It’s that season that some call Valentine’s Day and as such, it may be an occasion of celebration or an occasion of some anxiety. Or maybe neither. Maybe it’s just another day.
Or maybe it’s somewhere in between…and so, I thought I’d shared some unsolicited advice about singlehood, marriage, and the in-between.
I ain’t no expert on anything but over the years of being single, being married, and being a pastor to both single folk and married folk, here’s some advice for those who are single – whether dating, engaged, interested in marriage, or not interested in any relationship.
Our ultimate identity.
Our ultimate identity is not as single people or married people. No dating status defines us. No person can complete us. No human relationship defines us. Saying or believing anything else is dangerous, unhealthy, unrealistic, and borderline idolatrous.
That _____ relationship is not the answer to your life.
Marriage is not the cure-all to the longings of your heart.
How do I know? Because I’m married…and it’s not the answer. I’m not dissing my wife. I love her…dearly. And my wife is a marriage therapist in Seattle and she’ll tell you emphatically that I am not the answer to her deepest longings. Darn. To say that a relationship, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a husband, or a wife, is going to be the answer to our lives and our deepest longings is simply just not fair to that person. And unrealistic and unhealthy for you.
God’s grand purpose for our lives … umm … is not for us to get hitched and married. Nor is it to be single and sexy. God’s purpose for our lives is that we be conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. God’s purpose is that our ultimate identity and mission are formed as daughters and sons of God…
Singlehood is not practice for real life.
Your life does not begin when find your significant other. Nope.
Your life does not begin when you get engaged. Your life does not begin when you get married. Your single life is not rehearsal for the real deal, for real life, for married life, for parenting life. You don’t become an adult or become a grown up when you have a ring on your finger. Nope.
No…your real life began yesterday.
Don’t believe otherwise.
And most importantly, don’t let others tell you otherwise.
Your future is not contingent on finding a “significant other”. Your future doesn’t begin once you find a life partner. It’s happening now. Don’t wait for tomorrow what God is calling you to do today. Live into your passion, vision, and mission. Your future is happening now.
Singlehood is a gift.
Singlehood is not a curse.
Singlehood is not a sin.
Singlehood is not purgatory.
Singlehood is not transitional.
Just as marriage is a gift, the season of singlehood is a gift. And as such, it must be embraced as so. It may not be a long season or an eternal season but nevertheless, it is a gift.
And if it is a gift…then gifts are meant to be enjoyed. Embrace this season. Embrace and enjoy all that you have you in your season of life. While we’re all tempted by that which we don’t have, take the time to enjoy this season. Embrace the possibility that you have more time in this season. Embrace the likelihood that you have more financial resources and as such, you can invest in yourself, in others, and live more generously.
Cultivate your friendships.
Build your community.
Invest in your passions.
Discern your convictions.
Remember, just because you’re single does not mean you’re half-human or not fully human. Life fully, deeply, and courageously now…
Get married only if you are called into the covenant of marriage.
For us as believers, there should be no other reason why you should get married. Not for convenience. Not for economics. Not to please parents. Not to follow the status quo of societal expectations or pressure. Just as singlehood is a calling, the covenant of marriage ought to be a calling.
In short, be purposeful.
Be the right person.
From here on out, only read on if you’re not called to the gift of lifelong celibacy or singlehood. If you feel led or called into marriage, this is important.
Like really important.
Breaking News: No one is perfect but if we’re not careful, we spend so much time thinking, dreaming, wishing, imagining, praying, and hoping for that perfect or near-perfect person…and in the process, we forget about ourselves.
Stop worrying so much about the other person.
Stop obsessing about finding the right person.
Rather, focus on you.
Focus on being the right person.
A healthy relationship and future healthy marriages involves a healthy you.
Been there. Done that. Learned the hard way.
Marry the right person.
This is so important that it’s worth a post by itself in the future but that’s for the future. But for now, know that there is no such thing as a perfect person. I already said that earlier but some things are worth repeating.
Notice I didn’t say the perfect person since they don’t exist but marry the right person for you. Marry your soul mate. Marry someone that resonates deep with your heart, soul, body, and mind.Please. Do not compromise. Let me say it again…do not compromise. Don’t forget that there must be a resonance and convergence of Passion, Vision, and Mission. A healthy marriage involves a healthy partner.