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Forever Alone

Are you losing all hope for marriage?
CC photo courtesy of Gideon via Flickr

Let me be clear about a few things before I get started on this enlightening rant.

I’m not mad/angry/bitter towards well meaning people who try and encourage those of us who are single. I understand that MOST of them were not single as long as some of us have been. So, they don’t understand that we’ve heard the same things many, many, many, many, many times before. Sure, repetition can sometimes be helpful. Like when trying to memorize the colors of bomb wires so you know which ones are safe to cut and which ones aren’t. They also don’t understand that even though cliches are cute, they are seldom helpful.

When it comes to encouragement for the single ones around you, let me let you in on a few things.

Some of us single people feel shame about our singleness. We often wonder what’s wrong with us. Do guys prefer short hair and mine is long? Do guys prefer girls who drive cars without rust spots? Do I not pray enthusiastically enough in public? Should I lose 50-100 pounds because I’m too fat for a boyfriend? Am I too opinionated? Too passionate? Too short?

Not enough.

Too much.

Unworthy.

Insufficient.

Just some of the words or thoughts we struggle with. For some of us it is a daily struggle. Some days I can’t go to a church service, young adult meeting, grocery store, or gas station pump without wondering why I’m single. I’ll look around and wonder how they have someone and I don’t. Ya, sure, I’m judgmental. Add that to the list of reasons why I’m single.

Seriously though. There’s this idea that you must be messed up if your still single. That if you had your crap together you’d be married by now. There’s some sin you haven’t dealt with and your singleness is a punishment from God. Yes, I’ve often thought God withheld a good thing (like a spouse) from me because I wasn’t perfect. Horrible theology, I know, but it seemed like the only viable solution. God hates me, I’d think.

Also, married people tend to think that we have these Hollywood ideas in our head about marriage. No, we know marriage won’t solve any of our problems. We know it won’t be easy. We know its not all hand-holding, giggling and loving eye gazes. We get that some days you struggle with how you could love the person farting in the bed next to you. We get it.

But we want to wake up next to a farting partner, instead of the pillow husband we’ve crafted. That we’d rather get tortured each night with the horrendous “dutch oven” than fall asleep with tears falling down our faces asking God one more time for a mate. (Again, I’ve heard stories. I know there will be tear stained pillows after marriage.)

It’s also not helpful to tell people they’re “too picky”. Listen, I didn’t wait 30 years to marry some schmuck. Sure, he may not be a bearded lumberjack who will sing me love songs and buy we chocolate when I’m being an emotional basket-case, but he’s not going to be just any schmoe. Trust me, I’ve gone on dates with schmoes. It’s horrifying, but the stories lend themselves as warning signs for the teen girls I counsel.

I once heard, “You’ve got to be a Ruth to get a Boaz”. There’s a lot of encouragement that mirrors this sentiment. Please, don’t tell single girls this. Ever. Firstly, the story of Ruth is a tad bit weird. If it were a movie, there’d be wedding bells as the credits scrolled, but God never intended it to be a chapter in the “How to Snag a Mate” book. Besides the fact that its not practical in our society (we don’t follow the Old Testament kinsman redeemer protocal in this century/country)– it was meant to be used as an example of our relationship with God. Secondly, this type of encouragement adds fuel to the “I’m not good enough” fire already raging in our minds.

EVERYONE (single, married, divorced, widowed, etc.) is going through a process of growth in their lives. Hopefully, we are getting more mature, more loving, less selfish and all that good stuff. Saying that there’s some kind of running rubric for my character and that when I get a certain grade THEN I’ll be ready for marriage is … dumb.

Give. Me. A. Break.

I should state here that I’m not saying that married people believe this. What I am saying is that sometimes the things we say can come off a certain way. Like, for instance, that we’ve got our crap together and you don’t. I assure you all, I am not perfect– just in case you thought that or something I said made it seem like I thought that.

And my favorite of all “He’ll come when you stop looking for him.”

NEWS FLASH: That’s not happening. Not today. Or the next.

I don’t know how you just stop wanting something like that. Ask me to stop wanting chocolate, and I think that’d be an easier battle to win. And I’m the girl who eats chocolate everyday. Like its MY JOB.

And define: “looking for”. I mean, I want a husband. I’m certainly open to the possibility of going on a date with the guy helping me at Verizon. Or contemplating stopping my car in the middle of an intersection because I saw a bearded fella, wearing a red flannel shirt riding a motorcycle (This thought did actually go through my mind). But I’m not at home every night staring out my window longingly with a can of Nutella in one hand and a spoon in the other. Ok, SOME nights I do have a heaping spoon of Nutella, but I’m never starring out the window at the same time. 😉 I’m still living life. I’m still enjoying my friends, my family, the opportunities I get to serve. I just also want someone standing next to me and enjoying it all with me.

I’m also not looking for a man to complete me. I am looking for a life partner because life seems more FUN when you’re experiencing it with someone you love.

I guess I should leave all the single people reading this with some encouragement. A few weeks ago my (married) BFF sent this to me. In all my years of hearing all the cliches, Bible verses, etc. this has been the thing that has brought more life and hope than anything else.

singleness

P.S. If you happen to be a single, bearded, flannel wearing gentleman then look no further! I’m witty (obviously), I ‘m a brilliant writer (again, obviously) and I’m pretty good lookin’.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a complete list of lines I’ve heard in my singleness journey, but I thought that was enough for now. Maybe a Part 2 some other time.

Originally posted at The Common Queen. Used with permission. 

