Marriage - Is It For Me?
- Friday, August 03, 2001
But each has his own special gift from God, one of this kind and one of another. 1 Corinthians 7:7 (Amp.)
All right, lets talk marriage. Some singles want to be married; some dont.
Unfortunately, those who are already married (even those in the Church) just assume that anyone who is single desperately wants to be married. Look at the majority of books in the singles section of any Christian bookstore. Most of these books cover topics such as dating, how to find the best mate or how to avoid the duds!
Remaining single is not necessarily a negative. Not everyone is called to be married. Have you ever given thought to a chosen single lifestyle? Singleness can be a gift.
Consider what Tim Stafford has said about singleness:
God may want you to be single. He wants everyone to be single for at least a part of life. And the Bible doesnt talk about singleness as being second rate. In fact, the Bible speaks positively about it.
In the Middle Ages, Christians went too far, and marriage was regarded as second rate. In recent times, we seem to have swung the other way. Balance is the key. Both marriage and singleness are gifts from God.
Ponder for a moment the following facts about our Lord: Jesus Christ never married. He never had sexual intercourse. Yet He was perfect, and perfectly fulfilled. He lived the kind of life we want to imitate. That doesnt mean we should all want to be single; undoubtedly marriage is the best way for most men and women. But singleness need not be unhappy.
Paul wasnt married either, at least at the height of his career. He addressed the single life in 1 Corinthians 7, calling it a gift. (Strange that this is the one gift most would prefer to exchange.) And Jesus Himself, in Matthew 19:10-12, talks positively about the reasons some people should remain unmarried....
It saddens me to see single people who live life as though waiting for something or someone to happen to them. They act as though they are in limbo, waiting to become capable of life when that magic day at the altar finally arrives.
Of course, singles who live in this constant state of disappointment often become such poor specimens of humanity that no one wants to marry them. More often they do get married only to discover that they havent received the key to life: the initiative and character they should have developed before marriage is exactly what they need in marriage. And they are still lonely and frustrated....
Our culture, especially our Christian culture, has stressed repeatedly that a good marriage takes work. It holds up for admiration those who have formed a good marriage. But Ive seldom heard anyone emphasize the fact that a good single life also takes work. Ive never heard anyone compliment a person for having created a good single lifestyle. This creates an atmosphere in which telling single people they have received a gift is rather like convincing a small child that liver ought to taste good because its good for you.
Singleness, as I see it, is not so much a state weve arrived at as an open door, a set of opportunities for us to follow up.1
So, if you believe singleness might be your calling, try it for a specific period of time. Eliminate dating for six months or a year. If you find your hearts desire is unmet, thats all right. Discovering your gift may require some experimentation. Its better to test it than to spend your life wondering.
Questions for Reflection
Do you want to get married because you feel pressured by others, or is marriage something you feel called to? If God asked you to stay single for greater power in ministry, would you say yes to Him? Are you willing to surrender this area of your life to Him?
1. Tim Stafford, A Love Story (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1977), pp. 911-93.
Excerpted by permission from Single Purpose: A Devotional for Singles by H. Norman Wright (Regal Books), p. 26-27.
Dr. H. Norman Wright is a graduate of Westmont College (B.A. Christian Education), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.R.E.), and Pepperdine University (M.A. in Clinical Psychology) and has received honorary doctorates D.D. and D.Litt. from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and Biola University respectively. He has pioneered premarital counseling programs throughout the country. Dr. Wright is the author of over 65 booksincluding the best-selling Always Daddys Girl and Quiet Times for Couples. He and his wife, Joyce, have a married daughter, Sheryl, and a son, Matthew, who was profoundly retarded and is now deceased. The Wrights make their home in Southern California.
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