Some time ago, I was reminiscing with one of my college friends about the good old days and he mentioned how he wanted to go back in time and relive them. He joked that when he goes back in time, he would tell our younger selves what we’ve become 25 years later. For me in particular, he said he’d tell my 18-year old self that at the age of 43, I’ll still be single.
When he said that, I knew exactly what my younger self would feel. She’d be devastated to say the least. You see, she grew up in a culture where having a husband and children seems to be the most important milestone in a woman’s life. Her parents got married very young and had seven children. All her siblings married early and had several kids combined.
However, she’d only be brokenhearted if that’s the sole part about her future she hears. I’m also 100% sure that if she knew all the great adventures God would take her to and continue to enjoy and the most amazing surprises she would receive, she would look forward to living it with all her heart.
In light of that, here are open letters for all the singles and their friends out there.
Dear amazing singles,
Don’t feel guilty for enjoying one of the best seasons in your life. Don’t hide your great adventures, opportunities, and freedom. It’s not second best to other people’s expectations for you. The goal of your life is not to get married and have a family, but to honor God and commit yourself to His purposes in every season. You are living your best life as you do so.
Don’t obsess over other people’s status, change of surnames, or the seemingly never-ending IG stories of their babies. Be that true friend you want to have by your side when you have your own breakthroughs (whatever and whenever those may be). Genuinely celebrate with them.
And though there may indeed be pangs of longing or sadness for your own dreams of a family, know that you need not be stuck in that feeling. Believe me, your married friends long for the freedom they used to have as a single person, as well.
Someday, if it’s God’s plan for you to marry, you will look back fondly on the opportunities and experiences you had when you were single that you won’t be able to go back to because of the responsibilities of a family. So live your life fully right now by throwing yourself in whatever God has called you to do and witness Him transform lives and make a difference through you.
Dear (well-meaning) friends,
Please stop telling us we might not be praying enough (even if it could be true!), as if that’s the main reason you were able to find your true love (you have to admit, that was really a matter of God’s perfect timing). Sometimes it’s just not helpful (but we’d love for you to pray for us).
Refrain from nagging us to go to more singles’ retreats, listen to more singles’ talks, join more missions trips, go out more, or visit more churches. Although these are good suggestions (and maybe we really ought to try some), sometimes they are loaded with too much expectations and hints of unnecessary guilt that we might be single because “we are not doing enough,” which is not true most of the time.
Instead, what’s been most helpful for me is for my friends to:
- Truly understand and celebrate every season God has blessed me with;
- Set me up with actual men that I can explore friendships with, instead of teasing me or accusing me that I’m not doing enough; and
- Diligently journey with me, even through bad dates, and encourage me to bounce back and try again.
One of the best singles’ events that I have attended by far is the one where our pastor and his wife talked less about the kilig moments and the vision of marriage (those are good too, don’t get me wrong), and more about building good friendships and the basics of great conversations.
In fact that ended, funnily enough, with a group speed-dating loaded with lots of laughter and awkwardness. New friendships were birthed and the quote “Coffee is just coffee; don’t overthink it” was coined.
It’s hard enough being single in a seemingly couples world. We need to have the right people we can talk to and be truly vulnerable with. Ask God for these people. I assure you, they do exist.
Remember that you are not alone in what you are going through. Take that courageous step today to find these unique people to celebrate and journey with.