An Age-by-Age Guide to Singleness
- Debra Fileta truelovedates.com
- 2013 5 Sep
There is probably no other stage of life that is wished away more than the stage of singleness. For many, it is a time defined by longings, desires, hopes and dreams for the future. For some, it is a season that is marked by loneliness, pain, and isolation.
No matter what kind of feelings the stage of singleness may trigger within you, there is no doubt about it that we live in a society that seems to cater to couples and families - many times at the expense of those who are single. It’s not always easy to navigate through this stage while keeping your self-esteem, value and self-worth intact- particularly while immersed in a society that fools you into believing that you are incomplete without a mate. Words like soul-mate and other-half innately declare that there is something missing until you find that special someone.
I am a huge fan of relationships and healthy marriage - but with that said I am here to proclaim that your value has nothing to do with your relationship status, and everything to do with a God who has made you whole, complete, and lacking nothing…all while standing alone.
Yet with that out on the table, I remember so vividly the struggles of singleness - the days of navigating through life, extremely aware of, and sometimes fed up with my aloneness. For those of you who are struggling in this stage of life, find peace in the fact that it is a stage that is indeed, at times, marked by struggle.
But with struggle, there is always the opportunity for growth, for faith, and for healing. No matter where you are on your journey of singleness, here is an age by age reminder of some things to get help get you through.
Teens: Dear Teenager, I hate to be so blunt about this but this is a time in your life in which you were meant to be single. I know, I know, that sounds so old fashion. But here’s the thing, what’s actually old fashion is being in a committed relationship while in your teens! My grandmother was engaged to be married at 14, and then married with her first child on the way at 15. It’s old fashion to seek out relationships at this young age because it forces you to believe that your main purpose in life is to find someone to love you, when really, this stage of life should be all about learning to love yourself.
Don’t wish this time away, but use it to focus on the things that really matter and maybe even begin to catch a glimpse of the things that God is calling you to. Develop your strengths and know your weaknesses, but most importantly - have a lot of fun. Relationships will always be a part of your life, but friends and family won’t. Use this time to enjoy the people around you- not for what they have to offer you, but for what you have to offer them. Embracing your singleness doesn’t mean that you give up the desire to find true love, but that you learn to enjoy the ride.
Twenties: I used to think of the 20s as the guaranteed time in life to snag a mate. But that was before I was aware of the fact that you have no idea who you are when you enter into your 20s. If the teens taught me self-centeredness, the 20s showed me that I really have no concept of who my actual self is at all. Looking back, this was definitely the time in my life where I changed, developed, evolved and matured in so many ways. The seeds of interest, passions, and talents were planted in my teens, but they grew into significance within my 20s.
With that said, it’s easy to get stuck on singleness when you’re in your twenties. It seems like everyone around you is immersed in love and romance, and you somehow begin to feel incomplete and alone. Don’t give into those lies, and rather see this as a chance to invest in the relationship that will one day encompass your life. The better you know yourself, and more you understand who you are, where you have come from, and where you are going- the better your future relationship will one day be. Don’t fixate on finding the one, because while you are doing that, you will find that you have lost yourself. It is dangerous to lose yourself in this stage of life, because these are the years that begin shaping and defining who you are. Commit to the pursuit of yourself, and know that with each step you are investing in the future of a healthy, mature, and vigorous love.
Thirties: It’s easy for discouragement to take over when you are struggling with singleness in your 30s. You begin believing a lie that fools you into thinking that with each passing year, you lose a little of what you have to offer. Slowly, your hope begins to trickle away, like the passing of sand through an hour glass. But the truth is that we live in an age in which 30s are the new 20s. This may sound cliché, but there is no better time to invest in a relationship than when you are established, mature, and firm in who you are. Some of the most amazing couples I know started their marriage in their 30s. As hard as it may have been to be single while their friends were starting their families, they held on to their hope and continued to trust that God had great plans for their life. And He did.
But the greatest tragedy happens when you have waited so long that you can wait no more, and you give in to an “okay” relationship instead of holding out for what you know to be great. Being single in your 30s makes the tendency to settle for everything you believed in so…incredibly…tempting. It’s easy to fill your mind with fear and doubt: Maybe I’m too picky? What if I have commitment issues? Am I under some sort of a curse? Is there sin in my life? Am I just not right with God?
Say no to the lies, because the truth is you are at a crucial stage in your singleness. At the end of your struggle through singleness, either you will hold out for what is best…or you will sink, and settle for mediocre. Don’t let your story be marked by tragedy, but rather allow it to be defined by Trust. Trust in a God who knows what you need, who has great plans for your life, and who wants to give you good things. Believe in that, and continue to hold out for that which you deserve. For all you know, it may be right around the corner.
Fourties +: If the 30s is marked by discouragement, than the struggle of singleness in your 40s is marked by despair. This is the stage in which many men and women finally let go of their dream of finding true love, and sink into deep despair and depression. It is a time when you begin questioning your faith, doubting your God, and repressing your desires. “Maybe I’m called to singleness. Maybe I am not good enough to be loved.”
Dear one, you are more than good enough to be loved…in fact, you are loved ferociously by a God who has made you exactly the way you should be. Your singleness is not a reflection of your value or worth, nor is it a reflection of God’s love or lack thereof. Don’t give into those lies, for they will leave you stuck in self-pity and despair- and keep you from moving forward.
From what I read in Scripture, no one is called to singleness unless they know that they have been called to singleness! It is a unique role that God has given certain people, and those who are called to it, know it. And those who know it, are equipped for it!
If you have a strong desire to get married, don’t snuff your desires. Continue bringing them before God, but then, go out there and do something about them. Open your heart and your mind to meeting new people, getting to know others, and spending some time with the opposite sex. Get creative, and don’t limit yourself by saying “no” to things that may not be what you envisioned. On top of investing in the people that are around you, take advantage of blind dates, match-ups, and online dating.
Not only is it okay, but it is REQUIRED for you to take an active role in your life, and relationships are such an important part of that. Don’t just wait for love to happen, but begin taking the steps and opening your eyes to the things God might already be doing in your life. At the end of the day, strive to be holy first and foremost…and then do whatever you feel led to do! If God is truly at the center of your life, He won’t let your foot stumble. Trust Him with this, and then take the next steps.
No one likes to address singleness, much less pick it apart…but at the end of the day, I don’t care who agrees or disagrees - because this message is one that I feel called to. I believe God has a message He wants to communicate to our society that at the end of the day, healthy relationships always start by two individuals…each fully trusting God.
More than anything, my prayer is that no matter who you are or where you are on this journey, that you will be encouraged, inspired, and challenged to continue to trust the God who knows you so very well, the God who is keenly aware of you, and who knows exactly what you need.
There is no better place to begin this journey than in the place of singleness. If He is truly God, then He can be trusted…even if it be one single day at a time.
Article ran originally on truelovedates.com. Used with permission.
Debra K. Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital issues. She, her husband and two children live in Hershey, PA. She is the author of the new book True Love Dates (Zondervan, 2013), challenging young men and women to do dating in a way that is psychologically sound, emotionally healthy and spiritually grounded. Visit www.truelovedates.com and follow her on Twitter to get your dating questions answered and to learn more.
Publication date: September 5, 2013