Is It OK If I’m Still Single?
How do you deal with being single and is it okay to be alone? Ever feel lonely? Is it ok to be pressured by society to find someone and settle down?Show/Hide Transcript
Martin Zerrudo: Welcome to Heart & Soul! For our podcast listeners around the world, we’re doing something different today. We’re in the San Francisco Bay Area in a completely jam-packed INC Media Studios, in front of an energetic live studio audience. Let’s make some noise!
Martin: And we’re here to talk about the topic of: What does it mean to be single in today’s world? Is it okay if I’m still single?
How does one deal with the pressures of society in settling down? Who’s timeline should we go by anyway and what can a single person do to find contentment and happiness in their future? Let’s have a heart and soul conversation.
Joining us for the first part of our conversation, we have Joey Uban. Joey is 31 years old and works at our very own technology and research group here at INC Media Studios and is single. We have Angelo Baluca who is 26 years old and works for the navy, and is also single. And last but not least, we have Juan who is 32 years old, and is a manager, and is also single. Let’s give them a round of applause, guys.
Martin: Now, I’d like to start off our conversation by looking at a quick study from Barna Research Group and for our audience, you can take a look at the screens. We’re going to be talking about the actual increase in single people, specifically here in San Francisco. Let’s take a look at what that study has to say.
INCREASE IN SINGLE PEOPLE (1:33)
From 2000 to 2016, the amount of single people in the 25-29 age range rose 9 percentage points, from 50% to 59%. The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 and 29 for women and men, 23 and 26 for men and women in 1990 and back in 1960, the average age of marriage was 20 and 22. Back in 1960, 72% of all adults, ages 18 and older, were married already. Today, that number is down to just 52%. And here in San Francisco alone is one of the top 10 cities in America with people who identify themselves as practicing Christians and are also single. So clearly, there’s a lot of single people around us going through a lot of different things. So, I’d like to ask first, Joey, what’s the best thing about being single?
BEST THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE (2:16)
Joey Uban: The best thing about being single, from a practical standpoint, is generally, you save money. If you go out to eat, you’re generally just paying for yourself.
Martin: Unless you order twice.
Joey: Unless you order twice or you’re paying for friends. But when you are in a relationship, generally, you do end up paying for both. But the best thing is, from a practical standpoint, is being able to save money and even get ready for that next step, for when you are ready to be in a relationship.
Martin: Right, right. Angelo?
Angelo: I think the best part about being single is, like you said, you don’t have to pay for anything.
Martin: And Juan, what’s the best thing about being single?
Juan: I think the best thing is…I know it’s going to sound bad, but not remembering birthdays or anniversaries.
Martin: You know, birthdays are once a year.
Juan: I know that but you know some of us guys do tend to forget.
Martin: Anniversaries also––once a year.
Juan: Exactly. But being single, you might––it’s okay for not––we won’t be remembering any birthdays.
Martin: Right, right. And when’s your birthday?
Martin: Alright, well I’ll remember it’s December. Now, I’d like to actually ask the audience members who are single and male––single men––hands up please, real quick. Nice and high.
WORST THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE (3:33)
Martin: Joey, what would you say is the worst part, or the hardest parts, about being single?
Joey: The hardest parts about being single is yes, you do get to go out and pay for yourself but then, you’re sometimes by yourself. Maybe your friends are already in a relationship and they’re off having couple-like activities, watching movies with other couples, and you’re by yourself or you’re being the fifth wheel. So, that could be hard, as well as maybe there isn’t someone for you to talk to. You’re really self-reflecting a lot and if you’re not comfortable with that, that could be hard as well.
Martin: Juan, what’s the hardest part?
Juan: I think like how Joey said, there’s times where you go out with friends and some of them might be in a relationship. There’s times where I’ve been in that situation and I get a little bit uncomfortable because they’re having their interactions. They’re talking about stuff that I don’t know because they only know the inside jokes, stuff like that. So, it’s a little tough. I know I’d go just to support both my friends but…
Martin: Right. It’s not your choice if you’re the third wheel.
Juan: Yeah, I don’t want to decline and say, “No, I’m okay,” and if I do want to go, I’ll just go. I’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m down to go.”
Martin: Hands up! Anybody who’s ever been a third wheel? Nice and high! Have you ever been a third wheel? Round of applause for the third wheels!
Martin: It’s not your fault! It’s not your fault. You know, for me, I was actually recently married last October but the hardest part for me about being single in my 20s was the heartbreak. I went through so many relationships because I would never get into one thinking that––I would always go into it thinking that, “I’m going to marry this person” or “This person is somebody I could live the rest of my life with.” But every successive relationship that failed, I kept thinking, “What is wrong with me? Am I just going to be single forever?”
