All the Single Ladies…All the Single Ladies…

To be honest, that’s most of the lyrics I know to the popular song. Then, the line “‘Cause if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it.” Yep. That’s all I know. I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone who knows me that Beyonce isn’t my usual music choice. Contemporary Christian and country are generally the only genres I listen to. But…this catchy tune…has two lines that stick in my head.

At fifty and “still single” rather than “single again” like many, I’ve thought a lot about singleness and relationships. I’ve sat through sermon series on marriage and relationships that number too many to count with both hands. I’ve seen marriages crumble, but I’ve also witnessed marriages on the brink of destruction flourish and develop stronger than could be imagined. I’ve seen friends change their lives to the point that they seemed like the man in their life had become the sun in their solar system. When the marriage died, I wondered how they were able to regain their focus.

So, along the way of these thirty years when I’d love to have a solid Christian man find me as his treasure, I’ve gained insight. This wisdom isn’t from experience but rather from inferring from the pain and pleasure of dear friends. I hope these bits of truth may help you if you are single….single again…or single still.

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This one should seem obvious, but sometimes it’s a hard truth to swallow. It takes next to no time to send a “good morning” text, “good night” message, or simply an emoji to let you know you’re in their thoughts. If he doesn’t have time for that, he may just not be interested in you for the same purpose you are. You may be dreaming of love and romance while he just wants someone to fill an evening. Value yourself. You are the daughter of a King.

In “Jerry Maguire”, one of my favorite lines was “You complete me.” As romantic as that seems in a rom-com, no one can complete you. Your worth comes from the One who created you. Don’t look to another person for your worth or to make you whole. You are whole! You are wholly loved by the One who died for you. However, I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to hope to find someone who accepts you completely with all your quirks. Perhaps that’s why I’m still single? I have plenty of quirks! Ha.

I’ve had many friends go through divorce. Some of them initiated the act. Some had spouses who decided to end the marriage. Either way, I’ve seen the pain left behind. Yet, I’ve also seen some go through the pain of a marriage ending, the agony of the family unit being skewed, the self-doubt of questioning everything leading up to the divorce, and then witnessed the healing take place. Yes, I’ve seen the “joy in the morning.” It hasn’t happened in each case, but a few of my friends have risen from the ashes of an ended marriage to metamorphose into an amazingly beautiful or gentlemanly butterfly. I’ve seen how the One who hates divorce will take the child who has lived through the event and transform him/her into a joyful servant of the King. It’s as if through the pain of losing who they were in the marriage they find who they are in Christ. Granted, divorce is not the goal, but God can use the broken for His glory.

You are worth it! Remember that. I need to remember that as well. If you have to fight for someone’s time and attention, is it really the person who deserves you? If you’re like me, you may have been blessed with a keen imagination who dreams of “what if” this person or that person actually saw the treasure that you are? Well, if he’s really the prince that deserves you, you wouldn’t have to imagine. He would show you in his words and actions that you matter. Don’t settle for less than God has in store for you.

Fellow daughters of the King of Kings, in this world of social media, online dating, and all the other bells-and-whistles of modern connections, don’t rush. Take your time. If he is willing to also give his time to you, then perhaps he’s worth the risk. Don’t rush, my sister, and pray for His wisdom and discernment.

So, in the end, I really have no great revelation for you as you seek love, romance, marriage, or a peace about the single life. Each of those have been my heart’s cry at some point. To be honest, some months I’ve gone through all of those as my focus. In the end, I want to be who God has created me to be.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds it in His hands. The One I call Lord knew my days before a single one took place. I’m thankful that my faith tells me that He knows my path even when I am clueless. I know that my worth comes from Him. I also know that Paul proclaimed singleness as a gift. I’ve laughed at times and thought, “Yep, the gift that no one really wants just like a fruit cake at Christmas.” If it’s the gift He has planned for me, I hope I accept it with as much genuine appreciation as I would if one of my students gave me a fruit cake at Christmas because whatever gift a student gives always makes my heart smile.

