Before I get into this blog I want to make a large disclaimer. I know that in so many ways I am unqualified to write it! I was married very young and have been married for a long time. I don’t have experience of being single.
However, as a Christian leader I feel that I should reflect on a Christian perspective on singleness, because it is such an important subject and I have concluded there is much unhelpful thinking about the subject out there that needs to be addressed. I think it is a subject that both married and single people need to think about.
It is a subject I have been reflecting and thinking about for a while now, as a married man. I feel it is my responsibility to say something as a married Christian leader. Which is what I intend to do in this series of blogs.
Please see beyond my personal circumstances and see what I have to say. Whether you are married or single!
The first and most important thing I want to say is that singleness is not just the absence of marriage, but is a good and blessed thing in and of itself.
The Bible is very positive about singleness. Jesus himself was single, and this is very significant. He was the most fully human and complete person who ever lived. His singleness in no way diminished his humanity. He was not less of a person for it. No one is. Marriage, for all its blessings, is not intrinsic to being whole and fully realised as a person. Jesus himself stated very clearly that in the new heavens and new earth we will not be married. Marriage is only temporary, singleness is eternal! E.g. Matthew 22v30.
No-one needs to be married to be a complete human. However, the assumption that too many make is that you do. Parents make that assumption, looking forward to their offspring getting married, putting pressure on their children to marry. Friends make the assumption when they see couples getting together. I have realised that I have subtly fallen into this wrong thinking myself and have put unhealthy pressure on single people, I will do all I can to not do it again. I ask you to do the same.
We need to be very clear on the subject. Each state (married and single) has its own ups and downs, opportunities and challenges, grief and joys. One is not superior to the other.
You can often tell what an organization values by what (or who) they celebrate – we need to be better at celebrating all of the Christ-like single men and women (for whatever reason) in our midst. They have been given a precious gift that deserves a party or two as much as any marriage does.
There are many advantages to being single. Single people often have a greater capacity for friendship, greater flexibility of lifestyle, and are free to serve in a greater range of ministries than might be the case with their married friends. Pastorally, I’ve actually discovered more loneliness in marriages than among single people, because marriage can isolate people from their friends; it’s always worse in a context where no-one expects it.
Written by Tony Thompson