A black and white photo captures a solitary figure walking along a deserted path, surrounded by lush greenery, symbolizing a divine intervention guiding one towards a life of solitude.

How To Tell When God Wants You To Stay Single

Many people who are single wonder if staying unmarried is part of God’s plan for their lives. Figuring out God’s will in this area can be challenging, but by looking for signs and seeking wisdom, you can gain insight into whether singleness is the path God has for you right now.

If you’re wondering if God wants you to stay single, here are some signs to look for that may indicate singleness is part of His will for this season of your life: You have a deep sense of contentment in your singleness, you feel a strong call to ministry or mission work, your prayers about relationships go unanswered, your circumstances make marriage very difficult currently, and you have a passion for strengthening your relationship with God.

Sense of Contentment in Singleness

Feeling fulfilled and satisfied with life as a single person

When God wants you to stay single, you will likely feel a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in your life even without being in a romantic relationship. As a single person, you can find joy in meaningful friendships, thriving in your career, pursuing hobbies and interests that you are passionate about, and growing in your faith.

You recognize that you don’t need a partner to have a rich, blessed life. Content single people realize that their identity and worth is found in who God says they are, not in their relationship status.

They have learned to embrace the unique opportunities of the single life rather than seeing singleness as an inferior state. As Apostle Paul wrote, singleness enables greater devotion to the Lord without divided interests (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

Not desperately longing for a relationship or marriage

Singles who are thriving in God’s purpose for the season typically do not have an intense, restless longing for a romantic relationship or marriage. That is not to say they never desire marriage – godly marriage is good and beautiful.

However, there is no frantic pursuit of a partner or belief that life without marriage is miserable. They are able to find joy and purpose in each day even while contentedly single. A desperate need for marriage often comes from places of discontentment, insecurity, loneliness, wanting validation, or seeking completion in another human.

But disciples of Jesus know their worth and identity is in Him.

As 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Anxiously needing marriage reveals dependence on something other than Christ to make you whole. God uses seasons of singleness to strengthen your security in His love and goodness.

Finding joy in your hobbies, friendships, career, and relationship with God

Contentment in singleness allows you to fully engage in the present works God has for you without constant distraction of pursuit for partnership. You can joyfully invest in friendships, both with fellow devoted singles and with couples.

Your career can flourish as you focus energy into doing excellent work. You have freedom to travel spontaneously or relocate for a new job or ministry opportunity. Quiet time with God in prayer, worship, and Bible study can become a cherished daily refuge.

Being single and satisfied enables you to wholeheartedly serve the Lord in your unique giftedness. When you find your identity and purpose in God alone, you don’t look to relationships or achievements to define your worth.

According to a 2019 Pew Research study, unmarried American adults were more likely to be religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular”) than their married counterparts. This suggests that marriage may provide a sense of meaning.

But devoted disciples know God alone provides ultimate meaning and joy.

Strong Call to Ministry or Mission Work

Feeling drawn to religious vocations that require celibacy

Some feel deeply called to religious vocations like becoming a priest, nun, monk, or other roles that require a commitment to celibacy. This allows them to devote themselves fully to spiritual service without the potential distractions of family obligations.

According to a 2017 Pew Research study, there are over 400,000 Catholic priests and 180,000 nuns globally dedicating themselves in this manner.

Discerning a true call to celibate religious life requires thoughtful prayer and reflection. One should carefully analyze motivations to ensure the desire arises from a pure willingness to serve God, not simply a wish to avoid marriage responsibilities.

Supportive mentors like pastors or spiritual directors can assist with this process. If peace and purpose remain through challenging times of introspection, that confirms the authenticity of the calling.

Wanting to devote yourself fully to ministry without distraction of family

Some deeply passionate about church ministry realize that the immense responsibilities of marriage and parenting may prevent the complete devotion they wish to give. While raising children and shepherding a congregation both require great commitment and care, doing justice to both often proves extremely difficult.

According to a 2017 New York Times article, over 35% of pastors say that balancing ministry and family obligations is frequently stressful. This bleeds over into their pastoral effectiveness and family dynamics. Singleness frees more energy to focus on serving church members.

Desiring to participate long-term in mission work abroad

Many with a heart for advancing the Gospel worldwide discover the unique opportunities afforded by extended overseas missions. Long-term presence enables deep involvement with humanitarian efforts and progress sharing truth.

However, uprooting family or constantly traveling together poses major hurdles.

A 2019 study by The Traveling Team notes that over 60% of cross-cultural missionaries remain single. While not better or holier than married couples engaged in missions, single men and women often prove more available for living in difficult environments or fluid travel.

Unanswered Prayers About Relationships

Praying frequently for clarity about marriage without clear answers

Many single Christians pray regularly for God to show them if and when they should get married, but don’t receive clear direction. Despite repeatedly asking God if there is someone they should date or pursue marriage with, they may only experience silence or uncertainty in response (1 Corinthians 13:12).

