When It Comes To Love, Would You Let God Decide?

woman reading bible
Self

Rather than leaving the game of love up to chance and serendipty, many people of faith feel it is important to pause for a moment and consider what God may want for their lives. Christians (including myself) do this for several reasons. First, there is a Biblical precedence for it. In Romans 8, the author of that particular section of the Bible, Paul, talks about how God’s Spirit communicates with those who believe, and that this spirit is their comforter, counselor, and guide. Second, life can be complicated, and if there is a Higher Being that not only loves us, but is also infinitely smarter—well, why not ask him if we should marry? 

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As someone who has recently been doing some questioning and pondering about love and relationships, I would like to share the stories of two women who have helped me gain insights about my own life through the ways they are living theirs.

God Wants Me To Be Single

The first is a 21-year-old named Bianca. She lives in Manhattan and has recently graduated from NYU. This fall, she starts her first full-time job as a Math teacher, and she thinks God might want her to be single.

It’s a tough decision, and one that doesn’t necessarily come with a clear-cut biblical answer. On the one hand, the Bible fully supports the idea of marriage, and provides a template for it in Genesis 2:24, where it states, "A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

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On the other hand, the Bible also supports those who want to remain single. In I Corinthians 7:32, Paul talks about his singleness, and discusses the benefits of that lifestyle. He writes, "An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided." 

Bianca agrees with this passage, and is drawn to the simplicity of being single and able to devote her life entirely to serving God. She also likes the counter-cultural statement that type of lifestyle would represent. "We live in a culture that’s consumed with fairytale romance and thoughtless, self-centered sex," she says. Remaining single is a way of declaring that she doesn’t need either of those things because God’s love is tangible and powerful and even more fulfilling. 

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At this point in our conversation, I’m feeling motivated and almost ready to consider a life of singleness myself, but then I remember one thing: What about sex?

"If I don’t marry, then I do plan on remaining abstinent," Bianca admits.

"Won’t that be, umm, difficult?" I ask.

She laughs. "From my own experience, and from the experiences of people who are close to me, it seems that sex is one of those self-perpetuating desires. The more you have of it, the more you want it, and vice versa." Over the past few years that she hasn’t been sexually involved, she has watched her desire for it recede more and more. "For me, sex isn’t that tempting out of the context of being seriously in love," she says.

In spite of all this, Bianca is still in the process of searching and praying about her decision to be single, and feels that attitude and intent are of primary importance. "It’s one thing to be committed to singleness until something better comes along, and it’s another to be committed to lifelong singleness because you feel it is what God is calling you to. To me, that is a serious commitment and I would never want to make it flippantly." 

"How can you tell when God is leading you in a certain direction," I asked her.

She told me she could usually recognize God’s will through feelings and impressions she gets when she prays, reads her Bible, or talks with other people who have the same faith. "Right now," she says, "I know that if I chose to stay single, it would be partially out of the pain I experienced from my parents’ separation and from a previous romantic relationship that was difficult. I want to heal from those first, and then I think I’ll be in a better place to decide."

God Wants Me To Marry

Kathy’s life is quite different from Bianca’s, yet the questions she is wrestling with have a similar basis. Kathy lives in Southern California. She is 53 years old, a survivor of Stage 4 breast cancer, and the mother of two sons.

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Like Bianca, Kathy also considered remaining single, and there were several points in her life where she thought she would never marry again. "After my last marriage, I was single for 19 years, and I had cancer for 11 of them," she says. "It was a huge time of drawing really close to the Lord because I didn’t have a man to share with, confide in, make me happy in the middle of the night, or allay my fears."

She talks about how she relied on God for all of those things, and how he never failed to provide her with peace and strength and all that she needed to mentally push through her illness. At some of her lowest points, she would turn up her worship music, sing to God, and literally cry out to him. It was this experience that provided the framework for the faith and trust she has in him today.

Unlike Bianca, Kathy’s time of singleness is coming to a close, as she has recently fallen in love and is now engaged to be married. I asked her to describe her decision-making process, and how she came to the realization that he was who she wanted to marry. 

"I was married twice before," she says, "and I never consulted God about marrying either of those men. This time around, I wanted to do things differently." She joined an online dating site, and the password she chose to use was "God’s Man." She also said she prayed repeatedly that God would help her to see the men she dated through his eyes, and not just her own.

She mentioned several things she appreciated about her fiance's character, and said they often laughed together and felt comfortable around each other. Most importantly, Kathy is confident they will be able to work through life’s problems. "There have been several times when issues have come up in our relationship, as they do in every relationship," she says. "What’s been different with him is that I’ve asked God to show me if this is something we can work through, or if I should see it as a red flag."

After they prayed and talked things over, Kathy said she was filled with an incredible sense of peace. "There’s no more doubt or frustration, just peace in our relationship. I felt like that was the biggest answer to my prayers."

As I wrapped up my conversations with both of these ladies, I felt newly inspired by their unique approaches to faith and to making difficult choices in their lives. It also made me eager to hear the stories of others who have dealt with these questions in one way or another.

That is where you come in. How did you decide whom to date or marry? Have you ever considered remaining single, and if so, why?