When I went through my twitter feed or my facebook statuses through Valentines Day, I saw a lot of angst from singles coming through. Whether it’s the typical “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” line, or some form of self-pity or self-loathing, I felt badly for these people. As a single person, being single has become (as it wasn’t always this way) a gift to me. Outside of chastity, being single has offered me things that I could not receive in a dating relationship, or a marriage. For instance, over the past few months I have read books on string theory, developmental psychology, philosophy of politics and economics, and theology of social living. As well, I have been able to go to school, work a full time job, maintain relationships, and serve a non-profit. If I were not single, I would not be able to do this (at least not with the same level of intentionality). Because to say yes to one thing, is to say no to infinite amount of others.
I think some of the struggle of being single comes from an inability to accept that we live within God’s time. God can do what God wants, in God’s time. Somehow, we believe that being single offers us a less meaningful existence (a teaching that doesn’t come from God, the Bible, or even our true self), because we have believed society or the church on what exactly is “meaningful”. I hope we can come to believe that we are not to be concerned with who we are supposed to be in a relationship with, but rather, who we are to become before we enter into a relationship. The first one enters into all sorts of worry, anxiety, and a shame for having not been chosen. Whereas, the second one offers a sense of peace, trust, inner purpose, and a knowing that we have already been chosen by God. Fretting over who we’re going to marry, or who we’re supposed to be in relationship with, demeans the value of the day. As Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” There comes a certain peace in knowing God is working on your behalf, and you don’t know what he is doing, or in what time, but you trust that he is working for your good (future marriage included).
Lastly, I have learned over my short life that is wrong to ask one individual to meet all of your needs. I love watching UFC fights. I love smoking cigars. I love talking theology/philosophy. There are certain things that a spouse cannot do for you but the relationships that you develop while you’re sing, (that will hopefully carry into marriage) can help fulfill some of the things that your spouse cannot. As I have told some of my guy friends, “There are some things that only a bro can do.” There is something holy about being single. And, this part of the journey is not to be a restless search for the person we can begin our lives with, but a meaningful process in which we find the person to continue our lives with. There is hope, joy, meaning, purpose, and peace to be found in the single life, it doesn’t have to be filled with dread, loneliness, and despair.