“If there were 5-10 things you’d tell young(ish) Christian women who aren’t married yet but want to be, what advice would you give them?”
Leave it to one of my oldest friends to bring me a challenge like this one. I don’t have credible experience with singleness. I was married at 20. I cannot speak with understanding into the emotions, challenges, or specific graces that the Lord gives in this kind of season. But the person who asked me this question can. She and I are sisters in the Lord, both learning to live out biblical womanhood in the providences of our kind God. We are no longer surprised at how often the means he uses are worlds apart, but the lessons are the same. I’m also about to have my 6th daughter. It was a good exercise for me to think through this question. These are not lessons I’ve stopped learning or dealing with, they are just common observations of the challenges and privileges of being a daughter of Eve.
1. You are not less feminine because you are single. The Lord has made us (women) tangible examples of submission to display Christ in the Trinity and of the Church in relationship to Christ. He did not think, “Hmm… what can I use to explain this submission concept? I know, how about women!” Submission has always existed. Our creature qualities are purposeful pointers to His excellencies. So if in the Lord’s providence you are unmarried, remember, you are still in his providence, a woman. Learn what that means from the Scriptures and be who you were created to be, wherever you are.
2. Prepare your heart to make others great. The helpmate role can be frightening, but be like Sarah, unafraid. “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” (1 Peter 3:5-6). Entrust yourself to the Creator, the Just Judge, and the Lifter of your head.
3. Do not settle or be unequally yoked (2 Cor 6). Clear enough in scripture, a little harder to discern in real time. For the joy set before you, be patient. I’ve heard it said, it is better to be lonely and single than lonely and married. As time goes on, however, do not expect to marry a fully sanctified soul. Close relationships are sin revealing and sanctifying. If the Lord has marriage in your future, you can be sure there will be weeds he intends to root up using you (and vice-versa).
4. Be mature about unintentional rude comments. And follow a Matthew 18 model about the intentionally rude ones. People say stupid things. They say stupid things to moms with lots of kids, to women who can’t have kids, and they say stupid things to kids. People make blundering comments to disabled people, bi-racial families, twins, single women, grieving people, pastor’s wives, and teenage boys… I think we would serve each others’ sanctification much better in the church by overlooking awkward comments in love, risking, repenting, and forgiving rather than making awkwardness the unforgiveable sin and a reason to generally avoid each other altogether.