By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 500 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
1. "You are not complete unless you have a spouse."
Whether a Christian has divorced multiple times or is well into their thirties with no seeming spouse on the horizon, believers may feel as though they are not completely whole without a ring and a husband or wife attached to them.
How to combat this lie: Know that completeness cannot and will not ever come from other people. They cannot fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts, only God can do that. Salvation comes from God, not from a future spouse. If He intends for you to marry another believer in the future, then that is part of His plan. But if not, that does not make you any less of value than a Christian who has a significant other.
Scripture: But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ (Jonah 2:9)
2. “You’re on a timer for marriage.”
At 22, I’ve had my family, church body, and various other Christians badger me for the past four years about when I will find my significant other. After all, my older sister married at 22, mom at 19, grandmother at 18.
What was taking me so long?
Seeing that God doesn’t intend for me at this current time to pursue a long-term relationship, I can often feel that pressure to rush a relationship. Any time I mention a name of the opposite sex, it can raise eyebrows as they begin typing his name into social media to track him down.
How to combat this lie: God makes everything beautiful in his time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He operates on a completely different schedule than ours. God didn’t tell Sarah, “Well, you’re in your 90s, so that hinders me from being able to allow you to have a baby” (Genesis 21). If God has a spouse in line for you, He doesn’t have an expiration date on when He will and can bring that person into your life.
Scripture: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
3. “Marriage will erase any troubles.”
Cognitively, I know we can figure that this is a flat-out lie.
But sometimes filtered Instagram wedding photos and cute anniversary pictures can make it seem like married couples faced fewer worries in life. Even I made the mistake of thinking my sister had it easier than myself because she had a husband she could confide in.
How to combat this lie: Know often marriage brings more obstacles and trials than single life does. Although not always the case, we do have to keep in mind that marriages happen between two imperfect people. They often bring in a great deal of past trauma, poor conflict skills, and, well, sin. No one really, “Has it easy.”
Scripture: But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. (1 Corinthians 7:28)
Photo credit: Pixabay
4. "You should use this time to track down a spouse."
Singles do often have something married couples do not: time.
One reason the devil may hone our focus on getting a spouse is because he would rather us do that than use the time we have for something else, such as missions. Yes, by all means, if you want to explore Christian dating, and you feel God calling you in that direction, you should follow His plan.
But do keep in mind, Satan will try to hijack whatever free time you have so you can’t use it for God’s kingdom.
How to combat this lie: Analyze how much time you spend on pursuing a future spouse, whether it takes over your thoughts, or you spend hours on dating apps or at blind dates people in your church may set up for you. Ask yourself if there are ways you can be better spending your time to change God’s kingdom.
Scripture: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
5. “Singleness is a curse.”
Sometimes our churches make it out to be this way, even though the Apostle Paul lauded singleness as a gift (1 Corinthians 7).
Satan will do whatever he can to twist any good gift from God. How He twists singleness is by convincing Christians and entire congregations that God has somehow cursed a believer if He does not give them a spouse.
How to combat this lie: View singleness as a gift. See how the extra time this gift gives you can open up opportunities to serve more, love more, and bring back glory to God.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7
6. “You’re not good enough/mature enough for a spouse.”
I didn’t like some chapel speakers who came to our Christian high school, because they would often say, “Maybe God isn’t sending you a significant other because you need time to mature before you can get into a marriage.”
Or, “How can you expect someone to love you if you don’t love yourself?”
Or, “You need to be OK to be single before God will grant you a spouse.”
Yes, I got these talks since I was about fourteen.
Each of the above quotes goes askew for a number of reasons. First, the comparison game never works. I’m sure we could argue we’re more mature than some Christians who have entered marriage, etc. Second, if marriages rested on the need to love yourself enough, no marriages would take place. Third, I’ve known plenty of Christians who wanted to be married, got married, and never went through long periods of singleness.
How to combat this lie: Similar to Job’s talks with his friends, God does not withhold something because of something you did in the past or some attitude you need to adopt. Job’s friends were convinced he lost his family, home, and health because of some past sin. They were, of course, wrong. In the same way, God does not withhold a spouse because of your past or some attitude you need to reflect. He makes everything happen according to his plan.
Scripture: In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22)
Photo credit: Unsplash/Jason Wong
7. "You'll never have kids if you don't get married."
I knew many girls in college who were baby-obsessed. Several of them wanted to get married simply for the fact they could have kids if they had a husband.
How to combat this lie: Of course, one can point to adoption as an option, as more single parents are able to adopt children than before. But even if you cannot have an adopted or biological child, God will find ways to use your heart for children to bring glory to His kingdom. Maybe you’ll volunteer at the church’s children’s ministry or help a single mom who needs a caretaker for her child as she works during the day.
Scripture: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
8. “You’ll never experience intimacy.”
Since our culture thrives on sex, we often forget intimacy comes in different ways.
The Greeks had several words for love, which have disappeared in our language. We need to know love extends far beyond romantic gestures and procreation.
Otherwise, by that definition, Mother Theresa, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus himself did not know the meaning of love. Which, of course, we know to be a complete and utter lie.
How to combat this lie: Explore other ways to show love to others.
Scripture: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
9. “Everyone gets married except for you.”
Satan likes to isolate believers and make them think they are going through something alone or that no one else understands quite what it’s like to be us. Without community of those with shared understandings, we have to engage with these experiences alone.
Not to mention, social media often likes to expand this sense of isolation. We see marriage post after marriage post and think everyone has a spouse except for us.
How to combat this lie: Examples from Scripture alone can show us not everyone gets married. All the disciples, except for Peter, Paul, Daniel, and many more were single their entire lives. Find someone at your church, life group, or other Christian organization and share your experiences as a single Christian. You’ll find you may share a lot more in common than you think.
Scripture: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
If you ever find yourself confronted by one of these lies, turn to Scripture or seek out a friend in the single Christian community who has heard and dealt with one of these lies before. Don’t let Satan isolate you, but seek out help from Christians and from the Lord, and they will show you the truth: that you are loved and that God has a plan for you.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Steven Van Loy
Hope Bolingeris a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 350 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) just released, and they contracted the sequel for 2020. Find out more about her here.