So you want to be in a courtship, but there is no one around who is interesting and/or interested. What can be done about this? If I had the answer to that question, and if I could sell it in a package, I would be rich. (Which is why dating services are big business.)
Though I can’t offer such a product, I can offer a few suggestions which I hope will be helpful to you. The first thing is to keep your perspective on marriage realistic and biblical. In your thinking, do not let marriage become an end rather than a means. Marriage is a means of glorifying God, not an end in itself. Determine to use your unmarried state as a means of glorifying God as well, and don’t allow marriage to become something other than what it is in the created order. In other words, don’t let it become an idol, something that has way too much importance to you, so that you believe you are only half a person or that you are being held back spiritually because of your unmarried state. This is another way of saying, determine to be a contented Christian woman while you are unmarried. Marriage is not a secret society for the more spiritual; it is not an achievement or a trophy.
At the same time (and this is like learning to juggle), marriage is one of God’s good gifts and it follows that we should desire His good gifts. So desire all you want, but keep those desires in line. Burroughs explains in his book on contentment that we think we can get contentment by adding (if God added marriage, then I would be content). But he says that rather we get it by subtracting: we get our desires down to our circumstances rather than trying to get our circumstances up to our desires. So while praying for marriage, cultivate a true satisfaction with God’s will in your life. Submit to His purpose and plan, whatever that is, with joy and thanksgiving. He will bless this attitude and it is good practice for life. We all know of discontent married women, and I believe it would have helped them tremendously if they had learned contentment before they entered the married state.
What kind of man do you want to marry? A good question to follow this one is, what kind of woman would that kind of man want to marry? Are you that kind of woman? What can you do to become that kind of woman? These are helpful questions to process.
Next piece of advice: be fruitful. Whatever God has called you to do right now, do it eagerly and with thanksgiving. Look around and find ways to be productive; don’t be waiting around for the next thing. Get out and about. Look for opportunities and use your gifts. Cultivate your gifts. Learn some new things. Get to know all kinds of people in the community, and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. If some friends want to introduce you to “someone,” don’t be shy. But don’t be overpowered and manipulated either.
And finally, though I know there is much more to be said on this subject, remind yourself that God is good. He is not punishing you. He is not like that, so do not malign His character by thinking such things. He has good planned for you and not evil. Trust Him with your life. Serve Him with all you have. He will never leave you or forsake you, in marriage or out. So believe Him. That is what faith does.
17 thoughts on “Unmarried and Fruitful”
Excellent! For the married and the unmarried.
You did it again. This was exactly the encouragement I needed. Thank you Nancy!
Thank you for those wonderful words….perhaps you would consider taking it a step further at some point in addressing how those of us that are unmarried, in our late twenties, and considering being under headship even outside our father’s home??
“donâ€™t let it become…something that has way too much importance to you, so that you believe you are…being held back spiritually because of your unmarried state.”
Figuring this out was a turning point for me. I had been reasoning thus: A husband is to be a spiritual leader for his wife, I am in serious need of spiritual leadership, ergo I absolutely must have a husband. Surely with such good motives, I should get my demand met post haste! Ha!
It’s been a long, hard journey learning to believe that God really will keep His promises to sanctify me, and learning to submit to His choice of timing and means for doing so. The more I learn to stop trying to be God’s boss, the better life gets! 😉
My chief difficulty lies in that I am not meeting new people very often, or that interests I have had are not panning out. The latter can’t really be helped, but the former is the slow part. Traveling is expensive, and I feel like I’m marketing myself as some sort of Christian commodity, ha.
But thanks, Nancy, it’s good to be reminded of where the priorities are. A good friend of mine just recently said the same thing about not letting marriage become an idol, and I must say it has helped tremendously in coming to a clearer perspective.
I am presently finishing a year as an aide in a Christian school, planning a mission trip to Peru, and helping out at home and church where needed. I have found no better antidote to discouragement than staying busy!
In His grace,
Thank you for paragraphs four and five! I needed the reminders and the encouragement to make better use of my time and talents; it’s hard to motivate myself and set goals.
