March 7, 2008 by Stacy McDonald

"Is Singleness Always a ‘Gift?’"

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I ran across some really good articles recently on boundless.org and wanted to make sure my readers had a chance to check them out.

Rethinking the Gift of Singleness

by Debbie Maken

Is singleness really a “gift”?Singles live in a time when their church leaders and friends have told them that their state of singleness should be considered a “gift” from the Lord, a special time to devote themselves to spiritual work. Bumper sticker flattery is routinely used to justify prolonging the single years. Perhaps it’s time to ask whether singleness in general — specifically protracted singleness (apart from “celibate service”) — has much historical or biblical legitimacy.
A Historical Take on Singleness

On the whole of history, past generations of Christians saw singles under a divine obligation — one might say a duty — to marry. The marriage mandate was considered universal in its application, and the purposes of marriage were uniformly understood to be three-fold:

• for society (companionship)
• for love (physical affection), and
• for the production of the next generation of the church (children)

It was not only the duty to marry that was held sacrosanct, but also the proper and timely execution thereof. With I Corinthians 7 intact in their Bibles, Christians used to believe that extended singleness had no biblical warrant. The Westminster Confession, for example, lists the “undue delay of marriage” as sin (Q. 139). Even Scripture five times hearkens to the phrase “wife/bridegroom of your youth,” not your middle ages, youth being the only season that allows one to enjoy the full bundle of rights and privileges of marriage, and to accomplish its generational purposes.

The laws and practices of these former cultures likewise conveyed to all what was normative and what behavior was expected. Throughout the ages, for example, women enjoyed an infrastructure (their family or clan) to see them into the safe harbor of marriage. From arranged marriages to courtship/calling, all conspired to protect and guide women from squandering their best, most fertile years in futility.

In these earlier systems, those who were beholden to the bride through either blood or other ties were given the responsibility to guide her into marriage. This was primarily done by conditioning access of any prospective suitor on demonstrable showings of worthiness. Men were kept on a tight leash in these earlier systems. Today, we are stuck in a system that is the exact opposite — the balance of power has shifted to some random young man who, though he has virtually unfettered access to the woman, has no binding to her to initiate and bring about a marriage.

Also in these former cultures, there were consequences when behavior fell below the expected societal standard. The Puritans, for example, actually maintained laws that executed fines and imprisonment for single living. In one case where a single man John Littleale was found living by himself, where he was “subject to many sins, which are ordinarily the companions of a solitary life,” he was ordered to move in with a family, or be placed in the house of corrections in the Hamptons.

I suspect that there was nothing as off-putting to a grown man as being treated like a child in the home of another. However, the shame alone in such measures would have caused John and others like him to grow up and meet the demands of true biblical masculinity as defined by those around him.

Even as late as the 1950s, the bachelor was considered a freak for he had avoided the mantle of adulthood in taking on the responsibilities of a wife and family. He was considered “eccentric,” a “late bloomer,” a man who never really could prove he was a man. An unwed woman was pitied in terms such as “old maid,” for she had been the victim of poor opportunities in the unrelenting passage of time. And a few women were rightly considered “spinsters,” for their actions had frustrated any potential suitors.

Now, compare those beliefs to what singles are told today. “God is your husband.” “Bloom where you are planted.” “There are plenty of ministries you can help with during this time.” “Be content.” “Make the desire of your heart Jesus, not marriage.” The desire for marriage has been placed on a collision course with the desire for God, the One Who made marriage in the first place. With this kind of pitting, singles are often reduced to extolling singleness, much like a witch having the grace to drown to prove innocence. In the same vein, these messages dissuade young men from seeking marriage because of the false validation they receive for embarking on the less taxing challenges of mere service activities.

Chronological Snobbery

Why are Christians today so apt to validate a lifestyle that in the past would have been considered wayward and askew? To borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, our own “chronological snobbery” may make us believe that somehow we know more today than those who preceded us. However, our contemporary belief that Scripture validates singleness en masse is a modern invention that has sprouted only in this generation.

The ease of flattery and our alliance with pop culture has produced a language of holy doublespeak where adult singleness is thought of as acceptable, even biblical. Instead of placing this modern phenomenon of protracted singleness under Scripture for scrutiny, we have done the exact opposite — we have made Scripture the handmaiden to the phenomenon. I Corinthians 7, anyone? Instead of viewing Scripture as a whole and acknowledging that out of the thousands of characters, only a handful were single, we like to take parts out of context and argue that it gives us cover.