In conclusion, remember…you don’t have to be half of a couple to matter! You are a treasure! You can make an impact wherever He has planted you…even if you’re the only flower in the garden.

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Marriage Thoughts from a Sincere Single…

I’ve realized this week how comfortable I’ve become at “being single”.  Last week, my map app and I headed out to a student’s birthday party on a road I’d never been on in my memory.  Then, on Sunday, we ventured out again to go to a house where I had been to with someone else driving.  The map app was wrong, but I was able to figure it out.  Then, on Thursday, I ventured to a funeral….solo.  No family or friend meeting me there….I went and witness a sentimental funeral for a lady who was dearly loved, and I was able to give a big hug to a former student.  Then today, I once again drove somewhere independently to attend a wedding…solo.  At this point, I’ve done weddings, funerals, and dinners out by myself.  The other challenge left would be….going to the movie.  But really….why spend that much money when I can sit in a recliner with two cuddly felines on my lap a few months later?  I mean…really.

Now, to get on target (I didn’t get much sleep last night…can you tell?), I attended one of the sweetest marriage cermonies that I can recall.  The wedding was lovely, but the focus on the actual marriage was what stood out.

From the fact that the groom “went to get” the bride as scripture specifies…or the tradition of “hand-fasting” during the vows.  Each aspect of the wedding was thought out for a purpose.  Then, at one point, the one officiating the ceremony asked all who were married or had been married to stand up.  He pointed to them as examples and as resources this sweet young couple could go to for encouragmeent and guidance.

Now, if you know me, you know I have plenty of thoughts on marriage, even if I’ve never been married.  I’ve seen many of my friends and both of my sisters marry.  Likewise, I’ve witnessed a sister and friends who have lost a spouse.  I’ve also seen marriages “lose the glue” and not be able to reconnect before ending the union.  Here’s what I’ve learned from my observations….

  1. Laugh.   Life is serious.  There will be lots of big serious moments in your journey together, but never lose the laughter.  Don’t let the hard times steal your joy of being together.  Now, knowing this couple as briefly as I have, I am quite certain that laughter will be plenty.
  2. Accept the sad times.  Don’t run away from them or ignore them.  Experience them.  Lean on each other, lean on your families (these two are quite blessed in this area), and lean on your faith.  In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart…He HAS overcome this world.  He is the original promise keeper.  The trouble will come, but be assured that He will walk through those storms with you.

    There is a time for everything, and a seson for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…   
    Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

  3. Court each other.  Several of the friends who have sadly ended their marriages tended to be the ones who quit “dating”.  As much as you relished your time together while you were beginning your relationship, continue to do so.  Even when little ones come, don’t lose each other by not setting apart special times for just the two of you.  Now this couple will have plenty of aunts, uncles, and grandparents on which to call to watch future little tykes….but if that falls through, I know a teacher who makes funny voices who will be happy to be a pseudo-aunt.
  4. Say “I love you”.  Again, the couples I witnessed who didn’t make it….I can’t recall ever hearing those words come out of their mouths directed towards each other.  Obviously, they may have said it in the privacy of their house, but say it….whether it’s just the two of you, with your families, or with friends.  Say it.“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends….When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.”
    I Corinthians 13:4-13
  5. Finally, climb the triangle.  Many moons ago, I was in college….think early 90s.  In my Family Relationships class, I remember a picture lesson the professor drew on the board. At the top of the triangle was Christ and the bottom vertices were the bride and groom.  She said, “This is where you begin in your marriage.  Look closely and as each of you grow closer in your personal relationship with Christ…the closer you will also be growing to each other.”  So, grow in your faith so that you will also grow in your love.

marriage triangle“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

That’s it.  I mean, I’m single.  Beyond these observations, I can’t really offer much.  Learn to eat the favorite foods of your spouse even if it’s not your favorite now.  Remember to celebrate anniversaries, events, and even little things.  Oh, and if the glue starts discconnecting, seek help…whether the counseling comes from godly parents or Christian counselors….your love and life together is worth fighting for, so don’t give up….You’ve got each other and He’s got you both, so you can do this!

“And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”  Hebrews 10: 24-25