Welcome to the first installment of this week’s blog. We will be continuing our discussion on the opposite sex and how we ought to relate with them. 
The topic this week is one that most people are always so keen to talk about: relationships and singleness. My perspective towards this might be new to some whilst others may already be familiar with some of the concepts. But I hope that both parties will be open minded to what I am presenting today.

I would like to start by presenting this fact: everyone is born single. No one was ever born in a relationship. This seems like an obvious fact, but allow me to present to you this question: have you ever thought about why God gave us those years of singleness? A period that so many now try to rush through without learning what they are meant to learn. Perhaps you may be wondering what exactly it is that we are meant to learn from being single. I would like to present to you the idea of being single for God- having your life solely dedicated to knowing the God that made you and why He made you before trying to find “the one He made you for”.
My friend Gareth in his blog “two books and a conversation” talks about the importance of knowing yourself and your creator; “In the mind of God was conceived the first man and the first woman. Yet before the two ever met each other, they each met God. Adam knew God (before the LORD formed Eve) and so too did Eve (whilst Adam was asleep). I slowly began to see that their very life as singles was hallmarked by this very foundation: God. He had purposed a relationship with both Adam and Eve prior to their coming together. Could it be that the solidarity of their love expression was a product of their pursuit of God- or rather, a product of Gods pursuit of them?”.

Most people view singleness as a daunting time of loneliness, sadness and self pity. On the contrary this is not how God views singleness. In 1 Corinthians 7:32 Paul says “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.” the apostle Paul was talking about marriage and singleness. And he mentioned one of the advantages of being single was you have nothing to worry about but how to please the Lord. Before God, the single person is not being concerned about anything else but His kingdom and how to advance it. God gave us years of singleness to know Him and serve Him in a selfless manner. Singleness is therefore not something to be despised and rushed through but rather cherished and maximized. Jesus Christ was single and so was the apostle Paul among the many other people who were single for the glory of God. 

This ought to encourage us to not despise our singleness. My plea for all my single friends is this; let us not be so consumed over worrying about when “Bae” will come but rather obsess ourselves over God and make Him our everything. Instead of looking to when He will bless us with Mr “right”, we may be satisfied in him, so much so that even if Mr “right” does not come we will still be joyful in the Lord. Let us not let envy over what our friends have rob us of the joy that is before us. 

Having said this, allow me to move on to the next section of this blog, which is relationships. To most people, relationships are just a normal part of life, jumping to and fro until they finally settle with “the one” or just settle. But this should not be the case with Christians. The bible does not talk about dating relationships. “Dating” is a recent development that goes back to the 1940s. In the bible, courtship was the only kind of relationship that man and woman had before marriage. Courtship in the bible was a process that widely involved parents where the two parties were getting to know each other for the intention of marriage.
As the world dates to pass time, Christians “date” or “court” solely for intention of the relationship to lead to marriage. This relationship period ought to be a God honoring and glorifying process that should normally involve parents or authority where parents are not available. As we discussed in the previous weeks, God gave us as women men to guard, protect and provide for us. Hence the need for parents, fathers especially, to be involved in the process of their daughters getting to know the man who might be their future son in law (the man which the father will give his daughter to). It deeply saddens me that in our Malawian/African culture parents have become so detached and alienated from the process of courting or dating that the only time they are involved is a few months before the wedding.
What we then do in such situations where it is almost impossible to involve parents (or where parents are not there) in the relationship, is where I believe the church comes in. Pastors, elders and other mentors in our lives are there for times like these. As young people, we like to live life like we know it all, but this is not how God intended. He wants us to learn from the people he has placed in our lives as mentors (Titus 2). Who are there to guide us in this process and help us make a God honoring decision on our future and the kind of relationships we ought to have. We don’t have to do it alone and make mistakes and regrets that we could have avoided by just asking for help. Sin thrives in secrecy and obedience in accountability. 
I would like to close with these thoughts: the world has told us to despise singleness and look for companionship but not commitment. The dating culture has made it easy to get all the benefits of marriage without commitment. The church to some extent has made us believe that being single is a “waiting” period before God sends you something better which is marriage. But the case is not so with God. He designed singleness as a wonderful time of getting to know and serve him in ways we won’t be able to when we get married.
The world has pictured relationships as a pastime as well as a trial and error process of finding a mate to settle down with after you’ve had all fun you can. In some cases the church has objectified marriage as the solution to all your problems and loneliness and relationship as simply a means to that end (personal satisfaction and gratification). However, this is not so with God. I strongly believe that a Godly relationship is where two people (man and woman) single and satisfied in God meet and try to discover if marriage is God’s will for them together. 
Which path have you decided to follow? God’s way that leads to freedom and satisfaction in God or the world’s, which only leads to dissatisfaction and destruction?
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. – Colossians 1:16”

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