For some time now, I’ve been ruminating over why so many single people are pressured about marriage in the church community. Most churches are quick to deny this. They say; “No one is pressuring you, it’s okay to be single and serve God…” and other patronising statements like that but every time special programs are organised for singles, the theme will always revolve around relationships, dating and marriage.
Look, we have single people and we have married people. Not everyone is meant to be married. I believe that there is no such thing as a healthy church until we bring back God’s call to singleness inside the church.
We won’t glorify God completely unless we have a vibrant single’s community. And I’m not talking about a “meet other singles and network for dating opportunity” kind of single’s fellowship most churches have.
I’m talking about real singles. People that authentically believe they are called and are willing to forgo the pleasures of marriage and enjoyment of sexuality, because they have committed their lives to the cause of the gospel, and they believe what God has to offer them is bigger than what the world offers in this area.
Marriage is also a high calling. For those who are called to be married, it’s a calling to show the world, the beautiful picture of the relationship between Christ and his church. So, both marriage and singleness are high callings. And together, we paint an accurate picture of God.
However, it’s so sad that in most Nigerian churches today, single people are treated like they have a problem. Married people are celebrated and are somehow ranked “higher” or considered “more matured” than single people. That’s why in some congregations, a single person cannot Pastor or be an Elder, and single’s fellowships are all about “how to find a husband/wife”.
Some churches even go to great lengths to match-make single members of the congregation and in some places, when you’re a lady or gentleman above thirty and unmarried, everyone gives you this patronising look and its written plainly on their faces that they think something is wrong with you.
Most of the problem is because we have a culture that thinks if you’re not married, you’re not happy. (As if everyone who is married is happy, and everyday it’s all candyfloss and rainbows)
I happen to believe there is a beautiful call to singleness, and while I know that there are loads of single people who desire to be married, I also know that in the desire to be married, most are missing the privilege of being single now.
No one has the right to determine your marital status. Not even you. Your job is to walk with God and let him determine your marital status.
Some of us are called to be married; some of us are called to be single. But with one purpose; to display the glory of God and to fulfil his purpose on earth.
In my opinion, we focus too much on marriage and relationships. Yes it’s important, but it’s temporary. The time is short. Look at these verses:
1 Corinthians 7: 29 – 35 (NLT)
29 But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. 30 Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. 31 Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.
32 I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. 33 But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. 34 His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.