flesh” (1 Corinthians 7:28), and that he believes singles will be happier if they remain as they are (1 Corinthians 7:40), Paul also writes that if singles choose to marry, they have not sinned (1 Corinthians 7:28), that a widow “is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39), and that if the unmarried and widows lack self-control, “let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9).

    In other words, even as Paul recommended his preference for singleness (and yes, he thought that he also had the Spirit of God! 1 Corinthians 7:40), the fullness of the passage teaches that the unmarried have a choice regarding whether they remain single or not.

    There is not a dictate or even a curse on singles in their unmarried state — God has given them freedom and He has given them choice.

    It would seem that as long as marriage-minded singles seek to be wise, submitted, and Biblical in their pursuit of marriage, with a motivation to love God and neighbor, and a desire to glorify God, there is freedom to pursue marriage in right ways: Again, of the widow, Paul wrote, “She is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39).

    Often there is talk of “the gift of singleness,” and among singles there can be a great deal of sanctified navel-gazing to determine whether or not they have this gift. Elisabeth Elliot writes that if you are single today, well then, you have the gift of singleness!

    Biblical scholars differ regarding the meaning of the verse from which the concept of “the gift of singleness” comes (“Each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that,” 1 Corinthians 7:7).

    I believe the context allows for more freedom and choice regarding marriage than many singles (and other believers) might gather from the discussions in Christian circles regarding “the gift of singleness.”

    Even as we serve a sovereign God Whose will is always done (Job 42:2; Daniel 4:35), we also serve a God Who seeks to raise up wise sons and daughters who will glorify Him through submitted, prayerful decision-making.

    While ultimately it is God Who enables a man to find a wife (Proverbs 18:22), still the fact that she is found implies that he was looking—and that she was available and willing to be found!

-Click the link at top of this page to read the rest-

From PART 2 (Link Here):

    Singleness.
    Teach how to Biblically live singly (i.e., like Christ, with wholehearted devotion to God, in contrast to living for self, as the world teaches).

    It’s also important to teach that those who choose to live singly for the sake of caring for “the things of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32) choose well, that they are not “less adult” or incomplete because they are unmarried.

    As an aside, it’s important to remember that godly singles are just as equipped to serve in leadership as married people, that marriage is not a requirement for godliness or leadership, and that to love the singles in church is to treat them with the same esteem as married people.

    Marriage is not a requirement for maturity or full personhood.

    At the same time, it’s important to teach that those who desire and seek marriage to the glory of God also do well. Neither marriage nor singleness is better than the other, for both can be used for His glory.

———————————-
Related posts this blog:

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): How Not to Help All the Single Ladies (excellent article)

(Link): Why Churches Don’t Have Singles Ministries (article)

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Singled Out: How Churches Can Embrace Unmarried Adults by Christena Cleveland

(Link): The Single Journey [Guest Post by Rebecca at another blog]

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Singles and Singlehood Represent God’s Marriage To The Church Not Just Married People / Myths About the Unmarried / Singles and Singles Ministries / False Assumptions Preachers Make About Singles (article)

(Link): Five Things Single Women Hate to Hear

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

(Link): Part 2, The Parable of the Neglected Unmarried – Single – Christian

(Link): Ministering to the Unmarried by Noel Cameron

(Link): 2008 Audio Interview with Julia Duin About Christian Singles

(Link): Older Single Christians And Sex – article by Julia Duin

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

(Link): Gift of Singleness Gift of Celibacy Unbiblical – Those Terms and Teachings Contribute to Fornication / Editorial About Sex Surrogates

2 thoughts on “How Should We Then Marry? Singleness, marriage, and the church by Betsy Carlson”

  1. (I’m re-posting because the 1st time I forgot to check off the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” option 🙂 )
    Singles often get told the following dismissive hurtful cliches:

    1. Stop looking for love and he/she will appear (makes as much sense as stop looking for a job and you’ll get one. Yes, some people will get a job coincidentally around the moment they stop looking for one but it’s not to be turned into a principle to discourage job-seekers)

    2. Be content ( = suck it up. Don’t share your pain. Christians are supposed to be happy-happy-happy all the time. )
    The fact that one doesn’t like a current situation doesn’t mean they’re not content in their salvation.

    3. Better be single than be in a miserable marriage (implying that those are the only two options for that person. Thanks! What about a happy marriage?)

