Everyone I know is getting married.
That’s an exaggeration. Let me try again.
Almost everyone I know is getting married.
In the last two years, the population of singles in my circle of friends has been thinning at an incredible rate. Consequently, I’ve attended a lot of weddings, standing in a few. With every couple that weds, the singles start to stand out more, and, needless to say, this can make single life a bit tricky to navigate. The internal emotional struggles (or lack thereof) along with the concerns and condolences of others can do funny things to the minds of singles. But God can use these experiences to teach some important lessons. Today, I want to share three lessons that stood out to me recently (I may add to this list in another post). May it encourage and challenge fellow singles, and may it help you to better seek the Lord during this crazy season of life.
1. Fellowship influences feelings.
In the realm of relationships, we have a lamentable ability to determine what we do not possess and then to mourn our perceived lack. I was recently thinking about the last few years, and I noticed that my feelings concerning singleness and marriage were largely influenced by the people and the conversations that most occupied my time. When I surrounded myself with couples who were preparing for marriage, I began to feel out of place. There, my singleness became a burden I didn’t want to bear anymore. But when my circle of friends became dominated by like-minded singles pursuing education and ministry, I started to see singleness as a blessing that I couldn’t afford to lose. In each case, the people around me and the conversations we had dramatically affected my feelings. Don’t let this drive you away from couples, but let it remind you to guard your heart, for, “from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
2. How you live before marriage matters.
I’ve seen a lot of friends get married in the last two years, and I’ve come to understand that nobody enters marriage with a clean slate. Because of sin, everyone has a past full of mistakes, regrets, and wounds. Singles can easily assume that they have a sort of immunity to consequences, especially if there are no potential spouses on the horizon, and so we can play fast and loose with our hearts, not realizing the damage being done. We may not realize what the consequences of our immaturity will be until we finally meet the one we’ll marry, but we have to recognize our responsibility to live upright, holy lives with each other as singles now. Don’t assume your present actions will be forgotten; be holy now as God is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16).
3. Marriage is not the finish line.
It is far too easy for singles to get the impression that marriage is the end goal of life. Everything seems to lead that direction, all our emotions strive for that end, and our culture appears to push that as the next step after college. But I’ve noticed that my friends continue on after the wedding day in much the same way as before. They still struggle with sin, they still fight, they still get frustrated, they still need help. Though life changes dramatically in marriage, it doesn’t change as much as we might assume. Therefore, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7, recognize the main thing (leading the life the Lord has assigned to you) and let marriage take its proper place as supplemental to the work of the kingdom. If you assume marriage is the meaning of life, you’ll be greatly disappointed.
As in all things, let us remember the words of Jesus, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and entrusting our lives to our faithful Father (Matthew 6:33). Whether single, dating, engaged, or married, the call of Christ remains the same: Follow him.