It’s not easy being single. Loneliness can make you vulnerable. If you do want a relationship, your efforts to develop one can feel frustrating or hopeless.
Maybe you’re single because you saw or experienced pain in other marriages you knew (such as your parents), and haven’t wanted to even consider the idea. Maybe you’re single because you got sexually involved in multiple relationships in the past and struggle now with guilt and wondering if anyone would want you. Maybe you’re single because you got out of a bad marriage, and now you’re saddled with all the baggage – both good and bad.
Or maybe you’re single just because – you’re single.
And why does everyone keep asking your relationship status anyway? Isn’t it enough to just be you?!
Remember that a bad marriage is so much worse than being single. If you don’t believe that, take a poll of your married friends. There are plenty of unhappily married people who would be glad to trade problems with you!
But knowing that doesn’t ease the loneliness you may feel, or answer the “Why” questions. So, what to do?
First, what NOT to do. Loneliness can get you into trouble. So in your search for someone to love, please DON’T:
- Grab onto the first available prospect, regardless of whether or not he or she is good marriage material. Liking someone, being kind to them, or even loving them, is not enough. Marriage is a life-long commitment. Make sure you can accept the whole package they bring.
- Ignore “red flags” in a potential spouse. It’s possible someone will change for the better after marriage, but that’s absolutely not the norm. Expect someone to show you their best self before marriage, and be alert to potential clues as to what problems could show up in the future.
- Manipulate someone to “force” him or her to marry you. If you have to do all the heavy lifting to get someone to marry you, you’ll probably have to do even more heavy lifting to get them to stay married to you. That’s not a battle you want if you can help it.
- Lower your standards on what kind of spouse you will accept. If you know you’ll only be happy with someone who is intellectual, or adventurous, or frugal, don’t let those standards down. There will be plenty of time later on to be disillusioned about things you CAN’T foresee.
- Compromise your own integrity. When you feel desperate it can be tempting to believe your sexual or spiritual morals are too high, and that letting them down is the only way to “catch” a potential spouse. But don’t do it! It’s not worth the damage to your soul.
So now that you know what NOT to do, what’s the alternative?
These are some things to DO that will bring you much happiness, whether or not you eventually marry:
- Choose to be happy. This is the most important. By far the biggest determinant of your emotional state is your own decision. No other person or circumstance has enough power over you to MAKE you feel anything – unless you give them that power. You can choose to be happy, sad, miserable, lonely, angry, grateful, peaceful, or any other combination of things. (Philippians 4:11)
- Learn to both give and receive. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) That’s not a cliché: it’s true. Your own happiness will often be in direct proportion to how much you give to others. And along the way, learn to be grateful for the things that are given back to you.
- Become the right person. Many single people focus on looking for the right person to marry. But if you want to marry a prince, you need to become a princess, or vice versa. Consciously focus on developing characteristics you want to have, such as integrity, joy, kindness, flexibility, courage, humor, and love. That will make you happier whatever your future relationship status is, and you’ll have more to offer if Mr. or Mrs. Right does come along.
- Keep your soul well-fed. No other human being can meet every inner need you have. You’re responsible to find ways to stay filled up: same-sex friends, artistic activities, rest, intellectual stimulation, time with God. Many of those things your spouse may join you in, should you get married. But growing up means learning to feed yourself whether you’re single or not.
- Learn to know God as your source. He is the only ultimate place you can obtain security, guidance, protection, love, and every other good thing. It doesn’t come primarily from parents, boss, preachers, friends, or a spouse: it’s from God. When you can learn to experience God as your husband, the rest becomes easier. (Isaiah 54:5)
And here are some Scriptures and other resources that can help:
- Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
- Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
- Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
- Dr Carol’s post: 3 Benefits of Being Single
- Dr Carol’s post: You’re Single, Still?
- Dr Carol’s post: 5 Ways Being Single Helped Me Be Happily Married
- Dr Carol’s post: 5 Ways To Feed Your Inner Being
Your Turn: Are you happy being single? Why or why not? Leave a comment below.
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- 5 things NOT to do, and 5 things TO DO, if you’re single. Tweet that.
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