Emotionally struggling when one of your friends gets engaged or married while you remain single is quite common. If this is your situation, you may ask yourself, “Why am I struggling to be happy for a dear friend? Shouldn’t it be easy for me to be happy for people I love?”
For many, it isn’t that easy. The first hurdle to being happy for a friend who just got engaged is understanding the nature of human nature. By nature, most of us think about ourselves first, which doesn’t imply we are evil or exceptionally selfish. So while we are glad for our now engaged friends, we naturally think, What about me?, Why not me? or What’s wrong with me? You may even be ashamed of yourself for having such thoughts.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Usually, such initial thoughts are generated by our instinct for self-preservation, which I don’t think is a sin.
Here’s a biblical principle I’ve learned: The Bible provides numerous examples of reluctant leaders and followers of God. Do you remember Moses or Jonah and many others in between them? Often their initial response to God was “No,” or “I don’t want to do that.” Imagine saying no to God, the Creator of everything! But most of us do frequently.
Most of those reluctant leaders eventually did what God asked them to do. And then, God blessed them. Why?
God doesn’t seem to be so concerned with our initial response as the end result. God knows we’re human beings who have emotions. He made us. Emotions are natural, healthy, appropriate, and legitimate—but long-lasting relationships with God and others shouldn’t be based solely on emotions.
When God commands us to do things, He typically deals with our actions not our emotions. Another reason I believe God isn’t as concerned with our initial response when facing difficult issues is because He knows we need time (not forever) to process our emotions.
It is critical we don’t use our emotions as excuses for poor behavior. Immature Christ followers allow their emotions to control them. Mature Christ followers control their emotions. Additionally, I believe Satan can manipulate our emotions. In fact, as we do the right things, the appropriate emotions tend to follow.
Adding to your difficulty of being happy for your newly-engaged or married friend is the reality that this relationship may experience drastic changes. Your engaged or married friend will spend less time with you because marriage is now their priority relationship (after their relationship with Christ) and it should be. Your intimacy with your friend will take a hit, possibly resulting in your experiencing more loneliness initially.
So what do you do now? Consider two suggestions that may require some faith or test your faith:
Embrace your self-worth, not self-worship.
You need to understand and embrace the fact that you have worth. God sees you as significant because He created you in His image. Psalm 139:13-16 reveals how God took His time to create you, so you aren’t the wrong anything! You are SPECIAL! Ethel Waters said, “God don’t sponsor no flops!” So don’t buy into Satan’s lie that you are single because something is wrong with you.
Embrace the fact that God’s best for you is always right now, not yesterday or tomorrow.
Yes, even your singleness is God’s best for you right now. To miss this biblical principle is to miss God’s plan for you. Lamentations 3:22-23 says that God’s mercies are new every morning!
Marriage is not the utopia for life. If that were the case, fifty percent of marriages wouldn’t end in divorce. Your ultimate goal in life is your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And He is more than enough—just give Him the chance to show you. Jealousy and selfishness will block your view of what God wants to do in you, for you and through you.
What’s the hardest part for you about watching friend after friend get married?
Photo credit: Oli Joy