The hardest part of being single was totally the heartbreak because I felt this pressure, like, “How many relationships am I going to have to go through before I settle down and find the one?” I felt like I haven’t reached maturity yet. And that actually points to our next statistic here from Business Insider. It’s an article that talks about the perspective of men and whether or not they’ve achieved a certain level of maturity.
So there’s a perception that a married man equals a mature man and one that is taken more seriously in the professional setting. It’s almost like an item in your career advancing checklist. Now, I’d like to ask Juan since you’re the oldest one, settling down, have you ever felt that pressure? Do you feel like now that you’re 32, you’re not considered as mature or as “adult” because you haven’t “settled down” yet?
Juan: Honestly, I do feel a little pressured. I know my mother and my sister especially, they’ve been asking me, “Hey, when are you going to get married?”, “When are you going to meet the one?” or “When am I going to get grandchildren?”, “When am I going to become an aunt?” So, I hear that from my mother and my sister the most.
Martin: Is your sister here today?
Juan: I believe so. I don’t want to make eye contact if she is! So, I’m not going to look for her. So, anyways…
Martin: She just told me she wants to be an aunt. Sorry, go ahead.
Juan: Well, for being 32, again, I’m the oldest out of my siblings. So again, there’s a lot of pressure for me especially, again, because I’m the oldest. So, I do reply back to them, “It’s God’s timing.”
Martin: Of course.
Juan: Again, I’m not trying to be in a rush, trying to look for someone to get married.
Martin: But you do feel a little bit of the pressure?
Juan: Exactly. I do still feel a little pressure but then again, I just want to concentrate on myself for now, until I’m ready. And then, once the significant other comes, then again, that’s when I’ll know for sure I’ll be probably ready for the next challenge.
Martin: Angelo, we had a conversation before the show, when you told me about a recent loss in your family. Condolences, I’m sorry for that. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how that relates to you thinking about maybe it’s time to settle down?
Angelo: Yeah, so I lost my grandpa about a year ago and I had to fly back to the Philippines and I just saw a lot of family there that I haven’t seen in years. Especially my aunts and uncles, and my grandma’s sisters––or my grandpa’s brothers and sisters as well. And you’re at the viewing and you see all this family and they always just come up to me, like, “When are you going to get married?”, “Oh, I want you to meet this girl.”, “Oh, I have this girl for you. I want you to meet her so much.” I’m like, “I’m okay, Auntie! I’m okay, Uncle! It’s all good, I’m not really looking for anyone right now. I don’t think this is the right time to meet someone.” After that, you see all your family and your relatives, and you see your cousins, and we’re all grown up now.
Martin: You used to be those kids.
Angelo: Yeah, I used to be that kid running around everywhere and then it was like we really need to settle down soon and carry on the family generation.
IS BEING ALONE THE SAME AS BEING LONELY? (8:13)
Martin: Sometimes, I guess it could kind of be that they think because you’re alone, they think you’re lonely. Like,“Okay, you’re spending all your time working on yourself but you need to find somebody because when you’re alone, you’re lonely. I don’t want you to be lonely.” Is it true, Joey? Would you say that being alone is the same as being lonely?
Joey: No, I feel that being alone––that’s a state. You’re not around other people. You’re in the presence of just yourself. And being lonely is more of a feeling. You could be around other people but you still have that feeling of sadness, of emptiness, that you’re searching for something that you need. And as members of the Church Of Christ, it’s a big part of our faith that there are times that we can feel lonely but we have our Almighty God to turn to. And so, even if we’re alone, without other people in the world around us, we still have our Almighty God.
Juan: Being alone, of course, also, you get to work on yourself––find yourself, who you are, work on yourself, being a better person for your family, friends, co-workers, of course, when the significant other comes. So, on my part, I do tend to like being alone at times, because then I get to do my own thing. I get to work on myself, I get to work on projects––prepare myself for projects at work without being interrupted by going out to, if I did have someone, going out to eat or something.
Martin: Some people say that alone may not be the same as [being] lonely but I would like to have somebody because having somebody makes me feel happy. Do you believe that, “I need somebody to be happy”?
Juan: There’s a part of me that does. I do want to wish I had someone but then again, it kind of goes back to maybe––I know it’s not the right time for me so again, I want to just prepare myself, focus on myself first, until she comes. Then, that’s when I will be like, “Okay, so now that somebody else is in my life now, maybe this is where we could take the step further up,” and continue on in the relationship and just work on from there.
Martin: Right. Joey, do you need somebody to be happy? And also, what would you say is one of the loneliest times in your life and how did being active in the Church Of Christ––returning to God––help you get through it?