    4. God will not give you a spouse until you no longer desire a spouse (a Christian twist on “If you stop looking for love, you’ll find it.” But there’s no Bible verse that teach that in context)

    5. You don’t need a husband or a wife, all you need is Jesus (= I know what you need better than you do and I’m going to contradict you instead of acknowledging your pain).

    That’s just as cruel as telling an orphan, “You don’t need parents, God is your Father.” There’s practical reasons to need a spouse and parents. I don’t need only Jesus. I need my husband too. Jesus doesn’t give me rides when the roads are snow-covered, but my husband does. I have 100’s of examples why Jesus is not a substitute for a husband, and my husband is not a substitute for Jesus. Both are needed for very different things.

    6. Be careful of making marriage an idol.
    There’s lot of knee-jerk sayings like these that come almost automatically whenever a Christian single express the slightest suffering at being single. But use those sayings for any situation beside marriage and you’ll see how wrong and cruel it is to say them to anyone who expresses pain. Here ares some examples:

    a. Stop taking cancer treatments and you’ll be healed. (same as “stop looking for love and it will happen.” )

    b. I know your child has just been molested, but be content. (like, “I know you’re lonely as a single, but be content.” )

    c. Better be infertile than to have unruly children (Yeah, super encouraging, just like saying, “Better be single than be in a miserable marriage.”)

    d. God will not give you a job until you no longer desire a job. (it’s as illogical as saying, “God will not bless you with a spouse until you stop desiring marriage,” or “it’s when you stop wanting marriage that God will send you a spouse.” )

    e. You don’t need to have a child, all you need is Jesus, be content in your infertility. ( = “You don’t need to have a wife or a husband. All you need is Jesus. Be content in your romantic frustrations, sexual frustrations, and your loneliness.”)

    f. I know your little girl has cancer, but be careful of making her health an idol. Be content. Once you stop desiring her to be cured, she’ll be healed. ( = I know you are lonely, but be careful of making marriage your idol. Once you stop desiring marriage, God will send you a mate.”)

    g. It’s because you’re not content with cancer that God won’t heal you. When you’re content, that’s when the cancer will go away. (= “It’s because you’re not content with singleness that God won’t bless you with marriage. When you’re content, that’s when God will send you a wife or a husband.”)

    I hope people will see how cruel it is to say those things to marriage-minded singles too. It’s totally dismissive of their pain (if they’re in pain, some are, some are not) and of their need for the companionship of a spouse.

    I once witnessed a poor 32-year-old woman crying at my old Bible Study. She wanted to have a husband and children and was simply sharing how hard and painful it was to still be single with her chances of having children decreasing etc.
    Almost the WHOLE group ganged up on her saying hurtful cliches like the ones above. Nobody acknowledged her pain and her right to hurt without feeling guilty about it. Except me. Basically they were telling her that if she was a better Christian (content, loving Jesus more etc.) she wouldn’t be hurting about being single.

    In my twenties I waited for Jesus Christ to bring me a husband. In Christianese, we called that “waiting on the Lord.” From pulpits, blogs, magazines, and books, Christian teachers told singles to be passive about marriage. For everything else we were required to work on our goals, lest we be accused of being lazy

    Any expressed yearning for marriage was met with a contentment lecture, a warning against idolatry, and the patronizing statement, “You don’t need a husband. Jesus is all you need.”

    Well-meaning people often added a verse ripped out of context such as, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
    Implying that the reason you’re single is because you don’t love God enough, and if you delight in the Lord then everything you desire in your heart will be granted, including marriage. But if it’s true how come people don’t quote Psalm 37:4 to parents whose child is dying, or to a husband whose wife is in the terminal stage of cancer?

    “Be encouraged, if you delight enough in God, then your child or spouse will be healed! If they die it’s because you don’t delight enough in Him.”
    But it was okay to use that verse to induce false guilt in singles.

    Since I wasn’t a good Berean, it didn’t occur to me that sayings like, “As soon as you’re content and stop looking for love, that’s when it’ll happen,” were not taught anywhere in the Bible.

    My Christian friends and I were active in ministries, and didn’t date. Many of us even believed in saving kissing for marriage. If we followed these rules God would bring someone perfect for us, in Christianese we called that, “receiving God’s best.” I believed it with all my heart and was offended by anyone who dared challenge it.

    Then one day I turned thirty.
    Turning thirty was a milestone, yet I didn’t worry.
    “Even if I lived on a deserted island, if God wanted me to marry, He would bring a husband to me,” I thought with conviction, mainly because I heard it so many times. The deserted island illustration was meant to encourage singles.
    Encourage them to do what?
    To not do anything to find love and to trust that God would do it.
    But if God brought spouses to everyone He wanted married, how come Abraham had to send his servant on a trip to a far away land to find a wife for his son Isaac in Genesis chapter 24? Wasn’t God big enough to bring Rebekah to Isaac’s doorstep (or tent flap)?

