I’ve been thinking a lot about the cost of marriage lately… which should shock none of you. (Hi, I’m Annie and I’m the single one around these parts.)
(And before I go much further, let me just bounce this in here: you aren’t all going to like this post. I’m okay with it. I’m not sure I like it either. But I want to talk about it with you, whether we are happy with the outcome or not.)
I like how I spend my life.
I spend a lot of time with college students here in Nashville that are part of our college ministry at church.
To be fair, I spend a lot of money on college students as well – buying meals when we eat, grabbing coffee, finding a book I think they need.
I also spend a lot of time with my friends. Pretty much, I spend as much time as I want with my friends.
I spend a lot of time reading and a lot of time writing.
I get to spend my money how I want to, albeit as wisely as possible.
Also? I sleep in the middle of the bed.
I’ve really grown to appreciate how I get to spend my life – doing the ministry I love with the people I love. And in July, I’m going to the beach. I know what day I’m going down there, but I don’t know what day I’m coming back.
Because it’s my life and I get to spend it how I want.
I’ve wanted to be married since I was old enough to define the word. I’m not sure what God is doing in my heart and mind, but I spend some portion of every day lately being really grateful for exactly the life I have right now.
I wonder if this selfish single living for my entire adult life has made my brain start to not desire anything else? Is this an effect of being almost 33 and single? That what I currently have actually looks better than what I’ve always wanted?
Or maybe this is right? Maybe this is what it means to be content with where you are? Is this an effect of being almost 33 and single and being (gasp) okay with that?
My friend Lyndsay wrote a very interesting piece about the complexities of being single after college and the lack of rose-colored glasses once you reach a certain point. And I think she may be right – I never saw the cost of marriage as a 21 year-old college graduate. I just saw it as EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED.
And it is. I still want that. I still think God gives us beautiful gifts in relationship and I hope that marriage is a part of His story for me, even if unforeseen costs are attached.
Because you know what I haven’t factored into a single sentence of this post?
We are willing to give up lots and give lots for love.
Had I gotten married at 23, I would have never known any different. I would not know this travel-when-you-want, do-what-you-want, minister-where-you-want, it’s-all-about-what-I-want lifestyle.
I’d be a mom (I bet). And I’d be in love (I hope). And it would probably be awesome.
So the rewards would be great. I know that.
But for today? 33 and single? The cost of giving up this life I love seems great, too. It seems that even the best gifts have some degree of taking up your cross, don’t they?
I don’t know.
People often say, “marriage won’t complete you” and I used to respond with, “I’d like to prove that for myself” because seriously, quit saying stuff like that to single girls.
But the truth is? I know they are right.
Because even though I am single today? My life is complete.
. . . . .
Your thoughts are welcome here… let’s talk about this. How do we fully embrace the season we are in without giving up hope for the next? Or can you only fully embrace when you think this is the best it is going to be?
by Annie Downs
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Annie, thank you! I feel as though you put into words what I have been processing lately as well.
Hi Annie! Thank you for this post. I am not alone!
I feel the way you do somewhat. Though I am just 26, and it’s scary. It scares my awesome mother who wants to see me settle down & have her grandkids, my friends who are all married and have at least one kid, and it scares my church pastor and leaders who have declared they will not rest until they see me hooked up! 🙂 Bless their souls.
I’ve always dreamed up my ideal wedding, complete with colors, theme, location and everything! But after I gave my life to Christ, the Lord gave me a new kind of confidence, self-love, peace of mind, a love for Him and a purpose, a reason to be. He’s also blessed me with a wonderful job, a lovely home (I host my sister and cousin though my mother thinks I’m not settled down yet), a beautiful car that’s ready to go when service calls and a wonderful ministry with the youth at my church, as well as a voice to sing.
I’m growing in maturity, faith, love for others, and in christian living. I’ve got big dreams for my career, big dreams to travel, big dreams to sing, and big dreams to impact young girls lives. I love my life and most of all, I am thankful. Thankful that I have not married and that I have been given an opportunity to experience this beautiful thing called singleness.
So when I see my friends’ kids, I long for mine. When I see beautiful couples, I’d love to be one. When I attend a wedding or see photos, I long to wear that beautiful long white gown and dance till I drop on my wedding day. But somehow, some part of me is not ready to give up this life, this ‘freedom’, this peace of mind. “Am I normal?” I used to think. A few times I’ve even allowed the talks and expectations pressure me into relationships I am thankful did not work out.
