Singleness by default

Could singleness by default be a vocation? What if someone just wasn’t very compatible with people and wanted to be married, but couldn’t make it work with someone, or is singleness by default just a “temporary way station” in life.

I don’t think singleness is traditionally considered a vocation, except when it’s connected with vows, but that doesn’t mean it’s just temporary. St. Paul says that singleness is better than marriage in some very important ways and even declares that if a man never gets in a romantic relationship, he does well.

Nevertheless, if you want to get married, and you’re trying to make it work, just keep trying. Marriage is a sacred vocation. Follow God and it will happen in His time.

Singleness is the state out of which some, though not all, people are called to a more committed state of life, such as marriage, religious life, or Holy Orders. In this sense a lack of calling to anything else could be regarded as the absence of a vocation rather than a vocation itself. In this sense it would be false to say everyone has a vocation. We would have to say that most people do, but some do not. It is the will of God for them to remain in this default single state rather than enter any other state of life.

On the other hand, all people are called to holiness, and some people are called to work towards holiness specifically in the context of perpetual single life. In this other sense singleness could definitely be seen as a vocation. This way of looking at it has become popular in recent decades, giving rise to the idea that everyone has a vocation, including those called to stay in the single state we were all born into rather than enter any other state of life.

I’ve been waiting for 74 years, but I never could find an attractive, Catholic gal who could make home made gravy and bake a cherry pie - who could also put up with me :D.


I am single by default – I don’t know whether being single is a true vocation, but for some of us, it isn’t very temporary (I’ve never been married, and at my age, it’s highly unlikely I ever will be). In my case, I was professed into the Secular Franciscan Order, so that’s my vocation. :slight_smile:

In the context of the Doctrine of Divine Providence, there can be no default or accidental life position. All comes about by God’s Design - therefore, if I am striving to embrace God’s Will and Divine Providence, I am where I am in life by God’s Design in some way and as laid out in the Doctrine of Divine Providence.

I think I’m with Tigger here. I would add that we have to choice to respond to God’s call (vocation) on our lives in every moment, no matter our marital status. The highest call we have is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. As we respond to that call, I think we find our “career” vocations in the process.

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