Should single women proactively pursue marriage? How should we handle the cultural pressure to hurry up and find Mr. Right? Join Leslie as she shares encouraging biblical reminders for those traversing the single years of life. Whether you are single find yourself longing for marriage, or you are eager to invest your time and energy in a meaningful way during your single years – this episode is sure to turn your eyes upon Jesus and renew your passion for living each day with heavenly intentionality!
Leslie Ludy: Hey, everyone! It’s Leslie Ludy, host of the Set Apart Girl Podcast: Biblical Encouragement for Women of All Ages. Today we’re going to dive into a topic that has so may single women confused – how should we spend our single years? And the reason that I really wanted to tackle this is because I’ve talked to so many single women who are Christians but yet they are feeling an enormous pressure to pursue guys and marriage and believe that they truly cannot live the life that God has called them to live until they finally meet Mr. Right, settle down, and get married.
The Key to Satisfied Singleness
Leslie Ludy: The reality is that when we take that approach to thinking we can’t really be happy, we can’t really live life until we finally get married is that we end up putting a lot of unhealthy pressure and expectation into marriage thinking that marriage is going to solve all of our problems; marriage is what is going to make us truly happy and fulfilled. The reality is that there are really just a new set of pressures, difficulties, and challenges that come once you’re in the married season.
So if you are single or know someone who is single and have that temptation to believe that you’ll finally be happy and everything will finally be as it was meant to be once you get married, it is so important to take a step back and realize that Jesus is meant to be our All in all whether we’re single or married. There is beauty and life in the single years; there is beauty and life in the married season, but the bottom line is that Jesus needs to remain our true fulfillment, our ultimate source of happiness and contentment. Otherwise we’ll just be looking to marriage or the hope of marriage to meet needs in our heart that only Jesus can meet. Marriage is not wrong, singleness is not wrong. The key is making Jesus Christ your First Love no matter what season you’re in.
Learning to Trust God with the State of Modern Masculinity
Leslie Ludy: I think there is a lot of confusion among Christians today of how to spend your single years as a Christian young woman. One of the phenomenons that has taken place in our country in the past couple decades is that a lot of young men have a difficult time growing up, taking responsibility, making commitments, and moving on to that season of life where they’re pursuing marriage and they’re settling down and raising a family. Most of us probably know men who are well past that age when they should be out on their own taking responsibility for their own lives, but they’re still wanting to play video games in their parents basement all day long and remain a perpetual child.
The church has come in in recent years with a lot of hints, ideas, and suggestions for single women who are struggling with seeing guys who don’t want to commit to marriage. Usually the advice comes in the following package: “Here’s how to prod a lazy guy along. Here’s how to drop hints. Here’s how to get a guy to catch a vision for marriage. Here’s how to inspire a man to grow up and want to settle down and start a family.” There are even Christian books out there that will give you ideas for how to flirt with guys, get their attention, and drop hints that you’re interested in them. When we begin building those single years around the pursuit of a guy, or trying to prod a lazy guy along, or trying to get guys to catch a vision for how great marriage is, we’re missing an amazing opportunity in those years of our lives.
Whatever happened to actually trusting in God – the Author of romance Himself – to take control of this area of our lives? Once we really trust Him; once we entrust the pen to Him and say, “Lord, I am not going to try to manipulate guys. I’m not going to try to manipulate my own circumstances. I want to leave that pen in Your hands and truly trust You with this area of my life,” then the question remains, how do we spend the single years?
It says in 1 Corinthians 7:34, “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in both body and spirit…” Isn’t that amazing? It doesn’t say the unmarried woman is meant to care about getting married and only getting married. It’s that she is to care about the things of the Lord that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
Key Truths to Spending Your Single Years Well
Leslie Ludy: I want to offer a few suggestions if you are in those single years and you’ve felt that pressure to motivate guys towards marriage, drop hints, flirt, or how to manipulate situations so that you can finally enter that next season of your life. I want to help pass on a vision for what the single years can be when Christ is at the center of your life.
I also want to say as a side note, that if you are really trying to prod along a lazy young man who is immature and wants to play video games in his parents basement all day – he is not marriage material. I would encourage you not to waste your time trying to poke and prod him. Let God do a work in his heart and wait for a man who truly is marriage ready.
Key No. 1 Pursue Christ – Not Marriage
Leslie Ludy: Here are a few practical suggestions in those single years of your life. First of all, pursue Christ not marriage.
I know that’s not always a popular notion today. There are books that will tell you the opposite. There are messages that will tell you the opposite. The pressure of the culture will tell you the opposite. “No, no! Christ needs to take a backseat; you need to be pursuing marriage.” But here is the reality that so many of us struggle to believe: if and when the time comes for us to be married, God can and will orchestrate our love story if we keep that pen in His hands. But meanwhile the focus should be on serving Him and pouring out our life for Him – not on just pursuing marriage. The timing needs to be up to Him, not us.
One of the reasons that I am so convinced that we are to remain fully dependent on Christ in every area of our life, including this area, is because Jesus left us an example that we should follow in His steps as it says in 1 Peter 2:21. As part of His example to us, Jesus did nothing of His own accord, but only what the Father told Him to do and only when the Father told Him to do it.
It says in John 5:19, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
That’s a strange statement to be coming from the King of all kings. He’s saying that He could do nothing of Himself? He’s the One who was there when the heavens and the earth were created. He was a part of that process happening, and it’s not that Jesus was actually helpless, it’s that He deliberately chose to be completely dependent on His Father for every word, every choice, and every action. He said, “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (Jn. 14:10 NASB).
