This is one of those rare personal posts from me.  But having written about my singleness here and here, I thought this was a good place to share some more thoughts on the subject, especially given this particular point in my life and the fact that I know I am not alone.  There are many like me are in the predicament of desiring marriage yet maintaining contentment in singleness, a task that I have personally found challenging at times.

This is also one of the posts that I would always find myself hating to read.  The kind that slaps down lofty ideas of future nuptials, strangles the notion of granted promises and spotlights the idolatrous inclinations of wandering hearts.  For many, there is a desire to mate and find that lifelong partner.  In our evangelical churches, marriage is touted, promoted and honored and rightly so.  But I fear that so much attention can forge existing eagerness into a penetrating need that so grips our being, no other solution would proffer.  For sure, I have experienced this.

The bible makes much of marriage and the fact that mating should be endemic in our nature.  God saw to it that the first man would not be lonely and created a very special creature just for him, citing the oneness that would be foundational for that marital union (Genesis 2:18-25).  The apostle Paul indicates that singleness is a gift not shared by all, inferring that desire.  He describes a beautiful parallel of husband and wife with Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).  Unless one was inclined towards singleness, who would not want that?  The author of Hebrews indicates that marriage is to be held in high esteem by all (Hebrews 13:4).  And then there is the Song of Songs, but let’s not go there.  Yes, it does seem that desires are validated by scripture.  I myself have considered these passages to be proof that internal desires matched with prayerful expectation should eventually yield that godly mate I have so desired.

However, the bible also presents scenarios where this is not the case.  There are widows and virgins.  Paul tells Timothy that widows should focus on fulfilling their duty to their children (1 Timothy 5:4).  He also  told the church at Corinth that marriage will necessitate divided attention (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) and that one should look to be content in the place where God called them (vv 21-24)  .  While not explicitly stated, I have to imagine that in the early NT church, there were many who desired marriage or like me, were widowed and freed from unpleasant choices made apart from Christ and desiring a marital scenario that was Christ centered and personally satisfying.  Nonetheless, the encouragement is the same –  be content in whatever state you find yourselves in.

It is not pleasant when the deepest yearnings of your heart go unfulfilled and especially if we’re surrounded by others who are granted the privilege that we long should fall on us.  Proverbs 13:12 has resonated with me quite often, about deferred hope.  But that’s where examination must take place, and how tightly desires have wrapped themselves around the heart.  Idolatry is an insidious odor in the nostrils of God who longs to breathe sweet sacrifices of worshipful lives devoted to Him.  It is not because He withholds, but because what He grants is fitting for his purpose, glory and honor.  That might make us earthly losers but precious heavenly winners.

There are no guarantees to the believer in Christ only that they belong to Him and can expect enjoyment with Him forever.  My fellow blogger, Daniel Eaton over on Theologica reminded me of that with his post here, that life may not turn out as expected.  And that takes us to the place of hard choices, to examine, confront and let go, to say if we have food an clothes, that shall be sufficient.  Whatever is gripped tightly has to be held loosely lest the noose of expectation lead to a self-consumed occupation, or worse disastrous decisions that would undermine the very fabric of our Christian life.  That prison is a far cry from the freedom that Christ has provided through his sacrificial death and resurrected life.  Besides, marriage is not the panacea for discontentment, a fact I’m sure many married couples can attest to.

The bottom line is that I don’t know if God will ever grant my desire, but I do know I should not worry about it any longer.  What he has granted must be embraced, Himself, His son, the guaranteed indwelling of the Holy Spirit who provides spiritual gifts to demonstrate what He has provided, His provision and His people.  I may not find happiness with a mate but there is sure to be joy with attention paid towards Him.   And that is where it behooves us to focus, because God never promised us a mate.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    66 replies to "God Never Promised Us a Mate"

    • The Real Truth

      Gee Wiz, God did say that man shouldn’t be Alone. Right? And i will certainly agree on that. Very hard for many of us men that are hoping to meet a good woman to settle down with, and then we see so many others that have been Truly Blessed with a life together.

