Society teaches us that being in a romantic relationship is one of the cornerstones of being truly happy. From the time that we’re young, we’re encouraged to find a boyfriend or girlfriend so we can experience the same happiness as those who have found love experience. But what happens when you can’t find someone to have one of those romantic relationships with? Is there happiness for single people? Absolutely! God’s plan for your happiness isn’t contingent on others.
From the time that we are young children, we are told that finding someone to be in a romantic relationship with is imperative for our own happiness. The desire to “find love” starts early, as you may be able to remember being in elementary school and hoping that the little boy or little girl that you liked would sit beside you in the cafeteria. Long before we begin to truly embrace our own real identity, we are taught (through TV, music, movies, and more) that part of finding our own path to true happiness involves having someone to be in a romantic relationship with.
God wants His people to be happy. He is a good, loving Father who wants the best for His children. He does not want you to wait for another person to come into your life to create that happiness. Instead, He wants us to experience the joy that can only come from a right relationship with Him. Our identity, our joy, and our worth are not found in a romantic relationship with others. Being single doesn’t have to be a sad, lonely place to be. Instead, you can find happiness regardless of your relationship status.
Busting some of the myths around singleness and taking a Godly approach to finding your own joy and contentment is crucial for finding contentment, even when you’re not in a romantic relationship of your own.
Myth 1: Being Single is Just What You Are Before Marriage
Psalm 37:1-2 (ESV)
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Many well-meaning individuals like to tell single people who they will “get through” their years of being single while they’re waiting on God to bring them the person they were meant to be with. While their intentions may be pure, the fact is that this statement is potentially harmful because it creates a false idea that you can’t be happy as a single person. The people who make statements like this, as well-meaning as they may be, create a picture where being single is just something you have to go through until you meet someone you want to marry.
Singleness isn’t some sort of proving ground where you have to earn the right to meet someone to form a romantic relationship with. Instead, being single is just as much of a relationship status as being in a romantic relationship is.
In the 37th Psalm, David encourages God’s people to find their delight in their relationship with Christ. Yes, he does say that God will give you the desires of your heart when you make His will and His plan for you your primary desire. However, that doesn’t mean that singleness is something that you should hate.
There are plenty of happy Christian singles. These individuals find their delight in the presence of God, His Word, and His plans for them. It doesn’t mean that they are miserably muddling through singlehood while they hold out hope of meeting someone. Instead, their joy, their identity, and their delight is found in their relationship with Christ. The same can be said for you.
Myth 2: You’ll Meet a Romantic Partner When You Figure Out Your Relationship with Christ
Matthew 7:9-11 (ESV)
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?
Much like the first myth we discussed, statements like this generally come from a place of good intentions. Christians, especially those who are in long-term romantic relationships of their own, often present the idea of a romantic relationship as some kind of reward that God gives to those who have achieved some predetermined level of holiness.
Again, there are multiple problems with statements like this. The primary issue with this one is found in the way that it depicts God. Picture God sitting back watching your life unfold. You’re already aware that He sees you and knows every detail of your life. However, in this scenario, He is watching you with some sort of Holy Checklist. Once you score enough points on your Divine Scorecard, you get rewarded with another person to love!
That’s simply not the way that God works. He isn’t holding a significant other over your head like it’s some sort of Olympic medal. There aren’t some criteria that you have to meet before you become worthy of romance.
Having a significant other is a gift. However, gifts are not earned. Additionally, a romantic relationship isn’t even a gift that everyone wants. If you are single, it is not because God is waiting for you to achieve some standard of holiness.
Myth 3: You’re Life Hasn’t Really Started Until You Find True Love (in Another Person)
Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
We watch reality TV shows in which one bachelor or bachelorette goes through dozens of potential romantic partner candidates in the name of finding true loves. If you’ve ever seen these shows, you’ve heard multiple people say something along the lines of, “I’ve been waiting my entire life to find the right person.” Again, these people may be very genuine in their statements, but that statement is simply not the way things work.
Additionally, more of those well-meaning Christians who we’ve already discussed often say things like this as a means of encouraging people to hold onto hope until they can meet the person they will spend the rest of their lives with.
Being a Christian is an exciting life all on its own. In Ephesians 6, Paul paints a beautiful yet harrowing picture of our never-ending battle against Satan and his forces of darkness. Your life doesn’t have to consist of simply sitting on the sidelines waiting for life to begin when you meet someone to date or marry.
God knows the plans that He has for you. To make things even better, those plans start right now. In this moment, God has a plan for your life, both in the short-term and the long-term. He has a beautiful story written in which you’re the leading character. Your role doesn’t depend on finding a co-lead. Instead, God’s version of your story is only contingent on your willingness to find His plan for you and embrace it.
Being single is not a direct opposite of happiness. If you look around the church that you attend, you may see countless married couples, dating couples, engaged couples, and couples who fall everywhere on the spectrum. However, there are probably also single people. It’s entirely possible that not all of them are happily single. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to fall into the trap of associating singleness with misery.
Your happiness isn’t contingent on another person. In fact, if you fall into the trap of believing that the only way to be happy is by changing your social media relationship status, you will be sorely disappointed when you get into a relationship and face the issues that come with them. Embrace the benefits of your singleness and remember that a romantic relationship is not a faraway reward that God only reserves for people who score enough points with Him.
A Closing Prayer:
God, thank You for every blessing in my life. We are both aware of the fact that I am presently single but help me to recognize all of the blessings that my current status provides. Remind me of the fact that through your presence, I am never alone. I will find my delight, my identity, and all of my needs in a relationship with You. In Christ’s name I ask these things, Amen.