Getting married changes everything. The hope is that it changes your life for the better, but the guarantee is that marriage will change you no matter what.
One of the most obvious ways that marriage changes your life is through the sharing, responsibility, and commitments that come along with “I do.” In other words, you have less free time.
By “free time” I don’t mean all the other time is “slave time.” I just mean that the more commitments you have to people (spouse, kids, job, church, relatives, friends, est.), the less time you have to pursue other desires. Getting married opens Pandora’s Box when it comes to your commitments.
When you get married, you instantly inherit another set of relatives, another set of friends, and another set of coworkers. Marriage usually leads to having kids. Having kids usually means getting a bigger house. On and on it goes.
I’m sure you’ve heard a married person lament, “I remember how much time I had when I was single.” This doesn’t mean just because you’re single you have no life. Being single doesn’t mean you’re not busy. But ask anyone who’s married, especially if they have kids, and most of them will tell you they had way more free time when they were unmarried. Paul says,
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)
Most of us are not called to a life of singleness, but all of us are called not to waste our life during our singleness. Jesus said that those who are given much, much will be required (Luke 12:48). God doesn’t want you to waste your singleness by waiting around to get married. And when you get married, you don’t want to look back on all the things you could have done, on all the things you should have learned, or on all the people you could have served.
It is so easy to waste your singleness. So here are 7 ways you can use your Christian singleness while you have it. (These are in no particular order and this is definitely not an exhaustive list.)
#1: Personal Growth
When you’re single, you have a lot more time to think about yourself. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. After childhood and high school, not to mention your 20’s and 30’s, you are going to get wounded. Whether it’s through your parent’s divorce, an unstable home life, a rebellious streak, or some other wounding agent, we all have areas in our heart that need healing.
It’s always much more ideal to do this soul work when you’re single. We’ll constantly be growing throughout life, but if you never take the time to do some meaningful reflection on your inner health when you’re single, odds are you won’t when you get into a relationship either.
On a less spiritual note, singleness provides an amazing opportunity to pursue the career and education goals that you have in life. You can pursue that degree when you’re married with kids, but I guarantee when you get to that season of life you will wish you would have not wasted all the time you had during your singleness. If you have ambition for something, set yourself up for long-term success by putting in the work when it’s more convenient.
Pursuing your goals and doing soul work will never be convenient, but it is more convenient when you are single. Don’t waste this opportunity.
#2: Get to Know God Really Well
While this list is in no particular order, this is the most important way you can use your singleness. Growing in our personal relationship with God is something that must take precedence in every season of life. But during your season of singleness, you have an amazing opportunity to set a firm faith foundation for the rest of your life.
If you don’t read the Bible or other books about God now, you probably are not going to later. If you just can’t find the time to join that small group as a single person, odds are you won’t when you’re married either. If you reject the Holy Spirit’s urge to wake up early to pray before work during this season, it’s unlikely you will obey his prompting in the next season either.
The greatest biblical benefit of singleness is that it provides a season of life that will give you the best opportunity to focus on God (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). It’s never going to be easier to set aside time to spend with Jesus than it is during your season of singleness.
None of this means that marriage should cause us to pursue Jesus less (1 Corinthians 7:29). It just means that it will be easier (time wise) to pursue Jesus when you don’t have other huge relational commitments. Your years of Christian singleness will not be wasted if you use this time to pursue Jesus intimately.
#3: Develop Your Interpersonal Skills Through Meaningful Friendships
One of the most practical reasons for our season of singleness is interpersonal development. In America, people have choices when it comes to marriage. This is obviously a good thing . . . unless your social skills are horrible (joking).
I know a lot of single men who would really benefit from a wife, because, for example, she would help them realize things like showering, grooming, and showing up on time help you get ahead in life. I know a lot of single women who would benefit from a husband, because, for example, he would show her how offensive she comes across when she unknowingly starts to mother people.
The problem is that without a spouse, a lot of these types of imbalances will never change. And the more odd and imbalanced you are, the less likely you are to find a spouse. So what can be done?
Friendship is the next best way to develop your interpersonal skills. As a Christian single person you should have your close friends, but you should also be open to meeting all different types of people, men and women. Not only will this be fun (and helpful if you want to find a spouse), but it will also help you become a well rounded social individual.
