Training yourself to be single vs. the gift of singleness.

7 Nov

If you’ve been in Christian dating circles or read any Christian dating advice at any point, you’ve probably heard someone talk about “the gift of singleness.”  Now, growing up in church, I had NEVER heard of “the gift of singleness,” because it was just assumed that basically everyone would pair off eventually.  Sure, there would always be a few spinsters or bachelors in the population, but no one ever talked about them like they had a special “gift.”  It was just more or less understood that perpetually single people had some sort of nonsexuality about them, or maybe something traumatic had happened to them in the past that put them off dating and marriage.

But I guess now that there are so many never-married singles well into their 30s and 40s, we now have people with “the gift of singleness.”  And while I don’t doubt that there are people specially “gifted” in this way, it’s been my observation that most people who experience prolonged singleness are not single because they want to be.  What usually happens is that a guy or girl hits 30 (or 35, or whatever their “loser in love” threshold is), realizes they’ve been unattached for quite a while, and then they start hearing the “gift of singleness” talk and maybe start wondering if they in fact do have the gift themselves.

Basically, can you have the gift of singleness without knowing it?  Is God not opening the door to marriage because He secretly wants you to embrace your singleness and give up the dream of marriage?  Is the gift of singleness something you naturally just “have,” or is it sort of forced upon you whether you desire it or not?

The other thing is – Boundless types tend to define the gift of singleness as being able to live without sex and not become bitter about it.  I see this as a bit of a cheat of an answer, though.  Bitterness is a little extreme of a response.  I know a lot of single women who aren’t having sex and aren’t dating/on a path to marriage, but still want both, but aren’t BITTER over it.  (As far as I know, anyway.)

This definition ignores women’s generally more responsive sexuality.  A lot of women are sexual and want sex, but when forced into a dating drought, they kind of go into “convent mode.”  And most churches teach convent mode behavior to women when they keep telling women not to make marriage an idol, to find their true fulfillment in Jesus, to wait on the Lord, and to stop reading romance novels (sexless Christian romance novels are a thing, so it’s not just “Don’t read 50 Shades,” guys) or watching romantic movies or soap operas or whatever will exacerbate their “discontentment” with singleness.  Often women in convent mode start spending more of their time with female friends, and this just reinforces the conventing because new guys aren’t entering their social spheres.  So you end up with all these women who “want” marriage, but it’s just not happening, but until someone comes along for that, they need to guard their hearts and focus on the Lord and not make marriage or sex an idol.  You can see how this is a self-perpetuating cycle.

To bring this back to “the gift of singleness,” if you’ve been in convent mode too long, you start to wonder if you have the gift of singleness.  How do you differentiate?  Can you be okay with never marrying?  I know that this is a question that I have wrestled with.  How about you?

P.S.  If the comment thread devolves into another “women are entitled/don’t know anything/are mean to men/wahhhhh” pity party, I’m shutting down the thread.

 

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45 Responses to “Training yourself to be single vs. the gift of singleness.”

  1. Jaunty Khan November 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I honestly dont know how religious people can say god does so many things… making you single, closing opportunities, opening opportunities. “God took away my job and created this recession.” Doesnt that just take away free will? Talk about not being accountable for your decisions. Talk about just living your life a victim of Gods’ Will.

    Lots of life has a huge luck factor, one person is born in the u.s. he is lucky. Those that have been to poor countries overseas see how rough life can really get. That same person born in the u.s. might be unlucky compared to someone born in the “millionaire sperm club” or to parents in a more stable relationship. Did God really have some plan to make some suffer all their lives and others meet with a wealth of opportunities? Is fate some mischievous creature toying with lives? Or does it all come down to luck + decisions made?

