Is celibacy always a gift?

Discussion in 'Family, Relationships, and Single Life' started by Kenmtb, Aug 17, 2023.

  1. Kenmtb

    Kenmtb New Member

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    Hi,
    I am out of my 40's, never married and chronically alone.
    To get to the point, some are given strong impulses to enjoy companionship without having the opportunity.
    Finding a suitable mate in today's world is horrible. So after decades of dryness, how can one consider celibacy to be a gift when it feels like torturing a soul that is already alone. Genisis 2:18

    PS - To be honest, I have heard all kinds of versions of "have faith". "keep praying".
    Can you pray hunger and thirst away?
    Thank you.
     
  2. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Have you considered that God may have provided you with many opportunities?

    If we ask God for something it does not necessarily mean the solution will knock on our front door.

    We have to go out there and try to find the solution ourselves. God will help us but we have to make some effort anyway.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    IMO celibacy is by no means a gift, but if someone has been alleviated of the desire for marital union, they have reason to be thankful!

    There is no explicit "gift of celibacy" in the Bible. The spiritual gifts are listed in 1 Cor. 12, and "celibacy" is not among them.

    Earlier in that same letter, in Ch. 7, Paul opines that it is better to stay single because one might be better able, with attention undivided, to serve the Lord in ministry. Obviously he would not have been able to travel all over the place if he'd been tied down by obligations to a wife (and likely children); compare Paul's ministry with Peter's, who appears to have been married with children and who stayed around Jerusalem (take that, you RCs! :laugh: ) & reached far less people & wrote far fewer letters. Nothing in Ch. 7 adds a "gift of celibacy" to the list in Ch. 12.

    The passage most often cited as evidence for such a gift is in Matthew. But if we read it closely, we see that those folks who cite it are putting their own interpretation (or spin) upon Jesus' words and drawing their own inference. Jesus never said that celibacy is a gift.

    Mat 19:9-12 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. (That's the disciples making their own conjecture.) But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

    Jesus told them something they found harshly difficult to abide by: divorce for reasons other than marital infidelity, followed by remarriage, violates God's commandment against adultery. The disciples knew that the physical and emotional strains within some marriages were so intense, it seemed like a mercy to exempt those folks from wrongdoing if they divorced and remarried. But Jesus said, not so. But he recognized that a lot of people will refuse to accept this and will divorce & remarry anyway: "Not all men can receive this saying... he that is able to receive it (the saying), let him receive it." In the part about 'making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom's sake,' Jesus told them that if one intentionally purposes to remain celibate ("to make oneself a eunuch", as opposed to one who is forced by circumstance to be one) so as to honor & serve God, it is a very good thing. But there is no mention of a "gift of celibacy" in this passage, and IMO it's been misconstrued by some.

    With that said, let me point out that marriage is not always the "bed of roses" it's imagined (by the single) to be. I suspect there are plenty of people who are married and yet feel as isolated and alone as you might, and/or feel as lacking in physical intimacy as you might. When faced with those feelings (whether single or married!), the best course of action is to push those thoughts away and not dwell on them. Find something to distract the mind, such as reciting scriptures or reading Psalms or praising God for His mercy and love. Or engage in some strenuous exercise. Distract the mind. Find some social activities so you will at least make friends and be able to share platonic friendships (it helps one to not feel alone and it busies the mind). Thoughts and emotions may still come, but they do not control you; you have the ability to push them away. Will they ever stop entirely? No. Nor will the desire to have money or more creature comforts (or another meal) ever stop. We live in a fallen world.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2023
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  4. Kenmtb

    Kenmtb New Member

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    Yes I have been trying to build a life but there seems to be a lot of unexplained obstacles. I do not expect things to come to me, in fact I have been struggling all my life with little to show. That is one of the reasons for being alone. Perhaps some people are forced away from companionship. At this point I am getting tired of fighting life.
     
