How to gain clarity on your relationship AND strengthen your relationship with God
What if our teachings on dating, sex, and marriage are actually doing more harm than good?
Yesterday I saw a post on IG from a fellow blogger that said, “My abstinence journey is on life support. Send help people!” She writes on her blog about waiting on God. She’s in her thirties and stays active serving at her church and has her own ministry encouraging other singles.
But her post stood out to me because as someone who has devoted herself to the “Wait on God” message, she was being transparent and letting the world know that it’s tough in the trenches as a single person in the church!
After all, when you reach a certain age and see your friends getting married one by one and having kids, you get tempted to think that maybe the reason why you haven’t reached that point yet is because there’s something wrong with you. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually heard people say this about attractive single people who are over thirty. “She’s so pretty but she’s still single at this age? There must be something wrong with her.”
So now, in addition to the isolation you experience seeing your friends get married and spend less time with you, you have to deal with the stigma of being a single over 30 or 40. This is especially true for women because as we get older, so do our eggs. A man looking to start a family may see a woman over 30 or 40 as less desirable than a woman in her 20s or early 30s. And if things weren’t challenging enough, after 30 you’re more likely to find single men who are divorced or have children from previous relationships. That means you’re more likely to be dealing with emotional baggage you didn’t expect when you do get into a relationship.
So what’s a single to do when everyone is telling you “Wait on God,” but you’re getting discouraged from waiting so long? What do you do when it feels like you’ve waited long enough?
Remember your reason.
You chose to wait for God to send you a spouse, and to save sex for marriage because you believe letting God write your love story is what’s going to give you the most fulfillment. If you want to live your in obedience to God because you know it brings you peace and happiness, then going against your values will do the opposite.
Let’s say you decide to date someone with whom you are “unequally yoked.” They don’t believe in God, or saving sex for marriage, or any one of your other important values. Do you believe you can find lasting fulfillment in a relationship with a person that doesn’t find fulfillment in God? Do you think you’ll be happy dating someone that you can’t share all the aspects of your life with and know they’ll be excited about it for you?
I really don’t see that happening.
At some point, you’re going to get tired of not being able to share everything with the person you’re dating, especially if you’ve waited this long. You’ll feel like something important is missing from your relationship.
If you feel like you really, really, really just want to experience sexual intimacy, I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that you’ll be disappointed. Sex without an emotional connection can be very underwhelming. And even if you do enjoy the moment, the guilt and shame of reneging on your commitment to God will quickly overshadow whatever pleasure you felt.
2. Surround yourself with like-minded people as often as possible.
Singlehood can feel like a punishment if you feel isolated. So go out of your way to be with other single people as often as possible. Try not to spend too much time with single people who are constantly complaining about being single or celibate. You need to with singles who appreciate and celebrate their singlehood. Be with people who will encourage you on your walk.
It’s good to hang out with your married friends from time to time so that you can gain insights into married life. It’s good to know what to expect once you get into a relationship. I would say it’s a necessary part of your preparation. But don’t let all your social events be with married couples or else it will become difficult for you to appreciate your current season of singlehood.
3. Ask God to help you enjoy your singlehood.
As humans, we tend to look to the horizon constantly instead of being content in our present circumstances. We think that the people ahead of us are enjoying their lives more. But married people wish they had as much freedom as they did when they were single, and look forward to the day their kids grow up and leave home so that they can experience more freedom again. Singles think married people are happier and more fulfilled because they have a partner to share life with.
Every season of life has its ups and downs, it’s joys and struggles. There are struggles I face as a married mother that other women don’t have to go through and vice versa. If you keep thinking your life has to look a certain way in order to be happy, your happiness will always be somewhere on the horizon. You’ll always be looking for circumstances to be perfect instead of making the most of every situation.
Go to singles conferences, travel to new places, or maybe take a job in a totally different state. Go on as many adventures as you can because nothing is tying you down yet. You’re free to explore, buy a house, anything you want! Ask God to show you how to make the most of it.
I see too many singles who are sad about being single but live in the same house and have the same job and do the same social activities that they did for the past 5 years. Change something up!
4. Be honest with God about your struggles.
When abstinence gets hard it’s okay to cry about it before God! Open up to Him about how you’re really feeling. He’s the only person You will never need to wear a mask for Him. He’ll remind you of the reasons why trusting Him is a blessing. He’ll show you the parts of your heart that need to be surrendered to Him.
Waiting is probably one of the hardest things for us to do as humans. When you feel like your situation is not ideal, waiting can feel like torture. But great things never come easily. There will be times when you feel like you’re in the valley, and other times you’ll feel like you’re on the mountaintop. The key to waiting is to be content. Yes, waiting can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. God wants to be the source of your peace and joy in each season of your life.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and share this post with someone who is struggling with their singlehood right now!
P.S. If you want to read last week’s post on waiting for marriage to have sex, click here.
Click here to see iWaitedblog by Myrlande Desulme.
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