    Some people have it rough, they are born with serious dysfunctions and disfigurements, others are just plain unattractive. While some are born extraordinarily attractive as a result of their genes and a few good decisions. Some people are born ok looking but due to bad decisions become obese or flabby… I wouldnt call it Gods plan to make someone fat and unattractive…

    Some people (im guilty of this) are smart, intelligent and attractive. But dont put themselves out there. Its saturday and I would rather stay home and read a book or watch TV. How am I supposed to meet girls? No way am I blaming God for not delivering some hot babe right to my doorstep… oh wait… definitely Gods’ fault. Cockblocker…

  2. Seth Connor November 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    I’ve made it a point to stay single the last year (it didn’t take much effort on my part). While I did that I explored for myself what I want in life, saved money, made friends and focused on existing relationships. I’ve grappled with the idea that my trip to Ukraine does not go well that I will probably be single for the rest of my life, and I’m ok with it as I find my desire to get married ebbing as I age and get comfortable in my freedom.

    As for differentiating between training your singleness vs harnessing it, my litmus test would be whether I was stagnating in my comfort zone. If I was going through the same old motions just waiting for God to deliver someone to me it would be one thing, but learning a different language and traveling thousands of miles…I think I’m safe.

  3. Laszlo November 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    I’ve got the gift. But I’d reckon that like a lot of us with the gift, it’s got very little to do with divine providence and everything to do with our decisions along the way. I could be in a relationship; I chose not to.

    Not because I don’t want to be a husband one day (soon?) but because I’d rather be single than be in a relationship for the sake of it, for the benefits, even for the “work” and investment on my part – which I’ve never really found to be too terribly taxing.

    I’ve got zero interest in playing marriage, playing house, just cruising in some limbo, define-as-we-go partnership just because I can. I’ve just yet to meet a woman and enter into that state of mutual being that actually has purpose, intent to become marriage, without all of the noise, without the shadows of other options, other priorities.

    There are so many people who have just grown accustomed to serial “dating”; it has become the ends and not the means. How can one expect to enter a path toward marriage when they are unwilling to give any ground, to sacrifice, to compromise, and to GIVE? This goes for men and women.

    A relationship must be a priority. Sure, the self-love stuff is great. Stay strong, true to your beliefs, improve yourself, your capacity to give. But there must also be intent. Strategy. Purpose. Indeed it’s hard to balance that with the “fun” and lighthearted approach, but like many things, it is supposed to be hard – until one day, maybe suddenly, it seems so easy.

    Every once in a while I meet a woman who has held firm in the convent approach. I appreciate that; the discipline in not just cherry picking the hedonistic elements from the dating market, which seems commonplace these days. In all honesty, I don’t run into very many women in dating droughts. All the women I know have regular offers on their social calendars. But then it depends on how “dating” is defined. I meet a lot of single women. I just don’t consider them single. You aren’t single if you are banging your neighbor or pining after your co-worker or your ex in SF. Same goes for men, but thats up to you ladies to uphold. Good luck.

  4. Anna November 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    What’s wrong with being content with your stage in life?

    If there’s no one who interests your romantically, isn’t it better to accept that and live your life instead of desperately searching for Mr. Right?

  5. donalgraeme November 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    How do you differentiate? Can you be okay with never marrying? I know that this is a question that I have wrestled with. How about you?

    I will try and answer the best I can.

    Will I be ok with never marrying? Not really. I can accept it. I can and will continue to live my life as best as I can. This has troubled me for some time now, and I know that it won’t be easy for me, at first. After a while I think I can “move on”, although it will be more along the lines of becoming numb to the pain rather than relishing the experience.

    Honestly, I think “the Gift of SIngleness” is Churchian speak for “you will never get married, so better to accept it now and prepare and plan your life accordingly. Besides, it can’t be that bad, can it?”

  6. peevealn November 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    I think the ‘gift of singleness’ that is referenced on places like Boundless and in evangelical communities at large is not one of being frustratedly unmarried. While Jesus and Paul both discuss singleness as a gift from God to serve God, they did so in a culture that was saturated with marriage. It was just sort of assumed that everyone would get married off. They emphasized that some people ought to remain single if they are interested in serving the church in a way that is free from logistical troubles and difficulties in life. But, that’s a reaction to the fact that marriage is so awesome that pretty much everyone went for it. One way I’ve heard it described is: If the idea of not ever getting married seems like a burden to you, you probably don’t have the gift of singleness.

