I am over 30 and single. There, I said it! It was tough but phew, it’s out there, now you know. Excuse me whilst I go hide under a rock from shame or embarrassment or both.
I know what you’re thinking: What a challenge it is to be Christian, over 30 and single. Let’s cue up the tiny violins. I mean seriously can’t these ‘singles’ just stop whining about how hard life is for them?
I agree with you but first let me take you back to the beginning.
When I was just a little girl, I wasn’t so much focused on career aspirations as I was on “romance goals” although my versions were sketched in my memory from old Disney movies or Bollywood films.
Picture dancing in fields, singing romantic songs and you have the idea. That was how my life was going to go and no one was going to stop my dreams from coming true. And then came life, crushes, heartache and various people of the opposite sex I could make my own Taylor Swift-style anthems about.
You wait and remain optimistic and you pray regularly (verging on obsessively, might I add) for that spouse, someone who will be the other half of you but after realizing potential husband number 23 was also just playing you while doing the same to six other girls, you start to lose heart.
In fact, you lose a little of your heart every time it’s treated like a plaything. Then life goes on and before you know it, you’re in your late 20s, then early 30s and God’s thrown you the ultimate curveball (or so we think): You’re still single!
How did this happen? You watch each of your friends get married and wonder what you did wrong. Is this punishment for something, am I not trying hard enough, am I simply not “enough”?
The questions go on, the analyzing of behavior and every interaction you have and every word you say all while you’re still doing life, going to work, trying to build a life but it all really feels a bit empty because you’re just waiting, just biding time until God brings that partner because that’s when life will really begin, right? That’s what it’s all about. Or is it?
Is Singleness a Curse?
Recently I watched an amazing sermon from a well-known speaker and he prayed for chains and destructive cycles to be broken and then prayed for chains of singleness to be broken.
Is being single really comparable to a curse we need to break free from? Now don’t get me wrong, his intentions were for freedom and for people to live their best lives but all of a sudden, I felt embarrassed about my so-called “condition.”
So what’s that all about?
Why is marriage the final goal, even in Christian circles? I spent my 20s expectant and waiting for that godly guy, yet all I seemed to meet were great guys who, in hindsight, were removed from my life with good reason. I couldn’t see that at the time.
All I could see back then was a God who wouldn’t give me what I ultimately wanted. The ultimate guy and the dream fantasy life that went along with it. Now I see God knew how wrong those people would ultimately be for me.
As my 20s drew to a close and I entered my 30s, there was a sense of shame and a quiet whispering of “No, I’m single” whenever someone would ask me if I was married, had a boyfriend or a family, which seemed to happen almost each time I met a new person.
But really, it was the look or comment that would accompany this question that made me feel a lesser version of myself from the “Oh I’m sorry,” to the “Don’t worry, you’ll find someone” or even “But you look fine!” I learned to live with it but there was always the sense of finality in my story.
We’re all familiar with Paul’s singleness in the Bible and the power in this as well as the well-known verse of 1 Corinthians 7 on how it is good to remain single, yet we often choose to downplay this and unintentionally look down on those who are single. Should it be like this? Should we still be stuck in the mindset that marriage is the only way to be happy or could there also be another way?
Shift in Perspective
But then things changed. I looked around me and saw the relationships I had known and grown up with, as well as new ones around me, and instead of seeing the shiny exterior, the sheen fell off.
I saw the brutal realities of relationships. I saw relationships for what they really are: hard work and not always permanent. I saw the positives of being single, the opportunities in life open to me that may not necessarily have been options had I been married.
I went on holiday to Australia, then thought about the other places I wanted to travel to. I considered emigrating. I decided which nights I wanted to be social and which nights I wanted to rest and refuel. I made decisions based on what worked best for me, something you don’t always get the luxury of doing when in a relationship and considering a partner.
I saw the heartache I had been saved from, as well as the past heartache I experienced and became thankful for the lack of dating drama in my life. Now whenever I’m asked whether I’m with someone, I no longer mumble my answer.
I boldly pipe up and answer, “Yep, I’m single.”