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For the Suffering Single: How to Live the Single Life with Success
There are more singles today than ever before in history. People are single for various reasons, many of which are no fault of their own, such as divorce and widowhood. Others are single because they want to be. It’s a life they’ve purposed and chosen. However, there is another population of singles who are suffering miserably, who never wanted to be and never planned to be. And if that is the category that fits you, this post has your name on it – male and female alike.
I’d like to speak candidly to this topic, as one who has experienced it myself. We’re going to cover some difficult content, and by the end of this post I endeavor to give you the hope you need so you can see beyond your single status and live your life with purpose. This is a compassionate post which I pray offers comfort. This is a difficult topic, and it’s one that needs to be addressed. All of us have single people in our lives whom we love, and if we’re going to relate to them and understand their unique struggles, this post will certainly help. So if you’re married, this post is for you as well.
Everyone lives their single life differently. As Christians, we are called to live a holy life unto God, and that is the perspective from which this post is written.
The holidays are here, which have a way of exacerbating the pain of the “single status” adult. They have a manner of magnifying our “singleness” when there are so many others celebrating together. Sometimes it’s hard for singles to fit because it’s such an intimate and romantic time of year (Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day being the majors). We meander through the house filled with couples and we can feel awkward. It can hurt when you have no one to take to a party, a family gathering, or a New Year’s celebration. As for that New Year’s kiss – kiss it good-bye. I know exactly what it’s like to stand alone amid music and fireworks while everyone is lip-locked for that first minute with their beloved. If you’re single, it’s likely that you know exactly what I’m talking about. As for Valentine’s Day, it can be an extraordinarily painful time that for many spells “unwanted” and “rejected”. That moment (and many others like them) is not only extraordinarily painful, but it can also be very embarrassing.
It’s moments like these that make being single acutely miserable and horribly awkward. The pain of being single is very unique, and it’s often very hidden beneath little things that happen throughout daily life that married people never encounter and to which they cannot relate. It’s a pain that is very overlooked, very misunderstood, and very much neglected.
There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken, (Ecclesiastes 4:8-12, KJV).
Let’s lay the groundwork for this topic. Despite the differences in each individual’s single life, there are some basic commonalities. Below are some very general examples for those of you who may wonder why being single can be so painful or difficult:
1. Relationship Dynamics
First, relationships often transition from being intimate to more superficial once family and friends marry, and the mature intimacy the soul longs for in a mate is simply not afforded through friendships. Therefore, intimacy for the single adult cannot and does not graduate beyond friendship (unless there is a prospective spouse).
With age, relationship dynamics change drastically, especially once family and friends marry. The rift widens. Single friends are harder to find, and if you have them, they are often younger. Finding singles with whom you can appropriately relate who are in your age group can be a challenge. Although you may have married friends, those friendships are often limited by their obligations to family:
a.) Times together are not as intimate, because there is a spouse and children involved
b.) They are not as long because there are obligations to fulfill.
c.) They are not as frequent, because there are priorities to tend.
d.) And sadly they are not as close, because time is not afforded to bond as deeply.
Living alone can be too much isolation, especially for personalities that require more social activity. This is where roommates and pets come into play.
Second, singles become love-starved — emotionally, verbally, and physically. Quite simply, life goes without necessary affection or touch (in all its forms).
As a mature adult you’re not looking for hugs. The deep intimacy and oneness (both emotional and physical) provided through marriage is what the soul genuinely craves. You very literally live without being touched, and if you are touched it’s very brief and superficial. It’s not the nourishing and deep affection afforded within a wholesome and healthy marriage.
When you live alone you come home everyday with no one to greet you by name, ask how your day has been, or smile into your face because they missed you. The the reward of coming home to a family who loves you, and going to bed with nourishing love and affection are not a reality for the single adult. This is not merely physical — it’s an acute starvation of soul. The oneness of a soul-mate that is found within a spouse with whom you can share and relate safely is simply not afforded. In short, you eat, sleep, and live alone. Filling that void in a healthy way can be challenging for even the most resolved and committed Christian. For single Christians who are not mature or strong in their resolve, finding someone who cares for them even remotely can be too much temptation to resist when it comes to sexual sin.