    In today’s world, it’s clear to see we do not live in a marriage-saturated culture and often many inside the church are pressured (in a pride-driven way) to forgo marriage as a way to optimize on holiness and be ‘the best Christian’. Paul holds marriage and singleness as gifts from God to serve the body. Paul holds marriage and singleness as two states that God gifts people with. He also says if you marry or seek a wife, you have not sinned in any way. I don’t think Christians need to hear about the gift of singleness in response to their sexual urges. They need to hear that if they are feeling sexual urges, that’s probably a good sign you should look into leveling up in following God, loving people and having a mission in life so that you can be a good marriage partner.

  7. Omega Man November 8, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Rather than feel sorry for ourselves, we should remember that “the Lord helps those who help themselves”. Too often we Christians sit back and tell ourselves that it is God’s Will, when we should accept the challenge and try to do something to better our situation. God did not create humanity to be a higher form of sheep. He not only gave us the capacity for emotion but also the ability to use reason. We have free will and while He did provide us with the Scriptures to guide us in life, how we choose to live within those guidelines is strictly up to us.

    For both men and women, I would suggest that we take a long hard look in the mirror and if we don’t like what we see, then we should do something about it.

    If you’re overweight then loose weight. Go to the gym and work out. Don’t eat like a pig and then complain that you can’t loose the pounds. Of course it’s hard, but nothing worth striving for is easy.

    Improve your hygiene. Get that dental work done. Start dressing in better clothes and make yourself presentable.

    And finally!!!!!

    Approach members of the opposite sex and be approachable yourselves.

  8. guest post November 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    YE HAVE HEAYE HAVE HEARD IT SAID
    ….. “God won’t bring you a spouse, until you’re truly contented as a single”

    BUT THE SCRIPTURE SAYETH:
    …. Marriage is for those who cannot be contentedly single. (1 Cor 7:9)
    …. If you are truly contented in singleness, the Bible tells you to stay that way! (Matt 19:10-12)

    And that’s the gift. Not simply single, but *contentedly* single. The mere fact of singleness, absent the gifting for it, is NOT good at all. (Gen 2:18).

    As to the married pastors, mostly-married singles ministry leaders, and other useless Job’s-comforters who try to placate their inconsolably brokenhearted charges with foolish talk of how great a gift their singleness is, and how they should rejoice in it, I can only say — “Woe unto those who call good evil, and evil good.” (Is. 5:20) Of course, just because you don’t have the “gift of singleness”, doesn’t guarantee you’ll get married. We’re not guaranteed any of the good things in this life –healthy, prosperity, marriage , whatever. And how we deal with the absence or long delay of some these good things, is part of our faith test. But rest assured, according to Scripture, your DESIRE for marriage is NOT what’s keeping you from it! I’m living proof — I was NEVER content as a single, yet I still found a wife. God is NOT sitting up in heaven spitefully withholding a spouse until you don’t really want one any more — which is the dehamsterized version of typical singles ministry lies.

    That said, every heresy that has legs, usually conceals a partial truth, and this one is no exception.

    The partial truth is — if a girl (it’s almost always a girl) is so insecure that she fees she just *must* always have a boyfriend, any boyfriend, regardless of quality — if she refuses to be alone, ever — her chances of landing Mr Right are near zero. Why? Because Mr Right is a gentleman and will not try to steal her from Mr Wrong. The only guy who will ever try to steal her from Mr Wrong, is another Mr. Wrong — and the last state of that single woman is worse than the first. You will not get a date with Mr, Right until you have the strength to be alone rather than date the bad boys. Then and only then will Mr Right consider asking you out. Otherwise, dozens of potential Mr Rights may very well pass you by, and you may never even notice them because you’re too consumed with the drama of the badboy.

    So, yeah, in order to marry — or at least, to marry WELL — you have to be willing to be alone *rather than be with the wrong person*. But that is not the same thing as, being content to be *permanently* single. Not at all.

  9. guest post November 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    ug… sorry for the first line typo

    YE HAVE HEARD IT SAID..

