Married women have needs; unmarried women have needs. Little girls have needs, teenage young ladies have needs. There is no escaping it. I dare say men have needs too. God created us to be in fellowship with Him, and this is what puts us fundamentally right so that we are able and enabled to minister to one another. We are designed to live in community and God gives us the privilege of blessing one another, loving one another, forgiving one another, and living sacrificially for one another. Living in this way by the grace of God is what makes us well-adjusted or secure or whole people.Unmarried women are hungering for that close community that is only found in marriage. They can enjoy the fact that they live in community, but they want more. God has put this hunger in them and it is good by definition. The central thing I enjoyed about Debbi Maken’s book (Getting Serious About Getting Married) was the way she addressed the worldview problems in the church about marriage: mainstream evangelicalism has a nasty habit of labeling singleness as a “gift.” Now I suppose that it is a gift in one sense, in that it is good to want to be married. Hunger is a good thing, but getting to sit down to dinner is the real blessing. It would be a defect to have no hunger. Hunger is good. So in that limited sense we could call this a gift. But that is not what is usually meant when people (both pastors and laymen) say that being single is a gift.I believe it is our generation of pietistic evangelicalism that has made the unmarried feel guilty that 1) they want to be married at all, and 2) that they don’t feel appreciative for this “gift” of unmarriedness. This is the same kind of pietism that disapproves of enjoying life too much; it frowns on feasting, wine, celebration, conjugal love, owning a beautiful home, driving a nice car, wearing pretty clothes or (yikes) makeup, or saving up an inheritance for the kids. This mindset has given many of us a guilty conscience when we should have been overflowing with gratitude. And this is what makes us try to cover up a longing for marriage with a nice little pat on the head and calling it the “gift” of singleness.
My husband once counseled someone who could not sit down and play the piano because of the guilt. So many people in the world are deprived of music, why should a Christian get to enjoy it? This actuallyÂ deprives God of the glory and praise and gratitude we owe Him for bestowing so many blessings on us, all undeserved. So wanting to be married is good. It is a God-given desire, and God’s children should want Him to pour His blessings out on us more and more. So my counsel to unmarried women is to embrace the blessings of this life that are available to them — feasting, dancing, dressing beautifully, setting a gorgeous table, spending money on lovely things — with an overflowing heart of gratitude and joy. Then ask God for more.