  5. Kenmtb

    Kenmtb New Member

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  6. Kenmtb

    Kenmtb New Member

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    I understand that marriage is not always a bed of roses but if you choose wisely is it always a tragedy? The past few decades have been filled with praying, bible study, work, trying to socialize, joining groups and all kinds. The desire for companionship has not ceased to be a burden. I guess in this age we live in, some people will not find companionship despite the desire to escape singleness. Dating and marriage have become out of reach for some.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Most marriages contain some aspects of tragedy at some point(s) in the marriage. All I'm saying is, as good as being married can be, don't idolize it or think it will solve everything.

    I've been married for 43 years. My wife and I love each other and have been faithful to each other all those years. Bed of roses, right? Not entirely. Tragedy? Not entirely that, either. It's somewhere in between. I don't think I want to air our differences and problems (I do share that stuff with my rector, which helps), but let's just say we have grown apart in many ways. And I think we have one of the 'better' marriages on the spectrum.

    Out of reach: this has always been true. Not everyone who wants a spouse finds one. And some who find a spouse lose that spouse before they're ready. All sorts of bad things happen to people. As the saying goes, "Life is hard...and then you die!" :rolleyes: Paul kept praying that the "thorn" might be taken away from him, but in the end he had to settle for God's grace being sufficient for him. Please note, I'm not making light of your predicament. It's just that there are no easy solutions when we're hurting.

    Here is one stray thought I've just had. If you have been looking really hard for someone to marry, maybe you should stop doing that. Switch up. Look instead for people you can be good friends with. Friendships grow from genuine admiration and liking between people who share the same values, interests, and outlook. When a truly strong platonic bond is formed on those bases, that may set the groundwork for feelings of romance to develop between the two. (Relationships that begin on the foundation of physical attraction are less likely to remain strong over time, anyway. I did not date my future wife because of her looks; she was quite plain looking but was & is a sweet person.)

    In the end, love is a decision to commit oneself to 'be there' for that spouse and put their needs on a par with one's own, come heck or high water. Don't settle for less than another person who shares that value.
     
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  8. Kenmtb

    Kenmtb New Member

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    A lot to unpack.
    It is sad that you and your spouse grew apart in ways. I guess that is normal? I gave up on seeking a true Christian marriage long ago. There have been too many obstacles and setbacks to consider myself worthy of a real relationship. It is sad how the human race makes EVERYTHING so hard. Two birds can get together and set up a nest but people throw all kinds of complications and sadness at everything. These days, so many people are superficial and self-centered until I do not see how marriage can even be possible. It stinks to be forced to become an involuntary "eunuch" but it is what it is. I know some other Christian men in the same situation. Like you said, life is hard.
     
  9. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I have to wonder if you're trying too hard. It can subconsciously show. I believe it can give people the negative message of desperation. This will put people off.

    The way to meet people is to take part in activities and to join groups in which you have an interest. If you just joined a group because you think you'll meet someone but it's a group that is about something in which you're not interested it won't work. I'm not suggesting this is what you do but that it's best avoided.

    When you join in activities and groups in which you have a genuine interest just enjoy it and enjoy being in the moment. Relax and don't try to get something else out of it. This can lead to making friendships and may be meeting someone. But let that just happen if it does rather than join something with the express intent of finding someone.
     
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  10. Fergus

    Fergus New Member

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    The only time celibacy is referred as a gift, is when someone lacks the common longing to be partnered with someone.

    The benefit of moving aside that desire as a primary or parallel fulfillment than God, is that one is able to meet a partner with a more selfless intention.

    I can testify from the moment I accepted that my love for God should be highest, so much that I should prepare my self to potentially be fulfilled without a wife... Was the same time I was able to talk to women properly, and married one.

    TL:DR It is completely normal to long for a partner, and God isn't wishing you to forfeit that nature, but often the things aside from God that we think will cure us, is often the same reason it evades us in the first place.

    Set your eyes on the Kingdom, and maybe, just maybe, a partner might see the same thing too.