I’m single. I’ve been single all my life and for the longest time, I hated being single.
Even after reading articles, books and sermons about singlehood, I still thought of my singlehood as a “before” period.
I saw my singlehood as the period before my life “starts”, the season before my “happiness”.
Being a K-Drama and rom-com fanatic, I was a hopeless romantic. I longed to be swept off my feet and to be able to do #couplegoals things like I saw on TikTok and Instagram.
So, for the past 19 years of my life, I would fall for every guy within a 10-metre radius hoping that one would eventually kickstart my life’s very own romantic comedy.
This desire to be attached was exacerbated in university since almost everybody was attached or looking to be.
Long story short, after much crying, contemplation and wrestling, I was finally liberated from idolising relationships and I started to see my singlehood as a time to pursue God with my whole heart – instead of a season spent longing for a relationship.
In fact, I began to see my singlehood as a season to prepare for marriage and to become the woman that God has created me to be. To that end, here are three things worth knowing and learning about ourselves.
1. Know the purpose of marriage
Understanding the purpose of marriage is necessary even before dating. If we don’t understand the purpose of marriage, we’ll end up dating just “for fun” or because “it feels good”.
That’s why I spoke to Pastor Lee Hann Yang, a marriage counsellor and father of 4, from Evangel Bible-Presbyterian Church, who had this to say about the purpose of marriage:
“Christian marriages strive to exemplify the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They do this by loving one another sacrificially, non-transactionally and unconditionally. Husbands are called to love their wives just as Jesus gave Himself up for the church. Similarly, the wives are called to humble themselves when walking into marriages just as the church submits herself unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22-33)
Pastor Lee’s words struck me, especially when he said that “the essence of Christian marriage is forgiveness and reconciliation” and that couples should help each other grow into the likeness of Christ by speaking the truth in love.
This is God’s design for marriage, and when I reflect on it I know that I am not yet ready for marriage.
I have baggage, beliefs and areas of my life that still need to be sanctified by God.
I know that if I rush into a relationship now, I’ll just end up hurt and hurting the people around me.
So, I’m making full use of my time as a single to grow into a woman of God who will someday be a loving wife to a man of God.
And on tough and lonely days, I rely on my spiritual community for encouragement and support. You can be single, but don’t be lonely!
2. Know your calling
Even before dating and marriage, do you know what you’re living for?
If your goal in life is to get attached, get married, buy a house and grow old together with two children and two dogs, that’s nice – but that isn’t all there is to life!
Let’s not get carried away with “nice things”; we must remember that our lives are not ours to live (Galatians 2:20).
Additionally, our life’s purpose and meaning do not begin when we get attached or married; we already have it in Jesus.
Indeed, our highest purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We are called to worship Him. We are called to the Great Commission.
Whatever our relationship status, whether we are rich or poor, whatever it is we are faced with in life – we are to pursue these things of God wholeheartedly.
And singlehood is one such season where we can do so, without being weighed down by the things of the world (1 Corinthians 7:32).
It’s true: as a single, I have much freedom to serve God in ways I may not be able to if I were married.
For instance, when I made the decision to spend my semester exchange doing missions, I didn’t have to worry about fitting this plan into someone else’s schedule – I could just pack my bags and fly wherever God calls me to.
3. Know what you want
Last but not least, it’s important to know the characteristics you’re looking for in a spouse as well as the expectations you hold.
My church mentor and leaders have always told me: “You need a list of characteristics you’re looking for before dating”.
And now that I think about it, it’s true: if you go into a supermarket aimlessly, you’ll end up buying anything and everything.
But if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll walk in with your eyes wide open, knowing what you want and what you’ve set out to get.
And if what you want is out of stock, you won’t settle for any less but wait for the right product.
Similarly, if we don’t know what we want in a spouse, we’ll end up giving our hearts to the “next best” – settling for less than what God has in store for us.
More often than not, I found myself liking the nearest guy around me just because of my desire to be loved.
Were they marriage-material to me? No! But because I didn’t even know what I wanted, I ended up just liking any and every guy around me.
So, have a list of godly characteristics in mind and know why you want these qualities in your future spouse, and you won’t end up settling for less.
Similarly, you should also know what you don’t want.
You need to know your non-negotiables so that you won’t compromise on your values and beliefs.
A good yardstick could be asking yourself how you would feel if your future child had similar characteristics as the person you’re interested in or dating.
Even while you are single, you should know what you are expecting to look for in the future.
- Do you want kids?
- If yes, how many kids do you want?
- Do you want to migrate overseas?
Questions like these may seem simple, but we don’t realise how people want different things.
For instance, I have a friend who wants to migrate to the UK, a friend who only wants to adopt children and a friend who wants to go into full-time ministry. Life trajectories like these are super important to know.
Everyone has different dreams and expectations. We need to clarify and write them down, so that we know what we want in life and can find a spouse who has similar dreams and goals, and help each other achieve these God-given dreams together.
Singles, let’s take our season of singlehood to get clarity about important questions and to become the person God has designed us to be!
It took a lot of wrestling to finally surrender my desire for a relationship into God’s hands – and I am constantly re-surrendering this area – but I’ve never doubted that it will be worthwhile.
What encourages me is that I can trust that whatever God has in store for me is much better than whatever I have planned; I can trust in His love and faithfulness for me.
Let’s not miss out on what God wants and can do in and through you this season!
- What are your views of singlehood and marriage?
- Is your view of marriage similar to what God says? What misconceptions do you have about marriage?
- Are you living out your life according to God’s purposes?
- Write down 3 characteristics and 3 expectations you have for marriage.