How can a single person love those of the opposite sex well? To properly answer this important question, the first thing you must do is define your definition of love. The truest essence of love is expressed in the words and actions of Jesus (John 15:13), “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”
With John 15:13 in mind, the basic explanation of love is this: true love is choice. Love is not just a feeling, an emotion, or a specific set of actions, though it involves these things. In its simplest form love is the choice to put another person above yourself.
The level to which you put another person above yourself is the measure of how much you are expressing love to them. This is why the greatest love you can have is to sacrifice your life for another; here you are putting them above you to the greatest measure you are able.
Having said this, the obvious way you love other single people is by putting them above yourself, above your own needs and desires. This means that in every situation, you need to ask yourself, “Are my actions self motivated or love motivated?” There is nothing wrong with finding joy or pleasure because of another person. There’s nothing wrong with seeking that out. It’s necessary to find joy in someone to truly say that you love them.
The problem occurs when your plan to fulfill your needs begins to infringe on the well being of another person.
It’s far too common for single people to cross emotional lines without any proper commitment because they are trying to fill themselves in ways only God can. Most people know it is unloving to cross physical lines, but did you know there’s such a thing as an emotional promiscuity as well? It is unloving to orbit around another person, taking emotional energy from them without any intention to commit further.
To love the opposite sex well, you must try and protect their heart. For some, this might mean you call less, making sure you don’t send the wrong signal if you have no romantic interest in them. For others, this might mean you keep calling but you start committing too, entering into a monogamous dating relationship with the sole intention to see if this is the person God has for you. Each situation will be different; you will have to learn to walk with Jesus and learn to be aware of how your self-motivated actions can negatively affect the opposite sex.
In short, single Christian men and women should go to each other to offer rather than to take. This basically means you stop idolizing the opposite sex and you stop going to them to find your validation as a person. This means that you learn to find your value in Jesus Christ and him alone, not in other people or in what they think of you.
Going to singles of the opposite sex in service rather than in need will free you from trying to find your worth and validation as a person in the opposite sex. It will also better prepare you for marriage if this is God’s call for you.
Marriage is not the place where you ultimately go to find your self-worth. You should feel loved in marriage, but marriage will not fill the hole God is meant to fill, just as nothing else will either. Marriage, however, is one of the best places to express you wholeness and love which you find in Jesus.
As a single person, you should start training for marriage now by serving your brothers and sisters in Christ rather than seeking to be served by them. If you come into your future marriage with the servant’s mindset you gained in your singleness, you will spare yourself tons of marital grief.
The only way you will be able to offer a selfless love like Christ commands, one unmotivated by personal or social gain, will be to have all your needs met in God. Then and only then will you be free to lay down your life for your friends like Jesus.
So how can you love the opposite sex well as a single person? Answer: Love God above everyone else. He’ll shoot you straight.