We’re not sure what exactly qualifies as “falling behind” on our adulting, but singles often feel that their lack of marriage and children is a surefire delay of game. Because marriage is the next step in growing up, right? We will never quite arrive into adulthood until we check it off our boxes. We’ll forever be hanging out in some sort of post-pubescent, pre-grownup purgatory until someone puts a ring on it.
Forget that we might have made great strides in our careers, be completely debt free, have traveled the world, own our own home, or have won awards for being the greatest neighbor on the block—if we’re lacking a ring on our finger, we view ourselves as “behind.” And we think everyone else views us similarly.
Regardless of whether or not others do actually view us through the same lens, the truth of the matter is that the only thing we’re behind on is an understanding that marriage does not an adult make. In fact, adulthood is a greater understanding that we are more than our dating lives or marital statuses. But how do we tell our head and heart to just get over it?
SingleRoots Writers Say…
For wise counsel, we asked some of our SingleRoots alumni writers to weigh in on the matter. Here’s what they had to say:
“Don’t judge your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel. That’s one someone told me once, and I have taken it to heart in many areas of life, including my single life. I am single, some of my friends are married and others have kids. That’s their stories, and this one is mine. A state of ‘behind’ is all in your head. And if your friends are saying this to you, maybe you need to find some new friends that aren’t putting undue and unrealistic pressure on you to ‘catch up’ to their state of living. Take some time and dig into why you feel behind and what you may be imposing on yourself with your own plans and need for control.”
:: Sara Stacy, author of Are You Longing For More?
“I’m a single man in my 30’s in a rural community. I’m already ‘behind.’ But when I look around and see marriages in crisis and friends who are single again because of divorce, I’m reminded that I’d rather be ‘behind’ than suffering through the pain of being married to someone because I put myself on an imaginary timeline. I may sometimes feel ‘behind’ when I see my high school buddies coaching their sons in little league and talking about how to afford the swimming pool that their wife is insisting they get, but my mind has to remind my heart that there’s no such thing.”
:: John, author of Single Men in the Church [Part 4]: Absent Without Leave
“If ever there were a time to not feel ‘behind’ anyone, it’s now. We live in an era where individuality is celebrated like never before–to our detriment as a culture, sadly. But the good news for singles is no one is pressuring us to be like our friends. The only person pressuring us is ourselves–and maybe some of our mothers. You’re not ‘behind’ anyone because singleness is your lot right now. Trust His timing, not your mother’s. If you’re supposed to give her grandkids one day, you will.”
:: Liesl Bennett, author of Never Been Kissed…or in Love
Explore the Topic Further…
For further discussion on fear and how to handle it, check out these posts:
Feeling Like I’ve Missed Out on Some Milestones – “If I wasn’t in a good place, it haunted me. (I wasn’t often in that good of a place.) I found myself consistently thinking major cultural milestones defined me as a person. My successes and failures were a result of achieving—or not achieving—an arbitrary status by an arbitrary time. But that’s completely wrong. It can fracture my confidence and mask my true identity as a Christian.”
Confessions of a Late Bloomer – “Sometime in my late twenties, I gave God a deadline that I absolutely had to be married by the time I was 30 (and I fully expect him to explain to me someday how funny that joke was). Turns out, I was less than three weeks from my 31st birthday when I married my bride.”
Bittersweet Milestones :: Not How I Thought My Life Would Turn Out – “Call it growing up in the Christian bubble, being influenced by a society obsessed with romance, or just plain dreaming, but it honestly never occurred to me that I wouldn’t get married soon after college. When it didn’t happen right away and it kept on not happening for a long time afterward, I realized this waiting game was not going to end when I told it to.”
Love Is in the Air (and I’m Not Handling It Well) – “It’s not easy when it feels like everyone around us is finding true love and we’re not. But, to be fair, it’s also not easy to fall in love and have the people who are closest to us take the wind out of our sails because they can’t even look us in the eye or have a real conversation with us anymore.”