waiting…waiting… and still waiting – Singleness in your 30s
Valentine’s Day (cheekily called Singleness awareness day in some circles) can be a difficult time for many singles out there. At Proverbs31, we recognize that in as much as people are struggling with singleness, it truly is a gift. It may be a gift for merely a season, or a gift for a lifetime. Either way, it is an experience the Lord continuously uses to draw His children closer to Him – if they let Him.
As part of the singleness awareness day we’ve done a few interviews with men and women at various stages in their lives to find out how they are experiencing singleness; we hope their lives encourage you.
Singleness in your 30s
Kayt, 30 something, Maths Tutor
- Do you enjoy being single?
Most of the time, yes. I enjoy being able to make my own decisions and being independent.
I like being able to go places and make decisions spontaneously. I like the freedom of being hospitable whenever I feel like it or finances allow.
The only times I feel a little lonely and discontent are during long holidays when I’m out of routine and may not be social and productive enough, and special times like Christmas and Easter, when I tend to long for family members who love Jesus and can appreciate the true meaning behind such holidays.
Valentine’s Day and other people’s weddings / kitchen teas / baby showers can also be hard to handle emotionally at times, because they can lead me to covet the things that God in His wisdom hasn’t yet given me (and may never choose to). Those are the times I need to choose to trust in Him because trust doesn’t come automatically then.
But on the positive side of things, I love the fact that being single allows me to be more involved in ministries such as Youth and that I can focus a lot on work and take some of the burden off my boss’s shoulders.
- At what age would you like (would have liked) to be married?
Twenty-six! It didn’t happen though.
- What are your greatest challenges faced as a result of being single…and Christian?
The people in the church, whether consciously or subconsciously tend to look down on you if you are not married. Especially if you’re an older single like me. You also get invited to less places (go figure!) if you’re not married – at least that’s been my experience. If the pastor’s family hadn’t “adopted me” I think church would be a lonelier, less inviting place, even though I have lots of friends there.
It’s a little heart-breaking when close friendships change or dissolve completely because your friend is now married and / or a parent.
It’s hard to watch people half my age get married and I always land up wondering if it’ll ever be my turn. I think that’s the biggest cross – living with that hope but not knowing if it will ever be fulfilled. It would be easier if I could know, one way or the other – but then I guess I wouldn’t have to trust God as much.
- How has the fact that no-one has yet asked for your hand in marriage affected how you view your beauty and worth?
Four people did! I was engaged 4 times in my 20s, but none of those men were meant to be my husband. My sense of beauty and worth isn’t found in a man’s love for me, it comes from God’s love for me. Sometimes I wonder if I’d have a better chance at marriage if I was thinner, but I’m not interested in somebody who wants a stick – because I want to be a cuddly mummy if I ever am one. If it’s the Lord’s will for me to be married one day, He will provide the right man at the right time. If it’s not His will then so be it. Either way I need to be content and as useful for the Lord’s Kingdom as I know how to be, no matter what phase of life I’m in!
- There’s almost a “shame” stigma attached to being single – have you experienced this and how have you overcome it?
Yes, I have a bit. I’ve overcome it through prayer and learning to be content and confident in who I am now. Also by reaching out to people instead of expecting them to reach out to me, and by serving in the church. I’ve learned to live “my best life now” i.e. God has given me a limited number of years to live on this earth and I no longer want to wish them away. Rather, I want to use the gifts God has given me to glorify Him and show His love to others.
- How does singleness look different in your 30s than it did your 20s?
It’s more fun now. I used to hate it, now I enjoy it! The Lord has graciously given me the most amazing job in the world and the opportunity to serve in church. Add to that a vibrant social life a loving family and a sweet housemate and I could hardly have it better!
- If you could advise your younger self with regards to relationships – what would you say?
A discontent single becomes a discontent spouse. Find your worth in God’s love for you and don’t expect a man to fulfill your longings. Serve in the church, use the gifts God’s given you and put others first. Don’t put your hopes in an uncertain future but enjoy the life God has given you now. Use your singleness well and glorify God through it! Surround yourself with godly friends and mentors and don’t spend time only with those of your own age – a church is a family filled with younger and older siblings! Rejoice in that and make your friends’ lives richer by loving them more. Confess your sins and struggles to close friends and let them help you – the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. Love the life you’ve been given instead of wishing for another one.
- If you were never to marry, how would that change how you live now?
As an ode to Valentine’s Day, we’d like to encourage you to make the most of your singleness. Know that you are not alone, and that in every season of singleness, God provides enough grace to see you through. We serve a God who delights to give good gifts to His children. A Father who will not give you a stone when you ask for bread, but a Father who always gives what is best for His children (Matt 7: 9 -11). You desire to get married? Good. But don’t miss out on the beauty of this season while pining for a future spouse. Thank the Lord this good gift and enjoy it!