Still Single & Nearly 30
It recently hit me that I am not going to get married in my twenties. I am currently 29-and-a-half and very much single, so that ship has sailed. I guess I should have seen this coming, but the initial realization was a bit of a shock.
And that is what inspired this blog series.
At times, singleness has felt like a curse. It would be one thing if I didn’t care about getting married, but I do. I’ve wanted to get married since I was about fourteen. I was never excited about dating, but I very strongly desired marriage. Single years to explore, travel, or sow wild oats were unnecessary. I just wanted to settle down.
It’s funny how sometimes we get the last thing we wanted only to find that it’s actually what we need.
When I was young, I thought I would die of impatience waiting for romance, but the more years I’ve had to wait, the more patient I’ve become. For that reason and others, I’m thankful to still be single.
But I’ll be honest. There are still moments when all I can do is cry. I’m not always one hundred percent content single, and there are times when I am downright devastated about it. To my fellow singles out there who may feel similarly, I just wanted to say that it’s okay to have those days. There are crucial things you can only learn in the place of loneliness and uncertainty. So press in.
A Balancing Act
For much of my life, I have vacillated between two extremes: obsessive longing for romance and deep cynicism about it.
I had countless crushes, wrote countless poems about said crushes, and dreamed about the day my Prince Charming would come. In the meantime, I read lots and lots of books about dating and marriage to prepare myself.
I loved the idea of love. Actual guys, however, seemed to continually disappoint.
The ones I liked never liked me. The ones who liked me I never liked. The ones I liked who maybe seemed to like me never did anything about it. And then there were the guys who I thought were super great until I started feeling overlooked, used, or rejected. Cynicism about romance began to grow. I made some awesome guy friends throughout the years, but I also accumulated a lot of hurts.
I found myself caught in a balancing act between idealizing romance and completely dismissing it. No matter how cynical I got, part of me still longed for marriage––I couldn’t seem to shake that longing. Often the emotional roller-coaster was intense.
Then I made the most radical decision of my life: I decided to move to South Korea.
Made For More
Moving to Korea in 2011 was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I had always wanted to spend a year in Korea. (And here I am five years later . . . but that’s another story.) As a not-very-adventurous person, this leap into the unknown scared me on many levels, but it also deeply excited me. I had no idea what might happen.
One factor that gave me pause, however, was that this move would almost certainly delay my marriage. I was only planning to stay 10 months, so the possibility of meeting a husband seemed slim. Despite my struggles with cynicism and bitterness towards guys, I remained extremely eager to have my love story progress as quickly and efficiently as possible. A year seemed like a really long time to wait. It felt like a really big sacrifice.
Thankfully, I managed to lay that down before God and I came anyway, not knowing what a huge TURNING POINT it would be in my life.
My very first month here, I fell in love and six months later, we were married.
(But isn’t that exactly the sort of thing people tell you will happen? “It will happen when you’re least expecting it.” “When you stop wanting it, the right guy will just come along.” I’m sure people mean well, but let’s be real. That’s a bunch of . . . It happens when it happens. Period. Hearing that kind of stuff just sets you up to psyche yourself out.)
What actually happened when I came to Korea was that my view of myself and my life radically shifted. I began to understand something rather important: God valued me and had a calling and purpose for me as an individual.
That seems incredibly obvious to me now, and I think part of me always thought I believed that. But I came to realize that deep down, my only ambition in life was to earn myself a really great husband. I just wanted to be beautiful, smart, kind, and faith-filled enough to catch the right kind of guy. All the other goals and dreams could fall by the wayside if I could just have that one thing.
Supporting and loving my husband would be enough of a calling for me. I would get his love in return. That would be enough.
But God said, No. I have more for you. I made you for more.
And that made me tremble.
Still on the Journey
Though I’ve cried my fair share of tears feeling forgotten by God or feeling left behind by all the married people, at the end of the day, I am incredibly thankful God has kept me single as long as He has––I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned about my worth in God’s sight for anything.
Of course, five years of waiting after learning that crucial lesson seems like overkill sometimes, but I trust God. I believe God knows what He’s doing. God is writing a beautiful story with my life. I know now––really know––that marriage is not the destination, it’s just another part of the journey.
Even if marriage turns out to not be part of my particular journey, I know my life will still be full of purpose, beauty, and love, because those things come from God, they are not held hostage by this thing called marriage.
For now, I am single for God’s glory.
**This is part 1 of the 3-part series Still Single. Follow these links to continue the series:
Part 2: Still Single: The Lies That We Believe.
Part 3: Still Single: The Messiness of Dating (and Holding onto Hope).**