I’ve never been married. Never even courted or dated or any other such marriage-centered things.
But today I want to write to you about marriage.
A lot of us have grown up in the church with loving parents and youth pastors who have given us many valuable resources and talks about relationships and marriage. How to do them well, what to avoid, where the line is that you absolutely should not cross, and so on. These are all wonderful things to discuss and are, I believe, foundational in creating a godly perspective of marriage in those of us who have not yet reached that stage of life.
However, there’s something a lot of those seminars and books and discussions are missing: what to do right now.
I’ve been hearing such talks for five or six years now (it’s best to start young, after all) and storing up the knowledge for later. But that’s all it is – knowledge. There’s a saying that wisdom is applied knowledge and Proverbs tells us that wisdom is greater than knowledge alone. So where’s the knowledge that we can apply right now? What are we supposed to be doing during these years where marriage is simply not an option?
In 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, Paul says, “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife.”
Couples spend a lot of time on each other, and rightly so. When a man and woman join in the covenant of marriage, they become one flesh and vow to spend their lives loving the other person.
Single people haven’t entered into such a covenant. And that leaves us with much freedom to pursue other things. A few verses later, in 1 Corinthians 7:35, Paul adds, “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
We’re not yet bound to another person. Our only responsibility is to serve the Lord in all that we do. It’s to be our focus our entire lives, but we’re able to do so many things now that we’ll not be free to do later.
Now, we can volunteer to babysit for the family next door once a week without having to be home to cook dinner for our spouse. We can invest hours and hours in honing our God-given gifts in order to serve Him more faithfully. We can grow mentoring relationships without taking away from our relationship with our lifelong partner.
It’s a temptation for many unmarried people (myself included) to spend so much of our time and thoughts on marriage. We think about the person we like, what it will be like to one day have our own family, even what we’ll wear to the wedding.
But that is time wasted.
Marriage is a wonderful thing to look forward to, but not at the expense of right now. Not to the point that we’re not serving the Lord as He wills during this time of blessed singleness.
Because that’s exactly what singleness is: a blessing.