    • Jack

      It’s a complex topic and it’s about to get even more complex.

      It would be nice if a single man over the long haul could just psychologically accept his singleness and get on with life. Unfortunately, that’s not the way God designed the male reproductive system.

      The prostate is like a urine sac. It’s fills with semen fluid and if that fluid is not released regularly via intercourse or masturbation or, in the long haul, nocturnal emissions, then all sorts of “bad” things begin to happen to a male’s equipment.

      Single men are in a physiological bind: masturbation is a sin according to the Bible so a man can’t masturbate because it involves lust; if he has no mate he cannot engage in sexual intercourse for release; he obviously cannot visit prostitutes; his only option is to wait for those blessed nocturnal emissions to come along but it’s a grueling ordeal in the meantime; a recent study in Boston with 30,000 males showed that lack of regular emission causes cancer of the prostate; retaining the fluid for long periods wreaks havoc on regulating testosterone levels properly; the male equipment just cannot function properly when fluid is constantly building up. The negative physiological effects of “blue balls” is very real.

      In other words, God designed the male body for the fluid to have to be released regularly, but modern social evolution has made that impossible for many men and the Bible has made doing it manually impossible under threat of sin and hellfire.

      The outcome: if he doesn’t marry and doesn’t masturbate he is likely shortening his life.

      A single Christian man is between a rock and a hard place.

    • Truth

      The Truth Is, if many of us Single Men had a choice we would had been married with a family instead of being Alone and having No One now.

    • Jack2

      >>>>>>why should certain men and women be blessed by God to have met one another and have a family…?

      Mark, God had nothing to do with it. It was simply dumb luck. It starts with the physical: a man has a certain look or air about him that attracts a girl. She looks at him and smiles. If he doesn’t smile back he’s not interested. There’s no chemistry. A girl is beautiful and has a certain air about her that attracts many men. They make a play for her. She may be interested in one of them or none of them, but one day a guy will approach her that sets her heart aflutter. That’s chemistry. They date. It may work out, it may not, but if it does they get married. The actuarialists say that 50% of those marriages will end in divorce, but 50% will survive and thrive. It’s much like the billions of sperm cells swimming upstream trying to get to that egg. Billions will die along the way; a few million will actually make it to the egg and swarm around it, but only one lucky cell will penetrate it and produce a new life.

      Statistics say that roughly 5% of marriages are truly happy. The rest are either divorces, or two people staying in a miserable marriage, or a spouse passing away and the surviving spouse either starting over and getting lucky–finding that chemistry again–or giving up because the game is too difficult and (s)he then chooses to remain single. For God’s own mysterious purposes He might intervene in 1 out of 1000 cases. No explanation as to why. I’ve seen cases where it was miraculous–against all odds that two people met they way they did and married, only to see the marriage go up in flames or degenerate into a bitter marriage that is nothing but a fightfest which then degenerates further into two embittered people living out their lives tied unhappily to each other. It’s one of the great mysteries of the universe–how a few blessed individuals find their true soulmates while the other 95% of us die lonely, alone, unloved, no children, single, bachelors, spinsters. That’s life, and death. No visible rhyme or reason to it.

    • Really The Truth

      True Story. My cousin went to a Church Dance many years ago with his friend and fell in love with this girl that he wanted to meet so badly, and he told his friend that i am going to marry that girl which he did. And today he has two grown sons , and his older son is now married with a daughter of his own. My cousin and is wife will be starting their 43rd year together. Now i would say that he is Very Extremely Lucky when there are many of us men still looking for a good woman to settle down with, and having a lot of trouble doing so. It is very true that God punishes many of us with No love life, and gives it to others. Why not us too?

    • Dv

      Over and over again, I see believers post this graphic on Facebook that says, “Don’t worry if you’re single. God is looking at you right now, saying, ‘I’m saving this one for someone special.'” When I try to point out that the Bible says no such thing, they get angry and agitated, accusing me of not trusting God.

