Singles in the Hands of a Manipulative God?

Why I'm going to keep on desiring to get married
Singles in the Hands of a Manipulative God?

I read it again recently. The notion that we singles need to surrender our desire to wed as a true Christian posture toward our singleness.

Most recently it was an account by a married woman, a respected author and church leader, writing about her long–ago single years. As a young woman, she'd desired to get married. But as she began to pursue her ministry calling, she felt the need to surrender completely to God her longing for marriage. With much prayer and intentionality, she did.

And of course, a couple years later she met the man who's now her husband of several decades.

I'm not sure she said so in so many words, but there was the implication that God needed to know he had her whole heart before he was willing to let her "share" it with a man. As I read her account, I somehow felt like a lesser Christian for still wanting to get married. I've read this kind of advice in several singles books over the years—always given by now–married individuals who once gave up the desire for their current marital status. And this "theology" of singleness has rubbed me the wrong way. I've always thought it painted God in a manipulative light—intentionally not giving us something when we want it, and then thrusting it upon us once we don't. Like a crafty parent using reverse psychology on his children.

Now, I don't doubt that God does prompt some singles to give up the desire to marry for some specific reason; it's when this advice becomes prescriptive to all that I get a tad squeamish. And of course the desire to marry can become an idol, and the Bible is very clear that we're not to have any "gods" before him (Exodus 20:3). When that's the case, certainly we need to readjust our priorities.

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