But now I have decided to live this beautiful life with no apologies. And I trust that when my Father is ready for me to transit to the married life, everything will just fall in place, including the sacrifices I have to make.
Whew! That was a post! Lol…. Thanks for sharing this Annie! At least, I know I am not the only one and I am perfectly OK!
Beth Williams says
You seem to have this contentment thing down pat. Good for you! God has a mate out there for you, I believe. He’s just using you to minister and do His Will right now.
I didn’t get married till I was 38 turning 39 that year. Sure I wanted the settle down lifestyle, but being single allows you to do much much more. I was able to be a part of prison ministries a few times and that has enriched my life soo much!
God bless you for what you are doing! 🙂
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
It is never the best it’s going to be and God tells us to be still and wait expectantly for Him. I was married for over 25 years and then found myself someplace I never thought I’d be – divorced. In those “alone” years God called me to embrace my singleness but I never felt like I had to settle for anything because God has a funny way of blessing you beyond your wildest imagination. In my singleness I became a writer (something I’ve always dreamed of doing) and some other lifechanging events happened in my life. So “embrace”, yes…”settle”, no… You ARE perfectly OK!! Thank you for being willing to be so real and vulnerable!
Thank you for your comment!
I have been married for 24 years and find myself married but without relationship. It was lonely before I realized what was happening, but now it is even more so. We are working toward rebuilding trust and taking care of each other, but it will be a long road… And there are no guarantees. You have reminded me that I will be okay. No matter what happens, I will be okay. I am learning about myself and learning to love myself. One day I may wake up and realize what it is that I’ve always wanted to do, and DO it!
Thank you so much for sharing and speaking into my life.
I agree totally! A divorced woman, then a widow because I couldn’t imagine being alone, and now after saying No Man, No Dog to friends because I enjoyed the freedoms you speak of God brought another man into my life and I am loved beyond anything I had ever experienced….But it didn’t happen until I was “content” with having God as my Beloved and trusting in His provision totally.
So I agree, embrace this moment in time, trust that if marriage is a part of God’s plan HE will provide you with a man who will make you willing to give up a lot in exchange for love.
I. Love. This. I spent my 30’s wanting to be married, so badly. At least, that’s what I told myself. I think I just wanted not to be seen as weird, because I’m a free spirit who wants approval (now, that is an uncomfortable place to be!) Now that I’m 41, I realized, hey you know what? I voted with my feet. I didn’t really want to be married. It’s not like I never had the chance. And now, I’m realizing I do want to, and I’ve started dating again, and the cost? Seems so high. I’m not that mature. I’m not that comfortable with myself. I don’t like to feel trapped in any place or situation. I don’t have the best self-esteem, although I’m really, really working on it with God’s help, to see myself with his eyes, and to focus on his perfection as opposed to my imperfection. Also, it doesn’t matter how old you are, or any of what the media says. I’ve been approached by guys of all races, levels of attractiveness, ages 25-65 have approached me. Guys are less picky than we imagine. You know what, the lies are just LIES. You can be happy not being married. You may indeed get married, even if you are scared to be happy while single in case God goes, ‘she’s fine, leave her!’ and never gives you anyone. GOD JUST KNOWS US way better than we know ourselves. So, this free spirit is finally getting ready to take that big leap of trust, vulnerability and real adventure. It’s awesome. And yes, Annie, yes – I’m counting the cost, because it’s real, and I am pretty sure (maybe?) my singleness is easier than me being married. But I’m ready now to give, and pay the price for true love. That’s my story anyway 🙂
Annie, I’m SO glad to hear you say those words. I’ve been following you on here and on your blog for a long time now, and I know how much you’ve struggled with feeling content in this stage of life. Not that I don’t want you to get married, if that’s what God has planned for you, but I’m so happy that you are feeling more content in your current season of life and hope you continue to feel that way. You life seems pretty great to those reading along!
Funny you should write this, but I’m so glad you did. This reflects a bit of what I have been feeling lately. And along with the contentment comes all kinds of questions about whether this is a sign that I’m called to singleness or something like that. I needed the reminder that being content is a good thing. Yes, the desire for marriage is still there… and that’s a good thing too. But I’m so glad God is teaching me to see the beauty in every season!
