Content but not Complete – Part Three

Yearning for marriage...The Gift of Singleness

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard or read that singleness is a gift and a blessing, I’d be able to buy all the books on my wish list – and believe me, it’s long! It seems like it’s usually married people who speak of the gift of singleness. [Note: I am not referring to the calling to remain single, but the gift of the single season.] When I was in my early teens, it was easy to think of singleness as a special season to be welcomed and enjoyed. Ten-plus years later, it doesn’t seem so special. I’m getting quite tired of it, in fact. Is singleness really a gift?The answer is both yes and no. We’ll do “yes” first. Singleness is a gift in the sense that every circumstance in our lives is a gift. It’s a means by which our infinitely wise and loving Father reveals His care for us. To our human eyes, some gifts appear better than others – being supplied with a new car might look more like a gift than totaling your only vehicle – but we know from Scripture that “. . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Unwanted singleness is indeed a gift, and if it has lost its shine over the years, we can still be grateful for it as a “gift of suffering” that helps sanctify us.But in some ways, singleness is not a gift – at least not one that we want to keep indefinitely. For most of us, it’s a temporary time of preparation for our destiny, marriage. Historically, singleness has not been viewed as desirable – rather, it was seen as a stage of life that should not be unduly prolonged. Boundless writers Danielle Crittenden and Debbie Maken have both written excellent articles on this subject, and I highly recommend reading them. The gift of singleness is a little like the gift of a toothache – something given to us by God for a time to refine us, but not something to hold forever.

Yearning For Marriage

Before I go any further, let’s balance the equation. Is it possible to long for marriage too much? Absolutely! A healthy desire for marriage is good, but if our desires start turning into rejection of God’s current plans for our lives, it can become idolatry.Keep in mind 2 Corinthians 10:5: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” We can’t put anything, including our God-given desires, ahead of obedience to God’s immediate will for us. We need to cultivate a healthy view of marriage, neither rejecting it in bitterness or elevating it to the point of idolatry. The little book Believing God for His Best by Bill Thrasher does a great job of promoting such an attitude.

Is Singleness Really a Gift?

Click to read the rest of the series…  Part One >> Part Two >> Part Four

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conversations between sisters in Christ

  1. Hannah says

    I tend to kind of lean towards the Apostle Paul’s view. From my 17-year-old perspective it’s much less trouble to stay single! ;) That may change some day but for now I’m sticking to what Paul said when speaking of marriage he said,

    1Cr 7:17 Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk.

    And also

    1Cr 7:27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

    Or husband as the case may be…. ;)

  2. BrittLeigh says

    Jeannie, I just LOVE this post. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as I’ve observed dear girls who struggle with keeping their hearts, and therefore deny the existence of their desires. Such a beautiful balance here, that seems to be really hard to find these days. Thanks so much for sharing this!!!

  3. Jennifer Amy says

    I think of Elisabeth Elliot’s insight on how gifts are often given for a season, and the gift of singleness is present as long as a person is single.
    I can’t say that I don’t have the gift of singleness as long as I am single – for He gives the gift and the grace.
    Thank you for your thoughts Jeannie! God bless you! :)

  4. Anonymous says

    You really have a gift for writing, and you choose a topic that has really needed addressing. Thank you for the encouragment. You put singleness in it’s rightful place. Looking forward to the next post! :)