I’ve been single for a long time. By God’s grace, I’m in a good place with regards to my singlehood, but it’s not always easy.
Our joy and fulfilment is in having an intimate, trusting relationship with God – and I’m thankful to have experienced this personally – but I don’t deny that there are times when I feel lonely, or long for a companion and partner to journey through life with.
So here are three practical tips that have helped me to avoid temptation through my singlehood and find contentment in God.
1. CONSUME YOUR MEDIA MINDFULLY
I’m a self-confessed drama fan. K-dramas, J-dramas, C-dramas – I like them all. However, I’ve learnt over the years to be more conscious of the effect these dramas have on my mind and emotions.
Dramas that portray an idealised view of love are my personal kryptonite. Such dramas stir up a schoolgirl’s yearning for romance in me that leads to discontentment with my singlehood. They also create unhealthy expectations for a prospective partner and relationship.
Of course, what affects me may not affect you in the same way – perhaps what sways you are posts you see on Instagram.
The point is: Sometimes we’re not aware of how subtly such media influences us until the Holy Spirit brings it to our attention. When this happens, I respond by fast-forwarding certain parts or choose to stop looking at it entirely.
I once had to stop watching a K-drama halfway because the female lead was obsessed with finding contentment through a guy who she liked. Being led on the emotional rollercoaster of her attempts to impress the guy, I found myself slowly becoming more “guy crazy” too.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells the church: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Does our time spent on these dramas and social media benefit our walk with God or harm it? We mustn’t be ashamed to cut these off or flee if we’re tempted in any way to harbour distracting desires and ideals!
2. SEARCH FROM RESTEDNESS, NOT CRAVING
From time to time, well-meaning family and friends would suggest that I put myself out there more by using dating apps or joining events organised by the Social Development Network.
When we don’t see the fruition of a long-held dream, it’s easy to become bitter.
This sort of encouragement tended to get me worried over whether I was doing enough to find a suitable partner. In my journey through singlehood, I often struggled over this question: How do I manage the tension between waiting for the right one and proactively seeking him out?
Pastor Benny Ho deals with this in his CD series, Single for a Reason, or for a Season. He says that we should not “crawl into a cave” or “spiritualise the search” by sitting back and waiting for God to send someone having prayed “hard enough”.
Pastor Benny also says that our actions to find a spouse should arise from a heart of rest and not craving.
And we don’t need to stress out over the “right way” of meeting people, either. A look at the Bible shows us that a common place for meeting one’s spouse was at the well, which Pastor Benny describes as a place where the community gathered and was refreshed.
I personally think it is fine to use dating apps or other similar methods to find a spouse, provided we do so in a manner that is accountable to God and others. However, having downloaded and deleted a popular dating app twice, I have concluded that dating apps are not for me – and that’s alright.
As long as I’m not hibernating in a cave but continuing to serve and seek God in my church and local Christian community (my version of meeting people at the well, perhaps), I think that’s good enough for a start!
3. KEEP THE FAITH
There was a time when I had lost all hope of ever finding a significant other and refused to entertain any thoughts of a relationship with the opposite sex. Perhaps a small part of me was cynical and even a little bitter.
Whatever it is, I will continue to trust in God’s goodness.
But God gave me renewed hope through a sermon on His timing. Elizabeth was barren for many years before she conceived (Luke 1), but the timing was perfect: She was pregnant at the same time as her much younger cousin Mary. This enabled her to support and encourage Mary in just the right way, and her son was born at just the right time to prepare the way for Jesus.
God’s plan for us in terms of finding a spouse boils down to one of three things.
- Not yet
- It’s not the right thing for you
Whatever it is, I will continue to trust in God’s goodness and look forward to experiencing His blessings in my life. Whatever His plan might be, I know that it’s perfect. And like David did in the Psalms, we can feel free to pour out our feelings to a God who listens.