I believe this is why so many single people, Christians included, fall into sin. The desperation and pain that accompanies this lack goes very deep. It is simply too much to be borne. And unless you’ve experienced it, that is something very hard for most to understand, because the pain is both unrelieved and indefinite.
This is why protracted singleness is not good or healthy, and why marriage needs to be strongly advocated for within churches and families.
3. Deafening Silence
There is an excess of silence. Conversation and laughter only happen within social circles.
We are all social animals. However, to differing degrees. And how we go about fulfilling our social lives is diverse. Whether we are introverted or extroverted, we all need a measure of social interaction. Some prefer to be the social butterfly which thrives in crowds. Others prefer one-on-one dates, or smaller social groups. Regardless of your need, there are some common pains among single individuals who live alone.
Conversation and laughter rarely, if ever, happen at home unless you have the means to privately entertain on a regular basis. Again, the dynamics for the single adult are awkward. Friends and family are not always available, which means much of life is deafeningly silent. Therefore emails, phone calls and social media become important verbal outlets.
We are all born to crave the human voice. And if no one is available to see or talk to, that means you talk to God, or you don’t talk at all. As a result you are left alone with your thoughts. Those “conversations” are one-sided and therefore the sound of a human voice in your home is all but nonexistent — unless you turn on the TV. For those who are “television addicts” the dialogue of human voices are what they are vicariously experiencing. This constant background chatter in their home lessens the acuity of their being alone, and offers a very subliminal solace to that innate human need. Turning off the TV is just too “loud”. The silence, is indeed, deafening.
This is just one reason (among many) why social media has taken opportunity among the masses, and why single adults require social activities through church, volunteer work, and other hobbies. If you can entertain, and enjoy doing so, by all means make it a priority. Host a weekly dinner, bible study, or volunteer group.
Case and point: Regular outings with others become vitally important for the single adult — especially those who live alone, or don’t have the means to entertain.
4. Social Limitations
Activities can be limited for both sexes (especially if you’re a woman), or live in a rural or urban area.
Although there are exceptions, there are activities and pastimes that were never meant to be done alone such as boating, hiking, camping, etc. And there may be outings available that you want to engage in only to realize that you can’t find anyone to accompany you. Depending on the area, even going for a walk outside can be risky.
In truth, options are slim for outdoor activities, because there aren’t many that can be done alone safely. Going out to eat, seeing movies, attending concerts, sports events, etc. can be done alone, but these activities are not the pleasure they’re intended to be unless you have company. Sitting at a table eating alone, for some, can be awkward and embarrassing.
For the single adult, trying to find company can be a continual challenge. It is for this reason that meeting a potential spouse becomes difficult. Therefore groups, book clubs, and church or volunteer activities are often the best social options for singles.
However, when churches and other organizations segregate women’s and men’s groups unnecessarily, they are not advocating for marriage. They are hindering it.
5. Lack of Practical Help
Practical helps are sometimes difficult to find.
You either hire it done, borrow your best friend’s husband, ask your neighbor, or do it yourself. And if no one is available, it simply doesn’t get done — or you don’t even go there in the first place. Again, this can be awkward and embarrassing, as moments of true need come at inopportune times.
This is equally true for the male as much as the female. In my early years I cleaned homes for a living as way to do ministry. As a result, I have known many single men who have dreaded the duties of housework. They very literally felt overwhelmed, and rightly so. I cannot blame them. The chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry, bed-making, dusting, vacuuming, ironing office clothes — all among the many other necessary chores of grocery shopping, car washing, yard work and office work was just too much to bear.
As for the female, most of us (not all), are in angst when it comes to changing the oil, cleaning gutters, trimming trees, and trying to maintain the mechanics of a home. We dread it. And although we can learn, we’d much rather have a man around. If you’re one of those super women who can do it all — kudos to you! There are many women who would love your help and company!
These are just a few reasons why many singles rent instead of own. In an attempt to ease our burdens, renting is often the better option.
6. Demands & Delegation
The demands of life are not shared. There is no opportunity to delegate work, bills, chores, and the routine mundane duties of home and life.
