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February 23, 2021 1:00 am
Marshall Segal, a writer and managing editor for DesiringGod.org, knows that most singles want to get married. But how do they prepare for that day, especially when they're not dating? Segal encourages young women to wait on the Lord and keep their eyes open for men who love godliness. You want a man to love Jesus first and foremost. No one is calling you to be joyful about singleness, but joy can still be found in the presence of Christ.
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The average age at which young people are marrying today. 29 for young men. 27 of 1/2 for young women. Why are these young people waiting so long to marry Marshall Siegel says it's because many of them are disillusioned about marriage, divorce is the biggest factor here that more and more young people are coming from. The homes were all the only picture of marriage that they've known up close is really hard, really painful. Probably the most painful thing in their history and so they're looking at that nursing weight why would I want all of that by what I want to walk into the back kind of pain but I sign up for the this is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson and Bob Lapine can find us email@example.com. What can young singles do to deal with the ambivalence they feel about marriage. Talk about that today with Marshall Siegel stay with us and welcome to family life to. Thanks for joining us were talking about singleness this week.
Although Marshall Siegel, who is joining us doesn't talk about his singleness. You pick the phrase the title of your book not yet married because you think singles need to be thinking in those terms.
Right yes I that's a great question. I get a lot of pushback on the phrase you might imagine, right, and I understand it, and I probably would've pushback on it is the single best thing a person released earlier in my single years because it seems on the surface to identify your define you, but what you're not. And that's the weakness in the phrase senescent had to wrestle with them for five years.
I wrestled with.
Is this a helpful way of talking that for reasons if you don't mind I will give you four reasons but let me first introduce to our listers. Marshall is a writer and managing editor, desiring God lives in Minneapolis.
He is now married and has written this book called not yet married the pursuit of joy in singleness and dating.
So what were your four reasons I'll give the fourth first one is I believe that there are many single people in the church who really, really, really want to be married and just culturally, in America at least, people are getting married later and later and so I think there are a lot of young people in the church who are getting married later than they thought and now starting to wonder at 2829 3035 in my ever to get married and so I do think of while some people are going to be put off initially by the. The phrase I hope some people think in my better moments I would've seen it in resonated with it that I want that I wanted so bad I wanted it for as long as I knew what marriage was what a husband and wife was watching mom and dad. I want that.
Secondly, I still believe me, the trends are. It's hard to follow exactly where this is going to still believe that most single people in the church especially are going to get married one day even if that's not totally on the radar right now and I think a lot of an increasing number of single people in the church. It's not on the radar but I still believe they're going to get married one day. That's for reasons and in just from experience watching eventually wanting to experience marriage, have children, things like that. So if the majority are going to get married. I think it's a fine way of talking about singleness to say. Even if you're not thinking about this right now and you even really want to think about this right now, you probably should be preparing yourself in a way in Christ that if God calls you to this probably the way the didn't expect that you be ready for that.
You're not stuck at that moment at 2728 29 on Hilton. Think about how I fulfill this calling the gospel my life.
Third, I think there's an increasing number of young people, and this is just anecdotally for my expense. Working with young people that are disillusioned with marriage and divorce is the biggest factor here that more and more young people are coming from homes broken homes were all the only picture of marriage that they've known up close is really hard, really painful. Probably the most painful thing in their history and so they're looking at that nursing weight why would I want all of that by what I want to walk into the back kind of pain and regret.
Why would I want to sign up for that after everything that I've seen in the fourth reason may be my most important for me and that's Revelation 19 seven, which says let us rejoice and exalt and give him the glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. And so we are all not yet married.
If you are in Christ you will be married one day and it will blow away that they will blow away whatever your wildest wedding day dream is whatever your wildest ideas about what marriage could be even if you're married their happiest, fullest, richest marriages that marriage will blow us away. And so I want whether your desires are for marriage is not what you feel called to marriage or not. I want your life to be shaped by that day by that wedding day, we've already talked this week about the pitfalls of the dating experience. Your pitfalls the issues couples go through before they get married. I'm thinking of the group have and I meet these people all the time who long to be married and there's just nothing happen.
It's guys who will say I asked girls out and they say no.
