As a twentysomething Jesus-loving, Bible-reading, church-attending female, I am aware that I have already failed to meet the expectations of the older generation and even my peers by not having a significant other. And, to be quite honest with you, I don’t even know who I want him to be yet.
Passionate about Jesus and others? Check.
Authentic, full of integrity? Check.
A good leader? Check.
Great fashion sense and the ability to play guitar? Well … I’ll take what I get.
It sometimes seems like singleness is regarded as some sort of disease, often even by those who are single themselves.
The elusive search for the husband or wife can dominate the forefront of our minds. It has motivated many us to attend camps, workshops and Sunday services.
If we are to look at things realistically, Christian singles (sadly we even have our own category) have few places to go to find their future spouse. For many of us, bars and clubs aren’t our scene, and the majority of our week is taken up by work and church-related activities. It therefore makes sense that church camps and young adult “retreats” have become the norm for finding our soul mate.
But what happens to those of us who have reached that twentysomething (or, God help us, thirtysomething) age and still haven’t found a suitable partner? We have attended the conferences, read the books, church hopped, and most likely even made up a list of qualities we are seeking in a future partner that we pray about daily. Yet every time we walk into the coffeehouse or the Sunday service alone, we are acutely aware that God hasn’t granted us this desire as of yet, and we’re forced to sit next to the loving couples or our single friends we are simply not interested in.
I could not give you a name or even an image of the person I believe I am meant to live the rest of my life with. And as a twentysomething Christian, that can sometimes be a little embarrassing.
Perhaps it is the innate need in most of us to be intimate emotionally, spiritually and physically that drives us to desire a significant other. In Christian circles this can often result in marriage at a young age due to our values surrounding intimacy — “no sex outside of marriage!” In any case, it can seem that if in our mid-twenties we have nothing to show of the future son- or daughter-in-law and (gulp) grandchildren our families and the church congregation seems to expect, we have passed our use-by date.
In all this, it has occurred to me that perhaps there is a reason I am still single.
And unlike our culture, which tells us we “need” a partner, I have come to realize that God may just be happy for me to stay single for a time yet. Here are some reasons why it may be beneficial for us to stay single until we meet someone truly worth giving our hearts to:
We can focus on fulfilling God’s will in our lives
By not having a significant other, our motivation to seek after God’s plans for our lives can be concentrated, as we do not have to divide our attention with a relationship. This means we are able and willing to act quickly when asked to move or dramatically alter an aspect of our lives for Christ.
We can learn to love ourselves
Many of us chronically look for affirmation in our significant others, so how can we expect our future husband or wife to love us completely when we don’t even love ourselves? Males and females alike can use their “single years” to truly learn their own self-worth and appreciate who God has made them to be.
We can grow in maturity
When the time comes and we do meet the right person, we hope to be mature enough to have a healthy relationship with them and with God, making for slightly less baggage when we get out of the “honeymoon” stage.
We can learn to take care of ourselves
By increasing our strengths and developing our weaknesses, we will one day be able to contribute to a healthy marriage and know we are capable of doing things when our spouse is working or out of town. No one likes a clingy spouse, right?
We can learn to fully find our identity in God
By refusing to seek a partner due to our insecurities, we can focus on knowing Christ more intimately, thus having a fuller knowledge of our identity once we enter into a relationship.
Considering the positives to the single life and the fact that God values it does not mean we should devalue the notion of marriage or even our desire to meet and do life with someone. Rather, it can show us that the time we spend waiting and seeking God before meeting our spouse is more valuable than we realize. Therefore, I feel I can celebrate my single status, because it shows that God is still working on my behalf as He prepares my future spouse and me for the day we begin life together.
So, if you are like me and are one of the seemingly few “singles” left in your church, do not despair. As C.S. Lewis said, “There are far greater things ahead than any we leave behind.”