Past Christians also read I Corinthians 7, and they understood that Paul was writing at a time of “great distress,” referring to the famine in the Greek countryside and the percolating persecutions taking place at the time. Because of these threatening circumstances, Paul advised that marriage could temporarily be placed on the back-burner. They understood that letter to convey expediency, nothing more.

Paul never held marriage and singleness to be on equal planes, and neither did past Christians. Paul acknowledged celibacy (i.e., the supernatural removal of sexual desire) as a God-given gift. He acknowledged that the celibate could be single, but that the single could not necessarily be celibate and therefore prescribed marriage.

Contemporary Christian teaching on this subject blurs the line between celibacy and singleness and leaves singles mistakenly believing that the two are the same. God is often painted as capriciously willing singleness for some and not others. Consequently and sadly, many Christian singles resign themselves to this less-than-ideal state. A more thoughtful and critical examination reveals that today’s singleness is not some sort of divinely ordained, interminable state for a quarter of the population, but the result of a string of systematic impediments to marriage:

• a male-friendly mating structure that is not geared toward marriage, but toward low-commitment, short term, shallow cyclical relationships
• a low view of marriage, with the process to achieve it reflecting its value: the casual nature of dating ultimately reflects the casual nature with which we treat our marriages
• lack of male leadership in the home, with parents bringing up boys to remain boys
• a protracted education system that doesn’t really educate
• the removal of shame for indulging in the Indian Summer of one’s adolescence or for being a perennial bachelor
• a privatized version of the meaning of marriage
• a diminished expectation of marriage from the divorce culture, and
• a redefinition or a defining downward of healthy biblical adulthood

In the church, instead of acknowledging that singles are operating in the most dysfunctional mating scheme known to world history, we simply presume on the Lord and his sovereignty to override our collective recklessness. Instead of recognizing that many single women are victims because of the deficits in the present construct, we dismiss their unwanted status as simply “God’s will.”

Today’s singleness is not celibacy-induced kingdom work unaccommodating to family life. No, it’s the result of choices and mistakes by both the individual and society. Today’s singleness is either a lifestyle option or purely circumstantial; therefore, it is largely unbiblical.

Because past Christian thinkers rightly understood that biblically excused singleness was a rare exception, they also correctly believed that the rest of us were under the creation mandate to marry in a timely manner. This duty is hard to appreciate in a generation where the very permanency of marriage is in doubt. If marriage can be unilaterally modified by the reneging spouse, and the costs of stakeholders in the union (such as children) be overlooked, then is there any room for discussion of whether one fails to marry in the first place?

But this goes to the heart of the argument — accountability. John Calvin intimated that any man who, without the gift of continence, failed to marry was guilty of stealing a husband from a wife. He thought that if the two sexes be separated they were like “mutilated members of a mangled body.” Martin Luther agreed, and believed that the male and female ordering of Genesis mandated marriage for mankind. Marriage was not thought of as optional.

We are a generation that blinds itself to the notion that the failure to marry timely (i.e., in the Spring of our adult lives) can be as costly as a divorce. It costs someone a spouse, it robs someone of legitimate sexual relations, it deprives grandparents of their grandchildren, it fails to replenish the nursery of the church.

In Defense of Women

I know this proposition stings modern ears. I can think of many women, myself included at one time, who might argue, “But it’s not my fault I’m single.” True, most women are not to blame here as they are not the ones to bend down on one knee and propose. But being blameless cannot serve to validate an unintended outcome.

Single women may take the conclusion offered in this article as a personal affront. They may insist upon validation and affirmation for a state they readily admit resembles a cruel joke as opposed to a gift. However, the answer to our dilemma is not to accelerate our cultural acceptance of protracted singleness or make it look more glorified than it really is. Validating singleness categorically only guarantees more singleness. Perhaps it’s time to challenge the ideas that are now in play, especially those in the church.

Women will have no relief from the present holding cell of unwanted singleness until we recapture a world life view that exalts marriage as both a blessing and an obligation. That worldview restrains men’s baser instincts and desire to live unconstrained, immature lives. That worldview assists women and pities them when their desire to be a homemaker is snuffed out. That worldview has checks and balances. That worldview holds real promise for women to achieve their maximum biblical potential, instead of the momentary comfort of flattery. That worldview believes adult singleness, in the vast number of cases, to be unbiblical.