Rachael D says
Hey Annie- Although I am married I can say that I feel and see things so similarly to you. In January my husband and I bought a house, we had just gotten out of all our consumer debt (like more than $15K), and we’re super excited to be planning new floors, summer vacations, and have fun with our new dog. I was on cloud 9. Enjoying our still newly married life (of less than 2 years) was awesome. I was so happy with where we were.
Then, right before Easter, we found out I was pregnant. We were in shock. I was totally upset with it. I didn’t want a baby yet. Much less didn’t have a clue how we were going to afford a baby yet. And was mostly upset because I knew that my really awesome life-stage was about to be flipped on its head. I was dramatically devastated. I didn’t want to share my husband with another person yet. I didn’t want to give up my early morning quiet times. Our Date nights. Our so amazing vacation plans. And about every penny we had in savings to have a baby.
I will say, since April I have grown some. God is changing my heart toward this new person and, although I still am not ready to give all those things up, God is showing me His good plans for us in the new approaching season. Many of my friends (also expecting) probably think I’m selfish, but that’s just how I feel. I guess, all that to say, sometimes, even without our planning God drops something in our laps that we can’t ignore and can’t walk away from. And it hurts our feelings. But let the scary parts get worked out b/c whatever it is is still reality….so I’ll say, enjoy your single life. Seasons change even if marriage status don’t one day you’ll have to move on from where you currently are and you shouldn’t regret enjoying the journey now. (And if you ever want a beach vacation, I know where you can take one and never want to go home 😉 )
Yes, figuring out this singleness thing when you’re in your thirties and it’s not what you expected can bring lots and lots of questions. I, too, have come to appreciate the many gifts of singleness. I think in some ways, it’s why Paul said it’s better to be single. It’s very simple when it’s you and Jesus and the love story with Him is so sweet when you are single. I’ve often said, “God, what will I do when there’s a man I have to share my affections with- will I miss you- will I be so busy being his helpmate that you and I don’t have this sweet communion we have now?” But I think the one thing that has solved the whole issue for me is: Grace. God gives us grace to be single and manage everything we have to on our own (the little details like auto maintenance, financial management, cooking, household, working full time, pursuing our ministry and relationships- I don’t buy the idea that singles aren’t busy, because if you’re living for Jesus- you are! He’s using you with those nurturing and giving gifts in different ways than being a wife and a Momma, but they are being used); I think God also gives grace to the married woman and equips her to handle the rigors of motherhood and wifehood. I think God gives us all grace where we are to handle what we have to, and like you, after many years, I have come to appreciate the gifts of singleness. So much so, I had to ask God to place a readiness within my heart when He would finally say it’s time for marriage. He helped me see that if He gave me a readiness, the fears of leaving behind the single life and the fears I have in marriage would be outweighed by a move of His Spirit.
Annie, thank you for being honest. I know some might read some of this as selfish, but for any of us who have been reading your writing for any length of time, we know your heart is not selfish and that you have come to appreciate the gifts that are in front of you. I love when you share your words and your heart with us- thank you!!
Awesome post…seriously awesome.
THAT’S the secret – to be complete no matter where you are in life, because God is our ultimate completer. 🙂
Molly Hasty says
OMG! Best post ever thank you so much for writing it ! I’ve been experiencing the contentness (not a word) you described lately as well. It’s kinda scary in a way because it makes me think that well maybe I’m content because God is calling me to lifelong singleness(bla) but then I remember that this contentness(not a word) is a gift from God out of his abundant grace to help me be obedient to him. I have done nothing to deserve this contentment or anything create it within myself , the Lord has placed it there, once again out of his abundant grace and I am thankful and shocked that I can actually be content in this area of my life in which I have truly hated at times. Thank you for all your encouragement Annie, keep up the good work!
P.S. I vote we start a movement to that abolishes the phrase “marrige doesn’t complete you” and also”it will happen when the time is right” , bleh , enough already.
I love this, and I’m married 🙂 Contentment is a bit of a soapbox for me, because truthfully we will never be content somewhere else if we’re not content right here.
