Singles can often feel that they are doing something "wrong," aren't good enough, or God isn't hearing their prayers if they aren't married.
How to cope with other people's expectations:
- Don't feel guilty. Stand emotionally on your own. Don't let others put you on a guilt trip because you don't measure up to their expectations.
- Stop worrying about the future. Most things that you choose to worry about don't have a solution. Live each day to the fullest. Don't let worry about tomorrow rob you of the joy of being alive today. If you are single today, then live single-ly to the best of your ability.
- Make choices that are in line with what God wants you do to. Don't blame circumstances or others for your marital status. Choose to make things happen. Use your God-given power of determination to decide how you're going to act and react to the circumstances of life.
- Set goals for your life. Break them down into one-step-at-a-time modules. Studies show that only 5% of all singles have any real goals for their lives. (E.g. join a singles group at church, learn a hobby, get a degree, work in the nursery.)
- Do something positive every day. Go out of your way to dispense kindness. Don't let marital status be an obstacle. When you "do" for others, you will forget your "self."
- Start being honest - all of the time. It's OK to say, "Look, I'm just not comfortable with the thought of coming to the Christmas dinner by myself when I'm the only single there among couples. Tell you what - how about having lunch with me and I can catch up on what's happening in your life. I really do want to know, but I'm through trying to face situations which make me feel like a fifth wheel."
- Break out of the routine. Do something every day that is entirely your choice and decision. (E.g. eat something new and different, take a different route to work, start a hobby, volunteer at a homeless shelter.)
- Bring your pain and frustration regarding others' expectations to the Lord. He hears, understands, knows the feelings of hostility, hurt, and anger, the smart of rejections and the loneliness of pain. He cares and He can give you the strength and courage to live life as a single.
From Joyfully Single in a Couples' World by Harold J. Sala. Copyright (c) 1998 by Horizon Books, Camp Hill, Pa., 1-800-233-4443.
Harold Sala is the founder and president of Guidelines International, a media organization reaching into more that 100 countries. A counselor, radio speaker, author, Dr. Sala has a Ph.D. from Bob Jones University. He and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and four grandchildren. They live in Mission Viejo, Calif.For more information on Guidelines International, please visit our web site at www.guidelines.org.