    Of course God was big enough, but He wasn’t obligated to do it. He’s not a dating service or a wife-delivery service, He’s God Almighty.

    If Abraham was like most of the Christians I knew, he would have told his son, “I know you’re getting older, Isaac, but wait on the Lord. We don’t need to do anything to find you a wife. If God wants you to be married He’ll bring the perfect person to you even if you lived on a deserted island. Don’t you have faith that God is big enough to do this for you? Let’s wait another ten or twenty years and see if God brings you a wife. Let’s wait until you die of old age.”

    Fortunately Abraham didn’t peddle unbiblical promises.

    In my experience the irrational deserted island illustration is always applied only to marriage, as if, for some reason, marriage is singled out for attacks disguised as inspirational sayings. I’ve never heard:

    “I know you have cancer, but wait on the Lord. You don’t need to go to the hospital. If God wants you to live He’ll heal you even if you don’t get any treatment of any kind. Don’t you have faith that God is big enough to do this for you? If you seek treatments it means that you’re impatient and that you don’t trust God to heal you in His timing.”

    Or “Why won’t you let your teenage daughter walk through the bad part of town by herself at 2 a.m.? God is her bodyguard. Don’t you have faith that God is big enough to protect her? If you take her safety into your own hands it mean you don’t trust God.”

    I didn’t date. I had endured years of Valentine’s Days wondering when my turn would come. All in the name of not doing anything, in Christianese we called that, “not taking the pen out of God’s hand,” because God was supposed to write my love story. That was yet another unbiblical promise I believed for no other reason that it sounded inspirational. Supposedly I would mess it up for sure if I did anything about my love life, so I was required to do nothing and wait.

    Not only I didn’t end up with God’s best by following these rules, I didn’t even end up with a consolation prize. I ended up with Nothing.

    Those well-meaning authors who wrote books full of unbiblical romantic promises have no idea how life-destroying their false teachings are. Only God knows how many thousands of singles never marry as a result or marry too late to have children.

    There wasn’t anyone safe with whom to discuss loneliness—love starvation was more like it—without being ridiculed or criticized for not being “content in the Lord.” Church people responded to yearning for romantic love by saying, “but God loves you,” as if they didn’t know that I meant the kind of love that the Greek called “Eros,” romantic love, which is not the kind of love God gives nor requires from us.

    Men-hating feminists say, “You don’t need a man,” and feminist Christians agree with them by saying, “You don’t need a husband,” and adding, “you only need Jesus.” Who taught countless Christians to be ashamed of saying, “I need a husband” or “I need a wife” ?

    Here are some more stupid unbiblical lies used against singles in the guise of encouragements:

    “It takes so long because God is preparing the perfect man for you . . .”
    “Stay pure and love Jesus and God will write your love story. Don’t take the pen from His hand. Wait and all your dreams will come true . . .”
    “God is saying, ‘Trust Me my child. I have the perfect man for you and at the right time, I will bring him to you . . .'”
    Empty words. Platitudes. Cliches. As if everybody was entitled to an amazing mate. None of this was written in the Bible but they were such popular tropes that singles like me believed because it gave us hope and an excuse to do nothing.

    One day I woke up and realized that these were all lies not found in the Bible, that I mistook men’s traditions for biblical truth. That’s when I pursued marriage the same methodical systematic way I pursue employment when I’m job-seeking. I was very pro-active and deliberate, just like I was looking for a job. I found my wonderful godly husband a few months afterward.

    Waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean doing nothing (that’s laziness). We’re to do EVERYTHING we can within the bounds of biblical morality, and then leave the RESULTS up to God.

    But to just wait and expect something (marriage, weight loss, or anything else) is like not working and expecting God to throw money at you from Heaven. See http://thegiftofsingleness.blogspot.com/2007/12/more-waiting-on-lord.html

  2. Singles often get told the following dismissive hurtful cliches:

    1. Stop looking for love and he/she will appear (makes as much sense as stop looking for a job and you’ll get one. Yes, some people will get a job coincidentally around the moment they stop looking for one but it’s not to be turned into a principle to discourage job-seekers)

    2. Be content ( = suck it up. Don’t share your pain. Christians are supposed to be happy-happy-happy all the time. )
    The fact that one doesn’t like a current situation doesn’t mean they’re not content in their salvation.

