I’d say that this post is most relevant for people who are single, or who might be going out with someone, before they have become serious in their relationship
In this post, I am going to repeat something that I have said a few times before, examining it from a different angle. That is, the question of being unhappily single! This is specially relevant to me just now, as a few hours ago I found myself grinning inanely at my screen, dreaming of Mr Huggie-Wuggie, as I was trying to write this week’s post. Yes, that was a few hours ago! It has taken me that long to mentally calm down to a place of sufficient concentration to actually write this post, (and also to settle on what to write!)
This is what I want to say in this post: that when we are single, and looking longingly into marriage, we of course imagine marriage in the best possible light. So we compare our current state of singleness against the best possible dreams of marriage. Then by measuring the difference between our state of happiness now, and the happiness we hope that marriage will confer upon us, it seems as if we are so much worse off in our current state. This itself makes us feel unhappy, or glum, or depressed. So in other words, you consider yourself unhappy only by comparing yourself with what you expect to have!
But then I remember that for most people, marriage is rarely the fairytale that they have dreamed of, but rather a long hard slog of communication difficulties.
This graphic above is the reason why I rarely envy other people’s relationships. No matter what appearance they might present on the outside of being glowingly and perfectly in love – and most couples do not even bother to put on this kind of appearance – I can usually imagine that the reality of their interaction is a lot less romantic.
And yet, if you are like me, this is relevant only for other people’s relationships. So I do not necessarily think myself worse off than other people who are already married. But I expect that my marriage will be different! I expect that my marriage genuinely will be made in heaven, and that by remaining single I am missing out on all that beauty and tenderness! In my own specific case, perhaps I am all the more justified in thinking this precisely because I have put so much effort into thinking through all these things, which I express in the posts I write for this blog! Despite going to the effort of writing this blog, and thinking through all these things, something that I try to remind myself is that even an excellent marriage, between two excellent people, who are determined to be the best they can be – even a marriage that is genuinely made in heaven, and wrought by God’s own hands – even that kind of marriage will still require lots of hard work, determination, patience and perseverance from both parties.
So then I guess the danger is that I or someone else, tempted to think themselves “unhappily single”, will get into marriage, and immediately discover how difficult it is, and then look back longingly at that time of singleness when I considered myself unhappy, and then discover that actually, in singleness, I was amazingly blessed, and should have considered myself happy! How angry I would be at myself to have wasted so many potentially beautiful years of my life in thinking myself unhappy, and just wanting to be married!
So yes, by the grace of God, in marriage I do hope to be ecstatically happy. And yet, I do not want to wait till then to acknowledge that singleness has its own advantages, enabling a different kind of happiness. So I want to make the most of these single years, while they are still here, and maximise every second by God’s grace. So my determination now then is to banish all yearning thoughts whenever they strike, and put them firmly to the side. At the moment I am single, and by the grace of God I am going to enjoy this singleness, and appreciate it for the fantastic gift that it is! I am not going to look at what I don’t have, but rather what I do have and what I can do when my time is essentially my own to direct. And I am also going to appreciate that it is precisely because I am so ambitious for my marriage that it is harder to come across the right guy for me, because there simply are fewer guys who also want the same things that I want in life.
But by the grace of God, when he finally does show up, I am going to step sideways into a different kind of happiness. At that point I am not going to look back wistfully on singleness. Rather I am going to embrace marriage for the beautiful gift that it is, with all its challenges, and all its potentials. Either way, I will be determined to enjoy the status of any point at which I find myself along the way, and appreciate it as the most beautiful place on earth for me!
Photo of tulips by Anelka on Pixabay