Feb 12, 2016

In Every Season: The Hard Parts of Singleness


The word singleness evokes different feelings in different people. For some who are not single anymore, they may look at it with wistful memories while others are glad those days are long gone. Some single women are hurting and alone, others feel they have grown bitter and resentful, while others see it as a time in their lives to travel and have fun without many strings attached. Whatever the response to this singleness, I believe it is important for women who are no longer single to reach out and show love and respect for single gals in our lives. They are certainly not less important because of their status and they have heaps of knowledge that can benefit and bless women of every season of life. Single women -- along with women who are married, dating, engaged -- all bear the image of God and have worth, beauty, and purpose because of Him.

A few months ago, I conducted a survey for Christian single gals (see more info on survey HERE). One of the questions was, What is the hardest (or most frustrating) part of being single? This was not meant to induce a gripe session about why singleness stinks, but rather, to honestly share some of the hardest parts. That way, when presented in a post for my new series, In Every Season (see Intro HERE) , other women can read and lovingly come alongside single women during the hard days.

This post is not meant to show pity or make single gals feel defenseless or miserable. I know a lot of the women who responded to the survey that I used for this post. They are remarkable, capable, beautiful, smart, creative, and joyful women. But there are days that are hard and I am so humbled that they were honest in their responses to my survey questions regarding the hard parts of singleness. Please read this post with humility and pray about how you can be an encouragement for those gals in your life who are single. 

What is the hardest (or most frustrating) part of being single?

Loneliness.
The top response from the survey was loneliness. Though many of these women are involved in different friend groups and communities through their churches, there are times that they ache for a godly man in their lives. They want to be supported during hard times by a man who love them in a way that reflect's God's love. In the loneliness of singleness, some of these women replied that they are tempted to feel unworthy, misunderstood, and unwanted because they are single. 

"I sometimes get in these pits where I start paying too much attention to the fact that I do not have a significant-other standing beside me. I'm independent, and yes, introverted, so doing things alone is something I do often. Most days, doing things as a single is not difficult. Yet, every once in awhile, the Devil works his magic and he strikes right when he knows how too. I know that I have wonderful family and friends surrounding me, but their love and support doesn't always cover all holes of loneliness.”

Waiting.
Waiting is hard, especially when it is for something that is very dear to you and you have no idea when (or even if) it will one day happen. It can be a confusing time of deciding whether being passive vs actively trying to change the situation is the wise solution.

 “Not having someone right next to me to share this crazy beautiful thing we call life. Friends and family are great, but at the end of the day, you realize you are still on your own. A lot of the things I want to do in life require a partner to do them with, and its tough realizing some things will just have to wait.”

 “Having the desire for companionship and not knowing when it will arrive. Remaining hopeful even when circumstances around you have disappointed you in regards to a relationship.”

Finding value and worth in being a single woman. Too often, well-meaning married women can overemphasize marriage and childhood to a single woman and make it seem like she has less value because she is single. And even though single women may have the head knowledge that this isn't true and that their identity is not found in whether they are single or married, the heart sometimes can forget and this can be very discouraging and crushing. 

“Trying to fully believe that your value isn't found in that. I KNOW my value is in God and that I very well could be single my whole life if that's what Gods best is for me, yet a lot of what the world tells us is that our value is displayed in getting a man.”

 “Having culture and people look down on us for being single and when I listen to it and start to think there's something wrong with me because of how our culture views singleness”

Assumptions and expectations from others.
It can be very frustrating for a single gal when dating or married women make assumptions about why they're still single or when they are talked down to because they haven't experienced certain things yet.

“Married women assume that since you are single, you have a lot of free time/splurge your money on anything you want. They constantly make the comment "you will see once you get married". As a single women I too have to manage my time & money. Its a discipline that you carry on into marriage not one that you develop just once you get married.”

“Married people asking me when I'm going to get married and assuming that I have a lot of free time, just because I am single.”

“The expectations of everyone around you. Family and friends asking when why you're still single.”

Feeling like they don't fit in.   

"In this season, I am surrounded by married couples, and it feels like everyone in my church community started dating and getting engaged as soon as I moved off to grad school. I'm in an in-between phase in my college town so it has been hard to find people in a similar season."

 “Finding your place. Having people close by with which to share experiences.”

 “Feeling like I don't fit into church cultures framework of Christianity when so many programs are geared towards families. Or as a single Christian girl, my options are limited because I'm female and also Christian, so I don't date like the world and also feel unable to do somethings alone because I'm female and it may not be safe.”

Being content with singleness. 

 “I find it challenging to just be content. When I keep my thoughts on all the countless ways Jesus has blessed me, I can see all the beauty in my life. However, there are moments and days when I dwell on what I'm missing out on as a single woman and it's hard to feel content.”

Dealing with unmet desires, such as being a mom.

“The not knowing if you will ever be part of motherhood. We are told to trust, but as the years go by and as your age increases… it makes you question that trust".

__________________________

For the married gals reading this: do any of these responses bring back any memories of the hard parts of singleness for you? I cried while reading these responses because I felt every single one of these same emotions at some point while single, especially in my mid-twenties as many of my friends were getting married and having children. I wondered if there ever would be someone there for me who would love me for me, and sometimes doubted that there would be. I was challenged and inspired while reading these responses and I hope you are too. I encourage married women to reach out to single friends and women in your community and ask how you can love them during the hard days of being single. Pray for their hearts and minds to rest in Jesus during the lonely days and when they feel discouraged by other people's expectations or assumptions of them as singles. Take them out to coffee and show them they are valued, loved, and worthy.

Stay tuned for a post next  week on what Christian single ladies say is helpful from their married friends and Church community. 

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)


5 comments:

  1. Very well written! I remember being single and wondering if I would ever find the right one for me. Waiting for him was the hardest part, because even though I had all these dreams of having a career of my own, I think I always knew in the back of my mind that I would be truly happy being a wife and mom. And I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to be both of these! God is so good!!

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    1. Wow, that is so great to hear, Robin! I feel the same way! I would wonder if there ever would be a guy out there to love me for me. And now it's so amazing to look back at God's faithfulness in the ways he brought my husband into my life! Yes, God is So good!!

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  2. Hi Elena, what a beautifully written post. I really love hearing those responses from other single gals. Reading posts like these helps me to feel that little bit less lonely. It is comforting when you know you aren't alone in these emotions and crazy roller-coaster ride of a season. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Katie! Thank you so much for the feedback! There have been a few more posts geared toward single gals, so stop by the blog when you have a change. You are NOT alone and I am so glad posts like these can remind you of that.

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  3. oh elena!
    I AM IN LOVE that you are doing this series - seriously. it's so, so, so good!

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I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice