From the Mars Hill blogs:
Too many singles have a list of what they are looking for in a spouse. The problems with this are many. First, most singles don’t know what they really need for fifty years of God-glorifying marriage. Second, the list is usually just their resume and a form of idolatry, as if marrying someone just like you is necessarily a good thing. Third, the list usually does not account for the future, like the guy who told me it was very important that his future wife love rock climbing, until I explained to him that if they had as many kids as he was hoping for she would not be rock climbing much since it’s not the ideal activity for a pregnant lady. Fourth, how about a list NOT FOR THE PERSON YOU WANT TO MARRY BUT RATHER A LIST FOR YOU! It seems very selfish to make a list of what someone else needs to be for you if you don’t have a detailed list for yourself and what you need to be for them.
As a single person in the church, one of the most important prerequisites to dating and marrying is being the right person. This means having your identity firmly rooted in Jesus rather than in your identity as a single person, what the culture says about being single, or what the culture says about marriage.
Singles in the church generally need to fight the propensity for idolatry in one of two forms: independence or dependence.
Some single people value their independence above all else. The idea of committing to someone is something that scares them to death. Rather than commit, they prefer to stay single, not because they feel called to honor God in singleness, but because they worship their independence above all else. Sometimes, the underlying root of this fear was witnessing their parents’ own marriage fail.
Other singles are like needy puppies that can’t be alone. They worship other people’s relationships and long to have someone they can be with—again, not to glorify God, but instead to feel secure and to find their identity in a relationship. They worship dependence above all else.
Rather than finding your identity in either independence or dependence, you need to find your identity in Jesus, serving him and his church well, and trusting him to provide the right spouse at the right time.
First and foremost, we must place our identity in Jesus and we must desire what he desires for us. If you’re single and worship your independence, you need to ask for forgiveness and ask Jesus if he has a spouse for you to pursue. If so, do so obediently.
Likewise, if you’re single and dread being alone, you need to find your identity in Jesus and be content with the season of life he has you in. Use your singleness to glorify God by serving him and his church and trust that he’ll bring the right person at the right time.