Why does Christian culture seem to view marriage as a higher calling than singleness?
“Ima marry me one day” - Lizzo
At the time of this writing, I am three months away from being a married man... as long as Danielle doesn’t change her mind!
I have had the opportunity to be single for long stretches of time in the past, while currently being blessed enough to marry someone whom I deeply love, God willing.
And throughout this process of marriage prep I have felt a sense of satisfaction amongst my Christian constituents. A vibe that almost communicates: “It’s about time you got married!”
In fact, people have actually said that too me. But, it’s all in good jokes and fun.
Yet, speaking seriously, there is some truth in every joke. There is an undeniable pressure in Christian culture to marry, as opposed to staying single.
I feel it now and especially when I was not in a committed relationship. It’s just reality, Christians elevate marital status to a high degree.
The assumption behind this is that marriage supposedly communicates the stability, maturity and integrity of a person. The thought being that if you are in a covenant relationship, then you are probably good in other aspects of your life as well.
Just like fathers and mothers are seen as more responsible than someone who doesn’t have kids by default.
Yet, that is faulty thinking and doesn’t always shake out to be the accurate. In fact, I have been a witness to many marriages where the two people are far from stable, mature or filled with integrity.
Being married doesn’t make you mature, nor does having a kid. Now, the lessons learned as a result of those life circumstances of being a parent or spouse might mature someone. But being in that stage of life alone is not a requirement or true sign of spiritual maturity.
Yes, marriage is an incredible symbol of the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph 5:25-32). But, that doesn’t make it better than being single - it just makes a symbol.
Being single sets you up for just as much God - honoring impact as being married does. In fact, singleness might be more advantageous for pure kingdom purposes.
Being single provides someone much more time and energy to be solely devoted to the will of God in the world (1 Cor. 7:32).
Think of all the biblical juggernauts who were single: Apostle Paul, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Martha, Joseph (OT), and even Jesus Christ.
Were these people less God - honoring or mature because they weren’t married? Would Jesus have had a better relationship with God had he just found a wife? Of course not!
Marriage is not an indication of spiritual maturity, it’s an indication of relationship status. Which is a great thing, but it doesn’t make or break someone’s chances at living a fulfilling life for God. So, if you want to be married - get married. If you want to stay single - stay single. But, don’t confuse yours or other people’s relationship status with their ability to live a life of integrity, responsibility, virtue, and purpose for the glory of God.