Please understand that I’m not proposing a return to the past, but a recapturing of these older, irrefutable, wiser truths. Because ideas have consequences, what we believe about singleness and marriage will shape how we will live, and ultimately whether we will realize marriage during the most desirable season.

Copied by permission. Copyright © 2006 Debbie Maken. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. This article was published on Boundless.org on January 19, 2006.

Debbie Maken, herself once an unwilling hostage to indefinite singleness, is now a homemaker, wife, and mother of two little girls. A former attorney and judicial clerk, she is the author of Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness published by Crossway Books.

And don’t miss this one The Cost of Delaying Marriage

And if that article made you mad, read this one Defending the Cost of DelayingMarriage



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28 Responses to “"Is Singleness Always a ‘Gift?’"”

  1. Taly says:

    I agree with you generally. In our country (Serbia) the situation is a bit different though. There are very few born again Christians generally. And of those more than two-thirds are usually women. This is true of single s as well. Most of our girls want to get married, but there simply are not enough Christian man around (and the connections between churches are very good, so I am not speaking about a single church, but the whole evangelical community in our area). What do we tell these girls? They are voluntary single. Those who desire marriage that much that they can’t accept their single state, end up marrying non-Christians and most of the time end up very unhappy. Sometimes if their husbands allow they will return to church later, bringing their children to Sunday School, but it is very rarely that the husbands get saved. If we want to avoid our girls marrying non-believers we do tell them to rather stay single and serve the Lord than to be unequally yoked by choice. What would you advice?

  2. The Mom says:

    Interesting reading, Stacey :-)

    But as the articles say there isn’t much woman could or should do to look for a husband (other than pray, of course) – or do you think there is?

    And I personally don’t believe a man should marry until he is capable of supporting a wife and (possibly many!) children on one income.

    I realise housing costs in the US are not comparable to those in the UK – here we have professional career men and women still living at home in their mid 20s because they can’t afford to live anywhere else.

    Kind of hard to get married in that situation – altho I’m happy to have all our 12 children live with us till they marry, I can’t say that I think having all 12 plus spouses and children would work quite so well :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    What about when Paul said that he wished every man was just like him – single? 1 Cor. 7:7

  4. Ron and Ginny says:

    Very good articles. I believe they all are pointing to the mindset, not necessarily to the actual state. Sometimes you can’t help that you are not married, but you can certainly help that you don’t want to be…

    I married at 18 and my mother was totally against it. She wanted me to have a career and then, when I was older and wiser, marry rich. She was furious and almost disowned me and never spoke to me again, but a friend of hers, whose mother had done that to her, talked her out of it.

    We have not been married 26 years. We had one stillborn son two years after we were married and no children since, but I still feel blessed.

    Thanks for the links to the articles. I hope that everyone reads them with an open mind, praying that the Lord will reveal the truth to them.

  5. Stacy McDonald says:

    Just a reminder to everyone…please do not post anonymously without letting me know. I’m going to have to stop allowing the anonymous posts – even the polite ones. If you have trouble posting on blogger, then post anonymously using a name and then write me privately so I have a real email address. But there is no way for me to contact you if you simply post “anonymously.”

    Dear “Anonymous,”

    Keep in mind that the article was addressing more our culture’s attitude toward singleness vs. its attitude toward marriage. Did you read the entire article? The author was differentiating between the biblical “gift of celibacy” and the way our culture glorifies ongoing singleness – consequently minimizing the importance of marriage. It did not discount the fact that there is a true gift of celibacy – just that its misunderstood by most people.

    Also, read these interesting quotes from Debbie Maken’s article:

    “The ease of flattery and our alliance with pop culture has produced a language of holy doublespeak where adult singleness is thought of as acceptable, even biblical. Instead of placing this modern phenomenon of protracted singleness under Scripture for scrutiny, we have done the exact opposite — we have made Scripture the handmaiden to the phenomenon. I Corinthians 7, anyone? Instead of viewing Scripture as a whole and acknowledging that out of the thousands of characters, only a handful were single, we like to take parts out of context and argue that it gives us cover…”

    “Past Christians also read I Corinthians 7, and they understood that Paul was writing at a time of “great distress,” referring to the famine in the Greek countryside and the percolating persecutions taking place at the time. Because of these threatening circumstances, Paul advised that marriage could temporarily be placed on the back-burner. They understood that letter to convey expediency, nothing more.”