    3. Better be single than be in a miserable marriage (implying that those are the only two options for that person. Thanks! What about a happy marriage?)

    4. God will not give you a spouse until you no longer desire a spouse (a Christian twist on “If you stop looking for love, you’ll find it.” But there’s no Bible verse that teach that in context)

    5. You don’t need a husband or a wife, all you need is Jesus (= I know what you need better than you do and I’m going to contradict you instead of acknowledging your pain).

    That’s just as cruel as telling an orphan, “You don’t need parents, God is your Father.” There’s practical reasons to need a spouse and parents. I don’t need only Jesus. I need my husband too. Jesus doesn’t give me rides when the roads are snow-covered, but my husband does. I have 100’s of examples why Jesus is not a substitute for a husband, and my husband is not a substitute for Jesus. Both are needed for very different things.

    6. Be careful of making marriage an idol.
    There’s lot of knee-jerk sayings like these that come almost automatically whenever a Christian single express the slightest suffering at being single. But use those sayings for any situation beside marriage and you’ll see how wrong and cruel it is to say them to anyone who expresses pain. Here ares some examples:

    a. Stop taking cancer treatments and you’ll be healed. (same as “stop looking for love and it will happen.” )

    b. I know your child has just been molested, but be content. (like, “I know you’re lonely as a single, but be content.” )

    c. Better be infertile than to have unruly children (Yeah, super encouraging, just like saying, “Better be single than be in a miserable marriage.”)

    d. God will not give you a job until you no longer desire a job. (it’s as illogical as saying, “God will not bless you with a spouse until you stop desiring marriage,” or “it’s when you stop wanting marriage that God will send you a spouse.” )

    e. You don’t need to have a child, all you need is Jesus, be content in your infertility. ( = “You don’t need to have a wife or a husband. All you need is Jesus. Be content in your romantic frustrations, sexual frustrations, and your loneliness.”)

    f. I know your little girl has cancer, but be careful of making her health an idol. Be content. Once you stop desiring her to be cured, she’ll be healed. ( = I know you are lonely, but be careful of making marriage your idol. Once you stop desiring marriage, God will send you a mate.”)

    g. It’s because you’re not content with cancer that God won’t heal you. When you’re content, that’s when the cancer will go away. (= “It’s because you’re not content with singleness that God won’t bless you with marriage. When you’re content, that’s when God will send you a wife or a husband.”)

    I hope people will see how cruel it is to say those things to marriage-minded singles too. It’s totally dismissive of their pain (if they’re in pain, some are, some are not) and of their need for the companionship of a spouse.

    I once witnessed a poor 32-year-old woman crying at my old Bible Study. She wanted to have a husband and children and was simply sharing how hard and painful it was to still be single with her chances of having children decreasing etc.
    Almost the WHOLE group ganged up on her saying hurtful cliches like the ones above. Nobody acknowledged her pain and her right to hurt without feeling guilty about it. Except me. Basically they were telling her that if she was a better Christian (content, loving Jesus more etc.) she wouldn’t be hurting about being single.

    In my twenties I waited for Jesus Christ to bring me a husband. In Christianese, we called that “waiting on the Lord.” From pulpits, blogs, magazines, and books, Christian teachers told singles to be passive about marriage. For everything else we were required to work on our goals, lest we be accused of being lazy

    Any expressed yearning for marriage was met with a contentment lecture, a warning against idolatry, and the patronizing statement, “You don’t need a husband. Jesus is all you need.”

    Well-meaning people often added a verse ripped out of context such as, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
    Implying that the reason you’re single is because you don’t love God enough, and if you delight in the Lord then everything you desire in your heart will be granted, including marriage. But if it’s true how come people don’t quote Psalm 37:4 to parents whose child is dying, or to a husband whose wife is in the terminal stage of cancer?

    “Be encouraged, if you delight enough in God, then your child or spouse will be healed! If they die it’s because you don’t delight enough in Him.”
    But it was okay to use that verse to induce false guilt in singles.

    Since I wasn’t a good Berean, it didn’t occur to me that sayings like, “As soon as you’re content and stop looking for love, that’s when it’ll happen,” were not taught anywhere in the Bible.

    My Christian friends and I were active in ministries, and didn’t date. Many of us even believed in saving kissing for marriage. If we followed these rules God would bring someone perfect for us, in Christianese we called that, “receiving God’s best.” I believed it with all my heart and was offended by anyone who dared challenge it.

