I’m such a fan of singleness. This article is for all my fellow single ladies and gents who’re struggling to find purpose in this time of life. It’s hard to embrace singleness when everyone around you is getting engaged or “falling in love” with potential marriage prospects (and gushing to you about how happy they are and how they know you’ll find the right person someday too). It’s as if people think your life can’t possibly be complete without a serious relationship.
I hear you! I too used to dread those good-intentioned conversations with family and friends (most of whom were married or in serious relationships) about my love life and whether or not it existed yet. The answer was always something like, “Nope! Still single. Hey, Justin. When are you going to propose to Louisa?” I know, I know — my conversation shifting skills were on point.
Love and service are hot topics in today’s culture, so I hope this post is insightful whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ as savior and Lord. I’m about to get to the core of my revelation, so listen up!
When you’re single you have more time and emotional capacity on your hands than your dating and married friends. Now is the time to do things for other people; to offer up your spare time, attention, and maybe even finances. You can serve more regularly at church, a nonprofit, or a service-oriented organization. You can go to various events and activities that put you in a position to meet new people and be a source of kindness, hope and love. When you’re in a relationship, your time and ability invest in new relationships is more limited.
When you’re single you get to choose how to spend your downtime. Why not use it for rest, health (mental, physical and spiritual) and strengthening your mind? If you’ve been unhappy and anxious about your singleness, I’d encourage you to use the time you normally spend wallowing in self-pity and worry about your relationship status doing things that build your faith, confidence, strength and friendships with other people.
Feel free to disagree with me here, but I truly believe there are more important things to life than marriage, sex and dating. Those things can be very good and purposeful when done in the right context, but they are not the essence of life. If you don’t have them, it most certainly doesn’t indicate that you’re a failure, unworthy of love or hopeless. However, it does mean you have more capacity to be a source of love and hope in many other lives.
It took me awhile to see my singleness as a blessing and an adventure. I can say in all honesty that I am grateful for the opportunity to have these years (and potentially many more to come) to invest in the relationships God puts in my life.
Yes, I would love to get married someday. The point of this post isn’t to bash marriage and romantic relationships. Much like singleness, marriage presents its own opportunities to love and serve. It draws out selflessness and sacrificial love — both beautiful and inspiring things. This world is in dire need of strong marriages that bear witness to faithfulness and devotion.
However, I have no current evidence of being married someday. Like it or not, that’s my reality. Instead of thinking of myself as a future girlfriend, fiance, bride, wife and mother, I’d rather view myself as I really am: Fully single until proven otherwise. Fully alive and living with real purpose and joy. Fully able to love and build strong relationships. I’ve spent too much time believing that singleness is simply a time of waiting for real life to begin. It’s not. If being in a relationship is how you define vitality, you need to check your pulse… then reevaluate your definition of life.
To my married and dating family and friends:
Your relationships serve as great witnesses to the world. I’m encouraged by the way many of you relate to your significant others. I have the rare and wonderful opportunity to know so many faithful, selfless and loving men and women. Please don’t pity me and my fellow single women and men. We too have lives of purpose and love, even in our singleness.
To my fellow singles:
Don’t be afraid to be fully single. Embrace this time of life, because you might not get this wonderful opportunity again if it ends. Take advantage of the time and opportunities singleness affords you. Use it wisely and use it well. I’ll do the same until future notice, so don’t tell yourself that you’re alone in this. That’s just not true. Stop waiting and start living.