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Is singleness a season, a calling, or something else?

The Bible describes both singleness and marriage as gifts from God (1 Corinthians 7:1-40). Marriage is a picture of God’s committed love and relationship with us. Singleness is a way to follow Jesus and devote influence, time, energy, and relationships to help others in a way that married people can’t. Both are legitimate paths that honor God and fulfill His purpose. The question is, which has God called you to?

Is It OK to Be Single and Enjoy It?

It’s good to enjoy being single. God specifically calls some people to singleness as a way to help others follow Jesus and grow the church around the world. 

When Jesus’ disciples asked if someone should get married, He ex- plained that staying single is a viable way of life and can be used by God for good (Matthew 19:10-12). Paul recommended people stay single if they can remain faithful to Jesus, recognizing “it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” That is, it’s better to be married and exercise your sexuality with your spouse in the context God created, rather than give into relational, emotional, and sexual frustration at the expense of your obedience to God (1 Corinthians 7:6-9).

Many influential people in the Bible remained unmarried for much — or all — of their lives, including Jesus. Some other names you might recognize include:

Why Won't God Give Me a Spouse?

The longer you’re single, the more you ask questions like “What’s wrong with me?” or “How long will I have to wait?” It’s easy to be overwhelmed when well-meaning friends and family say things like, “You’re just in a season of life!” or “Be patient and wait for the right one.” Those often sound like trite excuses rather than encouraging truths.

It’s normal to be sad, frustrated, or angry about being single. You may not see clear reasons why you aren’t yet married, but there’s reason to hope and believe that change is possible. God hears every request you make and knows your frustrations. You can keep going to God with questions, concerns, and hopes — including the desire to be married.

Am I Still Single Because I'm Not Enough?

Feeling insufficient and comparing yourself to those who are married places an unrealistic and unhealthy limit on your value. Your worth is determined by God who made you, which means you are free from the burden of having to earn or prove your value (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:13-18). You are so valuable to God that He went to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate His love for you (John 3:16).

Instead of focusing on the spouse or significant other you don’t have, consider how your desire to be married is one part of the life God has given you, not the only part. God wants to be the defining factor of your self-worth and the source of your happiness and fulfillment.

How Do I Know When I've Met "the One"?

A popular idea about dating and marriage is that you’ll know who to marry because you’ll realize that person is “the one.” The problem is that “the one” is a myth, not an idea from the Bible.

Marriage won’t automatically cure your loneliness, sexual desires, or the need to feel loved. Don’t buy the lie that another person will complete you. Only Jesus can do that because we’re made to be in relationship with God (Psalm 103:1-5). 

If you’re single and wish you were married, guard against impatience. Resist the urge to settle for someone who isn’t God’s best partner for you. 

Surround yourself with godly friends and mentors who offer listening ears and wise counsel as you navigate life as a single person, whether for this phase of your life or for the rest of your life. Being single provides an invaluable time to discover who God’s calling you to be and to say yes to whatever He has for you next.

What Do I Do Now?

If you believe you’re called to be single throughout your life, how will you steward that gift from God? What changes can you make to your commitments, work, relationships, time, and money to make the most of your opportunities to follow Jesus?

If you believe you’re called to be married but aren’t yet, what chang- es can you make to be faithful with the opportunities, relationships, skills, and gifts God has already given you? What changes can you make to prepare to be a good spouse in the future?

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