Hello – thanks so much for your encouraging words! I needed to read that today! Such great reminders! I have just recently started reading your blog and I love it! Thanks so much for sharing bits of wisdom.
Hope this might be encouraging for some. I was raised in a Christian home and as the oldest of 6 alwlays wanted to be a wife and mother. Everyone who knew me thought I would be married just like most are. However, I was not married until I was 38. Singleness was the crucible the Lord used to teach me lots and lots and to show me more of Himself and His unfailing, allsufficient love. By His grace I was fruitfull as a teacher, an aunt, a daughter, a friend. My husband was 46 when we married. He had been praying for a wife since he was 18. We got pregnant on our honeymoon and now have a son. While it was always fun to hear stories like that as a single it didn’t help a whole lot because you never know what God’s plan for you will be. But what Nancy said is helpful and most important. God calls us to be fruitful and we find peace and contentment as we lay down our lives for him by laying down our lives for others. Peace is not the absence of occasional gut renching cries of lonliness, or dissapointment, or confussion. But well…its peace and since this is not my blog I think I’ve said enough. It’s always good stopping by and reading the posts here. Thanks for your love for the Lord, his people, and life.
It is so true, what you say about learning contentment now, it is so easy to be discontent even as I’m surrounded by good blessings. I think I’ve been learning what you’re advocating (after much trouble!) and my heart is far more at peace than ever it’s been. I imagine it’s makes one easier to live with as well. Thank you again for these sorts of articles. I so appreciate when married women think of us who are trying to understand all of this stuff! It’s such a blessing!
I appreciated this article because I have many young ladies in my acquaintance who are in the deep throws of longing.
It occurred to me though, this article can be read with the glasses of married, no kids and fruitful. Several ladies I know are struggling with not being able to get pregnant and have children~and why a good, God-ordained thing as motherhood isn’t happening for them. There is wisdom here for THEM too.
I know of a beautiful Christian woman who wanted to be married all of her adult life but it didn’t happen until she was 50. Her dream came true. I didn’t realize what an adjustment it had been for her until a couple of years after her wedding my friend Jane asked her how was it going? My 52 year old friend replied — I just realized I spent the first 50 years of my life on vacation! She loves her husband dearly but there are challenges in all states of our lives.
What an excellent post! And I agree with some other commenters, any real longing for God’s gift(s) can be used here. Really, you’ve encouraged me and helped set me straight with this post. Especially your admonishment to be productive with whatever it is that God has called you to do right now.
Also, I really appreciate that little description of contentment being more about subtracting than adding. I think the temptation is great sometimes to feel like you don’t “fit in” the Christian community when you’re unmarried.. or married, but only have one child (like me). I can sometimes feel less-than or like I don’t have anything to contribute ever because so many Christian women in the community are married and have like, eight kids aged seven and under. (I know, I know.. it’s virtually impossible but yet somehow, women manage to do this!) In fact, it can get darn-right depressing. But I like the perspective there: bringing our desires down to our circumstances. Thank you!
Erin, I used to have exactly the same worries! I live in a fairly isolated area and don’t have a wide social circle, and I couldn’t for the life of me see how I was going to “find” anyone. And yet before I knew what was happening, someone was asking me out. It didn’t go anywhere, but I was reminded all over again how easily God can fulfil His plans in His own good time.
Thanyou very much Nancy for reminding us of some very wise points to consider. I particularly appreciated what you wrote about “What kind of woman would that kind of man want to marry?”, particularly as sometimes we can want to marry an amazing guy who has it all together, while we sit around in our laziness. Thankyou also for reminding us that God is good. It is such a comfort and blessing to know that.
Spoke directly to my greatest weakness, and repeated the same thins God has been convicting me of lately. Thank you! I will read and re-read this article.
I just discovered your blog and although this was written over a year ago, it was a delight and a challenge to read. This was such a blessing, thank you!
Thanks so much for this – it’s exactly what I need to read today!