Is Singleness a Sin?
- Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Admittedly, I've interacted with less single Christian men than women over my 30-some-odd years, but I've yet to meet any who are choosing singleness in order to live a wild life while the getting's good. No, most of the single Christian males I know are rarely dating, let alone sowing any oats, wild or otherwise.
I agree that the gap between what Dr. Mohler calls "sexual maturity and sexual fulfillment" is challenging. I appreciate him pointing out this resulting danger from the trend of first-time marriages happening at older and older ages. Trust me, as a still-waiting 30something, I know what a tall order it is, especially in our sex-saturated society, to stay pure year after year after year. But there's another truth I know that prevents me from rushing into marriage in order to quench these desires: Sexual temptation doesn't stop with "I do." Even with a ring on my left hand, there would still be men who would catch my eye and lure my heart. I can only hope the self-control and sexual integrity I'm learning now will help me better handle those temptations should I marry someday.
Sure, the Bible tells us it's better to marry than to burn with passion (
And as for the assertion that getting married is synonymous with becoming an adult, I agree that making that caliber of life-long commitment grows you up in many ways. But, I would add, so does having to fend for yourself for decades of adult life. Does this marriage-as-adulthood argument imply that I and my 40something, 50something, and beyond unmarried counterparts are somehow still children? Wouldn't character issues such as righteousness, goodness, faithfulness, and the other fruits of the Spirit be a better gauge of maturity?
Dr. Mohler seems to imply that singles today aren't taking marriage seriously enough. In his talk and in Rainey and Lepine's response on the radio, they chastised singles for their passivity in not making marriage a greater priority. Sure, singles today are taking a good, hard look at marriage prospects before settling down—sometimes too much so. As we've been talking about here in recent weeks, we're often guilty of taking too good and hard a look at dating prospects before even going out for dinner or a movie. Yes, the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of caution and fear when it comes to romantic interests.
But let's look at the factors to which the caution is a reaction. We're the first generation of the no-fault divorce. Many of today's singles have lived with the consequences of young, perhaps-not-so-well-thought-through marriages of generations before. So of course many single people today are a bit gun-shy about entering an institution they saw, from a front-row seat, fail. We're also renegotiating romantic relationships in light of recent gender role shifts in our society. Others still are healing from their own divorce, coping with widowhood, rethinking relationships after becoming a Christian later in life, or simply waiting for a healthy, God-honoring mate possibility to enter the picture. And what about those of us who feel like God is using us right now as singles? Aren't these all logical, healthy reasons for "putting off" marriage? I wish Mohler, Rainey, and Lepine had mentioned these segments of the singles population in their comments along with the arguably smaller segment who are delaying marriage out of selfish motives.
Perhaps many of us are slower to marry not because we don't take marriage seriously, but because we do take it seriously. Because we've seen and experienced the consequences of hasty unions, because we've seen the statistical evidence that older first-time marriages have a better chance for survival, because we take very seriously the words "til death do us part." If anything, I think rushing to marry and preaching a gospel of marriage for marriage's sake devalues it more than our generation's hesitancy and seeming passivity.
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