Joey: You don’t necessarily need to be with someone to be happy. For us, as members of the Church Of Christ (if we have any guests here), our true happiness is being able to be close to God; is to be able to serve Him. And so, you don’t need to be with someone in order to serve God. You can serve God. In terms of your other question, one of the loneliest times of my life, my––just like Angelo, I did have a recent death in the family.
Martin: I’m sorry.
Joey: It was my older brother, late last year, [he] died suddenly. We were blessed that he was able to live a full life in a sense that he had children, I have nephews. Yay! But it was sudden, he was young, he was about 40.
Martin: I’m sorry.
Joey: So, for me, it felt lonely. I’m thankful for all the support from family and friends, from Church Of Christ members who offered their support. Full disclosure, even during that time, I did have a girlfriend at that time and she tried her best to support me as well but I just didn’t know what to do. I was devastated, I was lost. Honestly, I just didn’t know where to go.
Martin: How’d you get through it?
Joey: God. Honestly, it was God. It was the fact that I was a member of the Church Of Christ that, before my brother passed, I learned all these teachings in the Church Of Christ. It taught me that when you go through those times, you’re not completely alone. We have our Almighty God.
Martin: Right, right. Thank you so much, Juan. Thank you so much, Angelo. Thank you so much, Joey. Let’s give them a round of applause, guys.[Clapping]
Martin: Thank you for having the courage to talk about your feelings. And up next, we have three new panelists: single Christian women to talk to us about the pressures they face and whether or not it’s a little bit worse, or if it’s harder, than the pressures they face when compared to men. And later on in our show, we’re going to hear if there are Biblical verses or guidance to kind of help us navigate the modern-day minefield of emotions. Stay with us.
Martin: Welcome back to Heart & Soul LIVE, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the INC Media Studios with our live audience!
Now, earlier in our show, we got a chance to talk about the ups and downs that single men face as Christians in their lives and now, we’re going to be talking to some single Christian women about the pressures that they face. We have joining us today, Rose Menorca. Rose is, let me just check here, 33 years old, single and works as a faculty affairs manager in the University of…
Rose Menorca: Stanford.
Martin: Stanford! We also have Shalina Kroll. Shalina is 30 years old, single and works as a compliance analyst. What does that mean, compliance analyst?
Shalina Kroll: We basically make sure that my company doesn’t break any laws or regulations.
Martin: Got it. How are they doing so far?
Shalina: We haven’t gotten sued yet, so…
Martin: Okay, awesome. Good stuff. And last but not least, we have Joanne Badanguio. Joanne is in her 40s, single and is a senior chemist. Now, the guys earlier in the show, we asked them what’s the best thing about being single. I’d like to ask the same question to you. Best thing about being single?
Joanne Badenguio: I think the best thing about being single is the amount of extra time you have. So, you could use that extra time to spend with your family, with your friends, or most especially, use that extra time to work on yourself––self-care––and work on being independent, being able to do things to improve yourself, so that when you’re finally in that relationship, you’re ready.
Martin: Wow. Shalina, best thing about being single?
Shalina: Yeah, so I think you’re allowed to make decisions on your own. Part of that is also being able to really just learn how to do things on your own. And when you are able to do things and accomplish things on your own, you’re like, “Hey, that’s all me.”
Martin: What’s something you learned recently on your own?
Shalina: So, I don’t know how to do an oil ch––what is that, an oil change?
Martin: Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. For those automobiles.
Shalina: Yeah. So, I still don’t know how to do that but I learned how to pull up to Honda, I was like, “Where’s the entrance? What do I do? Oh, the sign says ‘oil change’? Oh, that’s where I park.” So, that was a big accomplishment for me and I got the oil change all by myself.
Martin: Yeah, they’re usually going to ask you, “Synthetic or not, olive oil?” Don’t choose the third one, always choose synthetic. Rose, is that true? Working on yourself, do you think that’s considered being selfish or…
Rose: No, I actually think it’s not selfish but more like self-care, and for me, it’s the same thing. The best part of being single is just having the time. You can make plans for yourself for things that you want to do. I go to the movies by myself all the time and I enjoy that. Like, winding down after a long day.
Martin: Those are some really good things as a single Christian woman but there are some challenges, some pressures, and I’d like to go to our first article here. It comes from a study actually done in Johannesburg, South Africa. They interviewed a bunch of single women there and this is actually what they found:
UNMARRIED JUDGEMENT (15:49)
Unmarried women feel judged and scrutinized because of their marital status. In addition, the interviewees argued, the older one becomes, individuals are looked down on, as members of society assume that there’s something wrong with them because they are unmarried.
Now Joanne, you’ve been courageous enough to be here to express and tell us your story. As the oldest one on this panel, is that true, that the older you get, the more scrutiny and judgment that you get for not having married someone yet?
