Still Single at 38: Thoughts on Faith and Singleness

In church this morning, the preacher talked about loving the past, but loving the future more. This wasn’t the main point of his talk; just an aside really, but he said: “I want to see my daughters married – soon. I want to see grandchildren – not that soon, but I do want it to come.” For a single person, this could bring up a whole range of emotions.

I’ll be 38 this week, and I’m not (and never have been) married, so there is some sadness. Sometimes things are out of your control, particularly when other people are involved, but Isaiah 41:9 gives me great comfort. “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are My servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” I’m still single; it doesn’t change that, but it does tell me I’m good enough for God.

I read a book once, “God is a Matchmaker” (written by a Godly man called Derek Prince). It gave some very good advice, E.G. to look at whether your prospective spouse relates Biblically to their parents and others, but the author also said this. “In the area of psychological problems, there are those who are mentally challenged or mentally handicapped. … There are also those who would be categorized medically as schizophrenic or even psychotic. Out of the depths of their struggles, they manifest insight and devotion at times that are worthy of saints. Yet for these and others like them, celebacy often seems to be the Lord’s plan.” This part has stuck in my memory because as a single person, I can sometimes think that of myself – that maybe there’s something wrong with me; that although God welcomes me as a Christian, maybe I’m not quite worthy to be married, but the Bible doesn’t say that. In fact, it calls both marriage and singleness gifts from God. Paul (one of my favourite Bible-characters) was single, and he wrote: “I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:7-9). Singleness is good. You can have a purposeful life as a single person, just as you can as a married person.

In another book I’ve read, “The Chase” (an autobiographical account of two newlyweds), it mentions the bride’s parents – how they prayed for their children and future spouses before the children were even born, which might sound admirable, but I’m really glad my parents didn’t do this. They’ve never put me under huge pressure, or had any expectations for my life that I know of. Maybe I would have achieved more if they had, or maybe I wouldn’t, and always would have felt like I didn’t measure up. Honestly, this morning has made me want to come home and just thank them for loving me as I am.

I know this has been a personal blog, but perhaps someone else in my situation might be helped by something I’ve said.