Also, I recently went on a bit of a rant about the questions we ask each other (www.simplysincere.com/questions) because sometimes it seems like we make contentment more difficult for each other… instead of giving one another the freedom to truly have joy in the phase we’re in, even if we’re excited about the next one!
To be joyful and glad and happy wherever you are at the moment – isn’t that what we all want? Married or single – each day can still be gift and grace. (Oh, and can I admit here to being just a bit jealous? To sleep in the middle of the bed, sole proprietor of sheets and blankets? It sounds just a bit divine!)
Annie, thank you for your honesty and bravery here. I won’t lie I started tearing up a bit as I was reading because you wrote words I just couldn’t make myself say. Although I am almost 31, and single, I am not in the sweet contented place you are, but I pray God brings me there soon or at some point. I know I need a heart change, but I have no idea what that looks like and in some ways I think I am fearful that what I have desired since my first friend got engaged in college is not in my future and that I will have to let it go. I think the strongest part right now is what you said “We are willing to give up lots and give lots for love.” this wrecks me. I want to be loved the way God created it and made it beautiful in a way that glorifies me.
I guess really all this rambling is to say thank you for your words today. Its nice to not feel so lonely in this, if only for a moment.
Carrie Smith says
Thank you for sharing; I can relate to where you are coming from. I am currently in a relationship (he’s in Malawi right now so it’s really long distance), but I find myself wondering what is going to happen when we’re not miles apart. I mean, I am here in the states, continuing to live my ‘single’ life even though I am in a relationship. I am definitely working through enjoying my time now and looking forward to what is to come.
I think that is where it sounds as if you are as well – we (women, people) look at it as an either/or type question – either you’re meant to be happy single OR you’re meant to be happy married & you won’t be happy until you’re married. But the way I have come to see it (through many conversations with God), it is in the beauty of the AND that we find peace.
I am happy being single AND I look forward to what God has in store for me in the future. I appreciate your statement: “Because even though I am single today? My life is complete.” You didn’t say ‘My life is complete because I’m single’; you know your life is complete because you know God has your back (at least this is what I gathered from your post).
I think every single person must come to that conclusion on their own – I am content where I am at, enjoying what I have AND I am anticipating what is to come, looking forward to what God has for me. It is when we forget the first part, that we feel discontent, sadness and frustration. When we’re only looking forward to what is to come, we miss what is already around us and the blessing God has already given to us.
Jessica W says
Actually, Annie… I LOVE this post. It speaks to all of us about loving where we are. All I ever wanted was to be married and be a mom. After waiting a bit for both, I love where I am but honestly, I often miss the freedom (gasp). I love that you love the season you are in but are hopeful for something you’ve always wanted. I believe this is how God wants us to live out every season. Thanks for the encouragement!!
Jessica W says
Actually, Annie… I LOVE this post. It speaks to all of us about loving where we are. All I ever wanted was to be married and be a mom. After waiting a bit for both, I love where I am but honestly, I often miss the freedom (gasp). I love that you love the season you are in but are hopeful for something you’ve always wanted. I believe this is how God wants us to live out every season. Thanks for the encouragement!
Beautiful post…. was there myself at one time and as I settled into ‘its okay to feel this way, its okay to be single’ well right around the corner came the man…lol. That’s okay too. The main thing is going with what God has planned out for you, period. Not what you or anyone wants. Being in His ultimate plan is being in the best place! God is always bringing us to new levels, new things, new discoveries, new places. Embrace them, as it sounds like you are! Blessings!
Scoti Springfield Domeij says
This is one of the most profound and sweetest blog posts that I’ve ever read on this topic. Yes, I’m single. http://gracefortheroad.com/2012/02/03/idontwait/
Scoti Springfield Domeij says
I meant this link to http://scotidomeij.wordpress.com to the blog post “I Don’t Wait Anymore” is the most profound and sweetest blog post that I’ve ever read.
