Now put your hands up! (Come on, like you didn’t see that one coming)
I want to talk about being single today because it’s something that’s been on my heart a little heavier lately.
Almost all of my friends are married. I have five girlfriends who are more like sisters to me, and four of them are married! Most of the time, our conversations concerning relationships have to do with how one friend is frustrated with her husband because he leaves the trash cans at the end of their mile-long driveway, or how another friend is feuding with her husband about how to spend money on a certain item.
Obviously these aren’t serious fights or issues (because my friends have AMAZING husbands and I am so happy for each one of them!), but my point is that in my circle of friends, I have very little relationship advice to offer. I can empathize and I can tell them what I would do if I were in their shoes, but still I can’t truly relate to their frustrations. I can offer advice, and it may be awesome advice, but really…what do I know about being married? What do I know about how to compromise with a spouse? What do I know about dealing with finances with another person? I share in their ups and downs of marriage, but I have no idea how any of it feels. No matter how prepared I am for marriage or how mature I am, I really will never be able to relate to or offer my best advice until I am there myself.
So today I want to talk about the opposite of being married, which is what I am. I want to talk about being single…and oh man, have I got advice for you!
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to pour in to someone who I deeply love and care for who is single. It made me realize that I have a lot to say to women AND men who aren’t in relationships yet, and I rarely get a chance to share any of it.
But thank God for the internet that gives me a chance to share all my wisdom publicly, whether it’s wanted or not (and that’s assuming that there are people who are actually reading this)! Also, a blog can double as an advice column, right?
So like any post that exists these days, I’ve compiled a list of points for you. These are the three most important things (in no particular order, because they are all equally necessary) that I’ve learned while being a single Christian:
1. Be single while you’re single
Whether you’re a follower of Christ or not, I feel like this is something that every single person should do. It’s something that I’ve only done in the past two years or so. In high school and a little bit after, I was always in a relationship. I had a few relationships that lasted a very long time, two of which were over a year long. Once I met Jesus, I realized that although those relationships taught me many valuable lessons, I was then eighteen years old and I had no idea who I was. I was considered an adult by law, could buy lottery tickets, and order things from TV (you know, the commercials that always say that “you must be 18 years or older to call”), but I didn’t know who Christine Darmanin was.
I was so young when I started dating and spent all of my time getting to know the guy I was with that I never got to know myself. I neglected myself, and that was a scary realization. For so long I rolled my eyes at the concept of “getting to know yourself” because it seemed so dumb! How could a person not know who they were? I mean, they’ve only known themself for their whole life!!
But Jesus revealed to me how much deeper that concept is. With all the distractions that exist in this world (most specifically, members of the opposite sex), it’s so easy to focus on people and things that exist outside of ourselves. Because of that, I think we need to value the concept of being single.
If you have been brave enough to admit the fact that you don’t really know yourself, be brave enough to take as much time as you need to discover who you are without a guy or girl in the picture. This includes all those weird “we’re not dating, we’re just ‘talking’” relationships: the relationships with the fuzzy grey areas that aren’t easily defined by the people involved.
I’ll define it for you: if you’re investing yourself into another person, whether it’s “Facebook official” or not, you’re in a relationship. The unofficial relationships are just as influential as the official ones, and are just as distracting whether you admit it or not. You can say that you’re “just friends” but you’re not fooling anyone. Trust me, I’ve tried it.
What do YOU like to do? What issues are YOU really passionate about? Where do you see YOURSELF in the next ten years? The answers to these questions take time to find and you can’t find them when you throw a guy or girl in the mix, whether you publicly call them your significant other or not. Don’t build yourself around a guy or girl. Find who you are and trust that one day when the time is right, you will find someone who shares your goals, passions, and dreams. I believe that that’s how two people build an honest and solid life together.
2. Don’t pity yourself
If you’re single or were ever single, I’m sure you went through this phase—the “woe is me” phase (if you want to hear about mine, just read my “The Twenty-Year-Old Who Threw a Temper Tantrum” post from last October. It was bad, people. Very bad.)
I’ve come to realize that this mentality—the “poor me, I’m single and therefore must be undesirable” mentality—doesn’t really come from inside of us. It comes from outside.
