Let’s consider the facts. First, as of 2010, the median age of people when they first marry was 28.9 for men and 26.9 for women. Second, most people now live together before they marry for the first time. Unmarried cohabitation is particularly common among the young. It is estimated that about a quarter of unmarried women age 25 to 39 are currently living with a partner and an additional quarter have lived with a partner at some time in the past. More than 60 percent of first marriages are now preceded by living together, compared to virtually none fifty years ago. Third, marriage has shifted from being the cornerstone to the capstone of adult life. No longer the foundation on which young adults build their prospects for future prosperity and happiness, marriage now comes only after they have moved toward financial and psychological independence. Fourth, if a person has been to college, has an annual income over $50,000, is religious, comes from an intact family, and marries after age 25 without having a baby first, their chances of divorce are very low.
Well, it’s a much different world today for single people than it was twenty five years ago. Even though the world is changing, biblical advice remains the same. What advice does the Bible give to single people?
Take a look at 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, where Paul refers to two categories of single people, those unmarried and those who are widows. What advice does Paul give? Well, it is good for them to remain single. There is no need to rush into marriage and single people should not allow married Christians or unbelievers to pressure them into marrying someone. Marriage is not for everyone, and in some cases, it limits one’s potential to serve Jesus (1 Cor. 7:32-34). On the other hand, if the single Christian cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. Paul is teaching that it is far better to marry and exercise the gift of sexuality in a legitimate manner than it is to practice fornication and incur the judgment and wrath of God in your life! If you cannot control yourself, it is better to marry than dishonor God!
There are several things this single Christian should do. First, trust in the providence of God, that at the right time, God will send the right person into your life. Be patient, for if not, you will run the risk of marrying the wrong person. Second, the best way to find the right person is to be the right person. I’ve seen a number of Christians sabotage their marriages not because they married the wrong person but because when they got married, they weren’t the right person for the other person. Not in their chemistry, but in their character. So, stop looking for the person of your dreams and start becoming someone another person is dreaming about. Make someone else’s dreams become a reality. A lot of single people make lists of what they want in the person they’re looking for. That’s fine. Just make sure that if the person you’re looking for had the same list, they’d find you. Third, until you find the right person, seek God’s strength and direction so that you can resist temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).
Jimmy Bunch – Minister at Owensboro Church of Christ
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