Scoti Springfield Domeij says
Okay…I ‘m not doing this comment thing right. Here is the link to the article “I Don’t Wait Anymore.” http://gracefortheroad.com/2012/02/03/idontwait/
As a 40-something, first-time mother of a four year old, I read this and think “yes, it is hard to do things like motherhood later in life.” As a once 20 year old who got married because she thought that is what she was “supposed” to do when she fell in love, but who was then divorced less than 10 years later because they realized they both had jumped into marriage as a “supposed” to thing, I read this and think “yes, it is so much better to wait and know yourself and know your life.” I think it is wonderful that college students have someone who can model a happy, satisfying and gracious single life for them. I think it is wonderful that you have been able to let go of the “supposed” to and embrace the “purpose” of your life. This was a wonderful post (as indicated by the comments).
Sue, I too did the “supposed” to wedding when I married my high school sweetheart. It lasted all of two years. Huge mistake! I waited about four years and then my best friend from college and I fell deeply in love and thought we should marry. Wrong again. When I was 30 I decided I had better get on the ball if I were ever going to get married and have a family. At this point, I began dating someone I had known (even before the college love) and he asked me to marry him. I was very unhappy with myself (weight, failed relationships, low self-image, etc.) and thought I’d better not be too picky so I settled. Wrong again! We were married for seven years and had a beautiful baby girl but nonetheless, I should not have married him. It wasn’t until I was teaching my daughter life lessons one day and I tried to stress to her how VERY IMPORTANT it is to seek God in all that you do. It was then that I realized I never once consulted God in these marriage choices. I will say, however, that I did actually think the last one was God sent because I knew his family so well (or I thought so at the time), he had had the same job for 20 years and was a hard worker, had moved in with his mother during her cancer to help since she was widowed, and he attended church with her every week. I thought this must be the one… he’s such a “good” guy. I loved him, but don’t know that I was ever actually in love with him. Anyway, I’ve said all this to say how very important it is to include God and wish I had been smart enough and mature enough in my Christianity to have done that from the beginning. Also, I applaud Annie for being so content where she is… I wish I had. Plus it’s ironic that I was just reading something the other day about being content where you are. I am now in another relationship (of 7 years) where we have not gotten married and I’ve wanted to so badly at times that it was physically painful. I now realize that that is not God’s plan at this time, and I have a sneaky suspicion that is not His plan at all with this guy. My head knows this – if I could only convince my heart. I pray for Annie and all the singles out there, and this time… I pray for me too.
Merry Yoder says
Hmmm….. really like this post. I’m 44 and single (never been married) and loving it.
Julie N says
I am married and I still like what you have written here 🙂 If there is anything we can all learn from this is that it is about His timing. I think it is easier to be joyful where we are-even in the waiting for something we REALLY want-when we can accept that it is all in His hands.
I married at 20 and had four children over the next 22 years. My marriage was problematic, but workable, with patience and faith in God. It isn’t for everyone. I have seen folks contented with their lives whether single or married. By the way, for those who shy away from the expense of a wedding, they would be just as married if they went to the courthouse and paid a small fee, or went to a church with just family, friends and a pastor, and had a little gathering afterward. Spending thousands on a wedding is wasteful for just one day.
Sappy post below, prepare yourselves:
10 months married at 22 and I see where you are coming from… But I really do believe to each her own – what is good for someone, is not for another.
My desire to pursue full time vocational ministry began after I got married (I had felt a calling for years but always pushed it aside), and mostly because my husband was behind me full support. We may not be able to run around the world ministering to others (I wish! There is absolutely no funding or chance for that with what work we do have!) but we have found our place at a church that is smack dab in the middle of a very hurting population, working in the music department as a volunteer basis, not full time, but this has been very fulfilling.
And maybe our ministry can go from where we are to full time some day. The nice thing is, he understands what God is calling me to do and he will go wherever that takes me happily. I’m not sure this would have been the case before we got married.
Marriage has brought me the partner God knew I needed to get things done; the drive, the support and the comfort when things aren’t going well. I absolutely know that I would not be working to pursue this God-driven goal this today had I been single. No, my husband doesn’t complete me, but he is my “business partner” in this crazy world, and he is the only one God speaks through consistently to remind me that my desires are not always best. Does that make sense?
Marriage is not for everybody. And some days, I think it isn’t for me (this newlywed thing isn’t always easy! haha) but at the end of the day, I know God put us together this early in life for a reason – to learn to love each other early so we could share God’s love together.
