For this particular shade of this series (here’s Part 1 and Part 2), I felt it best to turn to someone from the “never marry” side of the singles’ world, someone with a different story and perspective, who could speak credibly to those with a reluctant view of marriage and a, shall we say, greater enthusiasm for singleness.
To that end, I’m excited to introduce my blog’s very first guest poster, Sarah J. Callen.
When Brandon first asked me to share about singleness, I began racking my brain for the best way to communicate about this topic. Then a simple solution hit me: share your story. I hope my story will leave you encouraged if you’ve been hurt in the past, give you compassion for those in a different stage of life than you, or just give courage to share your own, even if it’s messy.
Growing up, I never wanted to get married. The entire institution of marriage was wholly undesirable and having kids was completely out of the question. I met Christ when I was 16 and dove into church culture, but my hatred of marriage remained. I was certain I was just going to be like Paul and choose singleness so I could serve God, not realizing the depth of hurt I was trying to cover up using this Christian justification.
Some of my friends got married right out of high school and I had plenty of weddings to attend all through my college years and, while I was happy for them, I still didn’t understand their desire to marry. Why on earth would you want to put up with another human being for the rest of your life? Why would you sign up for something that had a high probability of leaving you in worse shape than when you entered it?
You see, at a young age I decided that marriage was a bad thing.
My parents’ marriage was a hot mess: he was abusive and absent and she loved him though he didn’t seem to like her very much. Many days, I would come home from school and my mother would be distraught over something my dad had said or done to her. And it was worse when he had been drinking.
My mom constantly spoke of how she dropped out of school to help my dad run his business: she had given up her dreams for him. He repaid her by asking for a divorce over and over and over again but, because she loved him so much, she wouldn’t let him leave. Both were miserable and so was I. And my extended family looked much the same way: marred by brokenness, divorce, and abuse.
In my mind, all marriages looked like that. I believed that marriage equated misery. I was certain each one was full of abuse and lying and infidelity and hatred and anger. Marriage and family were not priorities to me.
And honestly, they’re still not priorities today. But I don’t hate marriage like I used to.
Scratching the Surface
Over time, I realized that my hatred of marriage originated from a far deeper place than I first realized. I had to begin with the Creator and decide if I believed He really was good. That’s where it all began for me. If I didn’t believe that God is good, there’s no way that I could believe that anything He has created is good. Once I had that foundation laid, the rest was easier to build.
God is good. (Psalm 135:3)
God gives good gifts to his children. (Matthew 7:9-11)
God created marriage. (Genesis 2:23-25)
So, marriage can be good.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 (ESV)
Regardless of your relationship status: do you believe God is good? Do you live like God is good?
The Healing Power of Relationships
In my current stage of life, many of my closest friends are married. I’m often the 3rd or 7th or 11th wheel to things and I honestly love it! My friends let me into their lives and share with me the good stuff and the hard stuff that comes along with being married. Having these people in my life has helped me heal and come to understand that marriage is not perfect but it’s not evil.
Marriage, just like singleness, is a tool for sanctification. Marriage is an opportunity for iron to sharpen iron, for both parties to draw closer to Christ, and for healing to happen.
Marriage, just like every other thing on the earth, has been marred by the curse of sin, so there are unhealthy things that can happen in marriage. But, God created marriage as a beautiful picture of unity, love, and free will—things that He values.
Regardless of your relationship status: do you have wise and godly people in your life to modelthe Christian life for you? If so, reach out today and thank them. If not, I encourage you to find those people to spur you on.
What does this mean?
Whether you’re single by choice or by circumstance I want to tell you that this season is a gift. I know at times it doesn’t seem like it and it’s full of hard moments where comparison, fear, and doubt rear their ugly heads. It’s easy to feel like you’re broken or you’re not wanted or you’re defective or not good enough. Over time you can being to wonder if something good is being withheld from you because of something you’ve done. But I want to tell you that’s simply not the case. Singleness is a beautiful season and is a wonderful invitation to draw closer to the Lord.
If you’re a married person, I encourage you to be kind to your friends, brothers and sisters, and strangers who are single. We might not be doing things exactly like you, but that doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily doing things wrong. Take a few moments to get to know the single people sitting in the pew across from you, taking care of your children in the nursery, or manning the coffee shop. Invite that single person into your home for dinner or offer to buy them a cup of coffee. Build a relationship with them, allow them to minister to you as you minister to them. Who knows, maybe you will be an element in their healing journey. I can’t tell you how many friends of mine have helped me heal without them evening realizing, and for that I am immensely thankful.
Regardless of your relationship status: how can you use this season to glorify God? How can you use it to serve others?
Sarah is an entrepreneur and published author, currently living in Dallas, TX. Her dreams include founding businesses, giving strategically, and sharing art with the world. Her life motto is: “Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.”
You can find more of her writing on her blog, workinprogressblog.co or on social media @sarahjcallen.