What Not to Say to Your Single Christian Friend

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Back in the days before I met my husband, and was wondering if any one would ever want to marry  me, I remember being told: “God will give you the desires of your heart,” and “if God gave you the desire he will fulfil it.”

After I heard that, I spent ages trying to work out if the desire for a husband was one that was from God, or not. After all, if it was actually from God then I would get it. Wouldn’t I? I guess in my mind it was almost like having a crystal ball, work out if the desire is from God or not, and you have figured out your future.

I guess the people who were saying these things were trying to be helpful. But they really weren’t that helpful to me.

Now I know that God can and will fulfil our deepest desires, (it says so in the bible, after all) but was the desire for a husband really my deepest desire, or the desire or was it the desire to be loved?

Many Christian counsellors agree that God does put in our hearts the desire to be loved, and the desire to be significant. The thing is, ultimately the only one who can fulfil those desires is him. He does give us thiste desires of our hearts, but just not always in the way we want him to.

Another well intentioned thing I was told, whilst I was single, was to seek God and then a husband would come along. What a load of poo! If this was true then how come there are holy people who never get married and awful people who manage to find a husband.

I don’t think the people who say these things realise the damage they are doing with these words. It made me question my own spirituality, as if the reason I hadn’t met someone yet was because I wasn’t holy enough yet, making me doubly insecure. I don’t think the popular quote “a woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man has to seek God to find her.” Please be really careful about saying this one, because I know it’s one of those things that sounds really spiritual, after all, we all need to get closer to God. But please never make anyone feel like the reason they are single is because they aren’t holy enough.

Finally, this is one I had never personally heard (thankfully) but that seems to have become popular recently, I have seen it floating around the internet. And that is……….. Just Wait For Your Boaz. This is eisegesis (reading into the text something that was never there, (yes, I went to bible college and know long words!)) in the worst possible form! It makes absolutely no sense in the context of the story, to the point where I pull out my hair just wondering where this phrase could have possibly come from!

It’s taken from the book of Ruth. She is a widow, who moves with her mother in law, Naomi (also widowed) to her home country, a land Ruth has never been to before. These two women are destitute to the point where the only way they can feed themselves is by picking up grains that have been dropped by the farm workers. (Something which is outlined in books of the law.) Fortunately Naomi has a single, rich, relative named Boaz.

Now, after hearing that you might think that Boaz swept in and swept Ruth of her feet.

He didn’t. He was kind to her, but in no way did he sweep her off her feet.

Naomi had to tell her to get tarted up, put on some perfume, and then literally climb into his bed and lay at his feet, before he made the offer of marriage.

I can’t see how climbing into someones bed to seduce them could ever be described as waiting for them! How can anyone claim the phrase wait for your Boaz, like it’s a beautiful thing, when Ruth never waited for her Boaz!

She was married previous, to man we’ve no reason to believe she didn’t love, and then lived in tough conditions with her mother in law and then finally had to climb into bed with a man in order to seduce him!

This phrase is so nonsensical, but the strange thing is women even bizzarly believe it, and then take is so out of context that they seem to think it means they should just sit around waiting for a husband! Ruth didn’t sit around waiting. She was proactive.*

The truth of the matter is that not every will get married. I know that’s a really sad thing to say and hear, and one that I had to wrestle with when I was single. But unfortunately, it’s the truth.

God never promised us a spouse. But he did demonstrate his love for us in dying for us. And that is the greatest love you can ever know.

I know when everyone around you is getting married, it can seem so like a lame consolation prize. But it’s not, its the best love you can ever experience, its a love that will never let you down and a love that will last forever. Please, try and grasp hold of this whether you are single or not, and please never make someone who is single feel as if they are somehow worth less, whether intentionally or not. That just is not true.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this, or any weird things you have been told.

*Please don’t think I’m telling you to do what Ruth did, it prabably wont end well!

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16 thoughts on “What Not to Say to Your Single Christian Friend

  1. It’s a tough one isn’t it. I’m struggling in a break-up sorta situation at the moment, and those thoughts are thrown around and swirl in my head a bit. I tell myself God has a plan and all that – but perhaps that plan doesn’t involve someone to marry. Just gotta flow with the punches and keep throwing the prayers upwards 🙂

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  2. I completely agree with you when you stated, “Ruth didn’t sit around waiting. She was proactive.” It’s so true! Waiting for the right person does not mean sitting around waiting for life to begin the moment it happens. It’s living your life, walking in your purpose and growing closer to God as you wait.
    I also agree with your points on the statement: “seek God and then a husband would come along.” It may be a well-intended thing that someone might say to a single Christian, but it can backfire because the next thought the single might have is that the reason he or she has not met their person is because he or she has not sought God the way they should.
    Now it may very well be the reason for some single Christians who are waiting for the right person; however, that statement should not be applied to all Christian singles. Each person’s situation is different; there may be similarities en route to meeting the right person, but everyone’s story is not exactly the same.
    Great post!

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    • Oh I’m sure that most things people say are well intended, but they can still hurt. If you were looking for a job, no one would tell you to just seek God and then it will come. I think it’s worse if some one who is married tells a single person this, it’s like they’re saying that they must be more holy, because they have a spouse!

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  3. Oh my goodness. This totally needed to be around when I was still single. This is absolutely true! And what on earth with the whole Boaz thing?! Of all the love stories in the Bible… seriously? Ugh.

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  4. “God never promised us a spouse. But he did demonstrate his love for us in dying for us. And that is the greatest love you can ever know.” This is so good and so important. Thanks for speaking to the faulty way that well-meaning believers seek to encourage each other through false ideas the Scripture never promises! Your words are insightful and needed!