Yet these duties do not diminish with being single. They are equally as present, yet more burdensome. Trying to balance everything is difficult simply because there isn’t anyone to share the burden. Although married people have the same demands, and even more individuals for whom they are responsible, there is an opportunity to delegate tasks. That is the difference. For the single individual, you work and come home, only to do more housework. And if you don’t accomplish those tasks yourself, those obligations are not met.
This imbalance creates a stress that can be overwhelming and unhealthy. The weight can be very, very heavy. For the single, hiring housework, yard work, and the like is sometimes necessary, but only if it can be afforded.
Married people often believe single people have it easier. However, that is an ignorant and inaccurate statement that deserves correction. Both statuses have their unique challenges, but to say that singles have it easier is entirely untrue.
The Role & Responsibility of Parents & the Church
Advocating for marriage is vitally important. It’s godly, and when we do so, we’re obeying the command of God given to Adam and Eve to subdue the earth, and we open the door for His blessing and fruitfulness. Preparation for marriage is an investment that yields enormous returns — both for now and generations to come.
Traditionally, marriages happened very young, and with good reason. Interest in the opposite sex is piqued between the ages of 14-20 years of age. Sexual hormones are aflame. God created us this way, and provided a healthy path in His word toward marriage, which satisfies those deep desires. Sadly, we live in a culture where marriage is no longer honored or esteemed as God intended. Churches do all they can to segregate men and women unnecessarily, as if there were some hidden fear of the sexes coming together, sharing hearts, or discovering mutual interest leading to a healthy courtship in prelude to a successful marriage.
As for the home, most families do not overtly prepare their children for marriage. In lieu of marriage, a college degree or career becomes the goal. From the time their interests are piqued toward the opposite sex, they are more concerned with birth control than overseeing a healthy biblical courtship. The truth is, we’ve treated these options as being mutually exclusive. They are “either – or”. But that’s simply not true. It can be “both”. Children can grow up, marry, and still obtain the career goals they desire. The only difference is, they will do it with their mate instead of alone.
For those singles who do break the mold and find one another, the most preparation they ever receive is the crash course in their pastor’s office with a possible pre-nup. Is it any wonder that our children are not prepared for the most important decision of their lives upon which the whole of society is built?
The truth stands that we will all invest and prepare for that which is most valuable to us. Our energies, time, money, and resources will pour into what we value. Why are we willing to spend hundreds of thousands on a college degree toward a career we may not keep, and yet we devalue the investment of preparing for marriage which has the potential of birthing generations yet to come?
I’ll let you answer that one.
In short, the mentality must change, and our priorities must be biblically aligned if we are going to reverse the statistics of divorce and see thriving families, which in turn create a stable and successful society.
The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy the marriages that exist, and to prevent the ones that don’t. His ultimate goal is to stop the godly seed from going forth. When the godly seed fails to go forth, society lies in peril, and God’s command to subdue the earth for His glory is largely unfulfilled.
Take heed, the older you become, being single can be a trap that becomes difficult to escape. This is preventable when families and churches begin advocating and preparing for marriage instead of delaying and hindering it.
God’s Case for Marriage
The pain and difficulty of single life is very hard for those who never wanted it or planned for it. And here is what God has to say about it:
It is not good that the man should be alone…, (Genesis 2:18, KJV).
Interpretation: It’s BAD.
Strangely, that was merely implied. As one who promotes biblical accuracy, this is a statement I often wonder about. This state of being alone is the only thing God declared to be “not good”. Everything else He created was “good”. And man was even declared to be “very good”. But this alone thing was “not good” — and for very good reasons.
Now if you’re a young and vibrant college student who is away from home for the first time, this season of life can be invigorating and liberating. It’s your first real stent at “freedom”, and you get to try your wings a bit. It’s fun to be single at this time of life and experience the “liberties” of adulthood, which all college students soon come to find are really responsibilities with great consequences under a different label. And you are living among a constant throng of people who are in the same category of life as yourself. All have all in common. There is no want for friendship and fun. It greets you at every turn. So college is a great time when you’re a young adult. You get the best of both worlds – all under the security net of your parents.