    “Paul never held marriage and singleness to be on equal planes, and neither did past Christians. Paul acknowledged celibacy (i.e., the supernatural removal of sexual desire) as a God-given gift. He acknowledged that the celibate could be single, but that the single could not necessarily be celibate and therefore prescribed marriage…”

    “…Because past Christian thinkers rightly understood that biblically excused singleness was a rare exception, they also correctly believed that the rest of us were under the creation mandate to marry in a timely manner.”

  6. Belle says:

    We have been studying the gifts of the spirit this week from Systematic Theology. Wayne Grudem includes, in our study and scripture readings, that there is a gift of celibacy and a gift of marriage. We were arguing about that, trying to see what he meant. Thank you for this post!

  7. Michelle says:

    Thank you for posting this. I have also read the other article mentioned – the Cost of delaying marriage. I completely agree.
    I’ll have to do a blog myself on this.

  8. Ron and Ginny says:

    Oh! There is a typo in my comment!
    :-O

    I meant to say that we have “now” been married 26 years.

    (I accidentally put “not”. It makes a difference, not?)

    ;-)

  9. Apple Cider Mama says:

    Stacey,

    Thank you for sharing this article. The elevation of singleness within the Christian community as a holier standard than marriage is something I witnessed at university. However, in that case, I often got the impression that this was to help people deal with their singleness (ie. chastity) with dignity and pride more than as a knock at marriage. However, it seemed to encourage the young men to get comfy with the idea of not having to commit to a marriage relationship, dating the girl, albeit chastely, rather indefinitely. My husband surprised his friends greatly when he proposed to me our junior year and our marriage was set for seven months later, in the middle of our senior year. I’m so glad I found a man who doesn’t buy into the Peter Pan mentality that plagues so many young men nowadays!
    ~Bethany (23-year-old mother & homemaker)

  10. Leah says:

    What would be your opinion of a woman who is faced with the opportunity to marry, but for some reason or another turns down one man after another– not so much because she is “postponing” marriage, but because she is picky or has a certain ideal in her mind? Do women have a “responsiblitiy” (a better word somehow escapes me!) to marry the first decent man who pursues them, just as men have a responsibility to seek a good woman? Please understand that this is not a combative question. I was thoroughly intrigued by this post, and was glad someone had the courage to articulate such thoughts!

  11. Terry says:

    This was a good post. Thank you for pointing out that the way we are doing things now as it relates to marriage and singleness is anything but Biblical. And we wonder why so many young people are compromising their purity. We have 4 daughters. (13, and 12 year old twins, and a 19month old) Our older daughters already know that we are all in favor of them marrying in their early twenties rather than remaining single for the prupose of…what? I’m not even sure what the purpose is other than to delay responsibility and make numerous mistakes that can’t be undone. Thanks again, for sharing this.

  12. The Mom says:

    Stacy, these are not my comments, but thoughts from a friend. I thought they were valid. I hope they don’t fall on the too “debative” side of the discussion. . .

    “It sounds, to me, like this woman’s denominational background places a very heavy emphasis on church tradition. Frankly, though I do think some legitimate points were made, I don’t see Scripture supporting the assumption that singleness is wrong or shameful. I think that attitude is quite sad, personally. Sure, some people are single who should be married (due to temptations with or practice of immorality, fear which they are not dealing with spiritually, or other ungodly reasons), but to actually advocate a return to shaming single people (“spinsters/old maids” for women, “eccentric” or worse for men) is cruel and unbiblical, imo.

    I wonder how many women ended up in horrible marriages over the years due to the stigma of “spinsterhood” or how many men endured a miserable existence due to marrying just for the sake of marriage.

    Her point about “chronological snobbery” could go both ways, imo. Is every cultural norm of days past automatically superior just because it was done that way then? What about the fact that people are living much longer in modern times. Are women fertile for longer for more years now? Do more children survive today due to better nutrition and medical care?

    I think of Noah. At 600 years old Noah and Mrs. Noah only had three sons who were themselves married but not yet parents. Did Noah marry at 18 and have three sons then go 575 years or so with no more children? The point is, we just don’t know.

    I do agree that most believers will marry. I believe that is what I Cor. 7 and other Scripture indicates. (You could include – is it I Cor.? – which says that young widows should remarry.) But to go to the other extreme of almost villifying single people – I don’t think she proved her point Scripturally

  13. Stacy McDonald says:

    “I don’t see Scripture supporting the assumption that singleness is wrong or shameful.”

