You’re single and you want to be married. There’s just one problem: Ms. or Mr. Right hasn’t come along. It’s a common story and one that I experienced personally throughout my 20s and into my early 30s. After graduating from Bible college and moving to a new city for my first job, I assumed I’d meet an awesome Christian man, get married, and start a family. I felt ready.
But months turned into years with no suitors in sight. I progressed in my career, purchased a home, invested at church, and pursued life with good friends. Although those days were fruitful in many ways, at times I felt like I was just waiting around to meet the man I would spend my life with.
Somewhere along the way, I realized I needed to cultivate a healthy and enjoyable life, not only as preparation for marriage, but also for my ongoing sanity and sense of purpose. If you’re like I was — desiring marriage but walking out the realities of being single — here are four things you can do while you wait.
Form good habits. Second only to you, your future spouse has the most to gain from your good habits and the most to lose from your bad ones. This falls into the category of “you reap what you sow.” Paying careful attention to your spiritual health, mental health, physical health and financial health during singleness will greatly bless your future partner. Now is the time to find a counselor, seek God’s help overcoming an addiction, and make wise financial decisions. It’s helpful to regularly self-evaluate. Ask yourself: “Are my habits setting me up for success in marriage, or will they create a strain on a relationship?”
Healthy habits pay dividends while you’re still single. And for me, the years leading up to marriage were a great time to work on myself and prepare for the merging of lives that would happen when I married. I am particularly thankful for the foundation of deep faith I had going into marriage. This faith had been fortified through regular church attendance, personal time with the Lord, Bible studies and fellowship with other Christians. As I’ve encountered difficulties this side of marriage, my relationship with Christ has guided my responses — blessing my husband and children.
Invest in something meaningful. God designed us to feel the gravity of what the marriage relationship can be. I longed for marriage because I recognized the significance of having this kind of relationship with another person while building a life together. But this world is full of opportunities to make an impact, whether you’re single or married.
Serving at church, helping a neighbor, and mentoring a young person are all ways to contribute to something bigger than yourself. For me, writing and teaching have been rewarding. A friend of mind supported children in foster care. Another friend built a strong relationship with her elderly neighbor, helping her with errands and driving her to appointments. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Married or single, we are all stewards of God’s grace. We are designed to be on mission in God’s kingdom.
Cultivate quality relationships. God created us for relationship with Him and with others. As a single woman, I had to realize that a romantic relationship is just one kind of relationship. While I didn’t have that in my life, I did have relationships with family members, friends, and church family in which I could invest. Over time, this network of quality personal connections proved valuable, even when I did marry.
One person can never meet all your needs. Men need connection with other men and women need connection with other women. Investing in deep, healthy relationships while single flexes relational muscles you will use in marriage. It also gives you a safety net of wise counselors. When I recently went through a hard season, friends I’d invested in over the years rushed in to offer me support and encouragement.
Curate a life you enjoy. “Singleness is not a waiting room for marriage,” says Lisa Anderson. She’s right. Most things you can do as a married person, you can do single. Travel. Decorate a home. Take music lessons. Hone your culinary skills. Get a degree. Adopt a pet. Creating and living a life you love will make you a happier person. And happy people are attractive to others.
I remember a coworker who married after 35 telling me to live my life with joy and purpose. “At the right time — when that person comes along — he’ll see you living your life and be drawn to that,” she said. That proved to be true when I met my husband, Kevin. He was attracted to the ways I was pursuing my interests and using my gifts.
Don’t waste the wait
In this instant-everything world, few of us enjoy waiting. And waiting for a spouse when you’re marriage-minded is no exception. But fostering good habits, healthy relationships, and a purposeful life you love can bring you joy and satisfaction in the meantime. As you wait with purpose, you prepare for what God may have for you in the future, and allow Him to enhance your life in the present.
Copyright 2023 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.