You know how the narrative of singleness goes.
“Don’t worry, your perfect person is out there!”
“You’ll find your other half one day!”
“There’s someone perfect for you!”
And I would just like to go on the record as saying that I call BS on that narrative.
For some reason, especially in the Church, we have grown accustomed to the idea that marriage is where out ministry as believers begins. And don’t forget about the way society treats singleness, too—it’s like a disease sometimes. It seems like everything looks down on singleness.
But what if you don’t get married? What if I don’t get married? Does that make me less valuable in the Kingdom?
Actually no—just the opposite. Paul makes it pretty clear that concentrated focus on God is best left to those without a romantic partner because with one you can’t focus solely on God. And I’m not saying this to demonize dating and marriage—they’re important, and marriage and having children is actually commanded of us by God. Marriage is so, so important—but it is not everything.
Both singleness and marriage give us unique opportunities for ministering in the world. But for some reason or another, we have idolized relationships to a point that without one, both in society and sometimes, unfortunately, among other believers, it is as if your life revolves around this “sad story” or that you are almost less of a person because “Why doesn’t anyone like meeee?!” (Please literally never say this.)
We have whittled our worth down to a ring—which is funny because I’m pretty sure our worth was marked with the shape of a cross, not a wedding band.
When we spend all of our time focusing on our relationship or wishing we were in one, we disvalue the things God is doing that have nothing to do with romance at all!
We need to stop looking at singleness as a season—no one looks at marriage as a season—because it is ridiculous to try and squeeze anywhere from 6 months to 10 to 20 years of any given person’s life under one title. We devalue ours and others’ stories by defining our lives solely by our relationship status.
Never in my life have a looked at a married couple and thought, “They’re in a season of marriage.” That would be ridiculous because marriage is a covenant. On the same vein, looking at a single person and saying “This too shall pass” is a huge oversight on the many other things God is probably doing in that person’s life.
Singleness is not a curse, and marriage is not an insurmountable blessing that everyone is just dying to have. Singleness is often a blessing, and it comes with opportunities to minister in ways that people cannot if they are married.
There isn’t a “perfect person” out there for everyone who’s single because the Perfect Person people keep promising is already ours—or have we forgotten about Jesus being our Wholeness and Completing Identity, not another imperfect person?
If we have the wrong idea about where our value lies and who defines us, then a relationship is often going to be a lot more difficult and damaging than singleness would be. Because our lives don’t revolve around whether or not we are in a relationship, but in whether or not we are being sensitive to the voice of God toward us. Our value doesn’t change or fluctuate based on our relationship status, but our obedience or disobedience to God might.
Singleness is not a stigma and marriage is not an ideal—we are all just trying to live into what God has called us to, and it looks different from person to person.
Relationships are often wonderful, singleness is often wonderful, and we don’t have to constantly be battling the significance of one status over the other. Both bring significant value into the Kingdom, and we cannot have one without the other—there is mutual support and teamwork between the Kingdom work of marriage relationships and single believers.
And our relationship status may change, but our value will not.