Single in a Couple's World
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OK. Maybe you feel a bit like me. You're about to endure all those heart-warming engagement announcements over Christmas and New Year’s. And Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is either getting married or starting a budding romantic relationship – all except you, that is.
It’s not that you aren’t happy for those folks who finally found “the one” and are awaiting matrimonial bliss in some giddy, doe-eyed state. In fact, you are all for marriage and excited for your friends. You will buy those wedding gifts and attend that wedding if you can. It’s not that you are out to dog marriage; it’s just that you want the same thing to happen to you and it hasn’t yet.
Thus far, it’s been a long and sometimes painful road through relationships that either weren’t right for you at all or you weren’t right for them, or the timing was simply off completely and either you weren’t ready to tie the knot or he wasn’t.
Whatever the case, you are staring down a new year that you dread will be the same mixed bag of unfulfilled promises that you went through last year… and the year before… and the year before. Well, you get the idea.
And perpetuating this frustrating cycle are those self-fulfilling disbeliefs you hold in your mind about yourself that keep you from seeing the bigger picture of God’s surprises that might just be right around the corner.
I am going to highlight just two of those discouraging thoughts that you might tell yourself, taken from some of my own experiences, so you can stomp them out before they sour your disposition and you start believing them!
I am a failure at relationships. I will never get married. First logical response to that resigned statement is how do you know for sure? Can you really say that beyond a shadow of a doubt what you say is actually ‘true’?
If God revealed to you personally that you have the “gift of singleness” and you have overwhelming peace about that, then you pretty much know you are never going to marry, and you will be just fine with that. Sure, if you are completely against marriage, then it’s likely you won’t take that step, either – by your choice.
But if you still have a longing in your heart, it’s not impossible. It FEELS impossible; it LOOKS impossible; it SOUNDS impossible. By all sensory accounts, it is impossible. And, believe me, the older you get, the more the naysayers will tell you it’s impossible for you. However, it isn’t if God ordains it.
The last thing you need to do is rely on your past bad relationships or the opinion of some unhopeful family member or friend to predict your future for you. You will simply conclude you failed or you are a failure, so why bother? And that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And don’t go reading the statistics. I made the mistake of doing that once and was nearly in a state of panic when I got through. Oh no. There are more single women than men in the world. That means there aren’t enough men to go around. And then they have to be around my age and, oh yeah, Christians, too. I will never find a husband! It’s too late for me!
Scare tactics. That’s all it is, ladies. It’s the stuff that sells books and magazine articles. I am not saying there isn’t truth to the fact that there are more single women in the world than there are men. Frankly, it’s an obvious fact, probably to preserve our species. But, honestly, all you need is one man – one good one. If Jesus is concerned about leaving the 99 to find that one lost sheep, don’t you know He is interested in leaving the crowd to seek out that one special man for you?
She’s better than me. I am obviously not good enough. At some point after a breakup, it is likely that you will see your ex and his new girlfriend. It is understandable that you might dread that, even if you like the new woman in your ex-boyfriend’s life and can still honestly say that he is a good person and you wish him well. I recall when this happened to me. My main concern in seeing them together was what they might be thinking about me: Do they think I am some pathetic loser? Does he compare her to me?
Whether a dating relationship works out or not, seeing your ex’s new girlfriend can be disconcerting. Somehow, it feels like you got replaced. You remember all the things he told you – things he just might be telling her. And that hurts. If you aren’t careful, you can start believing that you are somehow less than. You just aren’t loveable. You are so easy to get over.
When I saw my ex’s girlfriend, we were both working at a local function where I knew we would have to interact. I was reluctant to spend much one-on-one time with her because I didn’t know how she felt about me. I didn’t know whether to expect a rebuff or the cold shoulder or just awkwardness.
But instead, I got grace. She was kind to me and seemed genuinely interested in how I was doing. Somehow I felt accepted and liked. I suppose that shouldn’t have caught me off guard, knowing her. But it did shock me, considering the worst case scenarios I was playing and replaying in my mind.
It’s moments like those that you just have to remember that it’s not a question of whether she – whoever that she is in your life – is better than you. Gals, we aren’t in some heated competition here with that new girlfriend. It’s really a question of what is better for each of them. And, I guess if they are good for each other, then that’s a good thing. It was meant to be and you should be glad for them. And, if that’s the case, then there is someone better for you, too.
You have to let it go. It’s hard, especially since you have to stand by yourself again. And that’s trying in this couple-filled world. But you know what? Others walked this road and survived. And then they found someone else they matched with better. So you and I can too!
It doesn’t have to reflect on your identity or your worth. Ultimately, what they think about you (or, more accurately, what you think they think about you) is never as important as what God thinks of you. He loves you no matter what. Nothing separates you from His love – not even bad feelings from an ex or bad feelings about an ex or bad feelings about yourself.
The reality is God is still working behind the scenes on your behalf. He hasn’t given up on you, even if others seem like they have and you feel like doing the same. You might fear they are disgusted with you and you might be, too, but God still wants your brokenness.
I love that God can completely transform what looks lost and shattered and beyond repair: He promises to bestow on us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair….” (, NIV)
Won’t you open up your heart today to His healing touch? He’s the only One who can bring wholeness to the hurt and confusion you have experienced. He is the only One who can redirect your energies to fruitful things again. Just give Him yourself and give Him time. He will make your life beautiful and tender and meaningful once more.
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