Define the Term
What Christians mean by singleness is often very different to what our secular friends mean by singleness. Basically, in our culture today, if you’re not a Christian and you’re single it's seen as a great thing because you are free, unattached, and uncommitted. You don’t have the entanglements and restraints of a marriage or a long-term relationship. You’re free to–in our culture—sexually experiment, have multiple partners, do what you want.
Whereas for the Christian, we believe the Bible teaches us that you shouldn’t be having sex outside of marriage. For us, being unmarried doesn’t just mean we’re uncommitted, but that we are actually called to be celibate. It’s a very different prospect if you’re single as a Christian than if you’re someone who is single who isn’t a Christian.
Therefore in our culture there’s quite a stigma attached to the kind of lifestyle single Christians lead. Not being sexually involved means, at best, you are seen as very strange, and at worst, you are seen as leading a lifestyle that is not healthy for you—it’s harmful, as if you’re repressing something that you ought to be cultivating, expressing, and enjoying.
So, by those terms, you’re almost leading a subhuman life, or a diminished life. The prospects of what it means to be single are very different inside and outside of the Christian faith. This can add a certain level of difficulty for the Christian because they’ve got to be very countercultural in order to be faithful to Jesus as someone who is single.
In May 2017, we asked our readers questions about their views on dating and marriage. In total, nearly 7,000 people filled out the survey, revealing some interesting insights into how we view (and pursue) marriage and dating today.
The ways we misunderstand singleness reflects the fact that we’re looking to marriage in unbiblical and unhealthy ways.
A season of singleness is not the minor leagues of marriage. It has the potential to be a unique period of undivided devotion to Christ and undistracted ministry to others.
Culture often idolizes romance and intimacy. In this episode of The Crossway Podcast, Sam Allberry offers insight on the value and unique gifts of singleness.