    I really didn’t see the author of the article saying that singleness was wrong or shameful at all. I don’t think that was what she was saying.

    “but to actually advocate a return to shaming single people (“spinsters/old maids” for women, “eccentric” or worse for men) is cruel and unbiblical, imo.”

    I don’t think she was advocating shaming single people either! LOL I think she was trying to demonstrate how our culture’s view (and even glorification) of singleness has changed so drastically.

    “Is every cultural norm of days past automatically superior just because it was done that way then?”

    Not at all. But don’t you think we miss out on a lot when we reject the wisdom of those who have gone before us? We become arrogant when we think we have a corner on the truth – who needs history? That’s what many think. To be progressive is the “new wisdom” of the day.

    “Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16, NKJV)

    I liked the article. I don’t think she was vilifying singles at all. I think she was trying to help them. She was pointing out how they are being deceived by a society that is trying to convince them that singleness is normal and should be preferred.

  14. Stacy McDonald says:

    “What would be your opinion of a woman who is faced with the opportunity to marry, but for some reason or another turns down one man after another…”

    It depends on the “reason.” If she’s only been present with men who are unsuitable, then what choice does she have? :-)

    However, if a woman is waiting for Mr. Perfect that’s a different story all together.

  15. Martha A. says:

    I think too to assume that all are meant to be married is ignoring the fact that it does say they
    are not. I think it is obvious that it is what is right, but I think it is better to remain single than to marry just for the sake of being married. Many people marry because they are so desperate to get married without properly thinking about the decision they are making that will effect the rest of their lives and their childrens lives. I believe it is cycle we need to be teaching our children so they are godly men and women to be available to be ready for whatever God has for them, whether that is marriage or not.

  16. Ted Slater says:

    Martha, I don’t think anyone has argued that “all are meant to be married.” Clearly, some remain single for their entire lives because the Lord ordained that.

    “Anonymous” — please read all of 1 Cor 7, including the part where Paul uses the phrase “they should marry.” While Paul speaks well of those called to a lifetime of celibate service, he also speaks very highly of marriage, going so far as to strongly advocate it for some (I would say “most”).

  17. Stacy McDonald says:

    Oops…that should have said, “If she is only PRESENTED with men who are unsuitable…”

  18. RedeemedandCrowned says:

    Ted, you said “please read all of 1 Cor 7, including the part where Paul uses the phrase “they should marry.” While Paul speaks well of those called to a lifetime of celibate service, he also speaks very highly of marriage, going so far as to strongly advocate it for some (I would say “most”).” – but I think you need to read all of the chapter as well. Paul says that if someone cannot control themselves as a single, it is better for them to marry than to burn with passion. This does not sound like Paul is speaking well of people who cannot abide as those who are single and committed to the Lord. Paul goes on to give commands in marriage from the Lord, but it’s OBVIOUS that Paul’s first choice for himself and those who have the self-control for celibacy, to remain single.

  19. Ted Slater says:

    RedeemedandCrowned — yes, celibate service is honorable. Paul had some fine things to say about it.

    At the same time, Paul — a guy who was not married — spoke highly of marriage in many of his letters. And the truth is that he said that some people “should marry.” Those are his words: “They should marry.” That word “should” is an imperative verb, i.e., a command.

    If you are able to “control” your sexual desires, RedeemedandCrowned, then you’re free not to marry. You may follow the admirable route of celibate service, undistracted by dating, masturbation, and so on.

    If you’re really struggling with your sexual desires, which I think most people do since those God-given desires are very strong in most of us, to use Paul’s words: “You should marry.”

    But marriage, of course, is not merely an “out” for those struggling with sexual sin. it’s a wonderful gift from the Lord that can help us grow in godliness and that represents His love for the Church.

  20. Heartful of Hope says:

    Ok, I was wondering… what’s a single girl to do? Let’s say you know and care for a suitable young man.. Is there anything you could/should do? Within the bounds of propriety and godliness, of course.

    Thanks!
    Heartful-of-Hope

  21. Mary says:

    In response to Heartful of Hope, you can pray of course, but you should also talk with your parents, especially your father. Tell him of your interest in this young man and seek his input, his counsel, his covering, and his help.