Wow. Your questions at the end of your post just stopped me in my tracks: “How do we fully embrace the season we are in without giving up hope for the next? Or can you only fully embrace when you think this is the best it is going to be?” Annie, that applies to everything in life. I’ve been married for 31 years with 2 children, and I have always struggled with that. Right now I’m finishing breast cancer treatment, and I’m struggling with the same questions. Thank you for putting that in front of me today. I’m printing it, and putting it on my wall. Thank you! And God Bless you in your singleness – you are amazing!
Annie- You’ve learned something that many women don’t realize until after they are married. Being single is as much a gift as being married. And, should you ever marry, there will be times when you long for the life you have right now. It seems the trick is learning to embrace the life you have been given for all God intends it to be.
I think that when we find contentment where we are, God is pleased and it is only then that He can move us forward. The fact that God has been placing contentment in your heart reflects His love, overwhelming, for you. You can almost hear Him saying “…now, my child, find peace here because I’ve got so much more for you…”. Learning to live in contentment was one of Paul’s great admonishments to us (Phil 4:11-13). And not many people know how to do that. So, you go girl!!! Live your life, today, as you see fit. Sounds like God is working in you through contentment. Living gratefully in today will get us to tomorrow, and hopefully it will be another grateful day!
Annie ; ask yourself ” Am I happy “? Marriage sometime`s with the wrong mate , can be horrendess . A friends husband of 6 months committed Suicide ; Another friend is being Mental beatten by her lovely Controlling Fool , but she stays getting more depressed eachday, until she ends-up in a phyciatrict unit .
With the Right Mate ; then it can be wonderfully fullfilling , with Children, a decent home and Happyness . The LORD Provide`s everything , so I encourage you to wait on him Patiently to bring you the RIGHT HUSBAND !
Not a problem! Enjoy it! My husband and I used to be able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted but then a little bundle of joy came into our lives: our Rottweiler-Pitbull named Gogi 🙂 He’s the sweetest brown-eyebrowed creature in the world.
We don’t have any kids yet. I can’t handle the thought of such commitment and responsibility. I am almost 23 and am still very much selfish! It’s so hard placing my uterus on hold sometimes when I play with the cutest possible nieces and nephews on earth.
And it’s hard sometimes because literally everybody in my life has kids or is having kids. And because my husband and I are the youngest out of all of them, we sometimes get spoken down to, like “you’ll understand when you have kids.”
And we probably will, but it doesn’t help. It makes me feel smaller than the 4’10” I already am. There will be nay-sayers to just about any decision you make or don’t make or want to make or blah blah blah. I’ve learned that even if we do exactly what God wants us to do, everybody else won’t be happy about it. But it’s what God wants because that’s what will ultimately make everything good.
Pray for very specific things for your future husband, if you’d like. I prayed for my husband to be of a certain height and race and colored eyes and I got it! Him, I mean 🙂 And I don’t know. Maybe you’ll go to, say, a conference on leadership training and he’ll walk right in the door with his gym shorts and white tee and tube socks and offer you a green jolly rancher and it’ll be love. Maybe 🙂
Mindy Rogers says
I met my husband at 18, married at 20 and not I’m 30 with two beautiful daughters.
Sometimes I think about the price I paid to live the life I live. It was expensive and it was everything you described. I would be lying if I said that some days the grass looked greener on the single side of the fence. But, I think that is just the nature of the life we live: nothing will be completely satisfying like our eternal life will be satisfying. So cheers to feeling like we are in the right place and then doubting it. 🙂
I guess I’m just not sure about the question/struggle here?
Of course there’s “cost” to marriage.
Of course there’s “cost” to being single.
It’s because we live in a fallen world and choosing to love, as designed by our Designer, includes “cost.”
It’s why Jesus died on the cross. To pay the ultimate “cost.” To love us in the ultimate way.
That is good! I am married for nearly 23 years! I have the best husband in the world, in my opinion! I would not trade my life with him for anything at this point! However, I always wanted to be married & a momma most all of my life! The momma part never happened… after years & years of struggling over this circumstance of my life, I gave into letting go of my dream in this area & trusting that God is good & has it under control! Just because things don’t go as we always think they should go doesn’t mean we can’t find contentment in the life God is choosing for us! The verse, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4 was so hard for me to understand, but when I put the next verse with it…. God showed me so much, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” I realized through surrendering my way to His way that changes everything for me!
