I know what it’s like to wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. And get frustrated when it seems nothing is happening in the marriage department.

Yes, I’m very happily married now, but that didn’t happen until I was 48 years old. And I’ll tell you from personal experience, that’s a long time to wait!

For all the bad rap marriage has taken in some circles, the majority of young people still look forward to getting married at some point. And waiting can sometimes seem like forever!

Some people try to speed things up, and make mistakes in the process. Do any of these sound familiar?

  1. Grab onto the first “someone” who is available, regardless of whether or not they are good marriage material.
  2. Ignore possible “red flags” in a potential spouse, believing marriage will fix whatever is wrong.
  3. Manipulate another person to “force” them into marrying you.
  4. Lower your standards on what kind of spouse you will accept.
  5. Compromise your own integrity, feeling that’s the only way to “catch” a potential spouse.

Perhaps in the ideal world a young man and a young woman would meet early in life, and have mature Christians around to help in every stage of their relationship. They would get married at a relatively young age, have children, and pass on their rapidly growing maturity to the next generation.

But how often does that happen in our sinful, messed up world? Instead, stuff happens. Family of origin issues delay maturity. Church or job or other realities keep potential lovers apart. Older adults around young people don’t have the maturity or skills to help in the best way. Economic difficulties prevent what might have been.

Most of the time there may be no one “reason” why you’re single. It just is. And perhaps it hurts. It’s lonely. You don’t like it. And other people’s comments too often just make things worse!

I learned a LOT during my single years. I believe those lessons have made my marriage so much more enjoyable. But they would have made my LIFE enjoyable whether or not I ever was blessed to be married.

Here are a few of those priceless lessons:

  1. I am the only person who has the power to make me happy or miserable. Married or single, I’m about as happy as I choose to be. I have the power to manage my emotions, and nobody else can MAKE me upset, angry, happy, or lonely. (That was a hard lesson, and one I didn’t learn until well into my 40’s.)
  2. God is my source – of security, of love, of guidance, and everything else. It’s not parents, preachers, bosses, or a husband – it’s God. I eventually learned how to experience God as my husband. (And when I did get married, it was much easier to relate to my husband because of this.)
  3. If I focus on what I can GIVE rather than what I can GET, I end up receiving so much more – from God and from other people. (And now, from my spouse.)
  4. I grew up! Responsibility, integrity, courage, love, spiritual resilience, flexibility, joy, wisdom – none of those happen by accident. And I can experience any and all of them regardless of my marital status.

Not everyone will be married. And some will be married for a period of time, and then single again for any number of reasons.

If you are single right now, here are a few things I’d like to say to you:

  1. It’s OK to want to be married. That’s the way God made us.
  2. Remember, a bad marriage is worse than being single. Much worse! Don’t rush into marriage until and unless you are SURE this is the one God has for you.
  3. Focus on becoming the kind of person your dream spouse would want to marry. Become mature, interesting, loving, etc.
  4. Guard your heart. Don’t give it away cheap! If you do, the hole in your heart will only be torn wider and deeper. It’s not worth it.
  5. God can and will fill your needs. Talk to Him about all of them, including your physical desires. He’s big enough to hear about them all, and help you deal with them.

I pray your heart, body, mind, and soul are filled with the security and peace found in Jesus only. And then whether or not marriage happens for you, you will fulfill the purpose God has for you on this earth. And you will experience joy and fulfillment in the process.

Your turn: If you’re single, are you looking to get married? How are you dealing with the emotions and needs of being single? What lessons have you learned, if any? I’d love to hear from you!

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