Many Christian singles ask, “Why am I still single?” “What can I do differently to find a Christian spouse?” “What is holding me back from meeting my future husband (or wife)?”
I’ve written about this before in the article, “6 Possible Reasons You Are Not Married.” In that article I talk more about God’s timing and how sometimes there’s nothing you are doing “wrong.” It just might not be your time yet. However, while God is sovereign and really does have a plan for your marriage (if you are called to marriage), this does not mean your actions have no consequences on your relationships or lack thereof.
So today we will be focusing more on the internal mindset and beliefs that may be contributing to your singleness. Not every Christian single is single because of these reasons. Each person is unique. But if you hold these three unbiblical beliefs, they will definitely keep you single longer than necessary.
#1: My Past Is Too Much for a Good Christian Spouse
Nothing makes us feel less worthy to receive a blessing than our own sinful past. If you had a season in your past where you were not a Christian or you were not walking closely with the Lord and you sinned in dramatic ways, this can easily bring lasting shame if not dealt with properly (1 John 1:9). Sexual sin, especially, has the potential to make you feel like a good Christian man or woman would never want to be with someone like you.
This false belief leads you into an unhealthy dating cycle that goes something like this: Because of the sins in your past, you do not feel worthy enough to date the type of Christian guy or girl you would like to be with. So you end up settling for men or women with character flaws and who do not seem “too holy.” But you really do love God and actually do have high standards, so after awhile you realize you could never marry this person you are dating and so you break up. You end up in an endless cycle of not feeling acceptable enough to date the type of person you would want to marry, but you also love God too much to marry someone who does not love and follow him like you do.
Do you see how the shame of your sinful past will hinder and slow down your relationships? But here’s the thing, when Jesus cleanses us and redeems us, we truly are cleansed and redeemed. Of course there needs to be maturing and sanctification so the underlying issues which led you to sin in those ways are no longer present. But when Christ makes you pure, you are pure. (For more on sexual purity, read this.)
Besides, if you like someone who will not accept you because of who you were in the past rather than because of who you are in the present, this is not the type of person you want to marry. You don’t want to marry someone who bases their love and feelings based upon past events. No matter who they marry, they will always find flaws if they are not seeing the righteousness of Christ on their spouse.
You want to marry someone who will see you like God sees you. God sees you with the purity and holiness of Christ because through your faith in him and by grace, he has really transferred all of that to you.
#2: The Perfect Person Is Somewhere Out There
While shaming yourself because of your past will keep you single, idolizing other people will have the same effect. As humans, we often like to swing from one extreme to another. When we demonize ourselves, sometimes the solution we seek is to find our wholeness through the perfections of another person.
We may not verbalize it this way, but the logic goes something like this, “If I could just marry that perfect girl, then I would feel whole and happy. Then I would be a real man.” Or, “If I could just be loved by the perfect man, then I would no longer feel unworthy. Then I would be a real woman.” When we don’t find our satisfaction in the true Savior, our human hearts will not stop searching. If we are not worshipping our God who deserves it, we will find someone to worship in his place.
The problem with thinking the perfect guy or the perfect girl is somewhere out there is that it causes you to be on a wild goose chase for something that doesn’t exist. Even when you meet or start dating a really great Christian guy or girl, your need for them to be perfect will sabotage the whole thing. You will get mad about small things. You will feel unhappy without knowing why. You will miss out on enjoying that person for who they are because you will be so focused on who they are not. And eventually the two of you will be miserable because your standards will be impossible to meet. Therefore you will either go on enjoying each other at 50% or you will just break up because it’s too hard.
You must accept everyone you date will be imperfect. There is no perfect person. If you never realize this, you will always be blinded by imperfections and you will be unable to see how many great Christian guys and girls are right in front of you. When you stop believing the perfect person is somewhere out there, you will begin to enjoy people a lot more and greatly increase your chances of meeting and marrying an amazing (but not perfect) Christian spouse.
#3: If It Is Meant to Be, It Will Happen
In most cases this statement is not wrong. However, they way you apply this type of thinking is what can be so dangerous.
A belief in the sovereignty of God is biblical and right. God really does have a plan for your marriage because God has a plan for everything. He really is in control of the story we are all living in. Without a belief that God is all powerful, we will live lives of panic, anxiety, and despair. So of course you should believe that God will accomplish his own will for your life.
However, none of these truths now mean your actions don’t matter. Your actions do matter. The things you do or don’t do have consequences. God is not going to wave his magic love spell over someone and have them marry you just because it’s his will even though you are being a total jerk and you are presenting yourself in really unflattering ways.
So yes, don’t worry or be anxious because your Father knows what you need. But don’t assume you are now off the hook from praying and doing things that will increase your chances of meeting and marrying a good Christian spouse. Windows really do close. Opportunities really are lost. Everything happens for a reason, but that doesn’t mean it always happens for a good reason.
Now of course God can redeem anything and turn anything for his glory and our good. But again, he allows our actions to matter. So be wise and practical in your search of a Christian spouse and don’t assume that just because God is sovereign his will is always done regardless of your choice to act or not.