Is it Biblically based to say that a woman’s highest/most Biblical calling is being a wife and a mother? Or could another profession be the highest calling for some women, while for others it may be to be a wife and a mother? To illustrate, would it be wrong for a female to turn down potential courting/marriage relationships to pursue another calling in life?
A “calling” is always a matter of God’s providence for each individual. Since God created us and equipped us with gifts and talents based upon His desire for our lives, we ought to consider carefully what God would have us do in life. It is completely proper to say that being a husband or wife, and a father or mother are very high callings, for God instituted the family and placed it in the world as an emblem of the precious love and unity between Christ and the Church. However, it is clear in God’s Word that not all are meant to be married.
Whether God calls you to marry or remain single, that is the high calling He has for your life, as apostle Paul reminds us, “For I would that all men were as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that” (1 Cor. 7:7). In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul seems to indicate that singlehood is a higher calling than married life, but this comment must be understood in the context of life in the first century which Paul summarizes later in the same chapter with the words, “the present distress” (1 Cor 7:26). The church was undergoing a great period of persecution and instability, and those who lived single lives would suffer less. Thus, the Scriptures reveal the dignity of singlehood so that none should consider that marriage is the only possible high calling for men and women.
We may also add that God’s providence also rules in our lives in regards to being parents. It is praiseworthy to be willing to become a parent but in God’s providence, sometimes children do not come, and even adoption may not be possible because of unforeseen circumstances. We may, therefore, conclude that marriage and parenthood are very high callings, and so is singlehood, provided each one of us live with contentment and in obedience to what God has in store for us.
A good Biblical principle when considering the possibility of marriage or remaining single is to rely upon God’s Providence, God’s Word and God’s people and prayer.
1) Providence considers how God made us (1 Cor. 7:9), the circumstances around us, the potential relationships, etc. If the suitor is a godly Believer, that is one thing, but if he or she isn’t one, or isn’t even a true Believer, then it is clear that the relationship should not begin or continue.
2) God’s Word is the basis by which one interprets the circumstances in one’s life and evaluates God’s Providence to understand His will. The Word is our guide to become a godly person and consider who is a true and mature Believer.
3) God’s People are those whom we go to for counsel. The well-known Proverb says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). It is wise to receive counsel from as many people as possible when considering such life-changing events as marriage, ministries, careers etc.
4) Prayer is the grace and attitude with which we consider and become involved in each of these. In prayer we consider God’s providence; in prayer we read and study God’s Word; and in prayer we seek wisdom to know who to go to for counsel and once we have it, prayer may give us the wisdom to discern the counsel and the strength to follow in the right path.