About Holly Hrywnak

Holly is a 30ish-year-old writer who strives to share honestly and transparently in hopes that it will encourage others to be open about their own struggles and lessons learned. She’s been accused of being sassy, which she finds to be an admirable attribute. Her favorite things include: making people laugh, chocolate, sweatshirt weather and authentic conversations over coffee. One day she hopes to find herself a bearded lumberjack to call her own.

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18 comments

  1. Racquel Simone

    So true. Dead on. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for writing this. I don’t think you’re bitter. I think you’re frustrated. At 49 and never married, I understand.

    I’ve heard quite a few of the same statements.I think the intentions are good from some people.

    The problem is that so many approaches minimize our desire for a spouse and even make us feel selfish. I’m really tired of seeing this one: “A woman’s heart must be so hidden in God that a man should have to look for Him to find her.” All due respect to Maya Angelou who just died, that statement reinforces a myth that a spouse, especially a “good” one, dependent on how close to God one gets. I can think of one couple, both of whom were a little “wild”, then met each other not long after becoming born-again. They are both nice people.

    I don’t know about others, but the closer I get to God, the clearer it is I have a long way to go to reach Him. Without Christ, reaching Him isn’t possible. He has never in our most sacred communal moments told me that a spouse is a prize. I do believe He has given a glimpse of His purpose for marriage (because I’ve asked). That knowledge is useful whether I marry or not.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Jen!

      Ya, I’ve heard that one too. I think you make some great points– I’ve voiced those same things to friends MANY times. It makes it seem like only perfect people are getting married, and somehow I’m single because of some sin that keeps my spouse at bay.

      We are absolutely called to pursue God with our whole heart, mind, soul and body. But that verse is for single people, married people….all the people! 🙂

      And again, I think you’re right, a spouse is not a prize. Christ is our prize. The spouse is just a cherry on top. And I love cherries. 😉

  3. Love this!…. I think the worst thing I have heard is “You must not have a desire to have to be married because if you did it would have happened already because God would have given it to you”… UGH… I’m 30 im not settling….

    • People Have said that to you?! I hadn’t heard that one before. And I’m right there with you….didn’t make it to 30 to settle on any Joe. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Ya, most of the time other single people are much more sympathetic with their encouragement. Thankfully. 🙂 I think one of the best things we can say is, “Ya, I don’t know either!” My best friend is good at that…especially when I ask her time after time why I’m still single.

  5. Wow! Thank you so much! Sorry for my slow response, I think I had fallen over faint from the niceness of your comment. 🙂 You’ll be hearing from me! And if I find that bearded lumberjack EVERYONE will be hearing about it.

  6. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Sorry for my slow response. 🙂 I think its important to keep a genuine voice in my writing– people will connect with that over something contrived. And don’t you worry, I’m going to keep hustlin’!

  7. Grieving because of singleness is 100% acceptable. I’m not ashamed to say that I grieve the fact that I’m single when I would very much like to have a life companion, like you said. Sure, there’s lots of things we do have to be thankful, but we don’t have to pretend that it doesn’t hurt. I ask the same questions “Is something wrong with me? Is God mad at me? What sin do I need to overcome before I can get married? etc.”, but I promise you God is not like that. He loves you, and LIKES you very much. He isn’t trying to punish you– you are highly favored and worthy of love! My biggest prayer is that we’d have that revelation–that we would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are accepted, lovely and worthy of love regardless of our relationship status. Thank you for reading and commenting. I apologize for my slow response!

  8. Molly, thank you so so much for voicing out exactly what many other singles are going through, at least what you expressed totally reflects my thoughts and feelings.

    You know, for a very long time I’ve racked my brains over that famous phrase I was told over and over “He’ll come when you stop looking for him.” After having tried to ‘apply’ it -because time goes by and there has to be something wrong with what I’m (not) doing, right?-, my conclusion was: I CAN’T stop “looking for -whatever that actually means- a husband, because I WANT to get married. I just can’t make it fade into oblivion! [btw, I’m from Argentina, and I can’t believe the same clichés can be heard ANYWHERE.]

    In other words, I’m right there with you, sister! Again thanks for sharing! My closest friends are married and some about to, so I was in actual need of this sympathetic and honest perspective. Pity we live so far away from each other to share a cup of coffee and a chocolaty snack 😉

    Dani

  9. It’s very rare I come across a blog, article, etc that knows exactly where I am coming from as a single woman. Some people do mean well but it seems like the majority of the people who try to encourage me got married in their early to mid twenties. It is hard being 36 and never been married before. It’s also frustrating when you haven’t been on a date in years and never being in a serious relationship, not because you don’t want to or because you too picky but because you don’t get asked out. My self-esteem has taken a hit. I pray that God will heal my heart and I can get to a place where I am content being single (not meaning that I am giving up on being on being married one day but being okay with being single). Thank you for this post.

  10. Heather Humphrey

    Thanks for writing this Holly. My single friends, male and female, can definitely relate. We often feel left out of the marriage game and sometimes churches can unknowingly make use feel this way. I remember when I thought it would be terrible if I was 30 and single. Gasp! But I am 33 now and I’m still alive and well. It is so easy to look around at others and compare. I remember thinking, “There’s no way that person will get married before me.” Well they did. Does that make me less desirable? Less significant? No but the enemy wants me to think that. I like what your BFF said about getting married: no one is perfectly prepared. Broken people marry broken people. Oh and I like your transparency about liking bearded lumberjacks. My BFF likes those types too!!

  11. Wonderful article! Thank you! Keep writing like this, please.

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