Joanne: I think so because when I think about my friends that are around my age, a lot of them are married already and they have children. So, I think at this point in my life, I’m expected to already be married and to have a family. So, I think the pressure is there but as long as––I think when I was younger, like in my 20s and 30s, I was asked that question more. Like, “Why aren’t you married?” And then I’d think to myself, “Why am I not married at this point?” But now that I’m older and I think more about the positive things that I have in my life, I’m a happy person. So, I don’t like comparing myself to what other people have and what I may not have. I think about how I’m blessed in other ways and I think that maybe my friends and family, they see that I’m confident and I’m leading a happy life, so that question actually doesn’t even really come up anymore.
Martin: Wow. What are some of the ways you find contentment?
Joanne: Performing my duties inside the Church Of Christ. It really helps me when I’m there and singing in the choir. And I really have a good career right now and I’m able to travel the world with my parents and my sister, so I really like that. That makes me happy in life.
Martin: That’s great. Shalina, when we were talking to the guys, the pressure was you haven’t settled down because you’re not––I guess you’re not mature yet but that was really the crux or the extent of that pressure. But here, there’s like a level of judgment that the guys don’t have. Is that fair and why do you think that exists, that we’re asking or at least this article is finding out people are asking if something’s wrong with women, but they didn’t ask that about the guys?
Shalina: I mean, I think, obviously as women, it’s like there is that expectation. There’s even the word…I don’t know if it’s common anymore but “spinster”, where it’s like you reach a certain age and you have to have XYZ. Obviously, it’s not fair but it really is just the world that we live in.
Martin: And this concept of a biological clock and that you’re racing against time, can you tell us about that? I know we talked earlier, you said you had an experience about that.
Shalina: Yeah, I did have someone ask me, like, “Aren’t you worried about your biological clock?” And I was just kind of taken aback by that because that was [the] first time someone had asked me that. But I think everything in God’s time and there’s other things that I want to accomplish and there’s other goals that I’m working towards. If it happens, it happens. If not, I have my success, my goals, my career; I have that to show for the life that I’ve built.
Martin: Absolutely. And Rose, your situation’s a little bit different. You said you have a support group in your family and in your friends. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Rose: Well, most of my close friends, like my best friends who are women are––they’re my age, they’re also accomplished and they’re all single and so, we kind of do things together. So, traveling together, going out and I don’t feel pressure at all from them. I also don’t really feel pressure from my family––well, my parents––because I think they like that they get me to themselves because all my money’s spent on them. I get to spoil them. So, really the only pressure I get is from my brothers who are in…
Martin: I think your brothers are in the audience.
Rose: Yes, they are.
Martin: Hands up, brothers!! There’s one…
Rose: The other one’s––he’s Buklod so…
Martin: Okay, got it.
Rose: But it’s really just from them because they’re in happy and healthy and loving relationships, so that’s something that they want for me.
MILLENIALS ARE PRESSURED TO MARRY (19:35)
Martin: Right. Yeah, it’s a lot and I think about it––varying ages, our audience, varying ages. It’s something and it’s the kind of pressure that people go through, and a recent study actually found that the millennial generation are receiving it a lot and sometimes, they’re getting pressured to get married for the wrong or for different reasons. Let’s take a look at this article that we found from today.com:
Millennials are 177% more likely than those of other generations to feel pressure to marry. Surprisingly, 54% of millennial singles said that they feel pressure because they want family and kids, while 50% feel pressured to make their parents happy, and 35% feel pressured to wed to keep up with their friends. Now, I’d like to go to Shalina. On social media, I guess you see everybody’s lifestyle, what everybody else is doing. Is that true that maybe some people––do you know of some?––who get married because they feel like, “Oh man, my parents want me to get married!” Or, “Everybody else in my circle of friends is getting married. I guess I have to do it now too.”
Shalina: Right, well I would hope not. Let’s hope not but yeah, I think with social media, it’s in our face, it’s every day, it’s always there. It’s in shows, it’s in movies, it’s our friends. And so, there is that constant pressure and it’s something that we are constantly exposed to. So yeah, I totally agree that there is a heightened pressure for millennials.
Joanne: I’d like to add too that maybe because of social media, they’re seeing pictures of their friends with their significant other and their family and kids and you’re posting pictures just of yourself––you’re posting selfies and you don’t have your family. So maybe that’s, in a way, they’re feeling that maybe I need to someday post a picture of me and my family. So, maybe that’s the pressure there too.
Martin: Right. And you kind of look at the comments, like the family ones are like, “Oh my gosh, you’re so awesome. What a mod––“ and then your picture, like, “That’s nice.” Right? And then you get less likes but you’re just as happy. Right?
