To the world, marriage is a private choice made between two people that can end at any time for any reason. In Christendom, the divorce rate is similar to the secular world’s divorce rate, and our leaders are wondering aloud if perhaps we idolize the nuclear family. Many churches have “Singles” ministries and many keyboard warriors say that we often harm singles by treating them as less than.
So what’s up with our relationship with marriage, dear Christians? As always, we plan to look to Scripture and state some obvious truths that will hopefully challenge AND encourage you, whether you are single, happily single, married, happily married, unhappily single, etc., etc., etc.
The first 12 minutes is a lot of joking around.
The rest of it is on topic.
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This is an awesome episode. Thank you so much for this Summer and Joy.
I wrote about this in an article for The Rebelution: https://www.therebelution.com/blog/2017/01/why-i-want-to-get-married-young/
Our culture really pays little to no regard for marriage and family. We tend to look for every reason or excuse to remain single, and often make that sound like it’s more righteous.
This is a necessary topic. Thank you once again.
That si garbage. Christian married couples think they are more superior than singles and then turn around and give us unsolicited and unnecessary advice. Then you have the audacity to tell us to not stay single this and that. Enough with your self righteous lectures.
I was under the impression the Catholic church decided being celibate was pious as a response to the expense of caring for legitimate and illegitimate progeny of the priests. At the very least it developed in a time when the church was struggling to financially with the cost of it.
I think the current trend you are remarking on may be also be a response. I agree with all of what you are saying, however I sympathize with all the young woman I have known who have been treated as incomplete and less than other women because they are not married. There are certainly married christian women for whom being married is an idol. If your first response to an uncoupled person is fixing that fact, you may have a problem. I know several of them will only attend a church with a thriving singles ministry because of how they have been treated as not a whole person. I do not think they are correct to respond they way they have, I just see why they have.
I’ve just started listening, so just three quick points:
1) I would’ve loved to see a single person weighing in on the discussion with their POV.
2) The only time I ever hear about how wonderful singleness is from those who are already married. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it from the pulpit, especially from pastors who got married in their early 20s and therefore have had zero experience on how hard / painful it is to be single as an adult.
3) Expressing any level of sadness/pain about being single gets you immediately branded, “bitter.” It doesn’t matter if you express support for marriage, explain that you’re not bitter, just hurt, express that you desire to be submissive to God’s will – none of that is heard. The moment you express pain on this issue, you are told you are bitter. (Maybe that’s why people don’t speak about it at all.)
If you listen longer you will realize that Joy has gotten married in the past month (?) or less. She’s a great one to address singleness issues – at least for another year or two 😉
I was just telling my husband how I wish I lived closer to you two so that we could be friends haha. I feel like we would have a lot of fun. That being said, Joy, I am so thankful that you put things into words that I could not until now. So much of what ya’ll said gave such great perspective for me on my singleness (at the time) and how that played a role in my life. “Check your heart.” Yup. Sums it up nicely. S
My personal experience being single until I was 26 was very similar to Mo’s point number 3. I knew I needed to pursue contentment and take advantage of the time I had before I was married. In fact I was one of those who would pray for God to take away any sexual desire so I could remain single. I was afraid to hope and afraid to admit that I wanted to be married. I never cared for singles ministries for many of the reasons you stated in the podcast. I when I finally did express that there was some desire to be married I was immediately shot down as if I was desperate or had unrealistic expectations; they would go on about how hard marriage is and how I just needed to be content. Or they would say you’ll get married when you stop wanting it. None of their perception of me were correct. Was there sin in my life? Of course! Most of which came from really strong sex drive. But they were always people who married quite young with little life experience, and who really never had a time of singleness. I don’t know that I would call it a true gift of singleness. I think people truly gifted with singleness really have no desire for sex or marriage in general. I do agree that a lot of the isolation people feel from singleness is perceived as opposed to being real. But I would also say that married people, especially those who married young, tend to have egos and see themselves as being far wiser than they actually are. I am grateful for the time I spent being single. I took full advantage and learned so much. But I think singles ministries need to encourage people to pursue marriage and encourage young men to be confident in their rolls. I don’t think young men delay because they are picky but because they are overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a husband. I was never encouraged to pursue marriage. I was told be content where I was, period. I think singles need encouragement to be honest with themselves and with God about what they’re feeling and where they’re struggling. Pursuing contentment should be a given, but that doesn’t mean people are wrong to want marriage.
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This episode was sooo good and I have listened to it multiple times. As a single girl (27), I do get annoyed with those in the church who go out of their way to point out that I’m single and treat me like I’m some kind of fragile girl who has a really difficult life. I joined my church about a year and a half ago and am currently one of two single girls there in my age range. At the very first Bible study I went to, the leader prayed for “all the couples who are here… *awkward pause*… and Brandi.” Then we had a volunteer recognition Sunday and the pastor talked about how hard it must have been for me to come to a church as a single person. I laugh it off, but it still irritates me sometimes. Do I want to get married? Of course. But I’m content with the fact that it hasn’t happened yet, and I really just don’t think it’s necessary to keep singling out single people. Pun intended.
Have you read or listened to anything by Sam Allberry on the topic of singleness? I think it would offer a differing, but biblical perspective. What about 1 Corinthians 7 and the verses about how it’s better to be single and content than married?
Hey there Summer and Joy,
I am new to Sheologions so listening to the “back catalogue” of episodes…
Just wanted to say thanks for this episode and your honestly about your sin, Joy. It was helpful and convicting for me.
One thing I have been studying and trying to wrap my head around is helping younger women with a need for both a theology of marriage and of singleness. The reason for this is I think both marriage and singleness is normative.
Everyone will be single whether that’s before getting married, never married or if God choses as a widower or widow. That being the case having a solid understanding of a Biblical theology of marriage and children, singleness, masculinity and femininity has been a real pain for me to teach younger women.
I would emplore your thoughts if you have time?