I look around at my church and at my circle of friends, and there aren’t very many of us left who aren’t married or at least in a committed relationship. This can cause a sense of panic, but why? Why does it matter if everyone else got married before they were 22 and you didn’t?
I had a really hard time when my cousin/best friend/sister got married a year and a half ago. I was angry that not only was she getting married before me, but I didn’t even have a potential relationship in view at all. I realized soon after how utterly stupid that was. Although it’s normal to want to find that person, that desire should never hinder your joy for others or make you compare yourself to others. Jealousy and anger surrounding your singleness is a sure sign that you’re not ready to be in a relationship. Marriage isn’t the answer to your problems and it won’t cure your unhappiness.
There is such a blessing in young marriage, and I’m so happy for my friends who have it. But there is nothing wrong with not being married yet. You’re not Cinderella. Your carriage is not going to turn into a pumpkin when your 22nd (or 25th, or 30th) birthday comes.
Everyone’s journey is so different. There is not a right or wrong age to get married. The right time for me to get married is whenever God sees fit. Clearly, it’s not when I’m 19 or 20 or 21, and that’s okay. It’s okay that you haven’t met your person yet (does anyone appreciate my Grey’s Anatomy reference?).
I know that when I get married, it will be the perfect time for me. I know that I will understand why I had to wait longer than my friends. I will know that it was worth the wait, and I already know that I’ll say that I would wait ten more years for that man if God wanted me to. Some days, being single is harder than other days. But knowing that I’m holding out for something that is better than I could even dream of makes it hurt a lot less.
Just because it’s common for people to marry young in the church doesn’t mean that you’re cursed if you aren’t part of that group. Don’t let the relationships around you make you think otherwise!
3. Purpose your time when you’re single
If I had to pick the most important point in this blog, I think it would be this one. Like I said, being single is more than not having a Facebook official title. Being single has to be on purpose. If you purpose to be single, then make a commitment to use that time as wisely as possible.
Being single is more than just waiting for a guy or girl. Being single is a time to allow yourself to grow. I have chosen to use my single hood to grow into the person God created me to be, the person that exists outside of any dating relationship.
I don’t really like when people say things like “let Jesus be your boyfriend” or “date Jesus.” I know it comes with good intention, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. It makes it sound like Jesus is filling the empty hole in my heart where a guy should be, when really Jesus is my whole heart. There isn’t a sad, dusty, empty space with a guy’s name on it. I am already complete because the love of Jesus makes me whole. He isn’t just a placeholder for a guy. I do believe He is preparing a special spot in my heart where my husband will one day be, but it is in no way a void or empty spot.
So I’m not going to say that I’m dating Jesus right now, but it is true that I have purposed to make my relationship with Him the most important one in my life. I want Jesus to be the center of my marriage and in order for that to happen, He needs to be the center of my life before a guy even sets foot in it.
Instead of wasting our single years in fleeting relationships or pitying ourselves as we wait for Prince Charming to come rescue us from this high and lonely tower that we put ourselves in, we need to take this time seriously. There is a purpose to your single hood, so commit yourself to finding out what it is.
Maybe there is something that God wants you to do that you can’t do when you’re married. I believe there is a specific calling for all single people, but sometimes we need to dig deep to find it. Don’t let this time be in vain.
After many years of searching, pouting, and being stagnant, I now know why I’ve been single. I wasn’t ready to be a wife a year ago, or six months ago. God is constantly teaching me lessons and helping me work on my character so that I will be ready when that time comes.
Being single is hard work, and it takes commitment just like being in a relationship with someone does. It takes effort and dedication to find out exactly who God has created us to be. It is so much more than just not having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
So make the most of the time that you’re single, because it is so important. I never knew how desperately I needed this time until I allowed the only relationship in focus to be mine with Jesus.
Finally, it’s okay to want to be in a relationship. That means that God has given you the capacity to love a specific man/woman with the same love and sacrifice that Jesus has for us. But you can’t just go into it blindly. Pray every day for your spouse. Take the time to become the person that your spouse deserves to be with. Most importantly, fall in love with Jesus because He will help you to love and discover yourself, and He will bless your future relationship!
There is no race to the altar to get married. God will get you there at the perfect time for you!
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” -Psalms 37:4