  10. Chris Dagostino November 9, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    I felt as if God was urging me to seek out a mate about four years ago, but nothing good came out of it. I found myself feeling anger towards Him and jealousy towards the couples I saw walking hand-in-hand out in public, and that’s not even mentioning the smothering depression that seemed to creep up me at random. It wasn’t helped by the posts I saw online of people who’d been praying and waiting for years for a mate and still hadn’t found one. In fact, one of the last proverbial straws for me was when I called a prayer hotline for emotional support a few months back. I told the kind-hearted lady about my predicament, and she said, “I know how you feel, Chris, because I’ve been asking the Lord for a mate for 30 years now.” It was like, REALLY?

    Then it kind of dawned on me that I didn’t need a wife because a.) I don’t want kids, and b.) I’ve become darn near asexual over the years due to depression, lack of self-esteem, and “religious” teachings concerning sexuality. God has directed me towards things like weight-lifting that have been a big help in overcoming those first two things, but the third was a huge grey cloud for me for years. Jesus’s words about lust in Matthew 5:27/28 made me feel guilty and angry whenever I felt any kind of sexual urge, and since adolescence is a time when we guys feel that frequently, there was a ton of anger and guilt that built up in my heart and mind. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I saw a minister on TV teach that the purpose of those passages wasn’t to make us feel guilty or angry or to repress our sexuality, but to emphasize God’s grace and to make us realize how much we need Him in our daily lives. It was like, “Gee, NOW someone tells me.” Out of respect for Haley, I won’t turn thks into a gender war, but my looking into Feminism and its impact on our culture and courts also played a part in my decision to “go Paul.”

    I’m in a much better place now thanks to God; I just got signed on full-time at work after being a temp for 15 (!) months, I have an awesome apartment right where I wanted it, and I used a portion of the six figures I made when I sold my stock back in January to buy a Mustang convertible.

    To my fellow Christian bachelors–if you wanna get married, stop for a minute and really ask yourselves why. If it’s because you wanna get laid or it seems like the next logical step in life, you want it for the wrong reasons. As with any other major life decision, marriage requires some serious forethought.

  11. whatsnew November 9, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    To me it seems that the new popularity of the “GIFT OF SINGLENESS” story is marketing spin.

    Many churches are first and foremost businesses who charge a membership fee (“tithe”) and the main service they provide for that fee is validating the feelings of female members. Therefore they first spin it as “God has a plan for you” and then they spin the plan as being the “gift of singleness”.

    If you want to put it in a more positive way, some churches are also huge welfare organizations and care for the poor and sick with the donations of money and work also by many women, and keeping those donors within the fold with sweet words means not abandoning to catastrophe a number of desperate people.

  12. AnonS November 9, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I always wondered if Paul’s talking about singleness was in the context of his job; it is better to be single and not worry about a family WHEN you are traveling around being imprisoned and tortured.

    I think a lot of this behavior, at least how it happened to me, was based on a wrong view of decision making. The Church view (and what my parents taught me and still believe) was just “submit to and try to discern God’s will”. So if you are single, it is God’s will to put you through this. And if you don’t feel God’s direction (inner emotional nudge) about making changes to your lifestyle or going outside your comfort zone, just keep doing what you are doing (and emotional turmoil for unfulfilled desires is just your lack of faith).

    I know many that ruined their lives trying to do this and I was on the same road until I finally found this: claypeck.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/decision.pdf

    And it changed my entire paradigm along with finding Dalrock’s red pill. Churches teach people to not do the hard work in making wise decisions because God can redeem wherever they find themselves and you should be okay with being single forever anyways if that ends up happening. They don’t teach that God tells us to make wise decisions and he is not obligated to save us from the consequences of bad decisions (wasting youth).

    The 0.001% of Christians that hit the jackpot later in life is enough to convince everyone that they can beat the house at roulette.

  13. archerwfisher November 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    In church… ugh, I think church is just a terrible place to try dating overall. They unwittingly sabotage the people when young and train them to be celibate forever (granted, not many people pay attention and get affected by the lessons, but still, some people end up victims).

    How? Oh, I’m so glad you asked.