    Then one day I turned thirty.
    Turning thirty was a milestone, yet I didn’t worry.
    “Even if I lived on a deserted island, if God wanted me to marry, He would bring a husband to me,” I thought with conviction, mainly because I heard it so many times. The deserted island illustration was meant to encourage singles.
    Encourage them to do what?
    To not do anything to find love and to trust that God would do it.
    But if God brought spouses to everyone He wanted married, how come Abraham had to send his servant on a trip to a far away land to find a wife for his son Isaac in Genesis chapter 24? Wasn’t God big enough to bring Rebekah to Isaac’s doorstep (or tent flap)?

    Of course God was big enough, but He wasn’t obligated to do it. He’s not a dating service or a wife-delivery service, He’s God Almighty.

    If Abraham was like most of the Christians I knew, he would have told his son, “I know you’re getting older, Isaac, but wait on the Lord. We don’t need to do anything to find you a wife. If God wants you to be married He’ll bring the perfect person to you even if you lived on a deserted island. Don’t you have faith that God is big enough to do this for you? Let’s wait another ten or twenty years and see if God brings you a wife. Let’s wait until you die of old age.”

    Fortunately Abraham didn’t peddle unbiblical promises.

    In my experience the irrational deserted island illustration is always applied only to marriage, as if, for some reason, marriage is singled out for attacks disguised as inspirational sayings. I’ve never heard:

    “I know you have cancer, but wait on the Lord. You don’t need to go to the hospital. If God wants you to live He’ll heal you even if you don’t get any treatment of any kind. Don’t you have faith that God is big enough to do this for you? If you seek treatments it means that you’re impatient and that you don’t trust God to heal you in His timing.”

    Or “Why won’t you let your teenage daughter walk through the bad part of town by herself at 2 a.m.? God is her bodyguard. Don’t you have faith that God is big enough to protect her? If you take her safety into your own hands it mean you don’t trust God.”

    I didn’t date. I had endured years of Valentine’s Days wondering when my turn would come. All in the name of not doing anything, in Christianese we called that, “not taking the pen out of God’s hand,” because God was supposed to write my love story. That was yet another unbiblical promise I believed for no other reason that it sounded inspirational. Supposedly I would mess it up for sure if I did anything about my love life, so I was required to do nothing and wait.

    Not only I didn’t end up with God’s best by following these rules, I didn’t even end up with a consolation prize. I ended up with Nothing.

    Those well-meaning authors who wrote books full of unbiblical romantic promises have no idea how life-destroying their false teachings are. Only God knows how many thousands of singles never marry as a result or marry too late to have children.

    There wasn’t anyone safe with whom to discuss loneliness—love starvation was more like it—without being ridiculed or criticized for not being “content in the Lord.” Church people responded to yearning for romantic love by saying, “but God loves you,” as if they didn’t know that I meant the kind of love that the Greek called “Eros,” romantic love, which is not the kind of love God gives nor requires from us.

    Men-hating feminists say, “You don’t need a man,” and feminist Christians agree with them by saying, “You don’t need a husband,” and adding, “you only need Jesus.” Who taught countless Christians to be ashamed of saying, “I need a husband” or “I need a wife” ?

    Here are some more stupid unbiblical lies used against singles in the guise of encouragements:

    “It takes so long because God is preparing the perfect man for you . . .”
    “Stay pure and love Jesus and God will write your love story. Don’t take the pen from His hand. Wait and all your dreams will come true . . .”
    “God is saying, ‘Trust Me my child. I have the perfect man for you and at the right time, I will bring him to you . . .'”
    Empty words. Platitudes. Cliches. As if everybody was entitled to an amazing mate. None of this was written in the Bible but they were such popular tropes that singles like me believed because it gave us hope and an excuse to do nothing.

    One day I woke up and realized that these were all lies not found in the Bible, that I mistook men’s traditions for biblical truth. That’s when I pursued marriage the same methodical systematic way I pursue employment when I’m job-seeking. I was very pro-active and deliberate, just like I was looking for a job. I found my wonderful godly husband a few months afterward.

    Waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean doing nothing (that’s laziness). We’re to do EVERYTHING we can within the bounds of biblical morality, and then leave the RESULTS up to God.

    But to just wait and expect something (marriage, weight loss, or anything else) is like not working and expecting God to throw money at you from Heaven. See http://thegiftofsingleness.blogspot.com/2007/12/more-waiting-on-lord.html

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