      I wish that they would see the simple, clear truth of what you are saying.

    • John

      This is an interesting topic. I have already mentioned several times that there are no specific scriptures that mention God is a matchmaker. God is not a matchmaker and has never been a matchmaker. I know people will bring up Adam and Eve. However the deal with Adam and Eve was by default.

      Is it a mystery why pastors/preachers preach this matchmaker lie? Not really. Let me explain. The truth is this false “matchmaker God” is an easy way out for pastors/preachers. It would be a lot harder to tell the truth. Hey if you want to attract a woman, you need to develop social skills. It is hard, really hard. Also it will entail a fair amount of rejection while you are learning social skills. Who wants to be rejected? Nobody. However that is what it is going to take to develop your skills. Do you think the pastor is going to tell you that? Absolutely not.

    • John

      God is not a matchmaker and has never been a matchmaker. I know people will bring up Adam and Eve. However the deal with Adam and Eve was by default.

      Is it a mystery why pastors/preachers preach this matchmaker lie? Not really. Let me explain. The truth is this false “matchmaker God” is an easy way out for pastors/preachers. It would be a lot harder to tell the truth. Hey if you want to attract a woman, you need to develop social skills. It is hard, really hard. Also it will entail a fair amount of rejection while you are learning social skills. Who wants to be rejected? Nobody. However that is what it is going to take to develop your skills. Do you think the pastor is going to tell you that? Absolutely not.

    • anonymous

      I wanted to be married for a season but the nature of my family made that reality an impossiblity. so approaching 40 I am still single and have come to conclude I will be possibly until I die. I dont know but its a reality im preparing myself for. I secretly hope diffently but i am slowly embracing my singlehood tho it is not easy and has not really been welcomed by me. slowly, because I want to get married but its okay meaning im not like Paul who found it a joy. there was a season I felt it was a joy and just wanted Jesus but it was a short season and again I wanted a mate .but I thought I woukd be married but im trusting God to help me with my desires. but seeing as it has not happened and ive tried was almost just never worked out I came to conclude some ppl God wants married and others Hes not too concerned about marrying. Ive seen God break His neck over some women to find them a spouse and get them married and others like me…its not on the top priority list. so im just trying to longings. whats hardest for me is keeping my flesh under control and im wondering if I had done a better job pre Jesus I would not be struggling so now. that is a main reason I want to marry and to avoid the stigma of yet another single women at church as I have no children. but anyway. I tried to bless those who get married easily and pray for those who have what I think I desire. Maybe God knows it would not make me happiest I dunno.

    • Ron

      It is very hard to blame God for our singleness, especially for many of us good men that really wanted to find a good woman to settle down with. But with much more women today that are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, and very spoiled certainly has a lot to do with it as to why many of us men are still single as i speak since many women today just Can’t accept us for who we are.

    • John

      Ron, What you mentioned are undisputed facts.

    • Anonymous

      Well now that so many women nowadays are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, gold diggers, cheaters, narcissists, think they really are all that, and very money hungry as well. And so much more can be very much added to that list too, which certainly explains why so many men can’t meet a good woman today that will be able to accept us for who we really are. And now that the great majority of these very pathetic women have very high standards which makes it worse altogether. Funny how back in the old days how very different women were at that time since most women were the very complete opposite of today, and real ladies as well which certainly made love so very easy to find at that time just like our family members did. Most women now just want the very best of all, and will never ever settle for less. Even God has no control at all over these women since they like sleeping around with different men all the time unfortunately, especially the ones that have a lot of money. So these are very excellent reasons why so many of us single good men will never be able to find love at all, even when we really try since these type of women are very much too blame for our singleness today in the first place. And had we been born in the past which many of us men definitely would’ve been married with our own family already, when women in those days were so much different which is why it was very easy finding real love at that time.

    • JW

      As i can see many of us never wanted to be single and alone in the first place since as time goes by which it can get very unhealthy and depressing.

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