    1. Teens/college age kids are sabotaged. They’re basically taught the opposite of how to be an attractive date that can get a girlfriend. (men, be humble sweet respectful guys that would never view women sexually, and women, don’t bother trying to be attractive, God will bring a perfect man for you who will love having dates just studying the Bible.) This makes dating very hard, should they try it.

    2. Teens/college age are taught again and again that sex is bad, that it’s only for married people, and when you’re married, it’s lots of problems, arguments, and not much sex. Gives them plenty of motivation to date. Not.

    3. When the people flunk on dating after the church has sabotaged them, the church is there to tell them to be happy in their singleness, etc and so forth.

    And so youngsters are trained to be single. Church does its best to smother the appealing reason to date, messes them up in telling them how to date, gives them unattractive reasons to date as the good reasons, and tells them to be happy single.

    I wonder, if a person goes five, six years from physically being ready for sex, but never has it, do they get “trained” to not want sex? And if you don’t want/need sex, why bother dating?

  14. archerwfisher November 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    It reminds me of an African professor’s remarks. “In Cameroon, sex is not for fun, like in America. Sex is for having children.” The church has adopted that stance a lot, it seems.

    However, that mindset doesn’t work with the United States. You end up with a few messed up Africans (and don’t even get me started on slutty catholic schoolgirls) and a bunch of Americans enjoying sex and thinking the church is weird.

  15. Robert November 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Having been a married (man) for over 20 years – the last ten sexless – I envy those men with the gift of singleness. The few single men I know in my age group are happier and more robust than the married ones. To any young single men reading this thread – think carefully before taking the plunge and what your exact reasons are.

  16. whatsnew November 9, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    [If the comment thread devolves into another “women are entitled/don’t know anything/are mean to men/wahhhhh” pity party, I’m shutting down the thread.]

    But a certain previous comment thread was more about men not bothering to date because they (selfishly>) don’t see what would motivates them to spend a lot of time and effort on dating to give a woman the one-way gift of their investment and commitment. It does not seem to me a pity party, just like women not dating average men and waiting for the Earl of Piety because they have no sexual attraction to betas.

  17. Jan November 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    About your P.S. . I don’t really understand this whole MGTOW thing. For example I don’t care very much about modern art. So i don’t write about modern art, I don’t complain that there are no good modern art exhibitions in my town, I don’t write in forums and on blogs about how I ignore modern art. These MGTOW ppl. do seem to make a lot of noise about the things they say don’t care about at all.

  18. Chris Dagostino November 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    ‘I wonder, if a person goes five, six years from physically being ready for sex, but never has it, do they get “trained” to not want sex? And if you don’t want/need sex, why bother dating?’

    I believe that this could be another reason why my “drives” went away. There are some psychologists who find merit in the whole use-it-or-lose-it theory.

  19. y81 November 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    “To my fellow Christian bachelors–if you wanna get married, stop for a minute and really ask yourselves why.”

    Well, the first and foremost reason is that our Christian sisters (like Haley) will be much happier to have men in their lives. I don’t pretend to be a saint, and in fact most of what I have done in my life has been done entirely in furtherance of my own fairly selfish agenda, but when I compare my wife’s situation to that of women of her age and social milieu who never married (or got divorced young and didn’t remarry, or the like), I feel like I have definitely made the world better in at least a small way.

    “Having been a married (man) for over 20 years – the last ten sexless – I envy those men with the gift of singleness.”

    I am not in possession of all the facts, so I don’t quite know what is going on here, but this is definitely NOT the biblical vision of marriage.

  20. Kevin November 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    There is no such thing as the “gift of singleness.” It is an invention from those in our evangelical circles, from the likes of people such as Al Mohler, who commit an eisegesis on 1 Corinthians 7. Singleness and marriage are choices that you make. Sometimes you don’t have control over being single but it doesn’t mean you’ve been bestowed with that rare “gift of singleness.”

  21. Julie K. November 10, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    Being single is a choice as well as marriage. It´s about finding the right person. It´s not about you as many people might think. It´s about the other person. The one you fall in love with. So when you find him or her you should hold on to them. Because being single is not that great as many of you might think.