This unanswered prayer can signify God wants them to remain single for the present time, whether for a season or for their whole lives.

Not seeing God open any dating relationship doors despite praying

Singles who desire marriage often pray for God to open doors for meeting a potential spouse. However, some find that despite their faithful requests, no promising dating relationships develop. Repeatedly, there are no connections in sight, even after pursuing activities like online dating or attending singles events in churches.

While frustrating, this lack of open relationship doors after petitioning God may indicate His desire for them to serve Him as a single person right now (Jeremiah 29:11).

God closing doors to certain relationships you pursued

There are times when a single Christian believes they have found a romantic prospect to date and even marry. However, after beginning the relationship and progressing further, obstacles arise that ultimately cause the couple to part ways.

Things end despite both individuals’ strong feelings and earnest attempts to make it work out. This can be God clearly intervening to close the door to that specific relationship for good reasons, signaling to the person that the Lord sees their long-term purpose as an unmarried life (Proverbs 19:21).

They need to surrender their own desires to God’s higher plan for them.

Circumstances Make Marriage Very Difficult

Having health issues or disabilities that would make marriage very hard

Marriage requires energy, commitment and selflessness that can be extremely challenging for those with chronic health conditions or disabilities (Focus on the Family). Caring for one’s own health needs while also meeting the needs of a spouse takes exceptional effort and time management skills.

According to research, nearly 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. lives with some type of disability (CDC).

Those with disabilities may wonder if it’s fair or wise to get married. They may fear being a burden on a spouse, having limitations in marital intimacy, or not being able to sufficiently contribute to family responsibilities. While challenging, many with disabilities do have fulfilling marriages.

Each person must prayerfully weigh their own circumstances, abilities and support systems.

Needing to care for aging parents or sick family members

Being a caregiver for aging parents or other family members leaves little time for dating and marriage. In the U.S., over 53 million adults care for their ill or disabled family members (Caregiver.org).

Balancing those caregiving duties along with the demands of marriage takes great sacrifice and energy. While some do manage both caregiving and marriage, many become so exhausted and overwhelmed that romantic relationships fall to the wayside.

For young adults still living at home with parents requiring significant care, moving forward toward marriage may seem nearly impossible. Pray for wisdom in discerning seasons and priorities. Caregiving is often temporary, so remaining open to marriage down the road may be wise even if dating is not feasible in the present.

Financial or living situations not conducive to supporting a family

Financial instability or unsuitable living arrangements can make moving toward marriage extremely difficult. Providing for the financial and housing needs of a spouse and potential children requires adequate income and living space.

  • Over 25% of U.S. adults ages 18-34 live in multigenerational households, compared to under 20% in 2001 (Pew Research). Trying to build marital intimacy while living with extended family poses challenges.
  • The average wedding cost over $28,000 in 2021, presenting a major financial obstacle (Lending Tree). Saving up for such expenses may delay marriage timelines.

Seeking wise financial counsel, furthering education for increased earning potential, developing room rental savings plans, or looking into affordable housing options could help overcome current barriers. While frustrating, patience and perseverance may better position singles for marriage later on.

Deep Passion to Grow Relationship with God

Feeling strongly that this season is for deepening intimacy with God

When an awesome sense of wanting to go deeper spiritually grips you, it likely signals God drawing you into greater intimacy. This stirring comes with an inkling that now is the time to prioritize connecting with God above all else.

Pursuing marriage or career may distract you from fully focusing on Scripture study, prayer, worship, and Christian service.

As Crosswalk.com shares, when you have an burning desire to put God first before all else, staying single for a season enables nurturing closeness with Christ without divided interests. It’s a special time to devote yourself completely to spiritual growth.

Wanting to devote time fully to Scripture study and prayer

If your heart longs to dive deep into God’s Word and you have an insatiable appetite for Biblical truth, staying single can provide more available time for in-depth Scripture study and prayer. Marriage and family responsibilities may limit focused time solely on pursuing God.

According to Boundless.org, nearly 75% of single adults in churches have more flexibility to serve God through ministries than their married counterparts. With open blocks of time, you can soak richly in the Scriptures, intercede fervently in prayer, and bless others abundantly.

Sensing that marriage would distract from your spiritual development

Being single enables embracing a season solely set apart for God without divided attention. If you sense marriage may disrupt your spiritual growth, joyfully embracing singleness allows nurturing intimacy with Christ as your first priority.

As the apostle Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, the married person has divided interests between pleasing their spouse and pursuing the Lord. The unmarried person can focus fully on the Lord and His work.

While marriage is good, your deep desire to keep God number one signals this special time of singlehood.

In a Christianity Today article, Lysa TerKeurst encourages cherishing the gift of singleness to deepen thriving spirituality that blesses you and overflows to serve others.


Discerning God’s will for your marital status can be challenging, but looking for these signs can provide guidance. Most importantly, continue seeking God in prayer about your path. If He wants you to remain single for now, trust that He has good plans to use you powerfully in this season as you pursue closeness with Him.

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