I love what Ian Thomas so eloquently said about this very truth. He wrote: “The Lord Jesus acted at all times on the assumption that His Father was handling the situation and Jesus simply took care to obey His Father’s instructions. Even when He was being reviled and tortured He left His case in the hands of God. By this admission to His Father, Jesus learned obedience as a man and the obedience was total. He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross. Now as God, He asks the same of you and me.” (Excerpted from The Indwelling Life of Christ.)
Trusting God to orchestrate our love story doesn’t mean shunning men or avoiding friendships with the opposite sex. It’s a great idea to pray for your future spouse and to be obedient to God’s voice as He guides your steps in the process of finding a spouse as He leads you. But marriage is not what we are called to pursue in our single years. God’s Word tells us in no uncertain terms what we are called to pursue.
It says in 2 Timothy 2:22 that we are to, “Flee from youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, [and] peace…” I would encourage you to come away from the pressure to be out there dating online, flirting online, downloading dating apps, and pursuing the opposite sex. Don’t build your life around the pursuit of marriage. Build your life around the pursuit of Jesus Christ. Learn how to find your fulfillment in Him and Him alone. If His plan for you is marriage, it needs to be an outflow of a much more important love story – your daily, intimate relationship with the King of all kings.
Taking Hope From the Amazing Promises of God
Leslie Ludy: If you’re not really sure that He alone can fulfill you at the deepest level of your soul, take a look at some of these amazing promises from the Bible:
Psalm 16:5, “Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup…”
Psalm 23, “Jehovah is my Shepherd, I do not lack” (YLT).
Psalm 107:9, “For He satisfies the longing soul…”
Isn’t that incredible? Marriage does not satisfy the longing soul; He satisfies the longing soul.
Ephesians 1:23, “The fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Whether we’re married or single, that is the position that Christ wants to have in our heart.
Key No. 2 Spend Your Time Serving – Not Searching
Leslie Ludy: The second practical that I want to offer you for your single years is to spend time serving not searching.
If you’re single, God has a higher calling on your life than spending all your time and energy trying to snag Mr. Right. Paul wrote that being unmarried is an amazing opportunity to serve the Lord without distraction (1 Cor. 7:35). God has not called us to build our lives around the pursuit of our own desires, but to be poured-out sacrifices for His Kingdom.
One of the sad things about American Christianity is our total preoccupation with self. We are so prone to build life around self, selfish ambitions, and selfish pursuits. When we’re seeking our own happiness by desperately searching for a husband in those single years, it keeps us consumed with me, me, me. What I want. What I envision. What I’m going after. While the rest of the world needs the hope of the Gospel. The rest of the world is oppressed, dying, impoverished, and without Christ.
In those single years of your life, you’re freer than you’re ever going to be to give your lives to those in need and to become Christ’s advocates for those who need hope. So often single young women don’t use their lives to serve those that God’s placed in their life, to share the Gospel, or to turn outward. They often feel that pressure from the culture, and so they spend their time complaining about the lack of available men, evaluating their own emotions, attending retreats that are just about how they can feel better about themselves, live more fulfilled lives, reading books on how they can find the right guy, spending hours online trying to snag the right person on social media, wasting countless hours trying to look and dress a certain way to become more appealing to the opposite sex, and basically building a life that is totally focused on self. Meanwhile, there is a dying world all around us.
Remember, in your single years more than ever, you have the ability to give your life for those in need. To pour your time, energy, love, and resources into those that have God’s heart – the poor, the least, the lost, the dying, the outcast, and even to serve other Christians that God has placed in your life (i.e. your family, your community, the people in your own church). Are you using the gift of your single years to benefit those in need or are you simply squandering it on yourself?
How to Find a Godly Guy
Leslie Ludy: One of the best ways to find a godly marriage partner is to stop hunting for one. Instead focus your entire life around Jesus Christ and His priorities, which means living an outward-focused life. Don’t put off fulfilling God’s call upon your life just because you haven’t met your future husband yet. Remember, if God wants you to be married, He is capable, He is able to write a love story for you; to bring a man into your life even in the most unlikely way and in the most unlikely place. He can bring your spouse to you in the remotest village in Africa, or the most hidden slum of Haiti, or as you are serving here in America, when you’re not out there desperately seeking a husband.
My sister-in-law Krissy was living in a rural part of Michigan where the only available men seemed to be elderly widowers or men who were already married. She felt that pressure to leave and go to a place where there were more available men, but she felt God wanted her to stay, and as she took that step of obedience, God wrote her a beautiful love story.
I’ve heard many amazing testimonies of women who didn’t put their life’s calling on hold until they finally met their man, but they willingly followed the call of God on their lives and became active in Kingdom work even though it meant being less available to the opposite sex. Amazingly, sometimes it’s in a place of seeming obscurity, like, “How could God ever bring a man to me in this situation?” that God can write our love stories because we’re out of the way and not trying to manipulate situations. Remember there are many Christ-built men who are praying and hoping for a set apart young woman. One who is not following after the trends of the culture. One who is not constantly wallowing in discontentment and hunting for guys. Nothing would thrill a true godly man’s heart more than to know that his future wife was pouring out her life for the sake of the Gospel.
If you want to find a godly guy, I would encourage you to focus on pouring your life out for Jesus Christ and leave the rest up to Him. As it says in Psalm 57:2, He will be more than faithful to fulfill His purposes for you!
Leslie Ludy: Dedicate those single years of your life for His glory and you will not be disappointed! I hope this week’s episode has encouraged you. To go deeper into this topic, please visit SetApartGirl.com, and I hope you’ll consider joining me May 25-26th for our Set Apart Conference in Colorado or anywhere you are via simulcast! This is an amazing weekend for women of all ages, and our entire focus is how to build a Christ-centered life. Go to SetApartGirl.com to learn more about that conference and to find additional resources that can encourage you in your set apart walk with Jesus Christ. Have a blessed week!