Lately, I’ve been pondering why I’m not married. At least, not yet. Maybe it was the wedding invitation I received last week that sparked this contemplation. Or, the fact that I’ve been reading countless Facebook posts from married friends about everything from their kid’s piano recitals to their family vacation in the Tetons to their happy news that they are pregnant again—and I’m still trying to get a date.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for my married friends. Truly. And, I have a full life. I have a job I like. I write books. I lead a Bible study for singles. I connect regularly with my parents and siblings, and I’m grateful for my amazing friends. But I still desire to know the joy of married love.
Why has lasting love eluded us? Why are we still single? Let’s explore some ideas.
God is all about relationships. In fact, marriage was His idea (see Genesis 2:18-25). But maybe, like me, you’re wondering when the right guy will say the words “I love you” followed by “Will you marry me?” to you. Six reasons come to mind:
1. You’re not ready. Maybe, just maybe, there are areas in your life that need to be altered before you head to the altar. Ask God to help you change your bad habits or heal emotional issues from your past so you can be more prepared for your next relationship.
2. He (or she’s) not ready. The truth is, you cannot change another person. You can’t make someone like you or force someone to do what you want him or her to do. When someone says, “It’s not you, it’s me” you need to believe him. If God has someone for you to marry, perhaps He is at work in the other person’s life; he’s still “under construction.”
3. It’s not time yet. The fact that God is sovereign and in control of all things—even my love life—gives me peace. When I have faith that God knows what He is doing, and that He really does work all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), I don’t have to fret. Trust God’s timing. Trust His ways.
4. You’ve made poor choices in whom you date. Maybe you’re not married because the men (or women) you’ve chosen to date in the past were commitment-phobic, emotionally undeveloped, or conversationally challenged. Whatever the reason, it may be time to learn more about what to look for in a relationship or how to better communicate with the opposite sex so you can be more prepared to get what you truly need—and give what the other needs too.
5. You don’t know yourself. Do you have preferences or opinions that are your own? Or, like a chameleon, do you change your colors to be like the guy you’re with at the moment? Remember Julia Roberts’ character in the movie Runaway Bride? She was so unaware of her own preferences that she didn’t even know what kind of eggs she liked for breakfast.
6. You may be single for life. The reality is not everyone gets married. Some people are called to be single. If that’s the case, you can still have a joyful and meaningful life. Check out what Paul has to say about the gift of singleness in 1 Corinthians 7. Single or married, God will give you what you need to live out your calling effectively.
So instead of complaining to your friends about the lack of single men, or bemoaning the fact that men don’t step up and initiate (Men: We want you to initiate and ask us out.), why not start with what you can do to make positive changes?
What can you do in the meantime?
Pray about your future husband or wife. Talk to God about this important area of your life and pray specifically (but also be open to what God has for you).
Live your life. Don’t postpone getting an education, traveling or living a full life because you’re waiting for “the right one” to come along. In this season, you are single. So go live your life and trust the goodness of God.
Prepare. Find out what good marriages look like. Read Ephesians 5 in the Bible. Learn about biblical roles in marriage. Read or listen to Dr. Dobson’s books and online resources for time-tested, solid ideas about a healthy marriage.
Deal with your stuff. Get the healing you need for issues like anger, rejection, or resentment toward the opposite sex. Learn what it means to forgive others—and yourself. As you deal with past hurts and heal, you become better prepared for a healthier relationship in the future.
Never doubt God’s love for you. Being single doesn’t mean that God is withholding from you, or that he loves you any less. Trust that He is at work, even now, for His good purposes—whatever they may be. Psalm 31:14-15 says, “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.”
The single life isn’t always easy. Nonetheless, I’m choosing to be “content, yet hopeful.” As I focus on the present and trust God for my future, I can be at peace knowing that God has His best for me.