Throughout the Bible, we are warned that we always reap what we sow. The choices we made in the past are affecting us right now. And the choices we are making right now will affect us one day in the future. The same is true when it comes to the choices we make in singleness.
Most Christians will be married one day and the choices we make in our singleness will positively or negatively affect that season of life. Another biblical principle is that short-term sacrifices usually lead to long-term rewards while quick pleasures usually lead to long-term problems.
Here are 6 sacrifices you can make in your season of Christian singleness that will help you reap blessings in your future Christian marriage.
- Consistent Devotional Time
Every Christian knows they should read the Bible daily, pray daily, and go to church weekly. Most Christians also know how to do these things. The problem is not in our ability or our knowledge. The real problem usually lies with our commitment.
Quite frankly, it’s much easier to not read the Bible, to not pray, and to not go to Church. Doing these things consistently are not easy. It takes real discipline and work. Once you do them it is usually very enjoyable, but just starting can be a challenge.
While it’s easy to imagine that married life will be quieter and less busy and thus easier to personally seek God, the truth, however, is that it does not get easier. It actually gets much harder. If you cannot find the time to have a daily devotional time when you are living alone, it is very unlikely that you will find the time when you are living with your spouse.
Marriage should help your walk with God and not hurt it, but if we do not learn to seek God in our singleness we will most likely seek God even less in our marriage. If you learn to be disciplined and devoted to seeking God through Bible study, prayer, and going to church in your singleness, you will be blessed by these healthy habits in your marriage.
- Being Financially Wise and Self-Controlled
Whenever a marriage poll is taken, money is consistently ranked as one of the top stressors to a marriage. When you are single, there is no one there to disagree with your financial decisions. However, when you are married, your bank accounts become one as well (at least they should in my understanding of Scripture).
Debt is never good. If you live outside of your means and misuse credit in your singleness, the temptation to do so will be even greater in marriage.
If you can learn in your singleness how to budget, live within your means, tithe, and enjoy what you have rather than being discontent with what you don’t have, you will be very happy you did once you get married. And your spouse will be happy you are financially wise too!
- Resisting Sexual Temptation and Sanctifying Your Sexuality
One of the biggest areas singles hurt themselves is in their sexuality. Within the Bible there are only two options for sexual activity. If you are single, complete abstinence. If you are married, sexual activity only with your spouse.
If you want a blessed sexual relationship with your spouse in marriage, you should seek to have a biblical sexual lifestyle in your singleness. You will be the same you in marriage. If you are living in sexual sin in singleness, you will find ways to live in sexual sin in marriage.
It’s really an odd trend but here’s what the flesh, the world, and the devil try to accomplish: They want you to have as much sex as possible in your singleness and as little as sex as possible in your marriage. Many men and women live sexually busy lifestyles in singleness and dating. But then when they get married the sex often stops after some years. Why?
Because the root issue is about obeying or disobeying God. If you are living in sin and following the flesh rather than the Spirit, you will do the opposite of what God wants. In singleness that means you will be sexually active. In marriage, that means you will be sexually inactive. God wants the opposite. He wants sexual inactivity in singleness and lots of healthy sexual activity in marriage.
So if you want what God wants for you in marriage in regards to sex, then you must want what God wants for you in your singleness in regards to sex. Don’t think you can have it your way in singleness and God’s way in marriage. If you want a blessed sexual union in marriage, seek a blessed sexual lifestyle in singleness. God can redeem your past sins, but your present choices always impact your future self. Regardless of your past mistakes, start obeying God right now in your singleness so he can bless your future marriage.
- Taking Care of Your Body and Making Healthy Choices
Often times Christians have a tendency to underemphasize the importance of the body because we feel we are supposed to be heavenly minded. While I believe we should continue to grow spiritually, this does not have to mean we pay less attention to our bodies.
Our bodies are directly tied to our identity. God wants us to serve him with our bodies. The Bible says if we neglect our bodies and to not train them, there are spiritual consequences to pay:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
So why am I talking about this in regards to sowing in singleness so you can reap in marriage? It is very unlikely that you will be more in shape when you get married. It is statistically more likely to gain weight rather than lose weight when you are married and especially when you have kids. If you don’t find the time and energy in singleness to work out, eat healthy, and sleep the proper amount, it’s not going to get better later in life.
Set healthy habits now that will be there to fall back on when life is even more hectic.
- Working on Conflict Resolution
If you don’t learn how to deal with conflict in your singleness, you will be farther back than you need to be in marriage. Conflict in marriage is unavoidable. Everyone has some form of conflict in marriage. The area where marriages are separated into healthy and unhealthy camps is not in “does conflict happen” but in “how is conflict handled.”
In singleness, you will have conflicts at work, with family members, with friends, and in dating relationships. If you run from conflict in your singleness, you are training yourself to run from conflict in your marriage. Conflict resolution is a skill just like any other – it takes time and practice to develop.
While it is sometimes easier to just let a friendship fade or end a dating relationship badly, the biblical approach is to be as respectful and peaceful as possible at all times. Even if you are going to breakup with someone, you will benefit your own heart and theirs if you try to end the relationship in the most respectful way you can.
If you seek to mature and handle conflict well in your singleness, you will be way ahead of the game once you get married.
- Serving Those in Need
There are so many more sacrifices we could talk about that you can make in singleness to benefit your marriage one day, but one of the most important is developing your service skills. Serving does not come naturally. It always sounds like a magical idea in our heads that we would love to do, but the reality of serving those in need is always much harder and messier than we thought.
One of the biblical benefits of singleness is that you have more time to focus directly on ministry. While singles do not have a greater obligation to remember the poor and needy than those who are married, the Bible does indicate that singles are often in a better position to meet the needs of others (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
If there always seems to be a reason not to serve the poor and needy in your singleness, those roadblocks will only increase later in life. Not only that, but perhaps the best marriage training is serving others. When you increase your ability to sacrifice for others while not expecting anything in return, you are developing the exact ingredients needed to have a healthy marriage.