My wife and I have a single, female friend in her mid-30s who recently sent me a text with a link. It said, “Joshua, I want your thoughts. I found this article true but extremely discouraging.”
I clicked on the link and discovered an article by Pastor Mark Driscoll called “Six Options for Godly Single Women Wanting to Marry.” It opened with the depressing (but true) line, “These are tough times for godly single women who want to marry,” and it only got more depressing after that.
According to Driscoll, the six options available to godly single women include the following:
- Sin: You can party, sleep around or shack up, and if “you take this path, you will eventually come to feel horrible for what you have done and miserable in the world you live.”
- Surrender: You can give up on connecting with anyone at all — romantically or non-romantically. Basically, you can become a hermit, and if you do, “you are not just foregoing marriage but also hope and joy.”
- Settle: You can pick the first godless loser you find on Match.com and marry him, which “may get you a man, but not a long-term, joy-filled, God-honoring marriage.”
- Suffer: You can allow singleness to become the defining aspect of your life, which will make you feel “unwanted, unloved, and unworthy” and push “you into shame, isolation, and despair.”
- Strive: You can obsess over looking more attractive, finding a man, and getting married until “the center of your life is no longer Jesus, but some guy you are determined to attract to fill his place.”
- Solace: In case you weren’t interested in sinning, giving up on community, settling for a loser, despairing, or worshiping the god of marriage, there’s one more option: “You can remind yourself that you worship a God who was single.” And then you can take comfort in God’s sympathy, see your state as honorable, start living your life, and “be open to a relationship without putting your entire life on hold until one occurs.”
As an extra measure of comfort, Driscoll concludes with this: “Men are waiting until around 30 years old to marry for the first time, if they ever do. And, they are going for younger women, according to the statistics.” But he reminds the single ladies to take heart, because even though it’s tough to be single, “God uses everything in our life to make us more like Jesus, who happened to live a perfect life while single.”
After I read Driscoll’s article, I understood the reason my friend found the article “extremely discouraging”: um, because it is extremely discouraging. I’m sure Driscoll’s heart was in the right place when he wrote it, but my goodness, does he really think those sum up the options for a single woman — either run her life into the ground or get used to being single like Jesus was?
Single godly women, listen to me: The God who lived as a single man is the same God who looked at single Adam and, for the first time in the process of creation said, “This isn’t good” (Genesis 2:18). He’s the God who helped a 90-year-old woman get pregnant (Genesis 17:7, 21:1-8), the God who parted the seas when all was lost for the desperate Hebrews (Exodus 14), the God who multiplied the oil from a jar to keep a widow and her son alive (2 Kings 4:1-7), the God who called a dead man from the grave (John 11:38-44), the God who multiplied five loaves and two fishes and fed 5,000 (Mark 6:33-44) — and, yes, He’s the God who provided a husband for Ruth, a foreign widow who was anything but an eligible bachelorette in Israel (Ruth 4).
Now fast forward to the 21st century. We’re talking about the same God who helped my 33-year-old friend Helena find love with a 28-year-old pastor she had a chance encounter with one weekend. This is the same God who used ChristianCafe.com to introduce my 34-year-old friend Lisa to her 36-year-old husband, Tim, the very first day they both logged on. And He’s the same God who brought a sweet widower into the life of my dear friend Gale when she was 64 years old. What I’m saying is, your singleness is not a hopeless situation, and even if it were, God specializes in coming through when all else has failed.
I’m not trying to tell you that you’re going to get married if you pray hard enough and believe in faith; what I’m telling you is that if you believe in the God of the Bible, then you believe in a God who is not bound by current probabilities. I’m telling you that you’ve got a better option than choosing from a life that’s somewhere between sad desperation and sweet resignation. And that option is to go before your all-sufficient Father and earnestly pray, “God, if You want me to have a husband, I want one with all of my heart, but if You don’t, then I don’t ever want one. Either way, I know You’re totally capable of providing for me — regardless of what the statistics may say.”
Ladies, if God does eventually provide a husband for you, then when that day comes, let it be said that while taking solace in the arms of your heavenly Father, you never doubted His ability to provide a husband here on earth.