In the first place, how is it “up to her” to get married? That kind of thinking is the reason so many young Christian women “settle,” winding up in inappropriate marriages to ungodly men, sometimes even abusive men. Young ladies—it is far more dangerous to your soul to marry the wrong man than it is to stay unmarried. Period.
And as for maturity? I have seen so much whining on Facebook from young mothers who suddenly find they have to sacrifice for their children—give up some sleep, give up some “me time,” even give up their daily Starbucks--that I would be careful about tossing that accusation around lest it be thrown back in my face with evidence that would shame me.
The only thing the scriptures require of you is to be a servant of God and you can do that regardless of your marital status. Paul, in fact, seemed to believe you might even be a better servant if you stayed unmarried. 1 Corinthians 7 gets skimmed over to the point that all anyone sees is his admonition to stay single “for this present distress.” That is not all he says about staying single. “To the unmarried and widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am,” (v8) comes several paragraphs before “the present distress” even enters the discussion.
Jesus also said that marriage was not a requirement to be his disciple. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. Matt 19:12. No, women are not “eunuchs,” but then Jesus is speaking figuratively in that last clause—some people choose not to marry for the kingdom’s sake, including women.
The scriptures show us several women who made that decision. Anna did get married as a young woman—but she became a widow after only 7 years, which means she might have been as young as 21, according to the marriage customs of the day, and then she chose to remain single for the rest of her long life. She used that time to serve at the Temple.
You need to understand one thing before we look at these other women. Women in the Bible are often identified as “the wife of” someone, not because a woman has no identity without a husband, but for the sake of identification. There were at least 7 Marys in the New Testament. How are you going to tell them apart without last names? So we have Mary the wife of Cleophas. We have Mary the mother of Mark. We have Mary Magdalene, meaning she was from the village of Magdala.
And we have Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. Never is a husband mentioned. In fact, Luke tells us that the house where they lived was “Martha’s house” (10:38). Understand this: Jewish women did not inherit their husbands’ estate—the sons did. That means Martha was wealthy enough on her own to have her own home. And she used her home to house her family and open it to the Lord and his disciples. It must have been a large, well-appointed house.
And that brings me to the Mary who allowed the church to meet in her home when Peter and James were thrown into prison (Acts 12:12), probably another widow who chose not to remarry. Then there is Nympha who allowed the church in Laodicea to meet in her home (Col 3:15). And let’s not forget the obvious—Lydia, who immediately upon her conversion insisted that Paul and Silas stay in her home, another case where no husband is in the picture. Understand this—all three of these women put themselves in danger of persecution when they did this, but their conviction and commitment to the Lord went all the way. Where is the “immaturity and lack of responsibility” in that?
We tell church members that they are responsible for what they do, that they cannot blame it on “the decision of the elders.” It is up to me to know what they are doing and speak up if I think they are doing something sinful. We tell our young people that they must develop their own faith, that they cannot get into Heaven on their parents’ coattails. Guess what? Wives must have their own faith too. So why would anyone think that a single woman, or man for that matter, cannot have his or her own faith? Why would we think that having a spouse is necessary to please God?
I know plenty of young single people—and some not so young any more—who are living full and godly lives, spending time in the Word, serving the church and their community. That is what God will judge them on.
…Each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor, 1 Cor 3:8.
[God} who will render to every man according to his works, Rom 2:6.
…And the dead were judged…according to their works, Rev 20:12.
Did you see a spouse in there anywhere? Neither did I. It is up to you what you do with your life. Not being married does not make you a second class citizen of the kingdom.
I have nothing against marriage. I have been married for almost 42 years. My husband has helped me become a better Christian. But don’t let anyone push you into marriage. Don’t “settle” for someone who won’t make you a better servant of the Lord.
But I would have you to be free from cares. He that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married is careful for the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and is divided. So also the woman that is unmarried and the virgin is careful for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married is careful for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 1Cor 7:32-34