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  5. Hey Ally! I love what you’re saying here. Especially when you said, “ultimately the only one who can fulfil those desires is him”. It’s so true, we should absolutely find our love and joy and purpose in Him because He is the only one who can truly fulfill us!

    I do, however, disagree with you about the Ruth and Boaz passage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on the “fins your Boaz” trend BUT I do understand why it has become popular.

    The thing that appeals to people about this passage is that Boaz treated her with respect and love from day one. He made sure that no one told her to get off his property, he understood the situation her and Naomi were in and had compassion for them.

    When it came to Ruth getting in bed with him, yes it may seem at first like it was scandalous but in fact it was a sign of servanthood. In that time and culture, the servants would sleep at their master’s feet so that if the master needed anything in the night they would be there. This was Ruth saying to Boaz, “I am at your mercy, I am your servant, please show me what to do.” She was so desperate to take care of Naomi that she was willing to humble herself to a position of servanthood. She was putting herself in a very vulnerable situation. Boaz could have very easily taken her physically but he didn’t, he could have very easily made her out to be a prostitute because she snuck in his bed.

    This paints the picture of a gentleman. I think THAT is what appeals to single women about this story, basically saying that you should wait for the man who will do right by you, respect you, etc.

    Anyway, I love the message of this post and look forward to reading more!! I have written on singleness as well and it goes along with what you are saying here 🙂 http://www.littlelightonahill.com/single-bride/

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  6. I dont agree with God never promised us a husband. If you have that desire in your heart, chances are He put it there. Because if you were meant to be a eunich, he would have took that desire from you and made you happy being single. People always struggle with what God wants and His will but I think if you look to the Bible from the beginning of time with Adam and Eve He made it very clear that man needed a companion and it most certainly is what God wants. I think if we say waiting is wrong, we are implying God has no control and is not sovereign in this area. As far as Ruth goes, our Pastor did a series on her this year. He says that the act of going to his room was not as sexual as its made out to be. he said that it was a Jewish custom she was doing, and completely “professional”. He was not alone in the room, and had countless others around him. It was a tradition.

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  7. I’ve heard all of these things too, and it can be taken wrongly! We must remember that God does not bless us based on our works, but maturing in Him does help prepare for marriage. I’m hoping for my future husband some day, but in the mean time, I know it’s God’s perfect will and not mine.

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  8. I’ve heard all of these things! And felt all of those things and for years thought if I did what was right God would just bring me a man. I’m in my 30s now and it an awful season of not knowing what to think anymore. Did God place that desire in my heart? Does he fulfill his promises? What about prophecies? So many questions. So few answers, yet everyone loves to analyze my life and give me advice. I wrote a blog on it too…thanks for understanding!

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  9. I mean no disrespect here but after reading the first 3 sentences of your post, I kind of think some of your sentiments could be added to the list of what not to say to single friends. It’s true that God gives us the desire to want to be loved and to be significant but then saying he may not do it in the way you want Him to is a bit discouraging. I get the whole, “speak the truth in love thing” but you do understand that it still hurts, right? I hate to be condescending but I just don’t like it when married people give morally high handed advice to single people. It’s like once you’re married you forget how sensitive being single can be. Again, I apologize if this is coming off condescending and attitude-y. I’m just upset by the whole idea of “well, it may not happen how you want it but that’s okay, just love Jesus more!”
    sentiment I was getting from the first few paragraphs of your post.

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    • Okay, I spoke too soon and commented before I finished reading your post. I’m not trying to troll you here so, please forgive my multiple comments; I just saw no way to edit my initial comment. However, there are still some hard truths in your post I’m just not sure a single person should hear either. It’s kind of rich for a married woman to tell a single woman that there’s a chance marriage simply isn’t for her. I get that it’s true and a single woman myself, I’m just now learning how to reconcile that very idea in my heart. Chances are, I will be single for the rest of my life but that’s something I’ve gotta work out myself- that’s not something a married person should tell me. So, were the odds so ever in your favor that you got the gift of marriage but I may not be so lucky but it’s alright because that means more Jesus for me! I hate to trivialize Christ like that but the notion that being single is somehow even more sanctimonious is an advanced morality that my small mind, admittedly, doesn’t readily understand.

      I mean, I’m glad you debunked the whole Ruth/Boaz thing that’s been floating around the internet. But otherwise, I walked away from this post more discouraged than I did walking into it. I know those weren’t your intentions for this post so I’m not holding it against you. Plus, I don’t know you to be mad at you. I guess I just wish I wasn’t single and I wish married people remembered the struggle it was when they were single. I wish married people wouldn’t say things like “it’s not for everyone” as if they’re the lucky ones. I just wish I didn’t get chosen to live any of this life at all. Right now I just feel hopeless and pretty much just want to give up altogether.

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      • Hi I thought I would reply… Even though I am actually no longer blogging at this site. First of all thank you for taking the time to comment, secondly, I wanted to explain to you the place I was in when I write this post.
        I was actually in a verbally and physically abusive marriage, and I think that part of me was remembering what people had told me at that time, and giving myself the advice I wish I had taken.
        I think it’s about a year since I wrote that post and I have since found the strength to leave my husband and am far far happier now, living with my parents than I ever was when I was married.
        I think that abusive even in Christian marriages is a far bigger problem than anyone really knows. I don’t was want to give you shallow advice but all I can say is I would far rather be single than ever ever have to go through that again. This is a bit of a rushed response while I am sat on a train, and I can’t even remember what I wrote, but I am sorry if it hurt your feelings at all.

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