Is It Marriage or the Single Life?
A godly marriage or single life
As a woman, you are faced with many choices. You if are single, perhaps you are contemplating the prospects of marriage. These may be some of the questions you are considering.
- What type of husband do I need?
- What will be my new responsibilities as a wife?
- Will I be able to cope with a husband and children?
- Should I consider college now or postpone it until after the children are in school?
- Should we live in a house or apartment?
- If we live in a house, will I need to have domestic help or can I do it alone?
- Should I continue to work or just focus on my family?
- How do I plan and manage a household budget?
If you are already a wife and mother; then you have undoubtedly struggled with several of these same questions. There are a proportional number of women who delay completing their education in lieu of marriage. These women have the responsibilities of creating a pleasant environment for their husbands and children. Therefore, they feel the need to wait. Whatever your choice; it could involve sacrifices on your part.
As a Christian woman, you may be wondering what the Bible’s stance is with regards to marrying or remaining single. According to the scriptures, is there an answer to this dilemma?
By reading the Bible’s requirements for a godly life, you should be able to broaden your understanding of what God is requiring of you. Only through the written word of God, inspired by holy men some thousands of years ago will you begin to develop a closer relationship with God.
There are two apostles that shed illumination on what is required for women to live a godly life whether married or single. By closely examining the Word of God as written by the Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter, you should have the necessary information available to make an intelligent choice.
In the final analysis—the choice is YOURS.
The Apostle Paul: Marriage, Divorce and the Single Woman
To begin the analysis, let’s examine the opinions of the Apostle Paul. The teachings of Paul as its relevancy to marriage and the single woman are filled with divine revelation and spiritual insight. The godly woman must be able to discern between the two.
Paul’s aspiration was the single life for everyone; with devotion solely to God as he had done. Paul therefore differentiates between a godly wife and a godly single woman. Paul writes that the single woman has her greatest emphasis on pleasing the Lord. Because she is single, she can devote both her body and spirit to service for the Lord.
Paul adds that the married woman has the added burden of pleasing her husband and meeting both his physiological and psychological needs. Paul also believes that marriage can be a distraction to your relationship with the Lord because of her obligations to her husband. This is not to say that a married woman can’t live a godly life, but as a married woman, you need to be aware that there are dual obligations. It is very important not to forget what God requires of each of us.
Paul also shared his opinion regarding women who were single because the husbands were deceased. Paul’s desire was for young widows to marry so that they would have assistance in taking care of their children and the church would not be obligated to take care of them. The new husband would assume the responsibilities left by the deceased husband.
The older women were to remain single and their children would be obligated to provide for their needs, and if no children then the church would provide for them. During the early days of Christianity, the church shouldered a greater conscientiousness than seen in modern times!
Paul says that because of the promiscuity of people, immorality prevailed. For this reason marriage serves the purpose of alleviating sexual immorality. Any sexual act performed outside of marriage is considered sinful.
Because of this, Paul demonstrates his expressed authority when he writes: “If you are married, you should stay that way. If you divorce—then you should not remarry another but be reconciled with your former husband.” This is directly solely to the godly man and the godly woman.
Paul’s stance on this matter could relate to the Old Testament’s divorce practices which became more of a convenience for the man. If a wife was found displeasing, the man could give her a certificate of divorcement and send her on her way. Read Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
Paul also exercises his expressed authority regarding marriage to unbelievers. Being married to someone who doesn’t profess a belief in God, or who doesn’t attend regular church services is not grounds for divorce. Read Matthew 6:31, 32. Therefore, you should be very careful of who you marry. Know your spouse!
Paul concludes his doctrine with simple statements: the married should remain married and the single should remain single. There is no sin in being married unless the man is bound by a previous marriage. If you are single, and you desire to marry, make sure that you know everything you need to know regarding the background of the man. Once you are married, you are obligated to remain with this person until either of you die or the marriage is dissolved because of infidelity.
The Apostle Peter and the Married Woman
We will now turn our attention to the Apostle Peter. Although Peter shared a more personal relationship with Jesus; this doesn’t give greater weight to his requirements than it does to Paul’s requirements.
Peter also stresses that a wife be in a position or in circumstances that places her under the power or authority of her husband. The wife should possess such godly characteristics that the husband will be converted to godliness through the godly communications of the wife. Peter stresses that the wife not become too materialistic in hairstyles, jewelry, and making a fashion statement.
Peter suggests that a woman’s beauty lies in her conservative and humble personality. He believes that this is priceless in the eyes of God. Peter then refers to an early time in the history of man when the holy women, who put their faith in God were submissive and even Sara revered her husband by calling him “lord.” The women had no problem doing this at that time. Peter is suggesting that godly women should possess these same characteristics as “descendants of Sara.”
Let’s Formulate Our Conclusions
In the 50s, it was an expected trend for young women to marry, raise a family and settle into a domestic lifestyle. Women who deviated from this expected behavior were consider “old maids” and were the target of social ridicule. As a result, these women were desirous of marriage, conversely they ceased to be selective in who they married. Many of these women became prey to abusive and destructive men.
Today we understand by studying the lessons of Apostles Paul and Peter that it is perfectly acceptable to remain single and no woman should feel pressured into marriage. If you decide to marry; it is very important to choose the “right” man as a husband. An abusive man will have some telltale sign.
The following are some questions to ask (if he is an honest man, he will have no objections to these types of questions.)
How does he describe his former relationships with women?
Was the association ended by mutual agreement?
Does he tend to blame the women involved or does he accept his share of responsibility in the breakup?
Does the man have a prior wife?
How did he say that marriage ended, or is he still married?
Does he give you his cell phone number only?
Can he only see you on weekends and never on holidays or in public?
Most important, would this be a union sanction by God?
Married women must love and reverence their husbands; he will be your life partner (hopefully) and the father of your children. You are required to respect his wishes, follow his directions, and assist him in godly living. Therefore, your husband first needs to be a godly man. Then it will be possible for you to fulfill your wifely duties.
Remember, your first commitment is still to God. We are commanded to love the Lord with all of our being. This may seem to be a contradiction to loving our husbands. If you love God, you will love your husband, children, siblings, coworkers, friends, and yes, even your enemies.
As earlier stated; choosing whether to be a godly single or married woman rest upon your shoulders.
Let's Look at Three Scenarios
David and Jane have been married for a year. Jane has been complaining of headaches due to the stress of completing her education and the recent divorce of her best friend. The stress has begun to affect Jane’s ability to become intimate with David. Jane knows that David has been very patient with her but she just can’t seem to respond. David has become concerned that Jane’s inability to respond may sooner or later cause damage to their marriage. David has come to you for advice because he is becoming more and more impatient with Jane. How would you advise David?
Moving forward, it has now been three years since David and Jane married. Jane has been considering taking a job because she wants to use the extra money for clothing. Jane knows that David is very old fashion and is against women working outside of the home. David and Jane have a beautiful set of three year old twins, a boy and a girl, and David wants Jane home with them. David has become concerned over all the media information regarding daycare scandals and Jane knows she is in for a heated debate if she takes the job. David is an excellent provider and Jane has no complains regarding how he handles money; however, she would like to have her own. How would you advise Jane?
It has now been five years since David and Jane married. Jane has finally convinced David to allow her to work. It has been very difficult for Jane. She has had to take care of her household, which includes her five year old twins and a spacious home with a beautiful garden. David is still not happy with Jane working and has refused to help with the housework. Jane is at the end of her rope and is threatening divorce. At this point, David doesn’t care because he too is fed-up with the situation. David and Jane have come to you for advice. What will you tell them?
© 2013 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS