Marriage is not the most glorious relationship. You are not missing out if you are single. There are many different types of relationships in which we are capable of experiencing God's glory. (Primarily, our relationship with Christ.)
While Paul says that marriage is a picture of how God loves the church (Ephesians 5), that doesn’t mean it’s the only way He shares his love. Singles are just as capable of experiencing the depth of God's love in other ways; through godly relationships, community, the love of a parent, sacrifice, loving our enemies and so much more. Along with marriage, these are all amazing and valid ways to experience Christ's love.
Life without sex, marriage, and family can be just as fulfilling as a life with it. Marriage and family are not a prerequisite for you to flourish as a human. Adam and Eve were humans first, marriage was secondary, and the New Testament goes so far as to say marriage is unnecessary and possibly even a hindrance to living an undivided life for God (1 Corinthians 7).
There is no void in you. And might I suggest, the deep yearning or desire you feel for a spouse and family might possibly (might not) be an idol that has been slowly built up in you by our Christian teaching and culture? (I might note here: I think we have all aided in this. This is not from one person, church, or organization. It’s so common, and it’s easy to miss the message we are selling.)
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married. It is a good desire. But, I have found in my own personal experience, I have believed this fantastic illusion of a beautiful life that has made me to believe that marriage is the end goal for me and it reigns supreme over every other relationship I will ever experience. In my mind I know this is a lie, but it is a battle to believe it in my heart. I bet it’s the same for you.
The goal of every romantic Disney movie we grew up with and every romcom is this fantasy of love and marriage. Even our ministries and sermons in the church are geared towards marriage and families. Dating apps abound to do anything possible, sell ourselves, to find our soulmate. One author states women were created to be captivating princesses for men, and she not so subliminally suggests we're not fulfilling our divine call if we are not moving towards fulfilling a man’s desires.
Marriage isn't the end goal for any of us and at the end of the day, whether married or single or widowed or divorced, our mission and goal are the same:
Build the kingdom of God on the earth.
Our relationship with Christ is supreme. It is the most glorious relationship we will ever have. Marriage, nor any relationship will ever come close. People come second. Not just people we are married to, all people.
There are a growing number of singles in our day (64% of people in America have never been married) and it is important that we aren't hopping around like a bunch of wounded birds who want to fly but can’t. We can fly. We are more than capable of finding joy and fulfillment in this lifetime without marriage and family.
Perhaps more than wanting myself to believe it, is wanting the church to affirm it in the way we speak, teach, and formulate our ministries. Please get behind the truth that Christian life (and the Bible) do not revolve around marriage and family.
It is tiring and painful to listen to young women assume that they’ll be married as soon as they graduate from college and watch their worlds crash for the next infinite amount of years because God hasn’t given them what they “need” to be happy. If you are married, listen to your language related to marriage and singleness. Are you affirming the idol of marriage or widespread classification that we need it to be holy or happy? If you are single, listen to what the voices in your head are saying. Are you believing lies in regards to singleness and marriage?
I thoroughly believe that in our day God is actually calling some of us to be single. Yikes, I know! Maybe not our whole lives, but maybe for a good portion of them. The kingdom is at hand and we have work to do. Our lives are not our own. Heaven will be full of our wildest dreams, like forever! It’s impossible to find that completely here. Jesus said, those who forsake “houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Heaven is coming. Hundredfold is at hand and marriage on this earth is a far cry from what we will experience in heaven with our Lord.
Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is beautiful and it makes sense that we desire it. In a lot of ways, marriage is a lot easier than being single. But in a lot of ways being single is easier than being married. Both are good. Both are difficult. Both are a gift (1 Corinthians 7). We are still living in a broken world. If marriage comes for those that desire it, wonderful! But, let's not live one more day assuming that if it doesn't come than our lives won't be meaningful and that we won't possess what it takes to live a flourishing life.
Let’s be a bunch of flourishing singles, or those who help singles flourish.
For His kingdom and His glory.
For more, I’ve been reading “Breaking The Marriage Idol : Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms” by Kutter Callaway and it is an incredible resource for singles and those who want to position themselves to understand the growing population of singles who need a church to call home.