Being single is awesome. But being alone at the age of 25 and above is dreadful, at least for many. Friends try to hook you up with a potential mate, you are in the hunting or being hunted age. Always putting your best foot forward in case there is a prospect out there that you won’t afford to miss out in catching their attention. More still is if, by God’s grace, you are a graduate and have had a stable job. There is pressure within and around you. You ask yourself how you got out of campus without a date. How is it possible that all attempts you make do not bear fruit? Your parents are always on your neck. “Is there someone you are seeing?” The church lists you as one of the most eligible spinsters or bachelors in the congregation. And every day the jokes being thrown around you or even at you are marriage-related. The worse of it all is when all of your age mates and long-time friends get married, and you are set in a roller coaster of attending weddings and Koitos/ruracios. Your closet is full of “Vitenge.” You are either in a wedding committee group or a ruracio planning group.
The church notices that there is a need to prepare the young people for marriage since most of them are in the marriageable age. And so there is the ‘Young Adults Youth Group ‘ ( who came up with this name? How can young and adult be used in the same sentence?) set up, and you are given a young married Pastor as your leader. Who always keeps reminding you how sweet, and beautiful marriage is, and you should desire it more than anything? Every program is set and geared to make you desire marriage and/or dating. The group has many unmarried people who are either dating or not. Once in a while, the best couple in the church is invited, and they share on how they prepared for their marriage. At this point, you are excited to start preparing for marriage. You are encouraged to get resources to help you know how to be a good or rather a godly spouse in the future. You attend Singles seminars, singles dinner, you read books and even download sermons.
Are all these necessary? What if you do all these and never get married? No wonder so many unmarried people despair and plunge into depression. Some get to the point of questioning God. They think that God has, in a way, defrauded them by keeping them single. No wonder many men and women end up compromising their stand and elope with a man or woman and cohabit.
(Isaiah 40:41) Is God, a servant that you may instruct him on when, where, or what to do and give you? Can’t God do as He pleases with you? Can’t God make you a eunuch, or can’t you make yourself a eunuch for His Kingdom? Did God cease from gifting people the gift of singlehood as He did Paul?
“…For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” Matt 19:12
… I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. 1 Cor. 7:6-8
Consider Adam in the garden of Eden. Did Adam notice that he was single? Did he prepare to live with Eve? God was the one who saw that Adam was alone and needed a companion (Gen 2:8). Isaac didn’t notice he needed a wife; his father did and planned for him to get a wife (Gen 24:4).
At this point, you might be thinking that I am trashing the idea of preparing for marriage. No, I am not! Some prepared for marriage, and it went well. There are a lot of those who didn’t. What makes marriage worth our commitment and preparation?
We are Christians first before anything. Our duty and loyalty are to God. We are warned not to live as the heathens do in their lustful passions (1 Thess 4:3-5), but in all purity, self-control and holiness. The only reason Paul tenders for marriage is if someone cannot exercise self-control and so is burning with passion (1 Cor. 7:9). It is only by the Spirit of God that we can have self-control and holiness. The one who marries because he has no self-control is a believer who is merely not yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit. Why do we prepare for marriage? Is it not to be a spouse and have a marriage partner who is loving, joyful, and peaceful? One who can exercise long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to his wife or her husband and everyone around him or her? Aren’t these traits of a faithful believer of Christ wrought through the outworking of the Holy Spirit in us (Galatians 5:22-23)?
Ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. He was far away, and the time of his arrival was unknown. Five of the virgins were foolish; they didn’t carry extra oil (unpreparedness). The others were wise enough to carry extra oil (preparedness). When night came, they all fell asleep. The bridegroom arrived and took in only the prepared ones and locked out the unprepared ones (Matt 25:1-13). Christ is using this parable not to teach about marriage preparation, but his second coming. He is the bridegroom (John 3:29; Rev. 22:17). Human beings are like the virgins in the parable. The question is, are you a foolish one, or a wise one?
The foolish ones were caught up with the worries of this world. And like the wise ones who had extra oil all fell asleep. Falling asleep in the night isn’t sin. Just like marriage and it’s preparation. It is not a sin to do such stuff. However, the catch is, do you have what others don’t? Like the ten virgins- people get married, have kids, and work. What more do you have? The extra should be the Holy Spirit, who God deposits in our hearts as a guarantee for our salvation at the moment that we believed in Jesus Christ (if indeed we are born again) (Eph. 1:13&14). Therefore, silence all these pressure from within and from without to get married and caution yourself from depression and desperation. Start being faithful by walking in a manner that is worthy of your calling (Eph 4:1) — looking up to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. Make Him your ultimate satisfaction. Find him sweeter than your pungs of passion, and do not be the one who causes the name of God to be blasphemed among the gentiles (Rom.2:24). Don’t just prepare for marriage. Prepare for the grand return of The Bridegroom- Jesus Christ. Prepare your heart and teach yourself true satisfaction so that in the event marriage eludes you, you still stand satisfied and content because you have all that matters most. Be faithful as all the men and women in the scripture were. By the Spirit of God, you will be a good spouse because He is working in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13). Whether you are married or not, hold on to the greatest hope. Whether you prepare for marriage or not, you will always be transformed more and more into the image of Christ. Shalom.