Marriage is a big deal. Let’s face it. Your spouse, whether good or bad has the ability to change the trajectory of your whole life. In our narcissistic and throw away culture, meeting the one who will share your intentions of lifelong commitment, and who is unafraid to have that commitment made before God and bound by law is to be celebrated. It’s why I’m a little uncomfortable with the “marriage is no achievement” narrative that I sometimes see being pushed out there. This is by no means to take away from the many single men and women living out their purpose and enjoying a different season in life, but with marriage (or family) being the first institution ordained by God, it will always occupy a cherished place in my heart.
Now with that said, the idolisation of marriage and the demonization of single women (and men) is also something which unsettles me. I am still a relatively newlywed coming from an African and Christian background and where the two worlds collide, it can often be a miserable place to be above the age of 25 and unmarried. I know this because I got married at the age of 29, and still hold vivid memories of being constantly berated and questioned about my single status. I felt overlooked and left out of the ‘grown-up’ conversations. So, when I did finally jump the broom with my husband, it was like finally being let into the ‘big girls club’. All of a sudden, I was approved by the many people who previously wrote me off as ‘unserious’. But with this new status came the caution of single women. Now that my old nemesis, singleness, had been slain, I had seemingly acquired a new one, which was uglier and came with several heads. And that was my single friends.
So, the question here is now that I am married do I need to let go of my single friends? As a Christian, I could ruminate about what I think, but what does God’s Word say? Let’s turn to a few scriptures to help us with the age-old question.
No one should have that much influence over your marriage
“This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.”, Genesis 2:24, HCSB
Marriage was God’s first ordained institution and we all know how important first-borns are! The fact is that a marriage is a delicate structure made to carry only two people. Any more, and it will break under the pressure. Any less and it won’t work, so it is the two people in it, with God’s guidance, who are tasked with the responsibility of keeping the marriage healthy. This means that it is up to you and your spouse to set boundaries. The scripture itself suggests that one man bonds with one woman and this bond excludes all his friends and her friends and all the other baggage that was previously a part of the package! If any of your friendships, whether with single friends or other married women are negatively impacting your relationship with your spouse, then it’s up to you to take immediate action. The same scripture in Genesis is repeated by Jesus much later in the book of Matthew, and this gives credence to its importance.
Get your foundation right
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV
Paul wrote this in his letter to the Corinthian church, which was a troubled church struggling with sexual immorality and spiritual immaturity. The yoke he wrote of (no! not yolk, the yellow part of an egg) makes reference to the piece of wood conjoining two animals such as oxen or bulls by the neck, whilst they carried loads. The animals had to be of equal strength and size for the whole operation to work. If not, they could not walk together. This is the same way our closest friendships should be even before we get married. The friends we consider to be dearest should hold the same understanding and belief. This verse has been used time and time again to apply to our choice of spouse (because who else will you walk closest with than your husband or wife?) but I believe this can also extend to other important relationships such as our business partners and closest friendships. Without the same vision and core beliefs, how can those relationships work? I am not speaking of superficial things, but the important, destiny changing stuff such as the belief in the sanctity of marriage. Regardless of whether you’re single or not, forming friendships that will edify and bring the best out in you is beneficial. Having the same foundational beliefs with the people in your clique will help you. So, if one person from your circle does make that transition into marriage, she will have no problems with her friends being disrespectful about her spouse or them not understanding why there are some things she simply cannot do anymore.
Both married and unmarried friends can be bad for you!
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
We’re looking at these wild Corinthians again! The city of Corinth was a cosmopolitan hub, a major city and port with a thriving population. Merchants were setting up shop, and Jews, Romans and Gentiles were living side by side, so corruption of the young church was easy, and ancient sinful practices were dying hard! Loosely tied to our previous point, this scripture hammers on the importance of keeping the right people around you. There is good and bad in all demographics of people, single or not! There was a time my husband and I were knocking heads over a particular issue, and it was negatively affecting our marriage. However, after many conversations with God, a private chat with a dear (and single) friend led me to a solution which restored the peace in my home.
You are in your friends’ lives for a purpose
“He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty”. Job 6:14, NIV
Let’s face it, Job was a man in dire straits. And after his wife in frustration recklessly told him to ‘curse God and die’, he was in need of some responsible friends. At each stage of my life, my friends have had their roles to play in good times and in some very desperate times, and I believe the reverse is also true! The people in our lives who have been loyal to us, until the walk down the aisle, should be treated with respect. If they are good friends, they will also treat your marriage with respect. Of course, friendship circles are fluid and will change as we navigate through life, but we should be more considerate of our friends living in a society that applies constant pressure to be boo’d up. Severing all ties exclusively because you are married won’t just hurt their feelings, but you also run the risk of cutting off their purpose in your life, and your purpose in theirs (as we’ll see in the last point).
The Bible exemplifies a beautiful sisterhood (between a married and an unmarried woman)
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”. Luke 1: 39-41, NIV
Mary was a young lady, promised to Joseph for marriage (meaning the two were engaged), whilst Elizabeth, a much older woman, was the wife of the priest, Zachariah. When Mary first received news of her impending pregnancy, she rushed to Elizabeth’s house to share the news. And it was once she set her eyes on Mary that she became filled with the holy spirit and professed that Mary was carrying the Messiah. It is worth noting that she never allowed her flesh to judge Mary for being pregnant outside of wedlock but instead allowed the spirit of God to give her insight into the matter. Also, this episode would never have taken place if Elizabeth had decided to turn her nose up at Mary because of her unmarried status.
So, there you have it! Five biblical reasons why you should not let go of all your single friends by virtue of being married. In the examples given, the scriptures distinguished people by their character and not by whether they were married. Be aware at all times of the company you keep, and never accept negative company, but be prayerful about your decisions. You may even acquire new friends once you’ve tied the knot! I wish you all the best in your singleness journey, in your friendships and your marriages!
Madeline is a sales executive by day and a freelance copywriter and blogger at all other times! She is also a sister, wife, daughter, and friend. Her blog, madelinewilsonojo.com was established to help other women fulfil their purpose as writers, as well as shine a spotlight on books by minority female authors. She’s a master of International Communication and Diplomacy and a current student at the College of Media and Publishing. In her spare time, Madeline is a lover of books, glossy magazines, TV, fashion and food!
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