The rates of marriage may be going down in our society. But for most, you expect to grow up, find a man or woman to join your life with, create a family, and live happily ever after. There may be bumps in the road, but you probably expected to be married, and married for a long time.
Your mental life plan, conscious or unconscious, probably did not include being single. But for every one of us there is a significant part of life where you are living without a spouse. There are of course the years prior to getting married. And what if those years stretch into your thirties, forties, or fifties? What if you never get married? At least for some, marriage will never happen.
And then the truth is that marriage is temporary. Every marriage has an end. Your spouse dies, or your marriage ends in divorce, and you face being single again. Whether never married or newly single, the single life has special challenges.
I know what it’s like to be single: I was single for 48 years. The extra freedom you have as a single person may seem like small comfort when the waves of loneliness roll over you. If only you were married you’d have someone to talk to, someone to help make decisions, someone to go through the ups and downs of life with. And, how do you deal with your sexuality if you are single? Sometimes the Christian church has acted such that unmarried people feel they are not quite part of the club. And if you are newly single, you also are living with the memories, regrets, or other leftovers – both good and bad – of being married.
This I know: being single is not just a prelude to being married. God created you as a unique, whole human being, and you are OK just as you are.
For all its challenges, the single life offers wonderful opportunities to learn about yourself and other people, explore new things, and become more mature in significant ways. And most of all, being single can help you discover that God is enough. He will never leave you. He will fill your soul as no one else ever can.
So if you enjoy being single, that’s OK. If not, stay happy: it makes you attractive. Go ahead and enjoy life, and take God with you on the journey.
If you are struggling with the single life, here are some resources you may enjoy:
- Dr Carol’s posts on 10 Things To Do When You Feel Lonely, and 5 Ways Being Single Helped Me Be Happily Married
- For help in dealing with some of the deeper soul issues, check out Ransomed Heart
- For insight and help with sexual integrity check out Every Man’s Battle (for men) or Shannon Ethridge’s resources (for women)
Your Turn: What do you find difficult about the single life? What do you find positive about the single life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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