Here is one more guest post from my mom, in response to these two questions:
How can I be happy being single?
How do I break the cycle of always needing to have a boyfriend?
Here are my mom’s thoughts — profound and so helpful as always! 🙂
Questions about Singleness (by Pati Robison)
Wow! These are hard questions to answer. Especially because the longing to be married isn’t sinful or unbiblical. In fact, just the opposite is true!
The desire for a long term marriage relationship is God-given.
In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” He was talking about this specific man, yet verse 24 indicates that this condition of needing a companion continues for all of mankind.
For a woman the condition is no different. Before God created Eve, she was, in a sense, a part of Adam, “for she was taken out of the man.” Both men and women are somewhat incomplete without a marital partner. Hence, the desire for a spouse is an excellent desire.
In a sense, without realizing it, much of your life is spent in training for a relationship.
Think of how much training goes into performing any sport with excellence. An alpine ski jumper doesn’t ski down the hill and throw a Triple Twisting Backwards Hurricane on the first day of training. Nor during the first or second year of training. Muscles must be conditioned, basic skiing and other preliminary moves learned.
Similarly, there are many characteristics which make for a great relationship. These include self-control, self-denial, patience, faithfulness, kindness, etc.
If a skier were to try even the most basic jump the first day on the slopes, he might be injured for life. Jumping into a relationship before developing the necessary skills may also injure you for life.
The cycle of always needing a boyfriend
If you accumulate relational baggage through an excessive numbers of boyfriends, your ability to train could be impeded.
Unlike an Olympic sport, marriage is meant to be a onetime jump, lasting for the rest of your life. The cycle of always wanting to be in a relationship can hinder your ability to develop the necessary skills to stay in for the long run.
Breaking out of this cycle will require great effort. You may need someone in your life as a coach to spur you on. It is much easier to be in a comfortable, familiar place than to venture into new territory.
Consider your future. What are you training for? If you desire a marriage that goes the distance, then make the break and work on character and other preliminary work.
Contentment: The core issue
That said, let’s talk about contentment. Even if, or when, you eventually get married, or find a great boyfriend, the heart issue will still be contentment. Many marriages today end in divorce due to a lack of this quality.
If you cannot be content as a single person, I promise, you will not be content as a married one.
Let’s define contentment. According to the Encarta Dictionary it means:
- ‘to be reasonably happy and satisfied with the way things are,’
- or to be ‘willing to accept a situation or comply with a proposed course of action.’
Think about Hollywood stars and the famous rich. Without the ability to choose happiness, any situation in life will seem lacking.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, says 1 Tim 6:6.
If your ‘proposed course of action’ is singleness, at least for the near future, here are some ideas for growing in contentment:
#1 – Make the most of the situation you are in. Focus on Now.
As the old cliché says, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Truth permeates this phrase. Whatever your situation in life, there are potential benefits.
As a single person, you can be wholeheartedly devoted to serving the Lord, writes Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35. He actually advises singles to remain single for the sake of seeking first the Kingdom of God. This is the greatest benefit of singleness, living for an audience of One.
Take this time to immerse yourself in the Lord. Study His Word. Worship. Serve His people. Only by His Strength will you be able to stay satisfied in this life, no matter your circumstances.
#2 – Work on your issues.
After you are in a relationship for a while and the romance has had a chance to fade, all those character flaws you were hiding will surface. Now is the time to deal with them.
Humble yourself. Prepare your heart to receive constructive criticism. Then ask your closest friends and family what they think you need to work on. And PLEASE, don’t be too proud to get help if you need it.
One of the biggest issues in singlehood is finances. Get yours in order. Pay off those student loans and credit card bills. Learn to live on a budget. Better yet, learn to give a tithe as well as save 10% of your income. Again, get help if you need to.
#3 – Being single doesn’t have to mean being alone. Develop a network of great friends.
You weren’t meant to conquer everything alone. This is the time to develop lifelong friendships.
#4 – Develop a hobby. Travel. Join a club.
There are so many options. What is that dream you’ve always had? Save your money and then do it. It’s much easier to accomplish certain time-consuming things when you are single.
#5 – Share your faith.
Perhaps this idea belongs with #1 or #3. A larger percent of younger, single people will respond to the gospel than older married people.
Of course God can save anyone He chooses. The point is to use this time to reach out to those who don’t know the Savior. Let your light shine for Jesus and boldly proclaim the one who gives you the strength to be content as a single person.
Waiting: The lifelong struggle
- Whether it’s waiting to find a spouse, or
- waiting for a child to conquer a difficult phase, or
- waiting for a job, or
- waiting for enough money, or
- waiting for…
Life is full of waiting. With God’s help, you can learn ‘to be reasonably happy and satisfied with the way things are,’ even while you’re waiting.