Are you thinking, “Here I go again,” stressing about the holidays because you feel, by not being in a relationship, you are somehow “less than” everyone else? Or are you just tired of all of the holiday singles jokes?
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man,” by William Shakespeare, was just the first thought that came to mind. If you are true to who you are (I’m not suggesting being selfish) and honest with those you love and who love you then, with Christ’s love, express your feelings about the pressure they may unintentionally be applying to you.
Around fifty percent of marriages in America end in divorce. So being married is no guarantee for happiness or an end to your possible loneliness. Let this unfortunate but true marriage statistic work for you. It can take the pressure of even being in a dating relationship off you.
We Need to Talk…
The next time a family member, friend, or co-worker begins placing their expectations on you, consider initiating a one-on-one talk with this individual. If this person loves you, communicate how singles jokes/comments affect you. Reaffirm your love for this person and being home for the holidays, but that negative comments are taking a toll. Let them know that you often stress out about coming home. Share the divorce rate from the previous paragraph. Then ask, “You don’t want me rushing into a relationship only to have in end in divorce within the first five years of my marriage, do you?”
While they’re thinking, add, “I want to be in a relationship more than you want me to, it just hasn’t happened yet.” Throw the Jesus factor at them, “I’m learning to trust God in my singleness, even though it isn’t easy. Will you help me by letting the others know how I feel? Thank you so much! I love you,” Give a hug, reassuring this person of your love and enjoy your Christmas.
When in my thirties and still single, which in today’s culture is more like forty, I had such a conversation with my mom. “Mom, I know you want grandkids…me, too! I’ve dated some great girls. They just weren’t God’s best for me, nor was I His best for them. So will you please take the pressure off me by not making those single comments, especially in front of your friends, which is like saying, ‘Sic ‘em’ to a bulldog? Can you and your posse take a break from trying to set me up with every single girl who comes to church? I love you, Mom.” Mom and her girlfriends backed off!
Some people won’t change, so just consider the source of the improper comments.
Is This My Problem?
Maybe you need to change—not your relationship status, but your perspective. Much of being stressed is usually in our own heads. Honestly answer this question: “Is being single during the holidays a sore spot for me that has never healed?”
In my book, Single and Free to Be Me, I urge singles to like themselves. If you develop a healthy self-image based on the fact God created you in His own likeness, embracing this concept can produce some peace about being single any time of the year.
While I was single, at times I feared being alone. I tried staying busy or dating so I wouldn’t be alone. That wasn’t fair to the girl or me. Sometimes I was afraid to discover who I was. I temporarily fell into the trap of thinking that being in a relationship defined me.
How people respond to jokes often parallel whether the comments and/or pressure continues. If I’m losing it emotionally, then being single really is a problem for me and the jokes or comments inflame a legitimate issue.
Don’t erroneously believe that you are “less than“ if you’re not in a relationship. Hopefully, this isn’t the case because such thinking lays the foundation for a dysfunctional, needy and ultimately destructive relationship when you do get in one.
So thank God you aren’t in an unhealthy relationship. Thank Him for a family that loves you, even enough to make you crazy about being single. Thank God for your health.
And if you’re still lonely, help someone who can’t return the favor. Isn’t that what Christ did for us? Aren’t we more blessed when we give than receive? And is that the spirit of Christmas?
Photo credit: John Mangino