Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, often referred to as “Single Awareness Day” by fellow singles, and I mean… I guess that’s one way to look at. But the word “single” doesn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth like I feel it’s expected to.
I’m sure other single women can relate to the shock expressed when people find out “someone as _____ as me” isn’t in a relationship. I smile and say things like “I travel too much” and “I’m not not dating, I just haven’t found someone I’m super impressed with yet.” Then I watch friends, family, acquaintances—and their moms—try to set me up with every 20-to-35-year-old man they know so I won’t have to cling to such sad consolations.
But really, I’m ok.
I actually love my life. I get to do things like host impromptu sleepovers with my friends, travel and not even know when I’ll return, and switch careers without my decisions affecting anyone else. And I would totally give that freedom up for a man I felt was worth the commitment, but I’m not disappointed we haven’t met yet.
A few years ago I let go of waiting for “the one” to come and make sense of all my years of singleness. I released the mantra I was taught as a pre-teen: “Save yourself for marriage so that God can bring the perfect match.”* I gave up on the implied culture of, “If you find a way to be content in your singleness, then God will bring the right one.”
*(I’ve known God long enough to understand that He is beyond gracious and gives good gifts regardless of our often terrible behavior. So I can choose to obey Him because I love Him and not because I’m expecting Him to give me a treat for “being good.” And actually, obeying Him usually is a reward in-and-of-itself because it means experiencing His best.)
So anyway, I scrapped all those fantasies of how to become the perfect Proverbs 31 wife for some “Boaz” husband that is prayerfully out there and waiting for me… and I just embraced life as an adventure.
I’m not promised a boyfriend or husband; I’m not even promised tomorrow! But I do have today, and I’m pretty sure God wants me to enjoy it (John 10:10).
I’m not waiting to “really live” once I find my soul-mate. In fact, I’m thoroughly convinced no person will ever love me perfectly the way my soul craves to be loved. And I’ve already found the One who does. (Really. That’s not a consolation. I know it to be true in the depth of my soul. God touches parts of my heart that no person could ever see to reach, parts of me that I don’t even know are there until He speaks to them.)
Sometimes God uses other people, relationships, and circumstances to demonstrate His love for me. If God uses a man to further reveal His heart for me, that’s wonderful. If He uses a dating or marriage relationship to help sharpen me into a better woman, great! If He uses our connection as a team to powerfully impact our community, I’m game.
If I do decide to marry someday, it will be a precious gift. But I’m not waiting on that gift any more than I’m waiting for God to sign me a record deal or give me the kind of finances to fly to Peru to see my niece every month. I am so thankful for the gifts I already have. (And trust me—singleness is a gift! If you don’t believe me, talk honestly with people who have been married for more than 10 years. Extra points if they have children!)
I have a handful of close friends who happen to be married. They’ve shown me both the beauty and incredible difficulty that make up marriage. It’s A LOT of work. I’m not blind to the fact that relationships require giving of yourself and thinking of another person’s needs in addition to your own. I respect marriage as something sacred—full of sacrifice and selfless love for another person. That’s not something I ever intend to walk into lightly.
Regardless of what commitment I may decide to make someday, I’m not single and waiting for the right one to come along; I’m living! For the most part, I feel deeply loved and cherished by the relationships in my life. First and foremost by my Creator, but also by some of my favorite humans who stand by my side through thick and thin. On any given day I am a phone call away from being encouraged, supported, and hugged.
No, I’m not opposed to seeing pictures of your sons, nephews, and single friends who just graduated from college… I’m open. But I’m not looking for anyone to complete me; I am whole. And I hope that everyone—in a relationship or not—experiences that wholeness.
I still love Valentine’s Day! I love that many of my friends are in happy, healthy relationships. I love that some of my friends are married and having kids. And I love that I have single friends who want to celebrate our sweet friendship by decorating heart cookies with Rom Coms in the background.
I just love love. Healthy, 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love.
Wherever you fall in the spectrum of relationships this Valentine’s Day, I hope it is a beautiful celebration of the ones you cherish deeply.
And don’t you worry about me.
Really, I’m ok. 🙂