I am so glad you came to this conclusion way sooner than I did! Thanks for sharing your heart!
Annie, I love that you’ve found contentment in this season of life. We could all, married and single alike, learn from that. I hope to find that kind of satisfaction soon.
I’ll say Enjoy!!! I got married when I was 29 and I still miss my being single years!!!!
Love your post…..Gina F
Kristy Byers says
Thank you for your words. I am single and 48. I am also a Christian comedian who uses that fact in my act. (Dating can be funny.) A friend of mine once said to me “I guess you will “grow up” and get a real life when you get married and have kids”. The comic/ cynic in me resisted the urge to say “Really? You’re married with kids, when is it going to happen for you?”
For years, I felt guilty for being able to take naps when I wanted, go on vacation when I wanted to, put my money toward a new dress or a new CD project or web design or even a blinged out Bible cover. I have always gathered my friends’ kids and taken them to get pizza or the movies or the library or for ice cream or invited them over to paint or trim a tree. Of course, if it was a loud or messy toy, Miss Kristy, bought it for them. (And gave them all the sugar they wanted, well within reason.)
And now that most of the “kids” are young adults, they are thanking me for being another “mother figure” in their lives and for being their friends. This is so special. I an not their mother. So for them to have a love for me that is “motherly” and for me to have that same love for them, is such a special gift. One I would have never had if I hadn’t been single.
I learned to enjoy being single. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be days that I long for a mate. God designed us to share life with others. But I have been able to do things in life and ministry that I would have never been able to do if I were married. My life is NOTHING like I wanted it to be, NOTHING! But it has been way more than I ever imagined. (Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,)
This was such a powerful comfort – I just turned 53 and I have never been married. I have thought it was what I wanted but I wonder now if I’ve been brainwashed to look for a prince when I’ve had The Prince right here with me all along (I accepted Him at age 10). I am currently Happy With My Life. I Am Content. I am so happy to discover I don’t need a man to be happy or complete. I only need Him. Definitely be content with where He has put you right now and enjoy those seasons of your life as they pass quickly. Read books, go to school, hit that beach/lake. Go out to eat – minister to whomever He crosses your path with. Laugh. Love. Live. I don’t have the time or energy to be married right now! My cup is full and I give Him all the glory for it! Thank you Annie! May He bless your ministry(ies) too!
I adore this post. I adored being married–when I was married. My husband cheated on me over 30x, and our lives together ended. But that was OK. We get along fabulously, have raised God loving, wonderfully awesome children, and I am single. I have been for too long than I care to admit. I really want to get married again. To the right man. The man God has chosen specifically for me. For my family. But…..until then, I am content in my life. Just as you are. You’re just the very person I have known to say it so well. Thank you.
Thank you for this, Annie! I’m nearly 32 and single, and you’ve expressed what I’ve been feeling lately. Recently, I decided to fully live this life that God has given me and stop waiting around (while still hoping that my singleness really IS only temporary) by purchasing a house. It’s a big step, but I couldn’t be more excited about it! For some reason, I always assumed that I wouldn’t buy a house until I was married–but now that thinking seems really silly.
Your post was a real encouragement to me today!
I am 36 and divorced (5 1/2 years) and I do hope to be married again some day. I think what you’re describing is the difference between resigning a hope and waiting for a hope. When we think we must resign a hope in order to enjoy life as we currently know it, we inevitably feel a sense of loss. But when we realize that God, in fact, asks us to wait expectantly for the hopes in our hearts while enjoying Him in life as we currently know it, we come to a place of truly loving our lives.
In Soul Virgins (horrible title, wonderfully helpful book), the authors talk about needing to grieve our singleness before we marry. Because singleness has a lot of perks. And while marriage is a gift, we will lose some freedom and it’s okay (even good) to grieve it.
So let’s enjoy the gifts that come with being single instead of feeling a sense of loss because we’re not married!