But by the time you’re 25 the shine begins to wear off. You’ve got bills to pay. And when you’re finally 30… 35… 40… the single life becomes a type of prison if there are no prospects. It’s not something you can escape at your own will. That only happens if you find a prospective spouse. And if that has not presented itself, your future can actually appear very, very dark. The blessing of multiplication given to Adam and Eve becomes a fantasy (unless you want to fornicate and live in sin). Therefore the prospects of having children, grandchildren, a posterity, an heir, a legacy, a heritage – it’s simply not there. If you live alone, dying alone becomes a very real possibility. That is the equation with which so many single adults struggle. It’s a long dreaded future hanging out there that says, “There’s no one beyond you.” That outlook can make life seem very small, especially as one grows older. And they don’t talk about it because it’s far too dark and it’s too futuristic. The truth is, years pass by, and before you know it half your life is gone.
When Christians of well intention try to spiritualize these needs by telling singles that Jesus is enough, that they can have a legacy in heaven, and that they can have spiritual children instead — it invalidates and delegitimizes the godly need for marriage — which God ordained, and for which He set a clear precedent. The truth is those statements apply to every believer — not just the single adult. Marriage was instituted within the creation account. It’s extraordinarily painful for single adults to hear these blind remarks, because not only are these ideologies inapplicable, but they are unbiblical — precisely because what God said is absolutely true, and despite Adam’s perfect relationship with Him, He provided for His need. Adam was alone, and it was not good. If God was enough, Adam wouldn’t have needed Eve. Again, this was a valid legitimate need, and not merely a desire. It’s clear that God created us not just for relationship with Himself, but with and for each other. Marriage is where that starts, and it’s the foundation upon which every society is born.
The single life can be isolating, and it requires a special grace from God to live it successfully.
As Paul says:
For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn, (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, KJV).
For more on the gifts of marriage and celibacy, please see my post, Celibate or Single? And the Case for Marriage.
The Death Sentence
The single life has often been called a proverbial “death sentence”. Some have lauded it. Others have laughed at it. Nevertheless, for the single adult who holds no prospects, this label fits. Unless you marry and have children (or have children out of wed-lock), there will be no legacy or extension of yourself. That is a very painful reality for many single people which they privately face, and painfully wrestle. The godly desire to plant seed in the earth and thereby “multiply” is something most people openly desire or in the very least appreciate.
As an RN I’ve watched many people die alone. It’s very sobering and sad. This is a harsh reality. I’ve had many elderly patients with no one to call. Sometimes these individuals are people who never married. I am here to tell you the reality is this: they are utterly alone. They have no one. They don’t have visitors. They seldom, if ever, have a living will. And there is no one to notify regarding their passing. I don’t know anyone who wants that life.
Many studies have been done on the physical, emotional, and social effects of protracted singleness versus marriage in our society. There are more studies than I can count. Overall, statistics reveal that married people live longer. They are happier, healthier, and their overall quality of life is better — surprisingly even if their marriages are not perfect. And without being inappropriate, sex plays a huge part of that. God created it that way. Sex is an extraordinarily powerful covenant act that nourishes us in spirit, soul and body. The oneness that marriage brings is what we were created to experience, live and thrive within. When we don’t have that oneness, we can easily wither by default.
God did not create us to be alone.
God did not create us to be single.
What is even more sad is that single people often suffer silently and alone. The private pains and issues they face are seldom talked about. Married people fail to realize this pain even exists, and even if they do, they don’t understand it because they can’t relate to it. As far as they’re concerned, they would give their right arm for a quiet house, some time alone, and an empty bed. The single life, for them, appears very alluring because it spells “F-R-E-E-D-O-M”. What they fail to realize is that this perpetual lifestyle of isolation can actually be a prison that is never remedied for the single individual. Married people are oblivious to this suffering. And that is why, I believe, we see single people in the secular world going to bars, fornicating, and having parties. They are attempting to meet a very valid need that God intended to provide through the gift of marriage, and that is the only way they know how to do it. When a person doesn’t have God, that need is magnified because His presence and grace are absent. Therefore, that need is exponentially greater and more difficult to meet, hence the immoral lifestyle that follows.
