“I’m going to pray right now for God to change your heart about marriage.” Um, what? This was something a “prayer warrior” said to me after I shared my contentment with being single. Her immediate – and incorrect – assumption was that God had some work to do because I’m a content single. Let me first say that I really am content about being one of the never marrieds and I’ll answer your questions right off the bat about my “issues.”
Well, yes, I have issues, but doesn’t everyone? However, as far as my background in relationships with the opposite sex goes, I had an excellent father (who has since died of cancer) so there’s no poor role model issue. I was never abused or mistreated by a man. I’m not gay – although with gay marriage being legal in more states, I no longer have to explain this one. I just don’t have a desire to get married. “Tell me about your singleness.” “You’ll change your mind.” “You haven’t met the right person yet.” Need I go on? Some of the things said to me in my life have been amusing, others have been hurtful.
There are enough people comfortable with my singleness: me, God, my family, and close friends. Here’s my take on it. There’s no command in the Bible where God says a complete life is only available through marriage. Now, I’m not opposed to it at all. If He brings someone my way, then that’s His choice. And if I remain single the rest of my life, that’s totally cool too. You know why? Because the opportunities in my life are awesome.
I know there are a lot of singles who are “getting up there” in age like me and I honestly want to offer encouragement to you. I’ve talked to a number of people who are really hurting in this area because they want so badly for God to bring a spouse into their life. And there’s nothing wrong with desiring that and feeling a bit stressed because it hasn’t happened yet. If that’s what God wants for you, then He will bring someone in His timing.
While you’re waiting though, can I point out some of the awesome things about being single, even if it’s just for a season? These are some of my favorites.
1. It’s easier to quit your job.
Seriously. I quit a day job with good health insurance to go out on my own. Who was affected by that decision? Me. I could cut corners, eat ramen noodles, and wear layers instead of cranking up the thermostat to save some bucks. When you are responsible for only yourself, it is easier to take some risks.
2. No need for agreement with recreational time.
I go to the movies a couple times a year and you know who I usually go with? Me. All by myself. Here’s my thought for anyone who thinks that’s loser-ish. No one will even notice you. And if by chance, they do notice you, they are either 1) jealous that you got to choose the movie while they’re seeing one they hate or 2) maybe they will think you’re a loser, but who cares? You don’t know them anyway.
3. No sharing of the remote.
Assuming you live alone too, it’s all about you. If you want to waste two hours of your life on a Bachelor premiere, you can do that. (Um, not that I’ve ever done that, but I’ve heard about other people who have).
Because it really shouldn’t be ALL about you. Whether it’s a mission trip or volunteer opportunity, God can use you to do some really great things during this time in your life. Take advantage of these opportunities even if it brings you to the middle of nowhere. Now is the time.
5. Mind. Body. Spirit.
No, I’m getting all new-agey on you. What a great time to focus on these areas of life that make us effective with everything else. Do you want to go back to school or spend more time reading books that help you grow? Focus on building your mind. Your body is about eating right and moving. Feed it well. If you are like me and don’t have kids either, there’s no reason to bring junk in the house because the “kids like it”. And there is really no excuse to skip devotional time. When I skip mine, it’s flat out laziness.
I really believe that if you take the time, talent, and treasures that God has given you to develop who you are now as a single, you’ll be in a much better place if He does bring a life partner to you. You will enter that partnership with your future spouse as a fully developed person who is ready for a healthy relationship.
However, if you hate your singleness and feel that life will be complete only when marriage comes your way, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. Create a complete life beforehand because no other human being can complete you. They may add richness to your life, but they are not the solution to any emptiness you may feel.
There are a number of people I know who are happily married, others are divorced, and others are on their way to divorce. I would encourage you to talk to one of your married friends and ask him or her to get honest with you. If they’re willing to get real, they’ll tell you it’s not all butterflies and sunshine every day. Even happily married friends have often said they would like just one day of my life. They love their spouses, but now that they’re on the other side of the fence, they recognize some of the awesome things about this stage of life.
If you do get married, it’s a different type of life, but what remains the same is you. The type of person you are matters because you need to first make sure YOU are someone you want to spend the rest of your life with! Be your best you and let God do the rest. And if you do remain single, I hope you’re able to say that you’re doing okay.. or maybe even great!