  22. Robert November 10, 2013 at 5:08 am #

    “but this is definitely NOT the biblical vision of marriage.”

    I don’t know if I agree or not. It certainly is not the ideal of biblical marriage. However, divorce is forbidden even if there is infidelity (hers). And nowhere do I read permission to divorce if there is no intimacy. Paul says you should not deprive each other, but it does not appear to give the deprived spouse an “out”.

    “I am not in possession of all the facts, so I don’t quite know what is going on here”

    There is no illness, disfigurement, obesity, etc, involved if that is what you mean. I spent the majority of my adult life as a complete beta/white knight, so that might be a big part of it. I started reading about the “red pill” about a year ago and it opened my eyes quite a bit. But to be honest, after ten years you begin to lose interest… become numb.

  23. Chris Dagostino November 10, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Robert, I wanna call your attention to some passages from Matthew:

    “But I say that a man who divorces his wife unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. I tell you this, a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery – unless his wife has been unfaithful.” – Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 (NLT).

    If your wife cheated on you, she broke the covenant of marriage and you may divorce her without sin or pity.

  24. Frank Wunder November 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    @ Julie K.,

    I’m single and celibate and I have no desire to be in a relationship or to marry. If there was some point in my life in which I made a choice to do this, I wish I had been there for it as I firmly believe that some people are called to be single and celibate and it really doesn’t matter if they like that or not, the choice to choose was not made available to them.

    I think the underlying question of Haley’s post was: we have three options in dealing with singleness

    1. Blame others.
    2. Blame ourselves.
    3. Blame God.

    I’m not trying to sound juvenile, but I blame God for my singleness because it is abundantly clear that in my own life I will be single and celibate for the rest of my life. I don’t particularly like this, but instead of praying that God would change his mind, I pray for wisdom in how I might best serve others in my singleness. I also pray for joy and I may find joy in my solitude. I also pray for joy in the friendships and relations I have with others.

    It’s no longer about me, but others. Others matter more than I do and that is where I fill in the spaces that would have been filled by a partner.

  25. y81 November 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    St. Paul says that if your spouse deserts you, you may acquiesce in the desertion, and you are “not bound.” (I Cor. 7:15) Refusing to have sex (I don’t mean on one day, but for a prolonged period) is constructive desertion, which justifies the deserted party in finding a new marriage elsewhere. If the refusing spouse is a pretended believer, he or she should be expelled from his or her church, just as an unrepentant thief or adulterer would be, because the command of I Cor. 7:3-5 is clear. A church which refuses to discipline the misbehaving spouse is no church at all.

  26. cdw100 November 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    It has been a while since I reviewed the Old Testament, but I think God only chose 2 or 3 persons to be wives or husbands. As a single gentleman (divorced for 16 years) dating is an interesting proposition. I have only met one or two women with similar life experience as myself, and we agreed that being single had been okay, but we both were leery of reducing our personal freedom. I have met the “convent” type of lady, but they have only recently done so. I might say, if they had done the convent thing in their teens and early twenties, they might have gotten married or stayed married. These ladies are tough nuts, they know what they want, but always have a self serving retreat back up plan. These ones, if they snag you, will clean you out. Just a casual observance of mine. If you are waiting for God to choose for you, I think he is off doing other things.

  27. Random Angeleno November 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    A few points:
    God helps those who help themselves and who are open to His messages. We may be forgiven our poor decisions, but we usually can’t escape the temporal consequences of said decisions. Like being single …

    I have commented before that as a single man of a certain age, parishes are not a good place to find women to date. At the very least the women in my parishes don’t seek me out. Maybe that’s because they’re “convented”, to use Haley’s term. Whatever… I date outside of the church, that is what works for me.

    St Paul said it was better to marry than burn … and more … that guy knew human nature like few authors in the Bible.

  28. 8to12 November 12, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Robert said: “Having been a married (man) for over 20 years – the last ten sexless – I envy those men with the gift of singleness.”

    y81 said: “I am not in possession of all the facts, so I don’t quite know what is going on here, but this is definitely NOT the biblical vision of marriage.”

