Q: I’ve decided that I don’t want to date, get married or have kids. My parents and family all think that I’m making a stupid decision and that I am naive. I really think that this is the best for me, but nobody else is ok with it. I don’t get it because it is my life. What’s your opinion on this?
I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust. – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9
Singleness “on purpose” (a.k.a., celibacy) isn’t for everyone. That’s why Paul calls it a “special gift.” Not everyone has that gift, and we shouldn’t look down on people for wanting to get married either. Both getting married and staying single are within God’s will as long as–and this is the really, really important part–we make the choice for the right reasons.
If a girl dates and gets married and has a family because she doesn’t think she can be happy otherwise, or to fill a longing only God can fill (like longings for peace, happiness or identity), then she’s looking for love for the wrong reasons.
In the same way, if a girl wants to stay single because she wants to do things her way and follow her dreams without anyone getting in her way–in other words, to be the center of her universe–then she’s avoiding love for the wrong reasons.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret… God doesn’t care whether you get married or stay single nearly as much as He cares about you becoming more and more like Jesus as you get older. Can a married woman with kids become more like Jesus? For sure! Can a single girl without a family become more like Jesus? Shoot-chya! It just comes down to our hearts.
Okay–with that under our belts, I’d love to give you a couple more things to consider…
- Check your motives. Ask yourself why you don’t feel led to get married and have a family. Is it for the top reasons that Paul said singleness is so awesome? He said that unmarried girls “can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and spirit” (1 Corinthians 7:34). It’s gut check time: do you want to stay single because you’ll have more of yourself to give to God, or because you want more of something for yourself (like money or freedom)?
- Give yourself room to change your mind. You still have a few years before you’d be old enough to get married, and a lot can happen in a girl’s heart and mind in her teens! It’s fine to think that you probably won’t get married, but leave God room to do His thing and change your heart if He wants to. We really don’t know what the future holds, so it’s wise to keep from planning it all out too far ahead (for more on that, check out James 4:13-16).
- Don’t make a “vow” out of it. Because it’s okay to change your mind, I don’t recommend that you promise God (or your family) that you’ll stay single for good. God takes our promises really seriously, and the Bible says that it’s better not to promise God something than to promise it and then change our minds later. Jesus added to that teaching by saying there’s really no point to making vows, period (Matthew 5:33-37).
- Keep the peace. It’s okay to not agree with your parents on this life choice, but you still have to honor them (Ephesians 6:1-3). How? By explaining your reasons respectfully and with a good attitude (hard, I know!), and listening to their reasons respectfully and with a good attitude (double hard, right?). I have a feeling that it would probably go a long way with them if you explained that you’re open to God changing your mind someday if that’s His will for you.
The bottom line is that whether you stay single your whole life or get married right out of high school, you can have a full, beautiful, delicious life as long as you put God first and serve others second. You can’t go wrong with that!