Rose: Sorry, can I just add to that? I just find it interesting because my colleagues at work, a lot of them are also single women but they also––and they’re millennials––so I find that statistic kind of interesting, that it is so high that so many people aren’t feeling pressure but I can definitely see it because single people that I work with tend to have––people kind of tell them, “You’re not a mom so you don’t understand.” So, I could definitely see that.
Martin: I actually want to go to pursue that a little bit more. We know on the news that in some countries, not only here in the west, but for women, they have to choose. It’s either you’re going to be a wife and a mom or you’re either going to follow your career or you’re going to be single. You can’t have all of that. As somebody who works in a university, do you see that? Where women of all ages kind of have to make that choice, that “I can only do one and not the other” or that they’re trying to do all those three things and it’s very difficult?
Rose: You know, it’s surprising because I work with a lot of doctors and so, those that are on the administrative side, they are with families, they’re married. But the residents that we have––the male residents are married and they have children but our female residents, not all of them––they’re kind of waiting because then it’s going to––there’s going to be a pause in their training versus the males because…
Martin: Why is that?
Rose: Well, because if they decide to get married and get pregnant, then they can’t operate.
Martin: Oh. Yes. Of course. That’s why I’m not a woman. Okay. And if you look around in our audience, we have a nice mix of different ethnicities but I do like to relate to the Asian community with this statistic, unfortunately, that we found from an article from DPK News that talks about how Asian-Americans are perceived.
PARENTAL PRESSURE TO MARRY (23:12)
Many Asian-Americans are accosted as young adults by nagging relatives who want them to commit to one of the most important relationships of their lives. Traditionally, marriage represents an essential step into adulthood. While cultural norms are slowly shifting, many young Americans, especially women, still feel pressured to marry and uphold a responsibility to their parents. Is it really that bad, Shalina?
Shalina: Yeah, well my mom, she got married at 21 and I’m 30 now, so I think there definitely was that expectation from my family, my relatives, like, “Girl, you’re 30 now. It’s time to settle down.”
Rose: But you’re thriving.
Shalina: 30 and thriving! But yeah, I think it’s just a constant. I’m sure it’s out of love and they want to see us have what they have, but you know…in time.
WAITING FOR THE ONE (24:06)
Martin: In time! In a conversation we had earlier, you said when it comes to finding somebody, “you would wait––“ I’m missing [inaudible]. I want to get this right. “You would wait on Him for him.” Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Shalina: Yeah, I think it’s just really waiting on God to place that person in your life at the right place, right time because obviously, a spouse, we know, comes from God.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (24:35)
Martin: Right. And Rose, we’ve been friends for a while now and you told me this one story about the one that got away and that kind of idea that there was somebody that was there and they’re gone now sometimes makes people feel like they’re going to be single forever––that they’re never going to find anybody––because there’s that one person that got away. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Rose: Sure. So, I think now that I’m older, I look at the one who got away as a representation of my idealistic youth, where I had this timeline of when things were going to happen in my life. Like, I’m going to go to college, I’m going to go to med school, I’m going to get married at 27, have my first kid at 30 and then there was this person at the time who I felt was––who fit those plans for me and then, it turned out that he wasn’t the one. And so, that person––I lost that person but then––and I really felt alone and lonely.
You talked about that earlier with the men that were here. And I didn’t really know who to go to so I really tried my best to be better. And so, even if I had this person who got away and I lost that person, what I gained was much more because then, I had a better relationship with my brothers and my family, and a closer relationship with God because after that, I just focused all my energy in serving our Almighty God and I feel so blessed because I was part of so many milestones that the Church Of Christ has reached. That’s what the one who got away represents for me.
Martin: Definitely. Let’s give her a round of applause. It’s very courageous for you to open up. Joanne, Shalina, that concept of the one that got away, it really doesn’t mean anything. There was somebody in your life that came and they went, right?
Joanne: Yeah, we always go through––all of us have been in different relationships and there’s reasons why those relationships didn’t last but then we see in ourselves that it actually made us a better person. So then, we’re ready for the next relationship that comes in our life and maybe the next relationship will be our perfect match.
Martin: Absolutely. Shalina?
Shalina: Yeah, I think that’s actually one of the perks of also being single and when you go through those things, you are ready to take that to the next relationship and you get to meet new people and make new friends. I think that’s actually a nice way to transition and move on to your next someone.
Martin: Your next someone or “the one”. Now, before we wrap up: Rose, I’d like to give you the final words. For anybody here who went through what you went through or is going through what you went through, what words do you have for them to kind of help encourage them with your own experiences?
Rose: Sure. I mean, this is ten years later that all this has happened and I had all these plans for myself that didn’t really happen. And so, my biggest lesson for that is really that it’s God’s plans that we have to wait on and we don’t know what those plans are but those plans are good. So, continue to trust in Him, that He will bring the person for you.
