My mom’s favourite question: “Do you have a boyfriend ah?”
Her second favourite: “When are you going to have one ah?”
Our society places such a high value on BGRs. It’s not just my mom. My relatives and friends ask me the same thing whenever we gather. It’s almost as if having a partner is attaining the highest fulfilment in life. Who cares about how I’m coping in school, right?
I mean, look at all those K-dramas. The story does not end when the main character is handsome and successful – it is only a happy ending when they are handsome, successful and romantically involved.
But I could not be bothered about this whole sappy, romantic narrative. Marriage is rarely the perfect dream that TV and movies portray. I mean, just look at my family. Or any other family. Maintaining a marriage is hard work. For the longest time I couldn’t wrap my head around why people would want to compromise their lifestyle, be bound to another person and sacrifice their personal time and space.
So I began to wonder if being single is an option for Christians. God heard my thoughts and brought me through a learning process where I concluded that it’s not about what we want but why we want it.
MARRIAGE IS GOD’S GIFT TO US
Marriage parallels the covenant between Jesus and us, the Church. The whole “in sickness or in health” and “till death do us part” spiel – it’s all about commitment. You vow to be together, for better or for worse, no matter what happens.
That’s a foretaste of what is to come when Jesus returns for His Church. Therefore, husbands and wives are each other’s representation of what God has gifted the world. This is what makes a marriage a gift from God.
However, that does not mean that staying single is wrong.
SINGLENESS IS OUR GIFT TO GOD
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:7 that he wishes that people were unmarried like him, but concedes that each of us “has our own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that”. In 1 Corinthians 7:32, he notes that “The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.”
Paul is saying out loud what anyone who is married has experienced. Being married means having additional responsibilities and divided interests. The amount of time, resources and focus we can invest in advancing God’s Kingdom is cut down. For some, marriage may even hinder your pursuit of God.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if we choose to get married or to stay single. Both can be biblical; what matters is our motivation for choosing one or the other. Why do we want to get married? Why do we want to stay single? Is our motivation to satisfy God or to satisfy self?
We need to dig deep into our heart of hearts before giving away our heart – be it to our potential spouse or to God.