(not her real name) had just broken her engagement to a successful
businessman, who turned out to have serious moral failings. She was 31,
and looking for real solutions to some of the relationship dilemmas many
singles face, so she began regularly visiting a home Bible study I
attended that addressed singles issues.
evening on the drive home, she coyly asked me this question: “What is
the procedure if someone is attracted to another person in the Bible
study?” Gulp. I searched my mind for a file called “procedure,” but
found none. “Well,” I said, finally, “they could try and mingle over
cookies and juice at the end of the evening.” That was the best I could
offer, and I knew it was lame.
also knew that a few men in the group had expressed the same dilemma to
me before—they were attracted to someone but were afraid of seeming
forward or disingenuous if they asked for a phone number at a Bible
study. So often they did nothing but admire them from across the room,
forever. What was the procedure?
Marijean came from a Muslim background. She related to me how “love
issues” were handled in the mosque she formerly attended. A male or
female leader called a wali “shepherded” the interest expressed by a man
or woman in the congregation about another.
there was mutual interest, the wali let the man know in no uncertain
terms that if he pursues the woman he’d better have marriage on his
mind. (The wali is usually the third party on their phone calls, too!)
to Marijean, the typical courtship is a very short process, and, it
seems, one that leaves few broken hearts behind. Knowing the similar
dilemmas many singles face in the church, (where there is often no wali)
I could not help but wonder if we as Christians were missing the boat
in this area.
doesn’t realize how many people avoid services because they are too
focused on families and they alienate singles,” notes Lana Trent,
co-author of Single and Content (W Publishing Group). Indeed, some
singles admit that Sunday mornings are the loneliest part of their week.
For those singles who stay
close to the church, it’s questionable whether or not the issues of
alienation, sexual dilemmas and the need for godly companionship are
effectively being addressed. Many say they aren’t.
How the Word Applies
co-author Chris Burge and I are passionate about helping our single
peers reach their divine potential in every area of their lives, through
practical application of the Word of God. We tackled many of the
above-mentioned concerns in a book we wrote, His Rules: God’s Practical
Road Map for Becoming and Attracting Mr. or Mrs. Right (WaterBrook).
Here is a sampling of the steps crucial for single women of any age desiring marriage.
Change your mind.
In Deuteronomy 2:3, the Israelites were told, “‘You have been wandering
around in this hill country long enough; turn northward'” (NLT). In
order to advance to their destination, God’s people had to change their
The first step to
take if you are wanting to be married is to change your mind-set from “I
want/need a husband” to “Who do I need to become to be a godly wife?”
often we single women live in a fantasy that our prince will come,
overlook all our faults and make everything better merely by his
arrival. Or, more seasoned saints may take on an attitude of “He’ll have
to take me or leave me, I am what I am.”
sorry to tell you that only Jesus’ love is unconditional. Isaiah 54:5
says, “For your Maker is your husband” (NKJV, emphasis added). Ask
yourself, “Am I a godly wife to my Husband now? Am I submitted to His
will?” Once you learn to honor Him, honoring your earthly mate will be
intimacy now. Very often we associate intimacy exclusively with
something sexual. But when Solomon wrote: “‘Rise up, my love, my fair
one, and come away'” (Song 2:10), he was referring to much more.
is often said that true intimacy should be spelled “into-me-see”
because it is really about allowing someone to see into all your dark
crevices and moldy corners. Marriage will be a mirror for all your
practicing intimacy now with the Father, your first love. He knows
everything already and still loves us. Yet, He wants us to share the
depths of ourselves with Him, and be totally transparent in our love
relationship, as He is with us.
John 15:15, Jesus said, “‘I have called you friends, for all things
that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.'” As we share all
things with Him, and He with us, we practice the type of intimacy we
will enjoy with our future mate. And if a mate never comes, we will have
deepened the quality of our most important relationship.
house. Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, wrote: “If anyone
cleanses himself…he will be a vessel for honor” (v. 21). Single or
married, our ultimate calling is to holiness and sanctification.
that your body, soul and spirit are three individual balloons. When we
came to know Christ, we began to blow air into our “spirit balloons.” As
we heard good Bible teaching, dug into the Word ourselves and worshiped
with a grateful heart, our spirit balloons became larger and larger,
until they crowded out the balloons called “body” and “soul.”
Eventually, body and soul become dethroned, and our spirit, led by the
Holy Spirit, becomes king.
many of the spots and wrinkles we acquired while our flesh sat on the
throne remain. Scars from the past can keep us from knowing our Lord in
certain areas, and from receiving the blessings He has for us.
longs to remove all the barriers to our knowing Him, but we must first
acknowledge that they are there. Spending time with Him in personal
retreats and times of consecration with extended fasts will help sharpen
our sensitivity to His voice.
the Holy Spirit will point out our past hurts, reveal the people we
need to forgive as well as the past sins for which we need to repent.
This inner cleansing is a crucial step toward going into marriage whole.
Remember, you have the
responsibility before God to walk in holiness and purity. Whether or not
the church you’re a part of appropriately addresses your issues, you
can go to God and seek His wisdom for your life.
you do, allow the Holy Spirit to transform your thinking about your
single life, so that you no longer see yourself as incomplete, but as a
whole vessel—fit and prepared for the Master’s use.
Pamela Toussaint is the co-author, along with Christopher Burge, of His Rules: God’s Practical Road Map for Becoming and Attracting Mr. or Mrs. Right (WaterBrook), from which portions of this article were adapted.