I never thought I would be unmarried and childless at age twenty-nine. My parents met in college and married young, so I grew up thinking I would do the same. One of the reasons I went to a Christian college was to lock down that perfect Christian man. Yet somehow the years have rushed by and here I am. It’s like the saying goes: “If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.” I do hope to be married and to have a family someday. But do I still wish I had married young? Not really. Just like being married, being single has its challenges and joys.
1. Not fitting in
One thing that really bothers me about being single in the church is the lack of a place for me. In today’s society, more and more people are remaining single longer. In fact, according to Google, “The average age for Americans getting married has reached a historic high–27 for women and 29 for men–a jump from the 1990 average marrying age of 23 for women and 26 for men.” Despite this trend, most churches I’ve attended do not have a group for singles. When I am looking for a fellowship group, I must choose between the college group or the young married group. I don’t fit in either category and I’m left feeling like an island.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:34) This is the hardest command for me to follow, and being single makes it even harder. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I do worry that I will end up all alone. I may never get the marriage relationship I desire. I may never have kids. If you’ve been on as many bad dates as I have, you start to wonder if all the good guys really are taken. As I get older and more of my friends have two or three kids, I wonder if I’m just too far behind.
God also commanded us not to be envious of others. I hate to admit this too, but sometimes when I see my peers who have a wonderful husband and beautiful children, I feel jealous. I think, “Why do they get to have all those things and I don’t? Why am I so unlucky?”
4. Disappointments and Frustrations
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of dating, and therefore I’ve had my share of disappointments and frustrations. Not only have I had many moments of painful heartbreak, I’ve been rejected, and I’ve hurt others. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been frustrated with men who are selfish, hurtful, flaky, or just plain bad at dating.
But being single isn’t all bad…
Being single has given me opportunities and experiences that I never would have had if I had married at a young age. I’ve had the freedom to move many different places. I have the ability to travel and experience different hobbies and activities. My fellow single friends and I have had many amazing adventures together. I wouldn’t trade our road trips and camping trips for anything. When I think back on all the memories I’ve collected, I smile and I wouldn’t change that.
Single life has allowed me to grow in ways I might not have grown otherwise. I’ve had to seek out a career and work hard at it. I never thought I would care about a career. Although I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom (and still do), suddenly I found a new satisfaction in working. I like making my own money to pay my own bills. As cheesy as it may sound, I like taking care of myself and learning to become an independent woman. Spiritually, I’ve grown. I’ve had to rely on God, trust him, and find my satisfaction in him. I’ve also learned to create my own happiness. No one, married or single, should look to someone else (other than God) to supply their joy or rescue them. Realizing this has made me stronger and helped me learn to love myself more.
3. A New Perspective
Experiencing what it’s like to be single has helped me understand others who are single. I can relate to them; if I get married someday, I can be sensitive to their struggles because I’ve been through those struggles too.
We all take different paths in this life. Everyone’s journey is different. We can’t say one journey is better than the other. But as different as our lives may be, we as Christians have one thing in common: we walk in the light. Whether we’re poor or rich, married or single, sick or healthy, sad or joyous, we have an anchor for the soul. That is the only thing that matters!
Right now I am dating a great guy and I am so glad I met him. I don’t know what the future holds for us. But no matter what happens, I’ll be strong because God makes me strong.