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Is Being Single a Choice?

I had a discussion recently with a couple of thirty-something single friends who are successful in their careers and have their own homes.

We talked briefly about being single–is it a choice or are certain people just meant to be alone?

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I haven’t been single for most of my life. I’ve had a steady boyfriend since I was 17. But when I was 19, I met Hubby and knew without a doubt he was the person I planned to spend the rest of my life with.

For me, being single was not a choice. I wanted to be married. I wanted to have a family. If you knew my childhood history, you may be surprised about my positive view on marriage. Marrying Hubby gave me the security I craved. We dated for 18 months before we eloped. Yes, we eloped. It was the right decision at the time. We planned to have a church wedding several months later, but life circumstances changed that, namely my pregnancy three months later and Hubby’s orders (He was in the USMC).

More people are waiting until they’re older to get married. They’re establishing their careers, their homes, their futures before getting married and having children.

I have a single friend with a good job, a beautiful home, and no desire to get married. However, she plans to adopt someday. She said her life doesn’t stop because she doesn’t have a ring on her finger.

I have another single friend with a good job, a lovely apartment, and she wants to get married. But dating is not enjoyable for her.

Another friend is a little older than I am. She left an abusive marriage and stayed single for the rest of her adult life so far. I’m not sure if her marriage discolored her view on marriage or if it’s a choice.

Another friend suffered tragedy when her fiance was murdered. She has been single since then.

Another friend believes some people are meant to be alone.

Perhaps my rose-colored glasses are on my face more than they’re set aside, but I disagree that some people are meant to be alone.

Genesis 2:18 states, “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

With that verse scrolling through my thoughts, I believe being single is a choice. You may be reading this and disagree. I’m totally fine with that. You may be single and wonder if you’ll ever find that perfect mate for your life.

If you are single and want to get married, my best piece of advice is to pray about it. Offer your desire to God and ask for His will to be done. Ask Him to provide you with the right opportunities to meet the man or woman you’re meant to share your life with. And this may take some work on your part too–developing right relationships takes time and patience. Most of all, you want to stay in the center of God’s will for your life.

Your turn: Are you single? Is it by choice, or do you believe some people are meant to be alone? Are you married? Does being married change how you view those who are still single?

Lisa Jordan

17 Comments

  • Hmmm, interesting discussion. I think that God may ask people to be single for a time, to teach them patience and whatever else he wants to teach them. I've heard it said that it's sometimes about BECOMING the right person rather than FINDING the right person. I think it makes sense that we should focus on God first and pray for the right relationship to come along. I think if you feel the desire to be married, God will eventually honor that desire. But he may ask you to wait.

    Of course, I don't know much about the single life, since I was the first of my friends to be married and was married at 21! 😛

  • I always wanted to be married. I didn't always want kids though. 🙂 So glad I changed my mind.

    I think some people get the idea of "meant to be unmarried" from this verse in the NT by Paul, who stayed single and felt that was his calling.

    "8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion." 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

    And I'm not sure about the answer to your question because man was lonely without the woman, but maybe God has particular assignments for His kingdom,like Paul's, that require complete focus. I don't think Paul could have carried out his mission the same if he were married. He was never in one place and in prison all the time!

    Great questions and observations this morning, Lisa. Truth is, I have no idea. 🙂 lol

  • Suzeq18 says:

    The first thing that struck me when I read your post was that as a single person I was alone. Funny thing is I don't think of myself as being alone. I've had great opportunities being single that I wouldn't have been able to pursue had I been married with/without children. Those opportunities served God's purpose for me and I am grateful. Grateful that God allowed me to be single so I could follow his passions for me. I have felt lonely many times in my life…when I was married and when single, but never alone. I have been blessed with relationships (some wonderful/some learning experiences) which taught me I was never truly alone. We are all part of God and with God we are never alone.

  • Stacy Henrie says:

    I always wanted to get married, and I'm so grateful I married the man I did. I think the key, like you said, is each person knowing God's will for his/her life and trusting in His timetable.

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Lindsay, I love what you said about becoming the right person instead of finding the right person. Through that growth process, a person may discover God's will for his/her life.

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Jess, I don't have the answers, which is why the topic of today's post was in the form of a question. I believe it depends on the person as to whether they are single by choice or not. Again, I'll stress others may disagree and that's fine. Finding God and focusing on Him provides new unexpected blessings in our lives. Paul had an amazing ministry. We don't know if it would have been as blessed if he had a wife. God uses all of us, single or married, if we allow Him to.

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Susan, your wisdom brings tears to my eyes. And you're so right–you can be married and be lonely. Being alone as a single person does not mean you're lonely. Those learning experiences shape us into the people we are today.

