Being single can actually be a great blessing, and allow you to be a blessing to others – but this can be difficult to see when we feel lonely. How can we cultivate true contentment?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Singleness enables many people to achieve things in their lives that would not be possible if they were married and had children. This is particularly true for Christians who remain single and live very fruitful lives for God’s Kingdom. Many single Christians are able to care for family members, fulfil important roles in society, take on ministry and pastoral responsibilities in the church or work in environments that duties to a spouse or family would prohibit.

Real as these blessings are, single people do not always feel blessed when they struggle with the loneliness of coming home to an empty house in the evening or the absence of an intimate friend to share the ups and downs of life with. Some feel these struggles more than others.

Contentment

Christians are commanded to ‘be contented with such things as you have’ [1]. This is not to deny the pains and challenges of the single life. But we are required by God to accept whatever situation we find ourselves in with joy and thankfulness, recognising God has placed us there and it is no accident. However it might feel to us, it is the best for His glory and our growing in holiness.

…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

Such contentment does not always come to us immediately. In Philippians 4:11 [2] Paul writes that whatever state he finds himself in, he has learned to be content. Through times of feast and famine, God has taught him to be content. What God did for Paul, He can do for us too. Of course a loving Christian community can be a great help and many single people are blessed by being invited into the homes of Christian believers, as Jesus was blessed in the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. [3]

For some people, it may be that God is training you to be content in singleness before He opens up the door to marriage. Certainly, contentment is a good quality to bring into marriage. Married life is full of demands and difficulties. A single person trained in contentment will be well prepared for these.

The alternative?

The Tenth Commandment forbids us to covet. We are not to be jealous of other people’s married state or someone else’s wife or husband or be discontent with the life to which God has called us. Covetousness has a way of damaging us, making us bitter and unhappy. Whole lives have been marred as a result.

Yet it is OK to desire marriage!

The Bible tells us that ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing’[4]. God is not teasing us here. Marriage is His design and therefore very good [5], and if we find someone suitable to marry, this is a good thing. It is a fine ambition to want to marry as long as we keep an open hand to God about it. It is possible to desire something without being discontented with what you already have! Commit your desires to the Lord in prayer and maybe take practical steps to meet the right sort of potential marriage partner, for example in shared service in your church or on a Christian youth holiday.

  1. Hebrews 13:5 ‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”‘
  2. Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
  3. Luke 10:38-42, John 11
  4. Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.”
  5. Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”