So how do you successfully live a single life in the face of protracted singleness for which you never planned or wanted? That’s what I want to talk about. Because I don’t advocate for any of the above.
Protracted singleness is not healthy.
It’s not good.
And it’s not God’s plan.
Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, I’m here to discuss how you can live your single life in a manner that has purpose, worth, and clarity in Christ. Because if you live the single life planning to be single, without any foresight for the marriage you desire, then you will have cheated yourself. There is no reason to be so short-sighted.
For more on this topic please see my post, Celibate or Single? And the Case for Marriage.
For the remainder of this post, I’m going to outline FOUR main points for every single adult, which I believe to be the determining factors in living the single life with success.
For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified, (1 Thessalonians 4:2-6, KJV).
When it comes to living a pure life, this is something mandated by God. It’s not optional. He clearly gives no permission for fornication or sexual sin. Again, that lifestyle becomes harder as you age, because the need becomes more acute. Therefore, knowing how to possess your vessel with honor is absolutely necessary. And everyone has very individual points of weakness they must address. So although the need is the same, the manner in which it’s addressed will be somewhat different for each person. What works for one, may not be effective for another. This is where you must learn to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (see Philippians 2:12).
I’ve met single women who cannot read romance novels — not even those by Christian authors. They can’t even go there because it awakens that desire within them to such a degree that it pushes them over the edge. They struggle for days with thoughts and urges they don’t need to fight. I know others who can’t watch chick flicks because they are so pained by their own need it’s like a small torture. For others, however, these are an outlet which actually dulls the pain and they can enjoy these without any problem. So, there is no hard fast rule by which this is achieved. Each individual must know how to possess their own vessel. That is the key. And that means you recognize your personal areas of weakness, and strategically pray and prepare accordingly.
Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s, (1 Corinthians 6:13b-20, KJV).
The sexual desires of men and women have their differences, and each will need to learn how to possess his or her vessel in sanctification and honor. The motivation to maintain purity comes from three things:
(1) A genuine love for God.
(2) A genuine desire to live a holy life.
(3) A genuine desire to offer yourself to your future mate free of any entanglements.
I am a HUGE advocate for purity. Purity is powerful. It keeps you free and clean. It allows for an unhindered flow of the Holy Spirit in your life. You’re sealed unto God and unto your future spouse. That doesn’t, however, imply that it’s easy. It’s actually very difficult. The sexual temptations can still be present. The need for marital intimacy is still there. And walking in purity requires a special grace that only God can give. But if you want it and ask Him for it, He will surely grant you that request.
Part of preparing for marriage is consecrating yourself to God and to your future spouse. That means no hanky-panky. None whatsoever. Don’t even go there. Don’t even give it an opportunity, because it will ROB YOU of your purity, your integrity, and even your future. One moment of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of regret and pain.
Consecrate yourself to God with the understanding that you are His first before you belong to anyone else. You are His temple, and God does not permit fornication of any kind. God wants you free. Purity is very liberating because there are no entanglements to overcome. Embrace the beauty and power of purity and when your spouse comes you’ll have something very special to share together.
As an RN, having worked a long clinical rotation in a state clinic near a university, I can tell you that the norm is for one person to have multiple partners – bi-sexual. The women are just as bad as the men. I’ve seen people come in for routine testing and they have been with as many as 25 people in one week – individuals whom they cannot name. Orgies and sex parties are very common on college campuses. Individuals no longer abstain. STD’s are something they view as a “normal” part of life. They come in for free every week, get tested, and go back out to play the field. You never know who someone has been with. This is the world we now live in. Rape is on the rise. Abortion is on the rise. STD’s are on the rise – and not all of them are curable.
And so what if you’ve messed up? What if you’ve fallen? Does that mean you’re slated for doom? Does that mean you can’t ever be pure again? Absolutely not. God is able to forgive, heal, and cleanse you – setting you completely free.
YOU BELONG TO GOD BEFORE ANY OTHER.
CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO GOD AND YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE.
MAINTAINING A PURE LIFE WILL KEEP YOU FREE AND CLEAN.
KNOWING HOW TO LIVE A PURE LIFE REQUIRES THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO POSSESS YOUR OWN VESSEL IN SANCTIFICATION AND HONOR.
