The four of us walked into the Peruvian mall and were instantly drawn to the home décor shop. We chuckled to ourselves that the Bed, Bath, and Beyond equivalent was more attractive than the clothing shops. But we stopped in the doorway realizing the entering would be hazardous to our emotional health.
It wasn’t the nomadic lifestyle that bothered us in that moment. No, that was a problem in the clothing shops when “It doesn’t fit in my pack” was the best excuse we had not to blow our budgets. With the Bed, Bath, and Beyond store, the problem goes well beyond the next eight months and into the lifestyles we lead at home: alone.
A couple days earlier one member of our team cried in my arms because no man has ever called her beautiful, chosen her, or wanted to make her his own.
The loneliness, the lack of self-worth, and the fear of the future are all hard things to stomach even if you choose to believe the season is only temporary.
There are countless books written with entire chapters on marriage and including a brief side note of, “Single, you’ll appreciate this later” and nothing more. While that’s true and there’s nothing wrong with the content of those chapters, they fail to give the single value as an individual in this very stage of life.
Singles are marginalized in our culture. The world doesn’t know what to do with us other than try to marry us off.
While many of us look forward to marriage, that’s not the solution. Treating us “those who aren’t lucky enough to be married yet,” leaves us with an unquenchable yearning to have what the world says we should have.
We have to fight for ourselves and our place in the world.
1. Build a strong community around you of varying stages of life who pour into you as an individual not just help you find your mate.
The books are right: We have a lot to learn from married couples. Just like we’ve got a lot to learn from children, the elderly, and other singles.
2. Seize this season.
They all say it and they’re all right: There will never again be a season of life like this one. Use it to travel the world, get that advanced degree, or date to find what you’re looking for in a spouse. While it may not be your ideal season, take advantage of it while you have it.
3. Honor your future spouse.
It’s hard to honor someone you don’t know… but it’s not hard to be faithful to the promise you’ll make him/her. Keep yourself for him/her both your physical body but also your emotional attachment.
4. Be the woman/man you want your future spouse to marry.
This is a great time to work on your character to always be becoming the woman/man you’ve dreamed of being. Every day make one small step towards your dream identity.
5. It’s all about God’s glory.
Single or married, it doesn’t matter. Wherever you are in life right now, let Him use it for His glory.
6. Acknowledge that it’s hard.
It’s so easy to look at married couples and want the love they have for one another. Want the cute home they’ve made. Want the rascals bouncing all over the house.
There’s nothing wrong with a need for companionship. God Himself said that it’s not good for man to be alone. The problem comes when the need for earthly companionship outweighs the need for God and His companionship.
But it’s really hard to sit with your head on His chest, let Him stroke the back of your head, and hear Him say you’re beautiful. Yet no matter how long you are single, it is still only one season of life. It too will pass—even if it’s not in the manner you expect.
And someday—married or single—you’ll get to journey into Bed, Bath, and Beyond and design your dream bathroom.
If you know someone who is struggling with the painful side of singleness, will you email them this post to encourage them?
Photo credit: Ricky Rodriguez