And also, I know a lot of us, especially those that are older, are praying for that person. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that we have to do our part in looking for someone, right? So, I know there’s a lot of introverts here but I think putting ourselves out there and saying, “You know what, I am interested and I do want to meet someone.” I think opening up in that way is also important. And also, maybe you meet someone and that person isn’t for you, maybe it’s for your friend. So, I think that’s when…”You know, I have someone for you.”
Martin: There you go! Okay wingwoman, right on! We want to thank you all so much for coming. Let’s give them a round of applause. When we come back to Heart & Soul, we’re going to Minister of the Gospel, Brother Richie Juatco, join us and finally answer the question: Is it okay if I’m still single? Stay with us.
SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE (28:40)
Martin: Welcome back to Heart & Soul Live. Earlier in the show, we got a chance to talk to six single Christians about the challenges that they face. Joining me now is Minister of the Gospel, Brother Richie Juatco. Brother Richie, is it okay if I’m still single, for those who are?
Brother Richie Juatco: For those who are.
Martin: For those who are! I’m married! But is it okay, for those who are single, if they’re still single?
Brother Richie: You know, as we were listening, we got the opportunity to kind of observe the panel, to observe the conversation, and we heard a lot of different questions posed, like: “Whose timeline is it anyway?”
We saw some statistics, we heard from the panel: the family and friends, they want them to get married, they’re pushing them, people have different ideas of marriage. But really, to answer that question straight off before we get to “Is it okay to be single?”, the answer of “Whose timeline is it anyway?” It’s really God’s. The proof that we know that it’s His is something that we can read. We’ll read here in Jeremiah, the chapter is 29 and I’ll read verse 11. And it says:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and the future.
[Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version]
Brother Richie: So, the one that really knows the best for us is God and that’s why when we want that guidance, when we want the answers of what should I do in my life––at this point in my life––what’s the right decision, it should be, “What plan does God have?” Because He’s the one who has the plan for––isn’t that comforting? To know that God has a plan for each one of us? And it’s a plan to prosper us. Right? It’s a good plan for us. So, that’s what we’re going to do, to answer that question.
But to answer the question, “Is it okay if I’m still single,” just with a simple “yes” or “no”, because we know so many people have different ideas of what’s good, they have ideas of what is successful, if we just answer straight “yes” or “no”, that would be an unwise answer because we know everyone has a different frame of thinking. So, we need to contextualize it.
The first thing that we need to do is determine what that individual––how they consider marriage, so that we’ll know how they consider being single. Nowadays, there’s a lot of people that think marriage is a bad thing. They think that marriage is just a piece of paper, that marriage is not something that’s really that important. So, let’s go to what the Bible teaches. When it comes to marriage, how should we understand marriage? We’ll read here from what’s recorded in the book of Proverbs, chapter 18 and the verse is 22. It says:
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.
[Proverbs 18:22 New King James Version]
Brother Richie: So, according to the Bible, marriage, having a spouse, that’s a good thing. If someone is married, if someone has a spouse––a husband, a wife––it means the LORD is looking upon him or her favorably. So, of course there are those who say, “Yeah, when they’re married, that’s a good thing.” Right? Maybe to just married people, it’s what should be considered good, but we have to answer that question. Is it just those that are married that should look at marriage that way?
So again, we’ll go to what’s recorded. So, notice the guidance that we want is in what’s recorded in the Bible. We’ll read here in Hebrews, chapter 13, we’ll read verse four. It says:
Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other.
[Hebrews 13:4 Today’s English Version]
Brother Richie: So, the Bible teaches that marriage is an honorable thing. Marriage should be honored by all. So, being married is something that we understand is, like we read earlier, it’s a good thing. People should not avoid getting married or remain single because they think, “Oh, that’s a better way of life.” We know that our God, He designed us. He created us. And He designed marriage as a good thing––as an honorable thing––so no one should demean marriage. No one should disrespect marriage. All the more––all the more, no one should stay single because they only want the benefits of marriage without the commitment.
There are those that might think, “I just want to have multiple partners. I want to be able to come and go as I choose.” Kind of somehow, pretending, “That’s my husband,” “That’s my wife,” without that commitment. That would be a dishonorable way of thinking. That would be an immoral way of thinking. We know that there are people in this world that think, “Well, that is––“ It might be a masculine way of thinking––macho-ism––thinking that if you have multiple partners, that makes you a man. But in actuality, that makes you a coward because you’re not able to do what God set in order to have a true spouse––that blessing from Him.
