Stop thinking God is punishing you by keeping you single

What's one of the most common things people say to those who have been single longer than they've been longing to be? "Maybe God wants to deal with your character first before sending the one for you." While that statement may have some truth to it, it also packs a serious amount of misdirection.

The idea of singleness, to some, has been considered almost a problem. We like to call it a season of testing or a time to ready yourself for something better, as if it's a curse that plagues people who don't have it in them to be good husbands or wives yet.

There is no such thing as a 'ready spouse'

The idea of being ready for marriage is as far-fetched as it can get, in my opinion. While there are foundational truths that need to be set in place and God wants us to learn them before entering into a marriage, such as placing Jesus as the centre and loving out of the abundance of God's goodness, no one can be completely ready.

When the Bible tells husbands to love their wives as "Christ loved the church" (ESV, Ephesians 5:25b) and wives to "submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (ESV, Ephesians 5:22b), what He's really saying is this: You can't meet the full expectation of marriage on your own. That's why you need to rely on my grace and power to sustain and grow your marriage.

Singleness can be enjoyed just like marriage

Being single is not a purgatory state before the actual heaven. God wants you to enjoy this season of your life just as much as you would enjoy marriage. He knows what's right for you and works not according to your faithfulness but according to His. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven" (ESV).

But if you believe that God is using singleness to test you and your character by bringing a little suffering so as to bring you closer to Christ, you're absolutely right! But I have news flash for you: if you think singleness is a test of character, wait until you get married. The testing goes on and on until the day we are glorified in Jesus.

Singleness is not a season of punishment or justice because you have been sinful and disobedient. Everyone, including married couples, has been sinful and disobedient. God works and blesses us with seasons not based on our faithfulness, but on His timing that is always good, pleasing and perfect.