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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Benefits of Singleness

I know quite a few people are unmarried, as I am, and they are in their mid to late twenties and still single. I understand how discouraging it can be to hear all the comments about young marriage being Biblical and so on and so forth. To say that young marriage is Biblical would be incorrect, because then everyone would be married young, as God intended, according to those who say so. But not everyone is. God sometimes doesn't bring along the right person for a very long time, and that's okay. So today I wanted to encourage everyone who is unmarried, because we get so little encouragement about being single in the latter years! So here is a list of benefits to later marriage that I came up with. (By the way, in no way am I demeaning or criticizing those who married young. This is solely to encourage the singles.)

1.) Your Viewpoint on Marriage Has Changed- Whether you noticed it or not, your viewpoint on marriage has probably changed for the best. All those hormones you had as a teen have calmed down,  your maturity level has gone up, and hopefully you have realized marriage isn't about the wedding day. It is so much more! When I was a teen, and even into my early twenties, I was excited about The Wedding Day. I wanted to get married for my happiness, to be loved, to experience falling in love, for me, me, me. It was all about me. Then something happened as I got older. I suddenly realized the point in marriage. It was as if one day God pulled the blinders off my eyes and showed me what marriage was for. Yes, we all know it is meant to glorify God, but those are just words. You could have said that all you wanted to me, and I would have nodded my head and agreed, but my actions showed I didn't fully understand. And I didn't until the day I realized, not with a head knowledge, but with a heart knowledge that this was a beautiful way to glorify God. Forever you would be able to tell others about the remarkable way you met, as only God could plan out, allowing the hearer, disappointed singles, and those in need of encouragement, to be able to hope and glorify God for His goodness to us when we least expect it, to be able to revel in the fact that God can do the impossible. This story glorifies God. And I have heard remarkable stories where God did the impossible for a single and their story is retold over and over, leaving others speechless, and amazed at the goodness of God. I realized I wanted my marriage to be like that- a God-centered testimony to others. And this I would have never have learned had I married young. I would have gone into marriage with the me, me, me mentality, the wrong perspective. I have God to thank for not being married when I was so immature in this respect!

2.) Your Viewpoint on Children Has Changed- Who doesn't melt at the sight of a cute baby? What girl doesn't enjoy looking at baby clothes at the story and thinking about how cute her baby will be dressed? Those are all enjoyable things, but for the longest time that was what I wanted children for, to dress them up in cute outfits and to name them. Sounds very silly, but that was my purpose for having children, not a mature or Godly one for sure! As I hit my twenties, I realized one day that was not the real purpose for having children. Children are hard work, require energy, patience, and decades of your nurturing affection. They are not simply objects to be entertained with; they are human beings with souls, impressionable and vulnerable. They are literal gifts given to glorify God with by raising them accordingly. It suddenly hit me that whatever children I have, I can raise them according to Biblical standards and ground them in the faith, cultivating them to live for God and work for His kingdom. What an impact just one child can have upon who knows how many people just because you trained them up in the knowledge of the Lord! Imagine if one of your children became the next David Livingstone or Amy Carmichael, what an impact your decades of service to God through raising children would have! All the hard work and decades you spent investing in their lives, all the times you wondered if it was worth it, what was your purpose in investing in them, would all be rewarded when they grew up into Godly adults making an impact on others. It was then I realized how having children could truly glorify God by investing in one life to invest in thousands of others. After that I started praying for these future human beings, to come to a knowledge of God someday and be faithful all their lives to Him. Whether they be adopted or not, I want children to be able to glorify God through them.

3.) You Have Been Able to Observe the Hardships of the Married- Had I married young, I would never have known that marriage isn't a bed of roses. You too have probably been able to observe the married couples around you, and if you have been around them long enough, you can figure out there is tension at times. I never thought about observing married couples for future reference, but it has been one of the best ways of preparing for marriage! More often than not though my observation entails what not to do. I have learned that we women love to nag, nag, nag, but we never realize we are doing it! It has helped me to become aware of potential nagging issues. I have also realized that although a newlywed may dote on her husband and talk about how wonderful he is, in reality, he isn't perfect. Just remember that. I remember one time feeling sad like I was missing out as I listened to this marvelous depiction of someone's husband, until later I saw an undesirable selfish character trait he exhibited. Reading books on marriage and listening to the trials of the married, has enabled me to appreciate and value singleness. It has also helped to fix current issues that could become a potential problem in a marriage. Yes, I encourage observation of couples. It will enable you to prepare for the future, so you can avoid certain issues. And you will be all the wiser for it when you are married.

This in no way means that I will have it altogether when I get married, or I won't be a nagging wife, or that I have no selfish desires (I still struggle with selfish desires too), but it just means I am better prepared and have a God-focused perspective instead of a me-focused perspective, of which is still a struggle to maintain!

 But those are my top three benefits. Those are the unselfish reasons. I could speak of how wonderful it is to be able to do your own thing without consulting anyone else, hang out with friends any time you wish, not worry about running after children, but those are more of selfish benefits, rather than Godly benefits. Yes, enjoy those benefits to singleness too, but don't get so comfortable in them your are unwilling to marry or have children. Marriage and children have their own set of hardships and blessings, just as singleness does. Eventually you will be missing the single days or even regretting how you wasted the single days, instead of putting them to good use. I continue to remind myself about those things when I get lazy and sit around wasting my time doing nothing important. It is what helps to keep me focused on the importance of serving God doing what I am doing at this stage in life. So enjoy this stage of life, make the most of it, redeeming the time, because it certainly won't last long!

And post below if you have any other additions to my list! I would love to see your comments!