1. Because some single women settle. Betty, a single woman from our church, started dating a non-Christian guy. She was committed to the Word, faithful at church, surrounded by Christian friends, and yet, the allure of marriage, children, and a future with a husband was just too strong. None of the guys at church were asking her out, so when non-Christians paid attention to her at work, she struggled. A war raged in her heart. Rationalizations and self-justifications popped-up. “He’s kind to me.” “None of the guys at church are paying any attention to me.” The fears swelled around her. “I don’t want to end up alone.” “I’m scared no one will take care of me when I’m old.” “I won’t get what I want.” Inevitably, lies crept in. She questioned God’s goodness and His plans. “God must not love me.” “Why, God, hasn’t anyone noticed me?” She spent time with a non-Christian, and as she grew emotionally attached to him, it became easier and easier to compromise.
Does this sound familiar to you? Maybe the specific details or the reasons for compromise are different in your situation, but more than likely you’ve seen something similar. The cold, hard truth is that some single women do settle.
2. Because some women choose the wrong guy. Most dating books talk about who to marry. I wrote a book about who not to marry. Ready? Here’s my list of ten men that single women should avoid. There is the control-freak, the promiscuous guy, the unchurched guy, the new convert, the unbeliever, the angry man, the loner, the commitment-phobic man, the passive man, and the unteachable guy.
Some men will do everything in their power to woo, charm, amaze, cajole, manipulate, and win your affections. They will sell themselves as a decent bill of goods—as the right kind of guy to marry. But if you find yourself with one of these men, be very careful. Apart from genuine repentance, faith, and humility, these men are not worthy of your time. They are the wrong kind of guy to date and marry.
3. Because singleness is not purgatory. In many churches today, singleness is not a beautiful thing. To many singles, it feels more like a disease that needs to be cured. Who wants to be single? Even worse, who wants to stay single? Marriage is talked about in spectacular terms, and rightly so, because the Bible has a high view of marriage. But an aftershock of all this conversation about marriage is that singles are made to feel like second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. Married people talk about facing their selfishness in ways that they never experienced in singleness. Or they talk about the joy of companionship and how their marital relationship is a portrait of the gospel. All of this is true, but it leaves a single to think, “Am I somehow incomplete if I am not married? Is there something wrong with me if I can’t get married?”
So where does that leave single adults? If you are not married, you don’t display the gospel in the same way that married people do. Rather, you have the privilege of displaying the gospel in a way that is uniquely possible because of your singleness. Paul writes about this in 1 Corinthians 7:
“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (vv. 32–35, NIV).
Paul says your main goal as a Christian single is to live your life in single-minded devotion to the Lord (v. 35). Singles have an advantage over married people because their interests are not divided (v. 34). A married man or woman is concerned with the affairs of this world—how he can please his spouse, how to care for his children, how to provide for his family—while a single has the freedom to uniquely focus on the Lord’s affairs (vv. 32–35). Notice the word in the last sentence—“uniquely.” Married people can’t do this. They can’t show a single-minded devotion to the Lord, because inherent in marriage is responsibility for a spouse and children. So don’t ever forget that your singleness uniquely displays the gospel.
4. Because waiting is hard, but Jesus is worth it. Waiting is not a word most of us like. People today hate to wait. Amazon is late with my package, yet again. And I want it right now. I stand in line at Chick-Fil-A for a few minutes and think, “They need to speed this up. I’ve got things to do.” I hover around my microwave as my food warms up. It’s only a minute, but it still feels too long.
See what the culture has done to us? It says to us, “Why the delay? Go get what you want right now.” Waiting in line is bad. Waiting for your food is bad. Bad, bad, bad.
If you are single, you hope to get married and have children. You want a future that you see many of your friends already starting. Every time a friend announces her engagement, every time you sit at a wedding alone, every time you are home alone on a Friday night, every time a close friend tells you she is pregnant, every time you see and experience these things it’s easy for you to think waiting is bad. You might wonder: “Why wait? Life is passing by. Why not take things into my own hands?”
Disney wants you to believe that you are waiting for Prince Charming, who will swoop in on a white horse, fulfilling your every last dream. God says you are really awaiting the Prince of Peace. So as you wait, remember who it is you are waiting for. Christ beckons you to long for things that don’t pass away, things that are eternal, certain, proven, and stable. He teaches you to wait for the real thing—Christ himself.
Some days, in reading your Bible, the truth feels “cold.” “Cold” comfort is hard to bear. It’s easy to think, I’d rather have the warmth of a man’s embrace than the cold truth. Even if the truth feels chilly, remember the Bible is still the only reliable pathway back to God.
A bad marriage is not better than struggling through singleness. For many women I know, the problem isn’t so much convincing them that it’s better to choose the right guy than the wrong guy. Often there doesn’t seem to be a “right guy” around. The problem is convincing them that it’s better to be single than to spend their life with the wrong guy. So that sends us racing to a few pivotal questions—Is Christ enough for you? Can He be all that you need? Can you build your entire life around Him?
While you wait, Christ will meet you in the midst of your pain, vulnerability, and loneliness. The warmth, comfort, and love of the risen Savior can draw even the most impatient or unhappy woman to Himself.
Waiting does draw you near to your Savior. God uses these periods of waiting to strip our superficial layers and dig down to the core of our hearts. We come to understand what we really worship in life—a future husband or Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Philippians 3:20–21 says: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” As you wait, keep your gaze on Christ because He is worth it.
Deepak Reju (M.Div., Ph.D.) is the author of She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle. He is a pastor, father of five kids, and husband to his dear wife, Sarah.