(Part 1 of 3)
Myth #1: I’m incomplete without a significant other.
The only person you should feel incomplete without is Christ Himself. I don’t believe in another human making you “complete.” Our identity is in Christ alone. When we rely on a partner to make us feel complete, they will always fall short, because that is God’s role.
Ideally, the mindset of a healthy individual is that they are complete and content in the present, and any relationship that comes into their life is an opportunity for them to learn from another, and likewise enhance the other’s life. Creating a dependency on someone before you even meet them is a lot of pressure! You are binding them to a commitment they never made, the task of making you feel happy and fulfilled. Feeling incomplete and expecting someone to serve your lack is quite the opposite of Biblical teaching.
Scripture teaches us that Love is a verb, it is a compilation of actions and decisions that all point towards putting someone else first, and that goes for anyone you meet in life, not just a significant other.
Myth # 2: Getting into a relationship will solve all my problems.
Whether the problem is loneliness, feelings of insecurity, or even anxiety and depression, whatever it may be, I guarantee you they won’t go away once you enter a relationship. Sadly, you can still feel lonely and insecure in a relationship or marriage where Christ is not the center.
In terms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues; a relationship won’t fix that. This is where a mental health counselor or therapist is crucial to your well-being. You must prioritize working on yourself before you enter into any relationship. As one of my favorite authors, Debra Fileta, always says, “Healthy people make healthy relationships.”
Also, don’t just view your struggle with loneliness as a negative problem. Use that struggle to sanctify you and bring you closer to God. You may see it as your cross carry, but those kinds of crosses are what refine us to depend on God more than we depend on ourselves and anyone else.
Myth #3: All I have to do is just wait around and God will bring me my soul mate.
Let me start with saying that I don’t believe in soul mates. The idea that there is only one person out there for you on a planet of almost 8 billion people is a bit far-fetched. I think there could be multiple people that you end up with in which you will have a happy marriage leading to salvation, which is ultimately the goal of marriage.
And just like with anything else in life, you have to do your part. No one is going to magically appear on your doorstep (well... maybe, but that’s very rare). Fellas, this is where a pursuit is required (I know I’m a little old school when it comes to believing that guys should take the lead). Ladies, this is where you can drop some hints that you’re interested, and/or respond to his pursuit. If you have no idea what I mean by this and feel completely lost when it comes to properly dating, then maybe relationship coaching is right for you.
Start any potential romantic relationship as a friendship, because the core of every great relationship is a deep and beautiful friendship.
This also doesn’t mean you should approach every single person that you’re attracted to with a proposition to date. When the time is right, you should be approaching dating with a very intentional attitude. (Check out those two previous blog posts on dating.)
Myth #4 I’m a failure if I don’t get married.
I know it may seem this way sometimes with all the cultural pressure that exists around marriage, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Middle Eastern culture doesn’t do a very good job recognizing that there are other accomplishments in life other than getting a job, getting married, and having kids. But there is so much more! Have you ever asked yourself, “What is my purpose in this life?”
I know that’s a deep question to ask, but I’ll save you some trouble and give you the answer I’ve arrived at. It’s pretty simple. It comes down to two main things: first, to love God, and second, to serve others.
“ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
That second part could come in many different forms. Your service could be serving your spouse and kids, your family, your friends, or complete strangers. You can serve others through your career, missionary service, or simple church services. The possibilities are endless, so it’s all about knowing what talents God has entrusted you with and using them to the best of your ability.
Rest assured in knowing that your salvation does not depend on your marital status. Even St. Paul advises to stay single, if you can, so you can focus all your time and energy on pleasing God. “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33)
5. Singleness isn’t fun.
Speaking as a married person, I really do miss my single days sometimes. The days when I did not have the responsibilities of caring for a spouse, kids, a home, in addition to my career. A time when I was able to invest all my energy on God and myself. Although I love my husband and kids very much, being a wife and mother is a lot of work, rewarding work of course.
Instead of looking at your singleness as a hindrance, look at it as a positive thing. Don’t waste all your energy on wanting to be in a relationship - an arbitrary goal. Use that energy to be present and work on yourself. Enjoy building enduring friendships that will carry you through life’s various stages. Focus on figuring out what you want out of a career. Spend time traveling and exploring new adventures. Acquire a skill that you are interested in learning. Go on every retreat, mission trip and conference that your heart desires.
Singleness may be a season for you, but it also may be for a lifetime. It’s not healthy to just sit around and wait for your life to “start” once you enter a relationship. Make the most of the time you are in now, because you’ll never get it back, and you don’t know what the future holds.
This post is a compilation of conversations I’ve had with my single (older) friends. They’ve also shared some advice on how they wish people would treat them:
Stop looking at them as a failure because they’re older and not married (this is obviously not true, see my point above).
If you want to match them up with someone make sure you know them and the other person very well. Just because there are two great people who are single, doesn't mean they’ll be a good match.
Don’t be offended when they turn down your match, they aren’t desperate and don’t want to settle.
Understand that their timing might be different than yours, and stop comparing them to others.
Invite them over to hang out with you and your partner or kids, because they still love to be included.
Random acts of kindness to show them love and that you care for them goes a long way, especially on a day like Valentine’s day which is right around the corner.
This is the first post in a three-part series about myths around singleness and marriage.
Part 2 - 5 Myths about Marriage
Part 3 - 5 Myths about Dating/ Engagement