It's women who say I'm trying to do all the right things and be in all the right places and and by the way, what I'm observing is that guys are more attracted to the less godly women than they are to me so it's this lonely single longing to be married and hopeless. That's a pretty desperate place for people to be how would you encourage them. What would you say yet is a lot to say first thing I would say to a sister in Christ who says all the Christian men don't seem to be attracted to godliness, but seem to be attracted to physical beauty and the less godly women. I would say I'm so thankful that God spared you that man, at least, that the season if you're going to marry and be committed to someone for decades to love them day in and day out. You want them to half You want them to love you first and foremost because you love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Don't ever compromise that if a 500 men come and go, not insured in the least because of your not attracted to your faith in Christ. Good riddance like that let those men go on to whatever woman they would go to you wait on the Lord for someone who will love the Lord more than they love you and will encourage you to do the same. Here's what you're saying that you're saying that marriage to a guy who doesn't love godliness will be harder than singleness feels to you today. You don't realize that because you think that's can fill in some of the gaps for me but the loneliest people I know are people who are lonely in Marianna.
People who are lonely outside America. Going forward I can remember a few years ago is preaching on sort of the, the guy you want to you want to marry these these qualities you listed them in a sermon about marriages, two singles and a member's and if you're single and your woman and you're dating a guy and he doesn't have these qualities. I have one word for you because it was ride yelled it right. I can see these fumes or look at me like I have but I'm gonna he's gonna like that's what you think. You get a changing and after you get married, of course they do.
In some ways, but the percentages know they really don't you get what you got tell you that. Oh yeah, I can't tell you that many many many women that I've talked to that have settled that were so desperate, lonely wanted to be married thinking can change him how I can get him to become more godly and he will walk with Jesus when he's married to me, and may have been miserable at times.
Now can God work and do a miracle absolutely. But it feels even more lonely when you're sleeping beside someone where you're disconnected and it can be miserable. That's why things important. One thing that's important to say the single people spend some time with married people in its countercultural lease.
My experience, you just don't find a lot of young twentysomething people prioritizing time with families in their church.
For instance, and so is the word to families. If you are if you are married look for ways to invite single people in your home because if they can see the dynamics in your marriage. Some of the things that they've heard in principle will begin to make sense in ways that they never had before, but they need to see it end in the opposite way. If you spend a lot of married people you'll see the dysfunction if you spend hours with Faye and I you can see dysfunction because all of us are sinful. All of us are dysfunctional and in seeing the dysfunction will help you understand and appreciate how important these principles for dating are to devalue the right things to look for the right things. I remember in college just became a follower Christ and there is a young man actually married on the campus. It was porn into me and I think Scalia a missionary pastor knows the student was a couple years older married Linda married housing and he invited me over brand-new Christian to have dinner with their families exactly said I could take you to that apartment could never be in marked thinking as I got in my car to drive back to my dorm. I think have just witnessed the first Christian marriage of ever seen in my life and it gave me a vision of that's the kind of woman I want.
I'm not gonna settle for anything different and I want to marriage, like I just saw, and they were about bring the students in here. You show them what Christ can do what Christ sign.
Remember when you were telling me Dave and I started dating and he talked about this couple on campus and he said I want what they have and what they have is Jesus is in the middle of the relationship. I've never experienced that before and I want us to have that right.
And that's because we treat Jesus like a box to check in our dating process so he says he is a Christian great now working on chemistry and my physically attracted. Is he funny as he can make a lot of money there. So there's so many other boxes all the world like any one of the variables X and we try to check Jesus boom okay that's good he's going to heaven.
So working to be good on that front, and asthma say I want Jesus to be the ink for all the boxes that I want him to be the main thing for the person that you might married and this is important it is to the Q&A recently and I was shocked by it was an hour and half Q&A and there were four separate questions about dating nonbelievers are shocked by the edits artist and expected and I think it's it's the same principle walked further. So were talking about guy who says or girl who says yeah I love Jesus but then they seem to prioritize the wrong things are looking for the wrong things now are talking about someone who says I don't know who Jesus is or I do know who Jesus is and I don't want to do them an hour trying to decide what can I date this person with the hope of moving them towards Christ. Since the same kind of thing same logic that walks you down the road and it's been a rough run. The other directions. Like you said and say look for someone for whom Jesus is the main thing that will be the main ingredient in a healthy happy marriage for decades.
