I have been talking A LOT about marriage lately. Marriage is my new educational crusade. I’m on a mission to educate the masses. But, as I keep getting new inquisitive eyes, and I am waiting for free minutes to call Pink Susie for her interview (9 p.m.), I wanted to make sure I put a little emphasis on Married’s ugly stepsister, Single.
As anyone who has ever filled out a form for anything knows, you can only be three things in this world: married, divorced, or single (never been married). No one cares if you have “a man” “boyfriend” “significant other” or, a personal favorite nonexistent term of mine, “lover.” All people care about is the ring: Do you have it? Did you have? Why haven’t you got one?
If you’re truly single, people want to know when you are going to find someone; if you are “dating” or “in a relationship,” they want to know when you are getting married–what are you waiting for? (*Note: Once you get married, they still “want to know,” only now it’s when you’re going to have a baby…nosy people never stop being nosy, they just switch subjects.) When you’re truly single, everyone assumes you are lonely, have nothing to do, are depressed. When you are kinda single (i.e., dating), they think you are anxious for a ring, daydreaming shared toothpaste and His & Her towels. You can’t possibly be HAPPY single. You have nothing to do–no family to raise, no life to create together. What are you doing with your time?
But being single is a big part of your development. You have the rest of your life to be married; you will never be single again (even if you divorce, you are now a divorcée). God has given you your singlehood as a gift, just as marriage is a gift. There are things you can do single that you can’t do married (or at the very least, it is strongly suggested you not do). There are plenty of things you should be doing while single, opportunities you need to be taking advantage of, instead of allowing yourself to feel miserable you aren’t married, or anxious you haven’t been proposed to. Here are a few things that single people should be enjoying, discovering, or otherwise taking advantage of while they are single:
- Making decisions solely for yourself: With no spouse or children to consider, the only person affected by your decisions is you: this is your time to be daring, indulge yourself, expand your boundaries and horizons guilt free.
- Spending your time any way you want: You can choose to give God all the time you want! Paul was a single man because he was devoted to the work of God and wanted no distractions from it. Without obligations elsewhere, God can have your full focus and you can develop your relationship with Him, and your fellow Christians.
- Self-Discovery: Now that you aren’t being kept by your parents, who are you? What do you want from life? Whatr makes you happy? What career fulfills you? What do you need to feel content? Safe? Appreciated? Just who do you think you are (and are you right?)?
- Chasing your dreams: While it’s all about you, you can accomplish those things you always wanted to do. Write your book, climb Mt. Everest, move to New York City. Do this while it doesn’t matter whether your spouse can find a job in a new location, when you don’t have to wait until everyone’s asleep to write a couple pages, when your money to visit France isn’t in Tabitha’s 529 or the home repair fund.
- Nurture and develop other relationships: Spend some time developing your relationship with Christ,. Learn to be a better daughter or friend. Practice treating people with respect. Build business contacts. Network.
- Learn how to be a good spouse: Get the basics down–laundry, cooking, cleaning, paying bills on time, handling money. Live in the real world and blaze your own trail. Until you can take care of yourself, there’s no reason to agree to love (action verb!) anyone else.
- Love yourself: give yourself compliments. Treat your body well. Practice loving someone else and taking care of someone else by loving and taking care of you.
There’s nothing wrong with being single; in fact, until you are a whole, well adjusted individual who can commit seriously to marriage, there’s everything right with being single. As Betty Wright says in “No Pain, No Gain,” “anything worth having at all is worth working for and waiting for.”
There’s nothing wrong with praying for a husband or wife. There’s nothing wrong with preparing yourself for one. But while you don’t have one, make sure you have YOU. You have to keep yourself in good condition if you’re ever to give yourself to someone else.
Content in Singlehood,