Ever find yourself wondering how you can better “deal” with being single as a Christian? It has been good for me to think back and remember these times again—after all, it was most of my life!
Your feelings as a single are normal, and there are no easy answers since God created us with a natural desire for a mate. I think what helped me most was remembering that God loves me, and consciously appreciating the many ways He shows that love—often through our friends, sermons, etc. He promised to work with us and be with us. (Satan would prefer that we forget these things, and focus instead on feeling neglected, rejected, discouraged, etc.)
Life is a short span of time in relative terms, and during this time we are not promised a mate, children, expensive homes, etc. We can be miserable, or we can learn to be content “in whatever state” we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11).
So, here’s my “sur-thrival” guide for making the best of the single years—“to survive and thrive” as a single, however long this time may be…
1. Dream dreams! Dream wonderful dreams, set realistic and meaningful goals for yourself and live life with gusto! For a while, in my 20s, I had many dreams that hinged on being married first. For instance, I dreamed of going to Hawaii for my honeymoon, not as a single.
Then one day it hit me that I might never marry. Did I really want to miss seeing Hawaii because of that? If going to Hawaii really was an important and good dream, I should work to make that dream come true, whether single or married. A few years later, I did go to Hawaii as a single, and then I went a second time as well—it was really fun and quite an adventure!
2. Fight the negatives. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.” Philippians 4:11 states the same thing, “For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” We cannot control all of the experiences of life, but we can control our response to them.
3. Stay connected to God. Talk to Him as a Father and a best Friend. Study His Word as one who always wants to get to know Him in a deeper way, and always ask Him for your “needs.”
One prayer I prayed in despair many times was for encouragement. Over the years, the answers to various prayers have been “no” or “not now.” But all the times I prayed for encouragement, God always answered that prayer by encouraging me in ways that were very surprising, powerful and moving.
Another important prayer is to ask to be filled with each of the fruits of God’s Spirit and to grow in these fruits (Galatians 5:22-23). We should reflect and glorify Him in our daily lives, our appearance, how we keep our home, what we eat, etc.
4. Seek to grow in other ways too. Be motivated to learn new things at work and to get better at what you do. Proverbs 22:29 teaches us to excel at our work, so that our skills will be “in demand.” Our “good work” is also the means by which we gain the resources to achieve some of our dreams.
Consider also taking an occasional class, reading a good book, trying a new recipe or attempting things outside one’s comfort zone. For example, for those of us in the United Church of God, taking advantage of opportunities like going to Ambassador Bible Center or serving at United Youth Corps projects or Challenger Camps provides wonderful opportunities for growth in many areas of life!
5. Stay connected with people. Be a good friend—keep in touch. Be a good listener. Show interest in many different types of people, both male and female, young and old. Practice encouraging others—visit the sick, widows and orphans after services and during the week by phone, volunteer to help or serve when you can, show appreciation for the efforts of others on your behalf and develop a good sense of humor and positive outlook.
6. Friday and Saturday nights? Sometimes these were difficult for me. What to do? Keep busy. Make the evening meal nicer than everyday, and invite brethren to share the evening with you. Or, write a card or letter to someone who is sick. E-mail friends to encourage them, and work on Bible studies of “special” interest.
7. Use wisdom in dating. Yes, being single is not always fun, but consider also that being divorced or in a stressful marriage is not fun either. Use wisdom with any serious dating. An unwise choice of a mate, or getting married just to be married, is not the answer.
Here’s a beautiful scripture to close on. We already looked at the beginning of Hebrews 13:5, but look at the next part: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Remember, God loves you, and you have the love and prayers of many in God’s Church as well!
Editor’s note: Susan Blumel-Berg, Ph.D., CFLE, was single until age 50. She is now married to Wil Berg, pastor of the Jackson, Wyoming, United Church of God congregation, and teaches online courses in “family sciences” for the University of Wyoming.