So we got blisters are gone yeah yeah yeah I've heard that I'm still lonely I'm still hopeless out. Yeah, I know all of this stuff and and I I believe it but what do I do about the pain of today where I I just am lonely and want somebody to know me him to love me and it's just not happen and by the way, I'd like to have babies and I don't have much time left.
There yeah that's great. Thanks for bringing them back to that question. The Lord brought me to a place in my mid-20s of extraordinary brokenness and I would say loneliness. It's different from the kind of person you describing so I don't want to. I'm not gonna pretend to relate to somebody who's saying I just want a relationship like I'm not scared of breakups anymore because I just haven't ever been in a context where I've been able to break up with someone so I'm I'm knocking a person try to relate to the person understand their pain because I started dating early and data really throughout with major breaks to pursue the Lord along the way but I do believe the Lord brought me a different route to a similar feeling of loneliness and despair. In some ways I felt instead of going back to stage one at the end of each relationship. I felt further back than stage one like I didn't feel like I was starting over. I felt like I was another mile past the starting point each time because it felt like I don't want to go through this again. I want to make the same mistakes I want to hurt anyone.
I want someone else to hurt me and so does not to belittle the pain that someone else feels having not been in a relationship just to say that I felt some of that and I do think part of the turning point for me was text like Philippians 3 Paul says I count everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for his sake I suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him. I just read in my devotion Psalm 27 for one thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all my days to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple, and that took me to Martha and Mary, which I thought this this is interesting for today. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, looking up at him, loving him listening to him.
Martha's frantic and she goes to Jesus and says Jesus.
Can you just tell Mary to help me.
Can't you see that I'm working so hard and she's just sitting there and he says Martha Martha. He says her name twice so that the kind of person that's asking this question.
The feeling this inner turmoil, restlessness, despair, loneliness, and some say Bob Bob. He said her name twice. I want you to hear this. He said you are anxious and troubled about many things but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will never be taken away from her that last phrase was the new phrase for me this morning as I thought about our time together in about this kind of person that's asking this question and hurting deeply and ice was what you have in Christ. The one thing is necessary. One thing you best of the Lord and sought after that that you have in Christ, but to get to the spirit that will never be taken away from you and it will prove after the short 5060 70 years or over it will prove to be so much more precious than you realize. Now even in its sweetest moments, the fellowship that you have with Christ in some I know that people are are wary of using season today. Jesus go deeper in your relationship with Jesus.
I know that and I know that I can come across trying 34 Pat and I think those who tasted and for me it had to go low through a number of breakups and failures to get there, but those who finally tasted what it means to say one thing I've asked for. He didn't say I've asked to dwell in the house all the days of my life and get married and have a child and have the job I wanted and live in the city that I wanted to and have the ministry that I wanted to look a certain way and be a certain number is one thing.
And Jesus said to Martha, who was so busy trying to serve Jesus. She was serving Jesus. One thing is necessary Martha, so I got a lot of help personally in my darker days from the story of Joseph a wrote an article about this called love the life you never wanted but if you go back and read the Joseph story and think about how much of his story went the way he didn't want to go with 13 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit thing Bubba, how lonely. That felt you not dating anybody 13 years in prison but it says twice the Lord was with him and for me as I read that and then read how that whole story goes about the good news of the story is not the Joseph becomes in her right hand to the king of Egypt, Pharaoh, the good news. The stories of the Lord was with him and so I think if if you can start to preset to yourself early and often and get around other people can preach that to you knowing that the Lord is with you. He wrote this part of your story. The story was left to somebody else and he wrote this part of your story.
He loves you and he's with you.
I remember being at a conference, very wise and godly woman was speaking, Elizabeth Elliott and she can lay it down, man.
Anne Frank and there was a woman there that at the end of her segment. There was a question answer time and this woman raised her hand. She was in her 30s and she said Elizabeth I'm single and I really know that God has called me to be married and I'm not sure what to do in the waiting and Elizabeth without a second thought. She said to this young woman, are you married right now and the woman said no I said I'm single. She said God has called you to be single. Then today your single and so he's equipped you and called you to be single later today what God has called you to be. He has so much in store for you today. Stop looking at tomorrow because he has something today while you're single.
