The unmarried life is undeniably, full of pains and gains. However, God didn’t design the waiting period to be a period of pain. Nor is He unaware of some harrowing experiences the unmarried go through in their quest for a suitable help-meet. In fact, God designed spinsterhood as a necessary transition period before marriage. This is to create a sufficient time-span to prepare adequately for the sacred institution, from which there’s no return!
It is this period of preparation that is characterized by various pains. But spinsterhood is also useful for ladies who use it to achieve set goals.
God has a special programme for every single sister: ‘And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). It is interesting to know that God attaches serious importance to marriage. He performed the first marriage in Eden and Jesus Christ sanctioned marriage by being present at a wedding ceremony in Cana of Galilee. The word of God declares “… it is not good that the man (woman) should be alone…”. Jesus asked His critics “… Have ye not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female”. So God is aware of the pains and has also ordained the gains.
Pains of the Singles
The period of spinsterhood is a period of waiting. It is a time of waiting on God for the right man to marry. The waiting might be painful, but it is equally profitable. Let’s analyse the pains.
Emotional pains: These form the core of the singles’ headaches. Emotional pains can come in form of loneliness, depression, feeling of worthlessness, self pity, insecurity, urge for intimacy with the opposite sex and temptation to indulge in immorality. Of all these pains, loneliness seems to be the root from which others shoot out. A life of loneliness paves way to depression, leads to a feeling of worthlessness, attracts self pity, ignites insecurity; all temptation to commit sexual immorality. Most times, financial pains also contribute to the emotional headaches of the singles.
Financial pains: Finances play a very important role in the fulfillment of life’s ambition. The unmarried seek monetary means to acquire property needed for a smooth married life. They are desperate to satisfy basic pressing needs like shelter, clothing and food. In hard times, money doesn’t come easily. But the unmarried ladies tend to blame the scarcity on their lack of a “helpmeet”.
These, probably, are the worst trauma the singles ladies go through. Pressure from parents, friends and peers, neighbours and co-workers; fear of ageing; fear of knowing Mr. Right. Worst of all is the deception of the devil that you are losing attraction and, very soon, your flowering age will fade away. These psychological pains are unleashed by pressure and stigma that the society lays on the singles. Sometimes Christian friends and relations unintentionally add to these pains with their excessive show of “concern”. A friend of mine once recounted her experience. She said that married friends often told her “I just want you to know that I’m praying that God will send you a helpmeet” She further stated “I wondered, would they pray for me if I were not single? Is that the only need they see in my life?”
There is even a greater type of pain. It is the pain of broken courtship. Sometimes, intending- couple in courtship may discover that they aren’t compatible. All signs indicate they don’t fit each other and should break off the relationship. However, the period spent in courting may have created strong emotional pull between the couple that won’t make parting easy at all. Yet, they must part. It might be painful, but a broken courtship is preferred to a broken marriage. After prayer and right counselling from the church leadership, the couple should dissolve the relationship and seek God’s favour afresh. The pain of parting will vanish with time.
The Gains of the Singles
Being unmarried isn’t a life of roses all through. It has its creams, too. The ‘single life’ offers the unmarried much opportunity to prepare to meet the demands of married life and face post-marriage challenges. It’s a freer period of life that enables the woman to pursue and achieve excellence in vital areas of life. It’s the time to contemplate and establish a career, draw a mental portrait for a fulfilling future and strive to actualize it. It is a time to search and acquire spiritual knowledge, develop one’s emotional and psychological faculties and acquire basic property for hitch-free living. After marriage, nothing remains the same.
Are you single? Lay a solid foundation now for a bright future. If you don’t, you may be heading for an unstable married life. Preparation is the mother of celebration.
The unmarried feel ‘free’. This sense of liberty, however shouldn’t be mistaken for licence to live carelessly. Spinsters should conduct themselves wisely and soberly. The urge for adventure should be controlled to safer limits. Remember Dinah (Genesis 34:1-2). “And Dinah the daughter of Leah went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem … saw her, he took her, and lay with her and defiled her.”
If Dinah had stayed back home to acquire home management skills from her mother she would have been spared the shame and agony of defilement. Spinsterhood is a period when vital lessons are to be learnt from godly parents and godly women in the church and home. Spinsters should learn to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good cooks, carefully avoiding all occasions of sin and approaches to it. Unholy associations that can suggest or insinuate immorality should not be entertained at this stage. Any unguarded overtures to the opposite sex at this stage can result in regret tomorrow. Do not expose yourself to any form of assault like Dinah. Be discreet. The blooming flower has to be specially protected.
As regards marriage, preparation is necessary in, at least, five areas:
Physically: As woman gets necessary cooking utensils. Learn how to cook good meals. Buy household items and take care of your health.
You need money, please. So get a good job. It’s amazing to see some single ladies dabble into marriage unprepared. They have neither savings nor regular income. After marriage, such people become liabilities to their spouses, family and the church.
Mentally: Deal with all erroneous beliefs about marriage through divine wisdom. Go for pre-marital counselling. Read helpful books and family magazines. Attend marriage seminars and listen to tapes on marriage.
One of the benefits of being single is that you can serve God without distractions. Spend time in God’s presence through prayer and study of the Bible. Develop a prayer routine that you can follow easily. The quality of your spiritual life will determine the general tone of your life. Spend time in silence and meditate on God’s word. Develop an attitude of gratitude to God; learn to be thankful for all the good things He has done for you.
Know how to forgive and forget. Learn to be generous and selfless. Learn to say “we” and “our” instead of “me” and “I”. Learn to relate with people of different status. Your marriage will be in smooth-sailing if you have a lot to offer and to contribute. Every man wants an asset for a wife; so become one. Live to learn not just to earn. Learn to smile when you meet or greet people. It tells them you are glad to see them. Apologize when you are wrong. Learn to use the universal neutralizers of negative emotions such as “I am sorry”, “Please forgive me” etc.
Moreover, learn to be approachable, peaceful and harmless. Conduct yourself with grace. Don’t be a talkative or nagging lady.
You cannot be a successful wife if you are a dropout in the kitchen. A homely woman is the godly woman. To be the owner of your home, you must know how to win the heart of your man. The best way to win the heart of your man is to be able to satisfy his dietary preferences. It is often said that ‘the road to the heart of a man is through the kitchen door”. If you must be a successful wife then learn the act of cooking. If you fail to feed your man, he will soon be fed up with you. Learn to cook all the local foods your husband loves to eat. “Your academic qualification or social status is nothing if you are a ‘drop out’ in the-kitchen.”
The period of waiting is also a time of working on your temperament. All the known four temperaments – Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic – have their strengths and weaknesses. Prayerfully hand yours over to Holy Spirit for reformation. Do not try to justify temperamental flaws, bearing in mind that “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
In summary, the unmarried life has both creams and crosses but when lived under God’s control, spinsterhood is a sweet experience that ends in a blissful marriage.
EDITH NSE FRIDAY