    Sometimes if a father sees the merits of a certain young man of interest, he can encourage the young man to “notice” his daughter by verbally esteeming the godly characteristics he sees in the young man and telling him, “Because of your godly character, if you ever took an interest in my daughter, I’d be interested in talking with you further…” Or sometimes a father can talk with mutual family friends of the young man and see if they can be of any help…

    And keep praying, Heartful of Hope.

  22. I remember reading this article when you posted it a few years ago, and now with the daughters of families getting older and of marriageable age, (mine included) this issue comes up constantly.

    I can’t tell you how upsetting and frustrating (!) it is to hear girl after girl comment to me that “singleness is a gift” or “It’s obviously God’s will I’m not married (at 30 yrs ) because it didn’t happen.”

    Thank you Stacy! This needs to be said much more often!
    p.s… my own daughters? Can’t wait to be happily married!

  23. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Jennifer. I would like to clarify that God has indeed ordained for some to remain single.

  24. Todd Lewis says:

    I respectfully claim that, while I agree that one should either decide to marry and not dilly-dally or remain perpetually virgin, there are many historical in accuracies in Debbie Maken’s essay.

    She says: “It was not only the duty to marry that was held sacrosanct, but also the proper and timely execution thereof.” This is true to a point, but this point is confused further here: “They understood that letter (I Corinthian 7) to convey expediency, nothing more.”

    This is sadly mistaken the history of the church for fifteen hundred years before Martin Luther greatly praised and advocated perpetual virginity. The marriage mandate is valid as a concession to man’s nature, but the church fathers hoped that man would answer the call to celibacy. We see this in Justin the Martyr’s On the Resurrection: Chapter III; Cyprians Treatise II On the Dress of Virgins. Further writings in favor of celibacy and the view that the genesis marriage mandate is not necessary obligatory for all is to be found in addition to the aforementioned fathers Tertullian (4.40, 4.42, 3.294, 3.46), Origen (9.506, 9.512, 4.407, 4.631) Athenagoras (2.146), Polycrates (8.774) and Methodius (6.312). In short Maken’s claim that the church’s view of the genesis mandate was the same as hers is disproved by the above citations. Lest we forget our messiah was a eunuch as well.

    Furthermore I doubt that the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox say celibate men (monks) and women (nuns) as violating the genesis mandate or being unusual. Lastly, 1 Corinthains 7 is not the only valid text on celibacy so is Matthew 19:10-12, Luke 20 34:38 and Revelation 14:4-5. These words in conjunction make a very forceful point about virginity visa-a-vie marriage that cannot be easily denied.

  25. Stacy McDonald says:

    “The marriage mandate is valid as a concession to man’s nature, but the church fathers hoped that man would answer the call to celibacy.”

    It sounds like you are saying that God’s first choice was for everyone to be celibate; but, because of our evil hearts, God made a provision for those who couldn’t control themselves. Are you really saying that in a perfect world, everyone would be celibate? What about the call to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:22, Deut.7:13 and more)? What about God’s desire for “godly seed” (Malachi 2:15)? What about “He who finds a good wife finds a good thing (Prov. 18:22)?”

    By your philosophy, the future generations should all come from the heathen and from those weak Christians who lack the self control to be celibate. What happened to taking dominion? Wow.

  26. Dawn says:

    This is a very interesting articale, and I can relate as a single women. I came to know Christ in college, and I’ve always had the desire to marry young. 13 years after graduation, at 35 years of age, I’m still not married.

    It’s a shame that society promotes delayed adolescence. In 9 years, from 1998-2007, I’ve dated 3 guys–of whom I thought were: A) Christians and B)Would see marriage as a possibility. I’ll admit I lied to myself about them being Christians and had to learn the hard way that I cannot change a man. In terms of the possibilty of marriage, all three guys said they were not sure in terms of marrying me, and after dating them for years. I feel that my most fertile years have been wasted on “bad investments”. :-(

    I do know, that God is able, and that He has a plan for me. I’ll be 36 in about a week, and I still desire to have children. If God can bless Sarah with Isaac at 90 with a child, I’m sure He can bless me as well.

  27. I would add to the post that the Larger Catechism also speaks of marriage as a duty”

    Question 138: What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?

    Answer: The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation;…

  28. >>It sounds like you are saying that God’s first choice was for everyone to be celibate;

    Mrs. McDonald,
    It is certainly true that the Catholic church did (and still does, altho in more muted tones) despise marriage. they even called the act of marriage ‘vomit’ and the like (references available). This was one of the many things that the reformers reformed against.

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