I get asked quite frequently about girlfriends, having them, children, etc. It’s all part of the culture we live in. We value sexual relations and amorous relations. Having one is a sign of your “high-ranking” in life. Not having one is a sign of lowly ranking. It’s all backwards.
St. Paul tells us that relationship with God is the most important relationship to have. He believes marriage can be quite a strong barrier to relationship with God (1 Cor. 7:10-16, 39-40).
St. Hildegard of Bingen writes of Virginity speaking the words of the Lord that “Virginity was made by Me, for My son was born of a virgin…virginity is the most beautiful fruit of all the fruits of the valleys, and the greatest of all the persons in the palace of the unfailing King;” (Scivias, Bk. 1, Vis. 2, 24). She writes of the purpose of virginity that a woman “in her spiritual marriage…despises a fleshly husband” and a man which “conquers himself in this manner” becomes “a consort of My Son” (Bk. 2, Vis. 3, 23-24).
Back in the thought of St. Paul, we see that those who are single and remain single concern anxieties with the Lord only (1 Cor. 7:25-35) and are thus better focused on the Lord.
For St. Angela of Foligno who was a married woman distracted by sexual pleasures, marriage became a bondage (Rom. 7:3-4). She prayed that God would relieve her from the bondage that was being experienced by her sexual pleasures and she was widowed and her sons were killed as well. For many, this tragedy is an experience of suffering but for St. Angela it was a blessing and allowed herself to be free to worship God alone without the distraction of fleshly human relations. Our world values these fleshly relations way too much. Forgetting that the single and widowed state enable us to become far more dependent on God and less dependent on the relations of others. St. Paul recommends widows stay widows (1 Tim. 5:1-16), not that they go out and get married.
Marriage is not bad. Married couples who are called to be fruitful and multiply and generate more children for the Kingdom of God are called to bear the crown of martyrdom. But singleness does not mean that one is of a lowlier class. Rather, it means that one’s relationship is ultimately fulfilled not in the carnal human flesh but in the spiritual flesh of God himself. We live in an era of sex-positivist post-Christianity. So the natural sway of the race of men is to condemn singles as being of a lowly class. The opposite is what we find.