So, if that’s the frame of mind and one asks, “Is it okay if I’m still single,” then the answer is: that’s not okay because the basis of why they’re doing that is not okay. Okay, so that is––we just want to clear that up, just in case––maybe not anyone here but we know there’s a lot of different people in this world they have a lot of different ways of thinking and they’re trying to teach others, but we want what is actually the truth written in the Bible. So, that is that one of thinking.
So, let’s go on the other side. Let’s say someone understands. They value marriage, they honor it. They just don’t have anyone right now. Is it okay if one is still single? Now, we ask that because there might be some that think, “Is there something wrong? Is there something wrong with me? Is God not with me?” So, the advice we want to give is the advice that Apostle Paul gives. We’ll read that advice here in I Corinthians. We’ll read chapter 7, the verses are 6, we’ll read down to 9. It says:
I say those things to you as my advice, not as a command. I wish all of you were single like me. But you each have your own gift from God. One has this gift, another has that one. I speak now to those who are not married. I also speak to widows. It is good for you to stay single like me. But if you can’t control yourselves, you should get married. It is better to get married than to burn with desire.
[I Corinthians 7:6-9 New International Reader’s Version]
Brother Richie: Now, we want to make clear, Apostle Paul is not preaching here a Biblical command. He’s not preaching here a disciple of the Church. He makes very clear that this is his advice. But we know Apostle Paul, he was single; he was not married. But we also know Apostle Paul is very close to God. Our God chose him, not only to be part of His people inside the Church, but He used him to administer others, those in the Gentile nation.
So, if one is single, in no way is that evidence that something is wrong with that person. In no way is that a proof that God is far from them, especially if one is going to focus their mind on doing God’s will; on helping His church; on working closely with its Administration. If that’s the case, well, according to the advice of Apostle Paul, that’s okay. That’s good. That’s fine.
Now, even though it is okay to remain single, the advice is if one can’t exercise self-control when it comes to their physical desires, he says it’s better to get married. So, we see that we have two opposite ways of thinking. We could, on the right side––the right way of thinking––we could go even farther into that.
Let’s say someone is understanding all of that. Right? They say, “I understand marriage. I understand it’s okay if I’m still single. But I want to get married.” Right? “I want to find that person and I’m looking! I’m actively searching for that special someone, that perfect match for me.” But what should one understand if they’re in that aspect of life? Let’s read. Here it says,
House and land are handed down from parents, but a congenial spouse comes straight from God.
[Proverbs 19:14 The Message]
Brother Richie: What should we understand if one is looking for someone to be their spouse? Well, “a congenial spouse comes straight from God.” Since that perfect match comes straight from God, one should approach God when they are looking for their match.
So, if one is really serious, they’re serious, they come to the point that, “I want to find that perfect ma––” Not a perfect person, we want to make clear. Right? It’s not a perfect person. It might be a perfect person for us––that perfect match. If they are serious, they are going to start holding devotional prayers. Members of the Church Of Christ––a characteristic of a member of the Church Of Christ is he or she is prayerful. That is something that’s taught, that’s something that’s encouraged.
So, if there is one that has come to the point in their life that, “I feel I’m established, I’ve done those instructions that God gave in order to hopefully receive this blessing that will come from Him.” They will start holding devotional prayers because their belief is––the faith is––it will come straight from God.
We can take it just one more step further. Let’s say someone is at that point and we commend those that were on the panel. We could see the conviction that they have; the faith that they have. Many of them say, “Well, we are putting it in God’s hands. We do believe that will come from Him.” Well, let’s just say one is at that point; they’re asking, they have their devotional prayers but no answer yet in the form of a partner. So what does one do? Does one just say, “This doesn’t work.” There are those that, when they ask for something that they want and it doesn’t come right away––it doesn’t come when they’re hoping––well, their religion’s done.
There are others that say, “Well yeah, I don’t believe in this at all.” There are even those that, because they feel that, “I want to be happy.” In fact, we were able to hear one of the questions earlier is, “Do you need somebody to be happy?” We’re able to hear the brave examples of those that felt when they had someone, they lost them, they weren’t happy anymore. So according to the Bible, how is it that one can handle that? What should one understand if they want something that they desire? Again, let’s go back to what the Bible teaches. We’ll read here in Psalm 37, verse 4. It says:
Seek your happiness in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desire.
[Psalm 37:4 Good News Bible]
Brother Richie: You know, that happiness that one wants, the Bible says, “You want that happiness? Seek it in Him.” Right? Not in a person, not in something that you are looking for. It says, “Seek it in Him.” What will happen if that’s the case? Then He’ll give you your heart’s desire.
