Monday, August 29, 2011

From Single to Married: Does it happen naturally, intentionally, or both?

There seems to be a lot of confusion among Christians on the gift of singleness as Paul described in the Bible (1 Cor 7:6-9). Let me describe two indicators that one does not have this gift: he or she REALLY wants to be married or really craves the deep companionship of the other gender. Those who have the gift of singleness view marriage as an afterthought or nice idea but not something they particularly desire. They do not flirt with or lead on those of the opposite sex and lust is often a minimal issue for them. These factors lead me to believe that the lifetime gift of singleness is reserved for a small number of people. The majority of people only have the gift of singleness until they receive the gift of marriage.

The fact that most people don't possess Paul's type of singleness makes it difficult for the majority of un-married people in our country to understand, particularly men. The two excuses I hear most often by men who want to be married but are not married are: they want a relationship to happen "naturally" or they are waiting for the moment that they will "just know" who the right woman is.

Ever cooked a meal? Ever slept on a bed or set an alarm? Ever used the toilet or mowed the grass? Eating is natural yet we prepare meals; sleeping is natural yet we have clocks, set alarms, and utilize beds; going "potty" is natural yet we have toilets and plumbing. Grass grows yet we mow it and keep our yards clean. 100% "natural" is not always a good thing. Weeds happen naturally. Flourishing rose bushes happen intentionally. Hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, earthquakes are all "natural disasters", and that's exactly where many marriages end up without intentional knowledge and application of God's Word long before the ceremony. "Natural" is not always the best way. In fact, it seems that the most important issues in life usually take significant intentionality--education, job success, financial stability, and yes… successful relationships.

There are a few people who "just knew" who their spouse was going to be the moment they saw them. These stories are the exception, not the rule. For most people, it took prayer, experiences, investigations, intentionality, discernment, knowledge, planning, strategy, etc. Here's what I believe "it’ll happen naturally and I’ll just know" mean: "I want God to give me a sign, so that I don't have to do the work. I want to risk nothing and go through the dating process without any rejection."

My opinion is worth little if the Bible doesn't support it. In my next post I'll recount my favorite "match-making" story found in Genesis 24. Abraham and Sarah's son Isaac was 40 years old before he married Rebekah. This should encourage EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of my single friends. Isaac was the promised son. God wasn't picking on him; In fact, one could argue he was a little bit favored. God talked about Isaac decades before he was even born. God promised to bless the nations of the world through Abraham, and therefore through Isaac. Yet to have a son he needed a wife! Isaac wasn't single because of something wrong with him. It seems there was one reason why Isaac had difficulty getting married at the common age: there were no God-fearing women in his land. And so, please read Genesis 24 before my next post and see how this godly family became intentional about finding Isaac a suitable wife.

#2: Isaac and Rebekah

#3: The Do's and Don'ts


  1. Tonya, thank you so much for this. Godly wisdom and words for even a married woman. My best friend will appreciate this.

  2. Thanks so much Leah for your encouraging words.