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Stacy, I completely agree with everything you said. Trusting in God's timetable is the key to appreciating the blessings He provides.

  • Kirsten Johnson says:

    I totally agree with the fact that God has a plan for each of us but I think it's tough for us to predetermine what that is. I have a dear friend who is single and one of the godliest people I know. The desire of her heart (for quite some time) is to be married and have a family. At this point it seems as though God is using her in her singleness for a purpose that she cannot see or understand. I tend to agree with Jessica that sometimes our focus might just need to be entirely on Him. I don't think it is choosing to be single or not but rather choosing to be obedient in the situation/opportunities that are presented to us because we cannot see the whole picture at this point. That sometimes means feeling disappointed and struggling through not having the desires of our heart met the way we believe they need to be. Just my thoughts I guess : )

  • Lisa Jordan says:

    Kirsten, thank you for sharing your thoughts. If we could predetermine God's will, we wouldn't need to lean on Him.

    I have a friend who desires to be married too. I know she struggles with being single. In fact, I pray for God to provide a husband for her, if it's His will.

    We go through different seasons in our lives. We may not choose or understand those seasons, but if we lean on God, then He will lead us through those seasons with unexpected blessings.

    Good thoughts. 🙂

  • Suzeq18 says:

    Kristen I like the point you make as well…really everyone's. Many of my friends, single and married – myself included, wanted children. Many have endured doctor's visits, testing, injections and expense without conceiving. Why did they remain childless? It wasn't because of lack of desire, want or prayer. I think it's all part of God's plan…though I will be the first to admit I don't what that plan is. I think that is what life is about; trusting that we are all where we are supposed to be in this moment and accepting God's will.

    Lisa – great question and thinking for today!

  • Ann Marie says:

    Being single….a choice or not?

    I often wonder what path my life would have taken if I would have met my soul mate at a younger age. Would I have gone on to become a successful owner of a wonderful business…maybe or maybe not.

    In the begining, being single was a choice (so I think),I did know that I wanted to have a great job and financial security before settling down and starting a family. Why one may ask… because I watched so many of my friends struggle from day to day and week to week trying to make ends meet. I'm not saying their choice was right or wrong or that mine was any better.

    As an adult, I've come to believe that your life is what its suppose to be….it's been mapped out since before you were born. And each of us is doing what God has placed in front of us.

    Now as an older person with success..I have a great life and many wonderful dear friends. I've met these wonderful people along this jounery because I was meant to.

    When or if my path leads me to love then that too was in the cards for me and I will embrace that just as I have everything else that has been placed before me.

    So for the question at hand…Is being single a choice….Nope!

  • Great question Lisa. It's been interesting reading everyone's answers. Like you I chose to be married from a young age. Yet, I know many single women who'd like to be married. So I can't say that being single is their choice. I admire those who choose to live their life to the full, with joy, even when their deepest longing (whether to be married or to have a child or something else) remains unfulfilled.

  • Interesting conversation. I got married young – when I was 20. We waited seven years before I had my son, which was the right decision for us. I think God has different plans for all of us. Some of those paths include marriage and children; some don't. I think the real answer is to seek God in all things.

  • Lisa, I appreciate this thoughtful post.

    There are many single people out there…and there are also many bad marriages that bear little resemblance to a loving scriptural marriage.

    So my belief is that God knows who needs to be single, who needs to have a good marriage, and who needs to have a bad marriage (and yes, I do think the last can serve a sacred purpose as well). Being single or having a bad marriage can accomplish some purposes and bless others in ways that wouldn't happen if every woman had a blissfully happy marriage. Sometimes, God needs people to focus on helping others, and they don't always do that as much when they are completely happy and thus completely focused on their own family life. Do you know what I mean? I've known some women in bad marriages who were some of the most loving, service-oriented, giving people I've ever met–and it was partly because they had such compassion for others. So though no man or woman is promised earthly happiness (which includes a happy marriage), we can all find joy, which is different.

  • I was married, then widowed, so being single wasn't a choice. But it was my circumstance. Of the widows I know, most would like to remarry but there's no one on the horizon. I knew I wanted to eventually remarry–for me and for the sons I am raising. I decided to be like Rebekah watering camels. I would pray, then go about my daily life and wait on God's provision. If I told you the stories, you'd know that God clearly brought both of the men I'd marry into my life.

    But other women don't share my experience. Some long for a husband yet remain single. For them it's not a choice either. For others who prefer to be alone, it's a choice.

  • I've been married for almost 35 years and I can't imagine being single although I have single friends who really don't mind it. Some not by choice and others who are. I view them the same as I do my married friends–as friends:)

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