“Just give me single minded love,
Lord I give you all of me,
‘Cause I don’t want to worry anymore,
About the one that I might meet.
Lord I know You have a plan,
Though at times its hard to see.
Just give me single minded love,
Lord I give You all of me.”
I loved being single. I did get lonely, but generally, I like being on my own. It hasn’t always been that way though. Ever since the cradle it seems I have had this preoccupation, this drive that imprinted on me the message that I needed a man. Maybe it is cultural, maybe it has always subconsciously been a way of filling my unmet needs for unconditional love, acceptance and security. Once I became a Christian it took a back seat and became less pressing, but it still remained, and would rear its head and make me feel like a failure. Finally, I saw the truth about what I was doing, and God healed my co-dependence. I began to see He had given me work to complete, gifts and people around me which were maybe more fulfilling than a relationship would have been. At that stage I still needed to grow in many areas. Any choices I made about relationships ended up in my getting more hurt. It was better for me to be “alone.”
I have never been totally “boy crazy” like the girls at school, but still, dealing with singleness has been a huge issue for me. I wanted to be married by the time I was twenty-five, and that didn’t happen. I didn’t enter my first long term relationship until I was thirty-one. I remember being exceptionally depressed on my twenty-fifth birthday. I was part way to my goals. Living by myself, had a car, my independence, but work was not what I wanted it to be. I hadn’t started writing and using my gifts by this stage, and life was totally empty. I know I am not the only one who has felt that way. On doing an internet search about singleness, all I could find was thousands of links to dating services and chat rooms. The only places where there were positive articles on being single, and still leading a fulfilling life were on Christian ministry sites. That spoke volumes to me. In a society where we have many single parents through relationship breakdowns, still people were relentlessly pursuing the ultimate match, feeling empty and like social misfits without it. I know Christians have the same views quite often, but isn’t it comforting to know that God accepts us as complete individuals in Him. We are never written off by our Heavenly Father because we don’t have something the world tells us is so necessary.
I know I am not alone in my experience. In her column on Crosswalk.com, Lori Smith quotes a comment she received from a reader about singleness. “I struggled for 20 years with being single. I wanted God’s will, but I wanted so desperately to get married. I could not understand why God would not give me a husband if He loved me.” Another anonymous quote on a secular web site made a good point from another angle, “It is tremendous freedom not to ride the love/sex roller coaster – I have very serious career goals that takes a lot of energy, concentration and time. The last thing I want to do is spend my spare time listening to some half-wit in a bar rambling on…” Being single can bring an enjoyable freedom to experience life, make the best use of your time to develop your hobbies and talents, and to put the energy into learning solid, reliable relationship skills in your interaction with friends and family. Though the challenge is to enjoy that season of your life without considering it stage one for the all important next act: marriage. Like any area of life, how content you are is going to depend on your focus. If you make the most of what you’ve got and live in a balance, then you may find the hunger to become joined exclusively to another person will diminish, as your enjoyment in other areas of your life grows.
There are still many social expectations of getting married. I have been asked many times by friends I haven’t seen for a long time, what my current marital status is, and sometimes meeting other people’s downcast looks and being confronted with “Oh well never mind, one day it will happen,” can be undermining and depressing. However, if we know that God has a plan for our lives, and that He brings things along in perfect timing, we can look forward to our life getting better and better, single or not. Married couples can have many more problems to face than a single person. It is not necessarily the better lifestyle, just a different one. Crosswalk. com and the 700 Club both had several articles on being single and content that I would recommend reading. Here is an abbreviated version on strategies they suggested to survive as a happy single.
– Let God worry about your future. He promises that it will be good. (Jeremiah 29:11) In the gospels you can also read about the gifts He has given us, and the promises that we all have a role to play in life, and we have everything we need in Him.
– Learn to value yourself as a unique individual. Take the time to discover more about you, try new things, meet new people, and develop to be the best you can be for you.
– Concentrate on building a strong relationship with God. Even the Apostle Paul said it is easier to be single, as you can focus on God, where as the married person focuses on their partner instead. He is the ultimate husband (Isaiah 54) and will always be more able and more available to meet our needs and listen to us than any partner: twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! Man disappoints us, but God is always faithful.
– Bless others with your time and talents. Try some voluntary work, of get involved in church or community activities. Focussing on finding the right partner rather than making the most of your time and life, no matter what your circumstances, can lead to becoming very selfish and insular.
– Obsessively looking at your own needs robs you, and robs others.
– Enjoy being your own boss! It’s great to be able to eat when you want, wear what you want, go where you want and be who you want, in your own space.
Being single can be a great blessing. I do still enjoy time to myself and I know, if ever I marry, I will miss the luxuries of being on my own. Being single can be tough, but ask any married person, and they will tell you it is far from easy at times. Learn to be content with what you have got. There are so many opportunities and advantages we have in western society. Make the most of it with a positive attitude. Life is going to be what you make it, and married or single, it is worth it!
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
By Cate Russell-Cole