*The viewing of the video linked is recommended before reading this post.
As young single women, we are not alone in this modern world. As of 2012, 47% of the adult population was unmarried, and of the single population, 44.9% are women. 60% of single adults have never been married totaling about 56 million Americans. In 2014, adults between the ages of 18 and 29 only 16% were married, compared to 2005, married adults of the same age group was 32%.
“Pew Report showed that the number of Americans over the age of 25 who have never been married is currently at its highest”.
These statistics obviously include those who according to the legislation definition of single have never been married but are “coupled” or in other words, cohabit with a partner. In 2005, there were over 12 million unmarried partners living together; between the years 1990 and 2007, this number had increased 88%! Today, the majority of couples that are marrying have cohabited first.
It is acceptable to society to live with a partner without ever being married: two people having an intimate relationship while each still living their own independent lives. The thought is that the advantages of being single outweigh the disadvantages. The financial stability, the emotional connections, the physical intimacy, these are all things that are acceptable to have without marriage. They can continue worrying and basing their decisions on no one but themselves. They can focus on their career and not have to worry about raising kids, or about maintaining a relationship (which takes time and effort). With so many advantages, it’s clear to see why so many decide to stay single.
In the video that I linked, Chasing the American dream- Me, myself and I, several women are interviewed about why they have turned down proposals and relationships to continue to stay single. While I relate to some of their reasons, essentially they have decided against marriage because, as Alicia Menendez states, women in this century don’t HAVE to marry. There are many things in our society now days that allows and facilitates women living on their own, being financially independent, and pursuing their career or other interests. They feel empowered as women, because they can make their own decisions. While these new, modern circumstances of society are beneficial to women, I cannot help but think that there are errors in this way of thinking.
So, how does this relate to us as Christian single women?
Paul tells us in Romans to have a different mindset from this world, and of this age.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers…Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12: 1a, 2a – ESV)
One of the interviewees in the video states: “Other than that [having kids], I don’t see why I would necessarily need to get married again.” This idea that marriage serves only for the purpose of having and raising kids is not what the Bible says is correct. In Genesis, when man was created, God had the intent of creating human beings that could rely on each other. God made Adam, and then made him do a job where he would see that all the other animals had a partner and he would realize that life was better if he had a partner to share life with. When it says that man and woman were created in the image of God, it means more than what we initially think. God made mankind as relational beings. We are different from animals, because we need relationships and not just the physical act of sex. Marriage was not created solely for having kids.
So, maybe your saying: “Lydia, I want to get married, but God hasn’t given me a husband yet. I want to have someone that I can share my life with, but it just hasn’t happened!” Let me tell you this, the desire to be in a relationship, to have someone we can rely on, to have kids, all of this is actually a God given desire. Because it is God given, it also means that God knows this, and he knows the best for us. It also means that He can give us strength to rely on him, until He decides to give us what we desire or to modify what we desire.
In Second Timothy 3, Paul gives a list of characteristics of people in the last days. The list has several items that we are very familiar with in our society today: proud, arrogant, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, reckless, to name just a few. The first item on the list seems to summarize all of these: “lovers of self”. This is where I believe Christian single women should be different from every other single woman out there. We are called to love one another, and this command does not change in our singlehood. Most single women today want to continue single because of their selfish desires: their financial independence, their lack of need of intimacy and relationships, their lack of desire for kids, their independence of decisions, their freedom to travel, and to live how they want without owing an explanation to anyone.
We need to be different in our motivation to singleness. Are we single because we can’t get along with anyone? Or are we single because we want that independence and freedom? Is it because we don’t see ourselves as someone who needs a relationship to survive? Or because marriage just doesn’t fit into our life plan of the moment? We need to examine our motivation, and make sure we haven’t conformed to this modern era of feminism and search of Personal Rights. Even our singleness should be matched up to the Bible and God’s “worldview”.
It might not be the reason we are single, but at least our focus during our singlehood should be to minister to others in specific ways that others around us might not be able to, due to their familial responsibilities. Maybe, while we are single we have more time and flexibility to go on mission trips, to help out in the children’s church, to minister to the elderly, or any other creative service you might see yourself helping with.
I challenge all of us, to examine our motivations and our desires in being singles. How can we use our singleness to help and minister to others? To love others? To show the world that we are different?