Dear Single Friends,
First off, I want you to know that I thought about you last week during Valentine’s Day. I still remember how that felt, to be single on that sappiest of all days. Everybody in person and online praising their significant other can be hard to watch when you don’t have someone to praise. It’s hard, I know. I remember.
I know I’ve moved on to that category of being an “old married lady”, but I sometimes feel like I’m still one of you. Maybe it’s just because I’ve only spent a little over 2 years being married and I spent almost 26 years being single. Sometimes I have dreams (or rather nightmares) that I’m still single and my life with my husband was a dream or a vision or something (and I’m not saying that being single is a nightmare, though some might argue otherwise, but suddenly losing my husband definitely falls in that category).
Not that married life isn’t without it’s challenges, but single life is hard. I still remember that and I never want to forget it. I still recall what it felt like to somehow end up being the third, fifth, or seventh wheel at a gathering. I’ll never forget all the nights I cried myself to sleep because I felt like I was the only one who wasn’t married or at least dating someone. I remember clearly, painfully clearly, the longing and the loneliness and the struggle. It is very real.
That’s why I want to encourage you. These are things that I wish I could go back in time and say to my single self. I’m not sure my single self would have listened to or really heard all of them, but they are true. Maybe you’re a better listener than I was. Let the words sink into your heart and bring you encouragement. It won’t make the loneliness any less strong, but my prayer is that it will give you hope.
Your relational status has nothing to do with how God thinks of you or how mature you are.
Marriage is not a reward and singleness is not a punishment. Your relationship status has nothing to do with your spiritual maturity, your closeness with God, or your ability to be content. I’ve seen some really spiritually immature people get married to one another. I’ve also seen that some of my most mature (spiritually and otherwise) friends have been the last to get married, or may even be single still.
Don’t buy into the lie that you need to “do” anything to earn marriage or to get yourself ready for God to bring you a spouse. That’s just not true. Marriage is a gift of God’s grace. He gives it to us at His appointed time. It has nothing to do with our maturity level or readiness.
Marriage is not the best part of life.
It might seem like it, but marriage is not the ultimate life experience. How do I know? Because God tells us that there’s no marriage in heaven (Mark 12:25). If marriage was the best part of life, why wouldn’t it be part of our lives in the perfection of God’s presence?
Don’t fall into the trap that Adam and Eve did. They thought that God was holding out His best from them and so they disobeyed Him. Life can be lived out to the full even if you never get married.
God is not holding out on you. If He was, He would also have held out on His son, Jesus, who never got married. Some of the greatest human beings that ever lived were single. Marriage is not a requirement for a full life.
Things can change more quickly than you realize.
When I was single, it seemed like things never changed. I felt like I was always going to be single. I was 22 before I was asked out on my first date. It was easy to think that what I knew was all there was. I was wrong.
All it takes is one meeting, one text message, one phone call, to completely change your life. Change might be slow in coming, but once it comes, things can move really quickly. Don’t give up hope. Tomorrow is always a new day with new challenges and new opportunities. You never know what God has in store.
Sex is not as life changing as you might think.
Our culture is obsessed with sex. In many ways it seems as if our world worships sex. Sadly, this attitude has often crossed over into the church. Christian young adults and singles long for the day when they can finally have sex because, after all, sex is awesome and you really haven’t experienced life until you’ve had sex.
This is a lie I totally bought. I expected to see colors I had never seen before or something along those lines after I finally had sex. I didn’t. Is sex great? Yes. Is it a special? Yes. Will it change your life? No.
It’s not as glamorous as you would think either. It’s messy (which I was told before I got married and didn’t believe, but it’s true). It can be awkward. You can make weird, very not sexy sounds in the process. You have to learn how to do it well. That takes awhile and it can be frustrating.
It’s also a very small part of even a married person’s life. It’s not like married people are having sex 24/7. It probably accounts for 1% or less of their time each week. While dealing with sexual desire is a huge, awful part of being single, sex itself is not what we sometimes make it out to be.
You can relate to God in a unique way when you’re single, and you will actually miss that if you get married.
I always thought this was some sort of sad lie that married people told single people to make them feel better. It’s not a lie though. My relationship with God didn’t lessen or get worse after I got married. It’s just different.
In all honesty, I don’t have the same desperate dependence I had on God now that I had when I was single. I have a person with skin on that can comfort me, which is great. I don’t have those sad crying, yelling conversations with God about how lonely I am, which is also great. However, I wouldn’t go back and undo those experiences that I had when I was single for the world.
Those times really grew my relationship with God. I learned to trust God through the loneliness, through the disappointment, through the break ups, and the heartache in a way that I don’t think could happen now.
I don’t want to go back to all of that, but I appreciate it for the way it developed my relationship with God. Without those times, I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t have the relationship with God that I have.
The church needs you, don’t hide.
Being single in church can be really hard. It’s easy to slip through the cracks or end up ghetto’ed in a single/young adult’s group. Don’t let that happen! We need you in the life of the church! You have something to offer.
Make sure you have married friends as well as single friends. They can help teach you about what’s (hopefully) to come. You can remind them that marriage is not their ultimate identity. Develop relationships with people who are in different stages of life and different ages.
One of the best things I did when I was single was get involved in a women’s Bible study that mixed everyone up. I developed relationships with grandmas, moms, college students, and people my own age. These relationships were instrumental in my life and I still treasure them.
Don’t wait until you’re married to take your place in the church. God has called you now, as a single person, to be a part of His body. Listen to that call!
Nothing you do can or will disqualify you from marriage (or any other gift from God).
There’s no sin you could commit or any stupid thing that could do that could eternally keep you from getting married. God is gracious. Even if you mess up terribly, God will still shower His grace upon you.
You could have sex, you could be a prostitute, you could be a porn star and God would still love you just as much. None of those things would disqualify you from having a great marriage if God chooses to give you that gift. He has given that gift to people who have done all of those things.
You are never too far gone. The beauty of grace is that God doesn’t give us what we deserve. He gives us what He wants to give us because He loves us. May you truly believe that.
With much love,