I’m not going to bore and insult you by telling you how to self-soothe. Every single life is different and unique. Your personality, profession, and pastimes will have demands of their own. I believe you know better than any what works for you, and where your energies need to be invested. So I’m going to get to the point and elaborate upon this preparation.
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge, (Hebrews 13:4, KJV).
And there are plenty of them. This is where we’ve missed the mark in society. Marriage is no longer honored to the degree that it rightfully deserves – and it deserves top priority. For decades Satan has unleashed an enormous assault upon marriage and family. He’s done that in various ways, and our society is suffering. In that regard this post could take any one of many directions. Here is the point I’m going to capitalize upon for the sake of this post: Although marriage is the sole decision which will have the most impact upon an individual’s life – extending into future generations – we neglect to prepare for it. And that is the problem – and it’s a very serious one.
Preparing for marriage is absolutely necessary if:
(1) You want to be married.
(2) If you’re going to be married (regardless of when that may happen).
(3) If your marriage is going to be successful.
That preparation begins in the home — not in the pastor’s office six months before you tie the knot. And not all pastors are qualified to adequately teach in this area. Crash course marriage counseling, although it may be helpful, is not successful in breeding and building a strong stable marriage. It’s not realistic as a sole means. However, it serves well as a supplement for those who already have a strong foundation. As for the preparation in the home, sadly many homes are broken, and society is now having to reinvent the wheel. Traditional families consisting of two heterosexual parents and their own children, are the most rare in society today. Blended families and single parents are at the top of the list. Children seldom have a clear example of wholesome and healthy marriages modeled or portrayed for them, and so they inevitably repeat the same unhealthy patterns that lead to divorce. They may embrace marriage, yet they are ill-equipped. Even worse, people are so turned off by the marriages they’ve grown up with that they want nothing to do with marriage at all, hence our increase in the single population. People prefer to play the field. People are delaying marriage in favor of pursuing careers. They pour their time, energies and money into college and career and place marriage on the back-burner of life.
Bottom line is this: You must prepare for marriage if you want to be married. That requires an investment. Depending on the life you’ve had, that preparation will look different for every individual. For me, that meant getting my first degree in Family and Children. And I continued to prepare for marriage throughout my adulthood. I sought God diligently, read books, attended conferences, and prayed for my spouse. I’ve never regretted those decisions.
For more on marital preparation, please see my post Preparing for Marriage: Get Ready.
USE YOUR SINGLE YEARS TO PREPARE FOR THE MARRIAGE YOU DESIRE.
THAT IS TIME WELL INVESTED THAT PAYS HUGE DIVIDENDS.
Draw me, we will run after thee… (Song of Songs 1:4a, KJV).
Ladies and Gentlemen, you need to pursue your spouse — and do so unashamedly.
This is nothing new. God designed and created a romantic love between male and female that is extraordinarily powerful. It demands a response. God presented Eve to Adam, and we all know what happened next. The attraction between male and female was designed for pursuit. And not only pursuit, but the satisfaction of possessing the beloved.
That holy pursuit begins with a lifestyle of prayer for your spouse, which can be difficult, especially if you don’t know this person. Trying to pray for a stranger presents unique challenges. God will lead your prayers if you let Him. By the Spirit of God, you can intercede and begin to touch that person’s life with your love before you ever meet them.
PURSUIT BEGINS WITH PRAYER.
PRAY CONSISTENTLY FOR YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE.
Beyond prayer, there is a practical side to this pursuit. And it begins with the men…
For the Men
I’m going to speak to the men here for a moment, and I’ll be very succinct. If you want to be married, it’s time to start making a move toward your female of choice. And don’t give up on her so easy. You are the ones whom God has given the responsibility to pursue. Yet I see young men who don’t know how, who are insecure, and even afraid. I have watched women waste away because they have waited on you. And I’ve seen men turn women off by their immature antics and boyish remarks. I’ve also heard men complain that they can’t find a godly woman. And that is a point well made for the women. However, I’ve watched men look away from many excellent godly women who would be a wonderful wife.
