Four Answers for the Question: Why Am I Still Single?- Debra Katherine Fileta
I remember some really difficult moments during my time in graduate school. I would wake up on certain mornings feeling extremely, and utterly alone. I was going through a difficult time in my life, but more than anything I remember this one question that continually tormented me: Why Am I Still Single?
I know I'm not alone in asking this question. I have heard from a lot of you with the same underlying concern. I've read your words and hear your stories filled with fear, confusion, and worry over this most important topic- will I ever find someone?
Sometimes people dismiss the struggles that come with being single. Some people have the ability to always "look on the bright side" and see their time as a single as God's greatest gift.
I think that's wonderful, but I don't think it's in any way holier.
In fact, some of the greatest moments I have had binding with my Jesus have been in those moments of utter loneliness, sorrow, and despair. He held me close when no one else could. Those moments made me more holy, because they brought me closer to the Holy One.
With that in mind, I think it's okay to ask these difficult questions throughout our life. Our God is big, and he has made our minds and hearts to run deep. He expects us to ask hard questions and wrestle through difficult concepts as they pertain to our lives.
But there's no denying that the question of Why Am I Still Single, isn't always an easy one to answer. A cookie-cutter answer doesn't really fly because we're all different, and God's plans play out differently in each of our lives. While I could never give one blanket answer to this question, there were a few things I considered that always brought me some hope:
1. I'm single because God's still working on me: We may not always be aware of it, but God is working some things out in our lives each and every single day. The end result of life is to glorify God- to reflect Him in how we live, breathe, and move. In this case, there's a lot of work to be done! He wants to shape us into something Beautiful.
It's crucial not to see this time of singleness as a waste or time to be passed. You must see it as a step toward entering a healthy relationship, by working on becoming healthy yourself. Allow God to use the circumstances in your life to produce in you qualities that reflect His spirit- the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Striving toward these things long before we are married is essentially preparing yourself for a relationship- because you will need all these things when you're face to face day in and day out with another human being. (Lots more on this concept in Part 1 of my book, True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life).
2. I'm single because God is still working on my partner. I think we forget that there are two people involved in the puzzle of finding true love. Even if we think we're at a perfect place (though if you actually believe that, I wonder about you...), there is still another life and human being involved in this process. Whether you believe in "just one person" out there for you, or many possibilities- this still holds true because God is sovereign, and He knows how to complete this picture, and what it needs to be "good, pleasing, and perfect." So sit tight and be hopeful, because there is always so much more going on in the bigger picture of your story.
3. I'm single because it's not the right time: I believe in God's timing, because I've seen it at work in so many areas of my life. And especially now that I'm a parent, I see that sometimes my kids believe something will be good for them- but I see the bigger picture, and know what is best. Just a few weeks ago my almost 3 year old approached me saying, "Mom, I believe I need a popsicle for breakfast". And trust me, the fit of tears that followed that request confirmed her belief. She really wanted this...and she believed that it was best for her. It made me think of me, and how sometimes I think I know what's good...because it feels good, tastes good, smells good, and looks good. But my heavenly father has the grace to say, "It's not the best time".
As John and I examine and analyze our relationship (lucky for him, this is my specialty), we both recognize the reality that had we met at a different time, things may have not worked out. Just a couple months before my heart wasn't in the best place, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not have been open to receiving John's interest in me had it happened just 2 short months before. God knew what I didn't know. And I'm so glad He did.
4. I'm single because this is where God has me for today. No matter how we wrap our brains around this question, the bottom line is this- we need to start taking life one day at a time. Grasping singleness is so very difficult when we are looking at the future, imagining weeks, months, and even years in our current situation. But that certainly may not be our reality. Life could change at any moment, just like it does for the countless number of men and women who meet their life partner- because it only takes a moment for things to change.
We don't know how much longer our struggle will last, but we do know that for today, God is sovereign and good, and He will give us what we need for today. Trust Him with today, because we have no idea what tomorrow holds.
Debra Katherine Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in dating, marriage and relationship issues. She has been in private practice for five years, working with both individuals and couples. She is the author of the new released "True Love Dates," and blogs at truelovedates.com.