    20% of marriages (1 in 5) end up as sexless marriages–like Robert’s. His situation is not unusual (even for Christian couples, as the Biblical mandate to not deny each other is simply not taught anymore).

    This is just one more risk men have to weigh when considering marriage. I’d wager that most men would find the idea of being in a sexless marriage (married and celibate) worse than being single and celibate.

  29. 8to12 November 12, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    @Kevin said: “There is no such thing as the “gift of singleness.” It is an invention from those in our evangelical circles, from the likes of people such as Al Mohler…”

    +1

    Mohler (and his ilk) believes that EVERY Christian has an obligation to marry, so they have created this “spiritual gift” out of thin air as a club with which to batter people into getting married. “You aren’t one of the few with the gift of singleness, thus you MUST marry.”

    Paul’s and Mohler’s statements on marriage bear nothing in common. In fact, they stand in opposition to each other.

    Marriage is Optional for Christians

  30. y81 November 14, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    “the Biblical mandate to not deny each other is simply not taught anymore”

    It is taught in Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage.” Maybe you should switch churches.

  31. earl November 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Well I don’t know how women could deal with being single…unless the man in their life is Jesus. Nuns are pretty content…your run of the mill single gal isn’t.

    But as a man…I look at it as the “gift of freedom”. Marriage means you are tied down to one thing, a family…being single means you can do whatever God wants you to do.

  32. Aaron the Just November 18, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    Singleness (for men, at least) is certainly a gift. It takes being married seven years and then divorced to realise this.

    I am not, unfortunately, called to live the blessed life of singleness. Simply put, my passions burn too strong.

    If anything, a cohabiting boyfriend/girlfriend is the closest thing our culture has to “marriage”. It’s a big deal to state in public someone is your boyfriend/girlfriend: sort of like a husband or wife in times of yore. The marriage altar is one’s Facebook relationship status; closing of relevant Tinder, Zoosk, etc. accounts is the ring.

    I’ve rationalised my behaviour by evaluating that my girlfriend always eventually ended up leaving/cheating/not having sex anymore. Thus, I’ve felt fully justified in leaving. (And there’s no prohibition on me taking on multiple “spouses”, although one can’t very well lie and claim to be a Christian.)

    Rationalisation is fun, ain’t it?

  33. Chris Dagostino November 18, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    I agree that marriage is optional, just like the decision on whether or not to go to college. And I suspect that many people do both without the proper forethought because they think it’s the “next logical step.”

    If you’re financially secure, have friends and are not a total White Knight who thinks with his glands, then why bother getting married?

  34. Novaseeker November 18, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    It’s more that people become accustomed to being single, and preferences shift as a result of that.

    While it’s true that a small percentage of people are truly asexual or otherwise naturally disinterested in sex and romance and so on (in the past these went to the monasteries and convents, actual ones), that doesn’t explain the singleness we see today.

    What can happen is that people who wanted not to be single gradually become accustomed to being single, which makes it harder to become un-single in the sense that preferences shift. That is, you become, over time, very used to certain personal freedoms that, over time, become harder to give up for the benefit of a relationship or a marriage. This can be exacerbated by personality traits – particularly for people who are naturally introverted, singleness can become rather comfortable, psychologically. At some point it becomes a trade-off between (1) the “goods” of singleness, in terms of the freedom, time, open horizons and so on and (2) the intimacies of being married (emotional, sexual, psychological) – and I think that the longer one is single and builds a life around being single, the more that tradeoff tends to lurch towards (1) and away from (2). For most people that happens only gradually. For introverts, as I say, it can be a bit more pronounced (and, on the converse, for those who are rather more extroverted, it will lean more heavily toward (2)), but for most people it’s a gradual thing that happens so slowly that it sneaks up on them when they realize at some point (say 35, 40 or whatever) that although they always thought they wanted to be married, when they actually add up the pros and cons from where they are currently sitting and how they currently live and what they currently prefer and so on, they end up with an answer that surprises or perhaps even shocks them.

    Finally, I’d say that for women this is almost certainly different than it is for men, due to the drive that many women have (not all, but many) to have children. Men have this, too, but it is generally much milder, on average, than among women. I’d think that a woman’s ability to “accept” singleness in this way is probably less than a man’s on average during her fertile years, and then probably considerably more, on average, thereafter (something which may account for the significant numbers of older women who divorce and are not interested at all in being with men for the rest of their lives – they want to be single, because the calculus has flipped for them – as compared with older men, who tend to be less single).

  35. whatsnew November 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    [I spent the majority of my adult life as a complete beta/white knight, so that might be a big part of it. I started reading about the “red pill” about a year ago and it opened my eyes quite a bit.]

    The being a beta/whiteknight girlfriend of your wife most likely had a huge impact. I have found on another site a couple of short stories by random guys who discovered that by behaving in a very mild “alpha” way their wives went from nearly unapproachable to being constantly wet for them:

    heartiste.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/november-2008-comment-winner/#comment-38806
    http://www.the-spearhead.com/2010/08/24/is-game-in-marriage-always-worth-it/#comment-38675 (from Jabberwocky)

    Sexual desire in women seems largely “mechanical”, to the point that some “red pill” people think that women are non-sentient when it comes to sexuality; that seems a bit excessive, perhaps it could be said that women don’t have much free will as to sexual desire, it is mostly driven by instinct, and also that they really dislike to exercise whatever free will they have in the matter to either repress it when it is lots of tingle or to push it when there is little tingle.

    [But to be honest, after ten years you begin to lose interest… become numb.]

    Push yourself harder on that. Being mere housemates is not a good basis for a marriage, especially because of the “mechanical” nature of desire for women; if your wife gets tingled by another man it will be very hard for her to repress that, and if she does not, the consequences may be rather unpleasant.

    Besides from a religious perspective you are not being a supportive husband if you deprive her of the flesh side of your marriage, by not doing your best to turn her on.

  36. rosannanoelle December 4, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    what a great post with great points… seriously… still wonder these things myself. you made me think.

  37. Seriously Speaking December 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Well for a good man like me that is very much hoping to meet a good woman to share my life with, Singleness really sucks for me.

  38. T January 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Again, mass media, the good-looks meme, porno, 24/7 exposure to beautiful bodies has ruined both men and women to marriage.

    I knew so many World War 2 couples from my parent’s years, people married to average-looking folk, that were truly HAPPY with each other!

    They were happier with so much less back then. What changed? The unrealistic ‘perfection’ they see in mass media!

    For the few of you married with kids. No TV or video (or porn) for kids. Old movies only.

    Sound hard? What price your children’s happiness?

  39. Tom H January 13, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Sexual immorality is the only reason for divorce given by God. Now, sexual immorality is typically equated with adultery, but that is not how the ancients viewed it. Withholding sex from your spouse was considered by them to be immoral. Therefore, if one spouse withholds sex from the other, then that person is practicing sexual immorality and that is grounds for divorce from a scriptural perspective.

  40. Kayla May 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    I have the gift of singleness. I’ve known it since I was little and all the other girls would be in an out of “crushes”, but I remained completely unaffected. I have never felt the desire to be with another person. I have been in relationships before, but they ended because my boyfriends felt as though I was just not into the relationship. Even after being in a relationship with other people, I have no desire to date or even get married.

  41. Red May 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Rock on, Kayla! ^_^

  42. Chris Dagostino May 2, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Same here, K.

    The latest divorce-from-Hell case involving Chris Mackney is the latest on an increasingly growing list of reasons for me to avoid marriage. That, and the fact that I’m about 85% asexual at this point.

  43. Red May 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I have to say, if you’re not getting married due to fear, you’re doing it wrong.

  44. Chris Dagostino May 7, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    Not necessarily, Red. “Healthy fear” isn’t always an oxymoron. Google ‘Chris Mackney’.

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    […] of this concern abound, from Aunt Haley’s last three posts, to the divorced single mother who found out men weren’t willing to spend very much to […]

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