If you’re not confident toward your woman of choice, it’s time to man up. I’m going to shoot straight here: Women don’t want a weak male. We are attracted to godly character, confidence, strength, and tenderness. That is equivalent to being like Christ Jesus. He was strong, bold, and tender. And if you present yourself to a woman insecurely, she will more than likely decline on that basis alone despite your best presentation and personality. The last thing a woman wants to hear is that you’re interested in her from another source. That fear and insecurity will never benefit you in the eyes of a real lady. If you’re at all interested you have an obligation to tell her yourself. That needs to come from you – not someone else.
God created men with the purpose and power to pursue. Think about it: from the initial inquiry to the moment of conception — the male is always found pursuing the female. In contrast, a godly woman is not going to pursue you. She’s going to place herself in your path with chaste decorum and let her interests be known. A godly woman will invite. Her interests, although consistent, will be more subtle. She’s not loud and brash. She’s demure. And if that is not enough, then you’re losing time and wasting opportunity. And finally, I humbly suggest that you beware of brash, loud, and obnoxious women (see Proverbs 9:13-18 and 1 Peter 3:4).
Men — If there is a female that catches your eye — go after her. And don’t give up so easily. Be willing to prove your interest confidently and with respect. The scriptures teach that you should treat her like a sister. If she’s a true lady, this is what she’s looking for:
(1) A gentleman: treat her with the utmost respect
(2) Introduce yourself: oblige her your name and tell her what you do for a living.
(3) Tell her you’re interested and why: Avoid vague generalities. You need to be able to tell her what piqued your interest in her. What sets her apart from all the others?
(4) Tell her you would like to get to know her: Be genuine in your desire.
(5) Present an invitation to her: Give her options that accurately reflect the depth of your interest. Show her how much she’s worth to you. Set a precedent and standard that you are willing to keep and follow.
(6) Respect her boundaries: Let her choose when, where, and how. Make sure she’s comfortable and never compromise her safety.
(7) Be chivalrous: Offer her your arm at all times and be willing to serve. Obey the etiquette of a gentleman.
It’s that simple. Truly, it is. Stop playing games. Skip the pick up lines. There is no greater turn off.
If you are of genuine interest, a real woman will appreciate your efforts, even if her initial interest may not be mutual. Believe me, the things Grandpa did — they worked. Don’t be so shallow and weak as to give up so easily. Give it time. The key word is: “pursue”. There has never been a greater era of romance than theirs. And although we live in a different age and time, women still appreciate a real gentleman who is genuine.
BE A GENTLEMAN OF GODLY CHARACTER AND STRENGTH.
GO AFTER THE ONE YOU WANT.
For the Women
Ladies, the bottom line is you must be worth pursuing. That means your behavior and character come before your outer beauty. Don’t let your lack of inner character, so poorly developed, betray your physical glory. Make no mistake: it’s central to being the lady every man wants and deserves.
I have seen so many women — even godly women — who do not know how to conduct themselves as a lady. They betray themselves. They cheapen themselves by their behavior, with their words, and in their appearance. And they may not realize it, but they turn men off. In fact, they turn women off as well. A refined Christian lady will not desire her company.
Men have said so themselves: Ladies are a dying breed. I’m not talking about being a girl, or even a woman, but a lady. That means you behave yourself modestly in every area. You hold your tongue. You don’t paint your face like a drag queen. You don’t perfume the hall like a runway. No one wants to cuddle a piece of passion fruit. It’s time to buy some real perfume and put some clothes on. Your presence should never be invasive — but rather inviting.
Feminine grace, soft poise and delicate beauty are a powerful and irresistible thing, especially when they’re coupled with godly character. If you will put as much effort into your behavior and character as your appearance, you will attract the kind of man you desire. As for deserving, I will tell you that you must be worthy of pursuing.
Anyone can be a woman, but a lady is a rare beauty. Behave yourself chastely. Regard the men as your brothers. When you’re with a man treat him like one. Honor him. Honor the men and glorify God. Conduct yourself wisely with His grace and the LORD will radiate through you.
Last but not least, be wise and kind toward the men who pursue you. If he’s proven himself to be genuine in his interest, consider giving him a chance.
BE A WOMAN WORTH PURSUING.