That's pretty RS you think that only applies the singles. We talked about already. Yeah, but in a few years if you get married and you're around a lot of other people are married, you gonna start just to see people husbands or wives or both, who would rather be single eggs that they may not say it but everything in the life, says I'm in this because I promised and there's nothing else I'm going to do and at that point you say you know what, are you married yes God has called you to be married well and I remember it was another setting, but Elizabeth Elliott said people will always ask me how do I know if I have the gift of singleness, and shall say all are you single and they'll say we guess, but I want to know if I have it like for a lifetime and she says will nobody knows if you have a full lifetime. All we know is you have it today so you have the gift of singleness today.
So be faithful and end and live out the gift of singleness, but if you want to know if you have it for a lifetime will know what the other your life not life but don't try to forecast that for today you would like to know our our mutual friend Nancy Demoss walkable thought she had the gift of signals for lifetime chilled till she met Robert Walter Booth and she realized no I don't and she had to in in her late 50s be open to God's changing the direction in changing the course and I don't know if you know this Marshall but she wrote a letter for Robert began to pursue her. She wrote a letter to John Piper and you said, she said, so I'm battling with this. She says I think I can be content as a single does that mean that I should not pursue this.
If I think I can be content. And he wrote her back a very dear letter that helped her in the journey and help lead her to the point where she said I do now.
She is the gift of marriage for men it's a beautiful story really is. Well I know what we've talked about here says easy and does hard and and listers will hear this and they'll go yeah I've heard this before. It's living with that with joy. That is the hard part of it. So when the joy is not there in your singleness.
Any suggestions on what you do.
Yeah I would say that one of the keys is that no one is calling you to be joyful about singleness.
Nothing is maybe one of the things that a misconception that gets perpetuated by well-meaning married people giving advice like me giving advice to single people, the joys can only be found in Jesus in the same recipe for your join now. No matter how long the Lord has you single is good to be the recipe for Joya in marriage and so this is preparation for whatever God calls you to tomorrow if he calls you to 25, 30, 50 years of singleness the way that you pursue joy. One thing I've asked of the Lord.
The way that you pursue joy now as you go to your prayer closet to be with the Lord to linger in his presence and then give your life, your gifts, everything is given you give it freely to others in the name of Jesus.
The way that you pursue joy now is going to prepare you to have join the next season, whether it singleness or marriage so here's here's what you said and that I think this is key. If today you say okay I'm single I'm up on my joy in Jesus. If you're thinking, but when I married that I modify my joy, my spouse, and the truth is everyone we represent 63 marriages six people and I know this about us and I know it just from what you YouTube and say in your nothing. You join your and your spouse although she's incredible and I would say she's amazing. Thanks honey. I didn't find joy in her as a single man and I'm not finding joy in her as a married man even though I'm sure singles would say what's easy for you say because you're married. It is not easy is harder if you don't find a single man you're not confide as a married man. The only place you'll find it is a ruthless pursuit of Jesus at weight. We have a lot of single listeners who listen to family life to you guys know that heaven we have a heart for singles because we want singles to find joy in the season that they're in. And we want them to be thinking about and preparing for that season. God might have for them. The season ahead. If that includes marriage. And I think this is what you do so well in your book Marshall viewpoint people in that direction.
The book Marshall has written is called not yet married the pursuit of joy in singleness and dating and we are making that book available this week to family life to a listers who can support the ongoing ministry of family life today and by the way, let me just say thank you to those of you who have been long time supporters of this ministry. Some of your monthly legacy partners. We thank you for your regular monthly support that is such a gift to us. Those of you who are legacy partners. Thank you for that and those of you who from time to time make a donation to support the ministry were grateful for your support as well. You make practical biblical help and hope available for other couples, other families, you are investing in the lives and marriages and families of so many people every time you donate to support family life to and were grateful for the partnership again when you donate today we want to invite you to request your copy of Marshall Siegel's book not yet married the pursuit of joy in singleness and dating. It's our thank you gift to you. When you make a donation and you can do that firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call one 800 FL today to donate again.
The website family life today.com or you can call to donate one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today and we hope you can join us again tomorrow when working to talk about Marshall Siegel's story of his courtship and how he met his wife, and how what you guys went through the issues you went through as you begin to think about marriage level comes tomorrow. I hope listers can join us for that. I don't think our engineer today.
Keith Lynch, along with some help got today from Bruce Goff and our entire broadcast team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Wilson on Bob Payne.
We will see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to a is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow