One final time, we are joined again by guest Matt Chandler. He’s the lead pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, and the author of the new book The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, and Redemption.
Question #11. Many Christian singles who do not find a spouse end up dating non-Christians and compromising themselves. What does Christ have to offer to a Christian who is tired of the weirdness of Christian dating, who longs to be married, who is sick of being lonely, who doesn’t have any Christian prospects, and isn’t getting any younger? What would you say to them?
Desire What’s Best
First, I just want to totally affirm the desire to be married. I don’t want anybody to ever feel guilty about that desire, because I feel like so often single women especially feel like the message they only get is: Find your contentment in Christ. Isn’t Christ enough? And I just think that is such a terrible, terrible response, because the desire to get married is a good desire. It may even be one that has been woven into them by the Creator of the universe. If the Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22), then that is all I need for both the man and the woman to say, “This is a good thing to be desired. If to find it is good, then let’s desire it.” But like all desires they have to be placed where they belong.
And so I want to affirm this desire to be married, but I want to warn against loneliness and this desire being a desire that is so far up in your list of desires, that you would be willing to compromise and put yourself in a situation that would be far more horrific and far lonelier than you currently are. And so one of the things that I have unfortunately been able to find on repeat in the last twenty years of Christian ministry is godly women get to that place where “the weirdness of Christian dating” and the apathy of Christian men to actually pursue them has led them to marry (I won’t even go as far as to say just lost guys) what I will just call “neat Christian boys.” So maybe they go to church a couple of times a month, or maybe they just have a Bible that they own, and they seem like “Christians.”
So women justify getting into a relationship with a man who will not lead them, who doesn’t really love the Lord, but does come to church. And this ends almost every time in heartbreak. Now they are in a covenant, they feel trapped in that covenant relationship, and so they try to fix their husbands. That is not working so then they hope maybe having children will fix their husbands and that is what will engage their husband’s hearts back toward the Lord and back toward them. And then they have children, and now the father is discipling their children not toward the Lord, but from the Lord.
And so in all of this, the way I have tried to counsel our single women here at The Village Church is to give yourself over to ministry and to serving the Lord. So there is a woman who lives with us. She is in her mid-thirties. And she leads a ministry where she is running these discipleship groups of women all over the country, in at least eleven or twelve states, with fifty or sixty leaders that she is pouring herself into. She walked these groups through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Then she is walking them though the book of Genesis this semester. And it is a very serious, robust study of God’s word. And she desires to be married, she would love to be married, but she is not waiting to be married for her life to matter, for her life to count. So she has moved in with us. She is very much a part of our family. And she has given herself over to Christian ministry.
And even when I think of the young woman who helped shape some of these questions, she has given herself over to serve the Lord, to write and to teach and to disciple and to open up her home to care for other woman and to encourage other woman to grow in biblical literacy. And I think that that is what Christ has for them: fulfilling, soul-stirring, soul-satisfying gospel ministry.