GODLY CHARACTER AND CHASTITY ARE THE TRUE BEAUTY THAT MAKE A LADY WORTH PURSUING.
BE INVITING – NOT INVASIVE.
AND IF HE’S PROVEN HIMSELF, CONSIDER GIVING THE GENT A CHANCE.
You have extraordinary purpose as a single individual. And although you may desire to be married, have children, and leave a honorable legacy in the earth for generations to come — God can still use you as a single adult. Some of my greatest achievements happened as a single adult. And although my life did not transpire in the order I hoped it would, God used my single years to prepare a foundation for marriage that is truly invaluable. I obtained two degrees, both of which have proven to be useful in ministry and my career. I have become an author, and have founded the ministry I will one day pass on to my children. In looking back, these things could not have been accomplished so easily if I were married.
Your purpose is not on hold. And it’s not limited to the boundaries of marriage. Marriage will simply enlarge them. So build your life now — not later. Have something of value to offer your spouse. Learning how to live as a single adult must be framed within His purpose for you. That is much more than marriage. No doubt, the single life is limited somewhat. We all desire our “helper” that is so beautifully provided in a mate. Until that individual comes, it’s necessary to follow God’s revealed path for you, befriend new people, and pursue viable outlets for your energies and aspirations that will answer His call on your individual life. You can still leave a legacy as a single person — even if marriage never comes.
If you’re in the doldrums, take heart. It takes practice, but you have to get out of bed everyday knowing who you are in Christ, and follow Him faithfully (He is the Way). Pursue Him and allow Him to fulfill your needs (He is the Truth) as well as your purpose and calling for which He has destined you (He is the Life). That is a very individual walk that will be unique for every single person.
Don’t cheat yourself. And don’t cheat your future spouse. Live your life now. Don’t wait until you’re married.
The Satisfaction of Success
Success for the single individual who never wanted to be, can be framed in many accomplishments. We all have a calling to fulfill in Christ. We all have a destiny to pursue. However, there is no greater satisfaction in living the single life than to find your beloved knowing that you can confidently offer them a pure love, a holy vessel, and the honor they deserve. You need to be as healthy and whole as possible. And that’s not to say that any loose ends that need to be tied can’t be accomplished with the help of your spouse. We all have issues. Being able to build a strong stable marriage for your family and future is of great worth and value in the kingdom of God. Generations yet to come will partake and enjoy the many fruits of your labors. You will have a legacy and heritage both in the earth and in heaven.
Success is coming to a place of viable health and wholeness — to the degree that you can be an asset and servant to your spouse. When you marry you will find that marital love is very much centered in sacrifice and service. God needs to bring you to a place where you can fill the gaps in their life. He needs to be able to use you so their calling and purpose can be fulfilled. You are a key part of that happening in their life. The love you have will motivate you toward the interests of your spouse instead of yourself. You will be a vessel God uses to pour into their lives; and vice versa. Marital love is not self-centered. And just as there are many hindrances to living the single life, there will be many sacrifices to living a married one. Kiss your independent liberties good-bye (respectively). Everything you do now involves the interest of your spouse and many of the freedoms you enjoyed as a single adult will become a joint decision.
Marriage is a great stewardship. It’s a sacred trust. It’s a covenant God does not intend to be broken. Another life; another soul; another human being and their God-given destiny is in your hands and in your heart. God must find your capable and worthy of that trust. Therefore, if you aspire to marry, you have a biblical obligation to prepare — and to be found ready. Understand your scriptural obligations to your spouse; being ready, willing and able to fulfill them.
In the meantime, soothing the suffering of single adulthood is no easy task. One of the benefits to single life is being able to do things and go places on your own terms. This advantage is one married people don’t have. But it does nothing to prepare you for marriage which requires servanthood, sacrifice, interdependence, and compromise. One thing a single life will do is perpetuate selfishness and a fierce independence. Both must be broken if you’re going to have a healthy marriage. And when you genuinely love someone, there is no greater pleasure or honor than to serve them and see them happy and at rest in God.
I pray this post, and the others linked to it, will help you live your single life successfully. Keep your faith and be encouraged! I would love to hear your comments and success stories!
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: SplitShire | Pixabay