Not all homeschooled kids are weird. But I think we all know a few. Why are they like that? Because they were not exposed to as many other people, which directly affected their social development.
So how can you use your Christian singleness? Use your season of singleness to develop your interpersonal skills.
#4: Build a Healthy Support System of Friends and Family
One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage is that your spouse will fill all your relational needs. But your spouse is just that, your spouse. He’s not your mom, dad, sister, brother, best friend of the same sex, or caring mentor who’s been in your shoes before. We need all of these types of people in life.
If you get married, a spouse should be your closest and best confidante. But he or she can’t be all that you need relationally. And not to mention you are eventually going to have marriage snafus. Who will you turn to when you need to talk to someone about your relationship with your spouse? Counselors are helpful, but they don’t need to be your go-to-person whenever you have a marriage issue.
Develop a strong support system when you are single because you will most likely have the time (at least more time than when you get married) to invest the energy it will take to develop this well rounded, relationship network. Don’t waste your singleness on social media, in front of the TV, or hanging out with the same three friends from grade school. Meet people!
Lastly, there is no guarantee you will get married. If you waste your 20’s and 30’s never making good friends, it only gets harder as time goes on because other people are likely getting married. Being single at a younger age is the easiest time to make lasting friendships because everyone else has more time too. Then when people get older, they can enjoy the close friendships they built earlier in life rather than try to build these friendships later in life, which takes way more effort because married people generally have less time.
It’s not impossible to make great friends later in life, but it is more likely when you are younger and single. If you waste your singleness, you will be wasting opportunities to build lifelong friendships.
#5: Go On Purposeful Missions/Adventures
Spring break vacation with your friends is cool . . . I guess, if you’re into that kind of thing. But odds are it will not change your life, develop you as a person, give you lifelong memories, or really help other people in need.
Mission trips, on the other hand, can be fun, adventurous, and a great time with your friends. But they also give you the opportunity to impact the world for Christ in powerful ways. Mission trips break us out of our bubbles and open our eyes to how big God is and how much the world needs him.
You can see beautiful places, you can go on adventures in foreign lands, and you can spend a lot of time helping people all by going on a mission’s trip. I met my wife while serving for seven months in Liberia. It was an experience I’ll never forget and it changed my walk with God forever.
I’ve been rock climbing, sky diving, whitewater rafting, backpacking, and on many other adventures. I encourage you to have fun during you singleness. Experience God on these types of adventures. But there’s few better ways to use your singleness that going on an adventure that has purpose, and mission trips provide this opportunity (especially overseas trips).
#6: Be Spontaneous
When you’re single, try to say “Yes” more than “No” when you get invited to do something positive with other people. Almost all of the things we’ve talked about so far in this list are severely hampered by being a homebody. Hey, I get it. I’ve always been more introverted than extroverted. But thankfully God gave me the conviction during my singleness to take advantage of my lack of responsibilities.
Looking back, I didn’t do it perfect, but I don’t have regrets revolving around “I wish I did more.” My wife was the same way. She really took advantage of her singleness. Now that God has put us together, even though we have less time, we are better equipped to live an adventurous, purposeful life.
Without our years of singleness being spent well, I know this would not be the case.
#7: Be Intentional, Prayerful, and Prepare for Your Future
In closing, the last piece of advice I can give you is be intentional about how you use your singleness. How you spend your days will be how you spend your life. If we are not careful, we will waste it on stupid luxuries and little pleasures that are gone in an instant.
If you want to use your singleness well, if you want to avoid wasting your Christian singleness, you will have to be intentional. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. The most important thing is that you are following God’s will for your singleness. What’s he asking you to do during this season? Pray about it, prepare now so you are ready to embrace the future God has for you. We must enjoy the present, but not at the expense of God’s future for us. God’s way allows us to enjoy the present and prepare for the future.
Use your singleness. Don’t let it use you. When you are married and have a few kids (or you are still single a few years from now) you’ll be able to look back and thank God for how he prepared you for the seasons you’ll be in then. If you don’t waste your singleness, I guarantee you will reap the rewards.