Recently, on one of the Baptist forums I frequent, there as a topic broached regarding Christian marriage, and when is the right age to get married.  Apparently there were several such topics being posted on other blogs in Baptist circles, this one just joined in the parade.  In this topic, the author was advocating that specifically choosing to remain single past 25 and into the 30’s was problematic, and inherently unbiblical.  He tried to differentiate between those who happen to be single (like me) not for want or try, and those who “choose” to be single into “advanced” age.

This really burned my goat to the level that some events in modern politics burn my goat.  And if you are familiar with my frequent rants, you will understand my full meaning when I say that. 

Despite his attempts to “limit” his remarks to those who choose to remain single, and not intentionally trying to include those who happen to be single into their 30’s, his remarks were striking and hurtful beyond degree.

As a single man, I have faced two types of “advice” from those around me.  First, are the groups like this person, the “something must be wrong with you” crowd.  These types of people, often members of churches, look at people who are “older” and still single and they view them with suspicion.  Whether that singleness is intentional or not, for a Christian to be still single into their late 20’s and into the 30’s, they quickly and automatically assume that something must be wrong.  Either your motivations are wrong (as the author of the thread was insinuating), or something is wrong with you personally, or any number of things can be brought up that explain why “you” are odd, and everyone else is normal.

The second group are those who keep saying, “Just wait, God will bring someone along soon!”  This group, frankly, is just as annoying.  Simply put, I have been “waiting” for 15 or so years to “find” the right girl.  I have tried “waiting” and being “patient” for her to arrive, and that has only resulted in seeing girls found interesting getting into relationships and getting married.  I have tried being forward, and actually trying to start relationships, only to have girls reject me.  I have had relationships that were good and I screwed up, and I have had relationships that were terrible and did not end soon enough.  Now theologically speaking, I would consider myself a bit of a fatalist/determinist when it comes to God’s sovereignty.  I have no doubt in my mind that (supposing I am to be married and not remain single for the rest of my life) God already knows the exact identity of the woman I am to marry, He knows the very moment that we will meet, start dating, get engaged, and get married.  Nothing I do or do not do can change that.  I know I need to act, but I also know it will happen in His perfect timing.  All the “advice” I get does nothing but cause me more grief.

So with these two groups, on one hand I have voices telling me something is very wrong because I am still single, and on the other, the fact I am thinking about the future is wrong in as of itself.  Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

Pile onto this all, another topic going around the blogosphere, and that is the question of whether a Pastor/minister/ect needs to be married to do his job.  I know I have been rejected by one church because I am single, I don’t doubt that if/when I start applying again I will be rejected some more because of that status.  The idea being, if I am single, how can I minister to married couples?  Well by that logic, how can pastors minister to people needing heart surgery if they have not had heart surgery?  How can someone minister to addicts unless they have been an addict?  Now to be sure, those who have dealt with situations are better able to minister to those who have also experienced those things, BUT ultimately, any pastor’s advise should be grounded in scripture, not “just” experience.  If I base my ministry off of scripture, if I study it daily, and make it the core of my life and my counseling, then I CAN answer any issue that would come before me whether I am single or married.

So needless to say, recently I have been a little upset regarding this whole “single vs married” thing.  It seems that when I finally get to a place where I do not dwell on this issue, something happens to drag me back in.  Maybe that is why I get so bothered by it now of days, and it is not just the issue itself.

Let me finish by saying this.

I have no doubt that had I been married 10 years ago, I likely would have ended up in a divorce.  I was not a healthy person, I did stupid things, and any relationship would have ended in a disaster.  Indeed, even 4-5 years ago any attempt at marriage would not have gone well.  I needed time to mature.  Maybe I still have a lot more maturing to go.  But one of the good things about being a fatalist/determinist, is again, I know the best is yet to come.  I really hate waiting, but in God’s perfect timing, everything will work out.  I will one day look back, and see exactly why it was good that I had to wait.  And when I finally have found “her”, I will be incredibly happy that all the “attempts” I have had in the past have failed and that I did not find anyone before “her”.