How many of us here have had something, a goal, in their mind and thought, “If I achieve that goal, then I’m going to be satisfied. I’m going to be happy.” Right? Since we’re on that topic now, “If I have a husband,” or “If I have a wife,” or “If I stay single,”––whatever they decide––and then if they get that goal, they realize, “Oh. That really didn’t satisfy that desire,” God is the One that knows. God is the One that knows what will satisfy that. So, what does the Bible say? Well, seek that from Him. So, how does one do that? We read verse 4, let’s just keep going:
Give yourself to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will help you; He will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun. Be patient and wait for the LORD to act; don’t be worried about those who prosper or those who succeed in their evil plans.
[Psalm 37:5-7 Good News Bible]
Brother Richie: How is it that we’re able to seek our happiness in the Lord? The Bible says, give yourself to Him. Trust Him. Trust Him. How? “Be patient and wait for the LORD to act.” If one wants to live their life based on God’s teachings––everything that they do, every decision they make, they’re going to consider, “What does God want? What is it that He teaches?”––if that’s the case, disappointments, hard times, difficulties, that’s not uncommon. If someone wants to base their life on God’s words, how will they look at those situations? Well, those are just tests. Those are just tests of faith. How is it that it’s a test of faith? How do I pass? The Bible says trust. “Trust in the LORD.”
So, if one looks at it that way, they look at their life and instead of looking at what they don’t have, they’re counting their blessings. Because we read earlier, it says that some, God gifts people with this, some with that. They’ll start to realize, “Wait a second. If I really am focused on what God wants, He is going to comfort us. He is going to give us the confidence that we need.” Whatever situation He decides is going to be the best for us. That’s why there’s many times that there’ll be those that once they relax, once they say, “You know what, my situation, at my time, however God wants it. If this is how He wants it, then I’m fine with it.” Then, all of a sudden, they’ll find somebody. It might be that way or all of a sudden, they relax. The life that they have is fine. It is because the Biblical truth is, “Seek your happiness in the LORD and He will give you your heart’s desire.”
Just one last thing. I did hear in the panel, I think, is really good is when someone asks, “How come you’re not married? Why are you not married yet?” Instead of saying––and this is just in case someone wants to be married, they’re just not married yet. Right? Because if you don’t want to be married, you have a lot of reasons or answers you could say honestly. But if you want to be married, and they ask, “Why are you not married?” Instead of saying, “Well, I don’t want to,” as though that’s all in our control, one of the best answers that I heard is, “Well, God hasn’t given me one yet.” Because if that’s the case, that frame of mind, and even letting others know, watch how others will back off if they say, “How come you’re not married?” “Well, God hasn’t given me one yet.” Now, they understand how, “That’s the angle that they’re coming from.” Okay, well if they want you to get married, “We’ll pray for you.”
Martin: “Let’s pray right now!”
Brother Richie: Yeah, then all of a sudden, they’re like, “Okay!” So, the thing is: Is it okay if I’m still single? Well, the answer is yes, if you trust in God.
Martin: Right. Thank you so much, Brother Richie, for those amazing verses and the spiritual guidance.
Earlier in the show, there was that stat that said now is the time for people navigating these types of challenges to turn to faith-based answers or faith-based guidance to help them because a lot of people in the world think that there is no solutions in the Bible for these kind of things, and yet you just provided some to us. So, what does it say about the Church Of Christ, that we’re able to provide these answers that research institutes are saying people should look for?
Brother Richie: Well, when we see that statistic that they say, “faith-based”, we all know that faith––although faith is very important––there’s a lot of different faiths in this world. Just because one says they have faith, or just because one says that they are religious, when you lump it all together, you could see that’s not the way it should be because everyone is different.
We hope that everyone here has noticed that every piece of advice, every answer to the question, doesn’t come from me. Who am I to give advice on my own? We’re all limited in the experience that one person has but it all comes from the Bible. It always comes from God’s words that are written in the Holy Scriptures. So we know that’s His advice. So, when it comes to the right way of living, when it comes to one’s faith, it should always be based on what is written in the Bible.
If there’s anyone here that it might be their first time––not their first time here in our podcast because this is the first time we’re having a live podcast with a live audience––first time here just being introduced to the Church Of Christ, keep coming. Keep listening. You can sit into one of our Bible studies, you can observe one of our worship services, and the one thing that we will guarantee at all times is that anything you hear, you’re going to have it read to you from what is written in the Bible. And that is what will give us that proper guidance we need.
Martin: Thank you so much, Brother Richie. Thank you so much Joanne, Shalina, Rose, Juan, Joey and Angelo. Let’s give them a round of applause, thank you so much.
Martin: And thank you so much to our live audience! Thank you so much for coming here today. And to all of our listeners all around the world, thank you so much for listening. We want to thank all of our listeners around the world for joining us and we hope that you learned something, we hope that you were inspired and we hope that we were able to connect with all of our heart and soul. Take care.