“Faithful” isn’t a word that we immediately associate with being single, yet it’s one of the most important words of all!
“You should be in a relationship.”
Single teenagers and young adults find this message everywhere. Every kiss in a movie, every couple holding hands on the street, every engagement or wedding post on Facebook, every love song—all of them tell you that you should be in a relationship as well.
Some people are fine with not being in an intimate relationship, but for many being single is not easy. It’s not something that they want. Often those who are single long for a close relationship that will eventually lead to marriage.
Chances are you won’t be single forever. What you do now, however, can have a very large impact on how happy you will be when you finally do find someone with whom you can have a serious relationship that could lead to marriage.
If someone were to ask you whether you wanted a faithful spouse or not, most likely your answer would be yes. The point of entering a serious relationship, especially one leading to marriage, is that it be exclusive.
And chances are the person you will marry in the future also wants to be with someone who is faithful.
You may not have met the person you plan on spending your life with yet, but there’s a question that you should ask beforehand.
Are you faithful to that person now?
Have you cheated?
The concept of being faithful to a partner you don’t yet have can sound strange, but it’s very important. A failure to do this is part of the reason that 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in the divorce courts (to say nothing of the couples whose relationships don’t last long enough to make it to the altar) according to the American Psychological Association.
God is the One who created marriage, and He knows how it works the best. When He established the institution, He said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
The reference to becoming “one flesh” refers to the intimacy—both sexual and emotional—that occurs within the marital relationship. God didn’t say you should become one with multiple partners and then settle down with the one you like best.
That’s not a condemnation of getting to know a number of people of the opposite sex in various social settings. That allows you to identify the characteristics you want in a future marriage partner. But there is only one person you are to become one with in the intimate sense stated in the Bible. This kind of commitment leads to the blessings God intends, and anything less than this is cheating on your future spouse.
Your partner has the right to expect you to be pure, just as you have the right to expect him or her to be pure. Not only that, but it is God’s expectation. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
Any form of sexual immorality—which is anything sexual outside the marriage relationship—must be avoided.Any form of sexual immorality—which is anything sexual outside the marriage relationship—must be avoided. It’s hard to have this high standard of purity when you see couples in the movies or on TV shows having sex on the second date. Yet Paul says that anything else is defrauding the person you will be with in the future (1 Thessalonians 4:6). The Bible tells us that we are not to “stir up nor awaken love until it pleases” in reference to the passionate love that belongs in a marriage (Song of Solomon 2:7). Save the intimacy for marriage, not for the courtship.
There are various forms of sexual immorality that can defraud your future spouse. A common form that some don’t think of is pornography. Christ said that looking at any woman with lust is cheating on your spouse (Matthew 5:28), which is what pornography is about. For questions about what God’s standard of sexual morality and purity is, read “Questions About Sex Answered by the Bible.”
(What if you have already made mistakes and cheated on your future spouse? God calls on us to stop sinning and to seek to repair the damage that sin causes. After repentance, God can help us develop good relationships. Read more about overcoming in these posts and articles: “Seven Steps for Overcoming Sin,” “Fighting the Works of the Flesh: Sex Outside of Marriage,” “Is Pornography Sin?” and “Questions About Sex Answered by the Bible.”)
Until then …
Until you meet and marry the person you will spend the rest of your life with, what are you supposed to do? Should you join one of the numerous dating sites, visit singles’ bars or do something drastic in order to meet someone?
That would be inadvisable. Instead of letting the desire to be with someone drive you insane, turn to the One who can help you: God.
God is perfectly able and willing to help you find a mate. It is one of the many great gifts that He gives to us (James 1:17; Proverbs 18:22; 19:14). Pray that God, at the right time and according to His will, will lead you to the right person. We have to pray according to God’s will, because as our Father, He knows how and when a relationship would be best.
Sometimes, it can be hard to wait on God’s timing. If you’re single, you probably want to be in a long-term relationship with someone right now. Yet we have to wait on God (Lamentation 3:25-27). Patience in God will pay dividends in the long run.
Ask God for the peace of mind that He offers: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). In this passage the apostle Paul goes on to encourage us to focus on the positive, to learn contentment and to rely on Christ for strength (verses 8-13).
Of course, you can’t just sit on your couch and expect to find someone you want to spend your life with. You have to get out and spend time with others. Go on group dates and socialize with members of the opposite sex so that you can see what characteristics you would find ideal in a marriage partner.
It’s not easy to be single and faithful. Yet with God on your side, you can do it. Put your trust in God to help you find a relationship and do your part to stay pure for that special someone!