Running a million miles from acknowledging that we’ve all asked this question many times does us no good. Singleness at whatever age, and the rejection-of-silence in more broad terms, can be, at times, a self-esteem killer.
How is it that life marches on for some of our friends and they find partners and ‘happiness’ and we don’t? They complain about their partners and their lives, yet they don’t know how good they’ve got it. If only they knew how lonely it feels to be me.
It wasn’t that long ago for me: singleness. I remember those aching days wondering if things would ever turn around. And then there would be many bright days interspersed where I didn’t even think about it.
It’s not too dissimilar to imagine knock-back after knock-back when applying for jobs. The world seems to spin around perfectly without us, thank you very much! Many people who have their hearts set on a particular job or career (and haven’t received it yet) actually know what singles go through.
Sick of the Status Quo?
Life is interesting in that we’ll vacillate between being sick of our circumstances and accepting them. If we’re single, but don’t see ourselves as single—and that’s perfectly fine and normal, we will quite normally get sick of being single every now and again.
If we see ourselves in a relationship and married one day this tug will pull at us hard at times, for we’ve got unmet goals to reconcile.
What we have to watch is ourselves paying more attention to it. The human mind and heart are both very trainable, and not just for good. We can easily train ourselves into depressive episodes if we’re not careful. Before we know it we have a ‘season’ of quite unproductive and negative thinking to deal with. Then we have to clamour out of it; we always do.
Practical Things to Do in the Meantime
We really must believe that what God’s wired into us via identity is us—that it’s a reliable image, and that it’s not just “okay,” it’s ‘us’... a most acceptable ‘us’. If God’s wired us to not be celibate, that’s as good a reason as any to live as a person in hope of a relationship.
Yet, it takes courage to hope, because hopes are not always realised, and certainly not when we want them to be. Patience, then, must run with our hope.
Preparation for Possible Marriage in the Future
Preparation is important. If we’re really certain that being in a relationship and getting married eventually is for us, there is no reason why we shouldn’t live that reality now by preparing for it. This is a bold way. This is the ultimate in faith that God has a bright future in mind for us—one we’ve always hoped for (Jeremiah 29:11).
Preparation for marriage can happen in singleness. There’s nothing wrong with trusting God in this way, provided we’re not promising ourselves the realisation of this hope, and we always remain realistic (as much as we can anyway).
The sort of preparations we can make to eventually live our dreamed-of reality is to design change into our lives so we’re a better physical, mental, emotional and spiritual mate—both more attractive to begin with and more viable over the longer run when and if the relationship actually starts.
Besides all the above, getting ourselves into a ‘preparation’ mindset can actually be the perfect distraction. So, every time we begin to pine for a relationship we can respond by doing something to prepare for the relationship.
Dealing with Fear
Fear is normal. Fear and anxiety get us to the place of doubt, and that too is normal. How we deal with our fears and anxieties is made easier if we do two things. First, we understand where the fear’s issued from—the little girl or little boy inside each of us. We calm our emotional self with self-empathy. Second, we use our logical minds to subject the item of fear or anxiety to the truth.
Some people will think that life’s missed them out, that they’re perhaps missing, or have missed, their opportunities. Try to reject this thinking. The truth is no matter whether you’re twenty or eighty you still have hope of realising your vision of finding the partner of your dreams.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.