I was recently talking to a friend about singleness, and we both agreed that, according to Scripture, singleness is a gift from God of equal worth to marriage. Then she said something that made me think that maybe she wasn’t quite convinced:
‘I agree that singleness is as good as marriage, but not for me. I’ve always really wanted kids.’
And isn’t that the real issue? We think singleness is a great gift for someone else. We’re happy to intellectually assent to the biblical teaching, but in our heart of hearts we really hope that God won’t ‘bless’ us with the gift of singleness.
Maybe we need to start to reframe the way we think and talk about singleness so that it’s something that Christians willingly embrace and hope for.
I rarely find people who aspire to singleness for those they love either. I’ve never met any parents who say, ‘I hope my kids stay single.’ All parents seem to want grandchildren, but is that a godly pressure to put on children?
No one grows up hoping that they’ll be single when they’re older. But why not? If we really believed the truth of the Bible, then we would. If we really thought that being able to focus wholeheartedly on the Lord was the very best life, we would be excited about being single, rather than seeing it as something to be ‘endured’ or ‘coped with’. We hear much more about ‘coping with singleness’ than we do about ‘coping with marriage’. Maybe we need to start to reframe the way we think and talk about singleness so that it’s something that Christians willingly embrace and hope for.
After all, if I really believe singleness is good, then I need to believe that it’s good for me.