In last month’s blog, Reasons for Prolonged Singleness Part 1, I introduced the current series wherein I will be covering a number of reasons that people get stuck in prolonged singleness.
As I have shared in previous posts, I was very afraid that God had called me to singleness even though I had a deep desire to marry. I struggled for a long time trying to understand what his will for me was – marriage or life-long singleness outside of a religious vocation.
Recognizing my calling to marriage was the first step for me (see my blog post, “The Vocation Awakening”). The next piece of the puzzle was embracing the fact that I was made incapable of marriage by others, as Jesus explained in Matthew 19. Rather than being sad or hopeless, this knowledge gave me an understanding of what was going on. It helped me to see that God wanted to assist me with the issues that kept me single.
There are a number of reasons that thwart a person’s ability to marry. This blog post is going to discuss how a lack of knowledge regarding one’s calling to marriage can hinder his or her ability to get married. The fact that it took me so long to decipher God’s will for me regarding marriage is sad, but not unique.
A Hidden Truth
The fact that there is a universal and natural call to marriage inscribed into the very being of each human being is made plain in the Scriptures and Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) (see Matthew 19:10-12, CCC §1603). Unfortunately, I had to research, investigate, and probe all the Church’s scriptures and documents to discover this.
When I would talk with various people or clergy, the response I received is that they honestly did not know if I was called to marriage. Some people would say that I was called to singleness.
Honestly, I am not angry or bitter. I am merely saying that we must do better. And I want to improve the way forward for the generations after me. I want you to have this information right up front: you are called to marriage (CCC §1603). God than calls certain people to forsake marriage to follow his son (Matthew 19:10-12, CCC §1618).
We are now facing a generation of people for whom the dating and marriage landscape has drastically changed. There are less marriages occurring. Knowledge of dating basics are even obsolete (see blog post, “Anatomy of A Date Part 1”). Is it any surprise that people do not know they are called to marriage, that it is their God-given vocation?
How Did We Get Here?
In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Saint Paul tells us the following:
“Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences. They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the invocation of God in prayer.”
This prophecy in 1 Timothy speaks ahead to a time when heretics will condemn all marriage as evil; these were the Encratites, the Marcionites, and the Manicheans. (see “1 Timothy 4:3,” Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 Edition, accessed April 27, 2022, http://haydock1859.tripod.com/id230.html) Many Saints and Church leaders fought tirelessly to quelch these heresies that have arisen. Nonetheless, I proffer that a remnant of them remains today in our modern culture.
The Greek word for “forbid” in verse three is kōlyontōn, which is taken from the root kolazo. This word can also mean prevent and hinder. (see “1 Timothy 4:2; Strong’s 2967,” Bible Hub, accessed April 27, 2022, https://biblehub.com/1_timothy/4-3.htm)
While there are no formal edicts telling people men and women not to marry each other today, singles are hindered and prevented from marriage.
This occurs each time a person is told to accept they are called to singleness when they have not discerned the renunciation of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. It occurs when marriage is not promoted, emphasized, and encouraged, resulting in people failing to enter their God-given vocations.
There are various reasons this occurs. However, one is a residual Platonic, Manichaean, or Gnosticism influences warned about from so long ago. (see Mary Healy, Healing Bringing the Gift of God’s Mercy to the World (Huntingdon, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2015), 62) From these, a false asceticism has developed which has viewed marriage as something not to be pursued, something that not everyone is called to, and that it is often better to be alone than married to a suitable spouse. These ideologies are in direct contradiction to the Magisterium, which is the true teaching of the Catholic Church.
Thus, it is imperative to know and embrace the legitimate and genuine vocation with which you were born. It is essential to recognize that error has affected many people’s perception of your calling, influencing their viewpoints, counsel, and comments. It is vital that you look to the Magisterium to ascertain the fullness of truth regarding the calling of marriage.
Once you have done this, you will be free to pursue marriage because you know it is what God has called you to. You will know deep down that God wants marriage for you and will help you get there.
Knowing the truth of your calling is essential to overcoming prolonged singleness.
I encourage you to ask God to show you the truth about this as well. Research the scriptures in this blog post, as well as the sections of the CCC. God tells us in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you things great beyond reach of your knowledge.” He is waiting to assist you.
Next month, we will continue exploring reasons for prolonged singleness. The next reason we will look at is prior wounding and family of origin issues. These issues are varied and significant in the role played at keeping people single.
Julieanne M. Bartlett All Rights Reserved Copyright 2022
4 thoughts on “Reasons for Prolonged Singleness Part 2”
All of this is really helpful. I’ve gotten so many negative messages about wanting to get married. I’m supposed to be an independent woman and not need a man. I recently watched a Catholic video on YouTube where a lady gave advice to singles. A priest had announced that “soul mates” don’t exist (I’m not sure what makes him an expert on relationships) And then she warned everyone not to make marriage into an “idol.” Lol. All the Catholic church does is talk about marriage and family. They completely leave out singles, but then wanting marriage is an idol?
I apologize for the delayed reply as I was at an event this past weekend. You bring up so many good points in your comment. First, God created you with the desire for marriage – this is why we have it. Its like the desire for food and work. They were both put there in us as part of our creation. Genesis tells this. The whole “idol” thing – that was out there when I was single. I would not listen to it. If you were unemployed and wanted a job, would anyone say that the desire for unemployment was an idol? I don’t think so!! Actually, you would be expected to be looking for work. The problem is that we are facing a modern phenomenon of people not marrying and people do not know what to do about it or how to speak to it. Unfortunately they come up with these “answers” that do not really help.
Regarding soul mates, I tend to agree with the priest. I don’t think they exist. I think that several people can make a good choice of a spouse for a person. For example, if someone’s spouse dies and they remarry. I think the priest may have speaking to this line of thought that is out there that is among people that they cannot marry anyone but their soul mate which is evidenced by these intense feelings, etc. I do not know as I have not seen the video you have referenced. But I do know that this line of thinking does become an excuse for some to not take a suitable spouse. I hope this makes sense : )
Regarding needing a man: yes, it is absolutely okay to need one. We are created this way. The false lies of the feminist movement where the worse thing ever sold to women.
Thank you so much for posting this! Especially this part:
“The Greek word for “forbid” in verse three is kōlyontōn, which is taken from the root kolazo. This word can also mean prevent and hinder. (see “1 Timothy 4:2; Strong’s 2967,” Bible Hub, accessed April 27, 2022, https://biblehub.com/1_timothy/4-3.htm)”
From what I have seen, this “hindering” of marriage is done mainly by other Christians. The World is all about meeting up & dating even if it is sometimes geared towards “hookup” culture. Yet, as you mentioned, in churches, they will look at singleness as your calling instead of assisting & encouraging young or older singles to meet. and if you strongly desire marriage they will accuse you of making it an idol or Jesus not being enough.
Thank you for reaching out. I couldn’t agree with you more. After I finish with this current series, I am planning to address this falsehood of idolatry in another series. It is definitely not idolatrous to desire a spouse. But, yes, I agree with you that singles unfortunately get told this in many churches today. I think it is mostly due to the fact that people lack a proper understanding of how significant marriage is and how to properly minister to singles. I will definitely be covering it in full.
Thank you for reading and commenting : ) Julieanne