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Marriage Looking Doubtful? Please Choose Option # 3.

May 7, 2012

An Uncommon Perspective on How to View and Respond to A Life of Singleness.


St. Paul, John Stott, Dietrich Bonhoeffer never married. They skipped the shadow on the way to the Reality.
@JohnPiper
John Piper

That tweet by John Piper on the 28th of August 2011, had already been retweeted by over 100 people on the 5th of September 2011 when I first saw it and was inspired to write this piece.

Some people, probably you, will choose (or be forced) to go the long journey of life alone. Single or alone does not necessarily mean lonely, sad and unsuccessful however. | Photo by Craig Sefton

The tweet got me curious. I asked myself “how does getting married or staying single affect whether you maximize your life?”

Surprised At Who Skipped Marriage

Instantly, I remembered an interesting experience I had, not long before, as I listened to the audio version of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Lewis was explaining why he had opted not to write on certain topics (like the rightness or wrongness of using birth control).

“I have also said nothing about birth-control. I am not a woman, nor even a married man, nor am I a priest.”

All I heard in the moment was “C.S. Lewis was not married?!?”

It turns out was eventually married, but it very late in life. It is safe to say that one of the most influential authors in my life, spent his most productive years as an unmarried man.

Lewis married in 1957. He had however written the outstanding work, the Screwtape Letters as much as 15 years earlier, in 1942.

Think of the Possibilities

Whether you marry or not is your decision. I am in no way trying to persuade anyone to either side. Can you, however, imagine the possibilities available to those who do not marry?

To not have the responsibilities of a spouse or children throughout the most productive years of your life. To be free to travel, write, think, eat, act – to splash as many colors as you choose across the canvas of this life.

St. Paul, John Stott, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and C.S. Lewis, were tremendously productive. They devoted their time energy and resources to so many worthy endeavors. Have they not all literally impacted some part of human history in some way?

Despite the limitless possibilities however we still see a very sad reality.

A Very Sad Reality

How many unmarried people above 30 do you know? How many actually use the extra time they have to maximize their talents? How many see their singleness, not as a curse to be broken at all cost but as an opportunity to be used in every possible way, for as long as it may last?

30% of American adults never marry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of marriages in Jamaica, has declined every single year from 2005 (25,937) to 2010 (20,489), according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.

Sure, many people do marry or, in our modern non-Christian culture, just move-in. Especially among Christians however, the majority of women (especially) struggle with extended singleness (many never marry).

You Will Have 3 Choices

There are unmarried and never-to-be-married people everywhere. You may be one of them. If that is the case, you have three possible options of how to spend those years:

1.   Join the Wrong Ranks.

You may join the ranks of the endlessly depressed for the duration of your natural life. These are the people that assume that single = lonely, sad, unfulfilled.

2.  Be A Statistic.

You may live poorly and die early (Studies show that Unmarried people more likely to die at any age than married people.)

 3. Live Like the Legends.

You may overcome the pain of never coming into the dream of marrying and instead, join with the few, like St. Paul, John Stott and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who did not see themselves as victims of fate.

You can devote yourself to experiencing and imparting to others, as much of life as you possibly can. Much more than married people ever can. You can do real things with your life. Things that take real guts, that demand real dedication, that will impact many lives and which you could not do if you were married.

Consider your life. There have been unmarried people in life who have lived excellently.

Well what do you think? Please share.

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  • Jan

    I found the post very interesting. I am married and have 6 children. I have often read the quote by Paul in the bible, “I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.”  
    1 Corinthians 7:7-8   Hetalks about his own singleness as a gift. I understand why. The freedom you have to do what you’ve been called to do can be done much easier is you have no other human’s well being to consider.The voices in your head have clear voice as compared to a person who has to voices of all that are affected by what they choose. Since my children are grown, I find it much easier to hear what I need to do. My husband and I are a good match because we allow liberty of each other to be what we are.We almost always consider the other. We are actually like oil and vinegar but when you shake us up we become a great vinaigrette! 

    • http://maximizemylife.com/ Andrew Wildes

      Wow, Jan – thank you for sharing. It is a tremendous benefit to hear the perspective of someone with your range of experiences.
      As I was saying to a friend earlier, it’s not that I am saying “don’t get married.” What I am saying what you have said. When you have a spouse and children and you have to be there for them – its a blessing, sure, but it is a lifestyle that demands almost your full focus and commitment. That means that unless a person is blessed with a husband or wife like yours Jan, they may never have the opportunity to very many things after they marry.
      Thanks again for sharing.

  • Jan

    What I meant to say is: 
    The voices in your head have clear voice as compared to a person who has to hear the voices of all that are affected by what they choose.  Jan

  • Karah Wh

    Stumbled across your blog from stumbling across your twitter. I like this, I was saying to a friend recently that I may want to attend to a Phd before I get married. Sure enough I was ridiculed. Husband and children must come first they said. If a family comes first then that’s ok, certainly I don’t hand God a script but I believe in maximizing at each stage of life. I love it, live like the legends. I’m particularly fond of Bonhoeffer.

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