(Did I really write that? Huh. God must be changing my heart)
Rose G. says
I loooooooved this post and thank you for sharing it with us….I too am single and have been for 14 years after being married for 19….I am now in my early 50’s…I love the gift of singleness…if anyone would have told me that I would still be single after 14 years I would have thought they were crazy, but I am and I like it! I am at the point now where it would have to be someone pretty doggone wonderful for me to even think about marrying again. I have several friends that are married and several that are single. I have a lived long enough now to know that there are blessings and heartache to both being married and single. A couple of years back, I was really struggling with my singleness, getting older, my daughter leaving for college, etc. Whenever I would imagine myself getting older and retiring there was always this shadow of a person beside me, I didn’t know who he was or when he would show up but I had always figured I would re-marry again and go into my sunset years married, but that didn’t happen. One day I was looking at my life and complaining to God about how I wanted to be loved, to be special to someone, etc. and He spoke to me that I was indeed loved by Him and by many others in my life…that I didn’t need “romantic” love to define me or to make me “feel” loved. I have many wonderful friends and family that I love and love me back and that is enough. That “shadow of a person” beside me that I always imagined, is Jesus, He promised me that He would never leave me nor forsake me ( How I treasured that verse after my husband left me). I have learned to be happy and content where I am in my life, to enjoy all the things I can do and don’t have to do because I am single and not married. I have been so blessed these past 14 years being single and allowing God to be my husband, as He promised that he is the husband to the widow and father to the orphan ( as I raised my daughter alone) and I can attest that He has never let me down and blessed my abundantly more as a single than I ever was when I was married, altho there were blessings there too. I also know that many of my married, Christian friends and family, do not have the “fairy tale” marriage they had imagined having after “praying and waiting” for God to bring that “perfect” person into their lives..in fact it is the opposite for many if not for the most of them. The “romantic” love has faded for many, there are serious problems and issues in their marriages…anniversaries, birthdays, etc. are either forgotten or barely recognized and for many the close, Christian fellowship they had hoped for with their spouse is non-existent. I am thankful for my gift of singleness, I am blessed to call God my spouse and know that He is my prize and not the booby prize or second best. Do I believe in marriage, YES! I have friends and family that are happily married and have healthy relationships, but I am content where God has me and I don’t even pray any longer for a spouse, at this point in my life HE would have to hit me over the head to get my attention to even think about re-marrying again!
I’ve been able to tell you love your life for a while and I really admire that, almost to envy. I’m single and I don’t like my life, I always think if I just had a guy I adored and who adored me life situation would be more bearable. But the truth is what I don’t like about my life has nothing to do with a guy or the lack there of. I really adore those who feel joyful and fulfilled while single. Slowly I’m seeing the cost of marriage and am still at that point where I think if I choose who I marry it won’t be like that bc ill choose better. But I don’t have control over another person, do I? I guess I just have a lot of learning to do. I’m trying, I’m praying, I just have a long way to go.
I understand just what you have written. Although I did marry at 24, I had wanted to be married by 18. Once that did not happen I threw my life into whatever the Lord had for me much like you described. So much so, when my suitor did come into the picture I was quite content WITHOUT wanting to be married. I had 2 prayers….. one was for a husband and the other was for children. God had already answered one of them which was quite a fulfilling task. I was working at a youth ranch for troubled teens at the time and wanted to continue doing what I loved. When I began praying about this man the Lord brought to mind a picture of a gerbera daisy. One petal was missing off the flower and the Lord spoke to my heart and told me that while this flower was beautiful, something was missing. He then shared that I could go on without that missing piece if I so chose to, however, He was ready now to answer the prayer of a mate. It was in the place of contentment that God bought me my hubby. We have been married for 15 years and while at first I was completely satisfied with being on my own, His plans were much greater than my own. We now have 3 of our own children but God has also opened our hearts to minister to foster kids. I would not trade this for the world and I am so glad the Lord pushes us to be content no matter what season of life we are in!
Karina Allen says
Great post Annie! We are the same age & in the same situation. My life looks a lot like yours except I hang out with JHIGH/HS girls! I love my life! I do want to get married. I like you quote, “My life is complete.” No person was ever designed to complete you. That is totally Jesus’ role. When we find our wholeness in Him alone, we release any person or circumstance from the burden of having to meet that need. It’s a fine line btwn. being content & still having hope for the future. I would like to get married but I want to get to the place in life where if I never got married, I would legitimately be okay with it.
I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m older and happy where i am, unmarried. I have nieces and nephews that i love but i don’t have a formal ministry. They’re adults now actually but we’re close. There’s a longing in me to get married. It doesn’t leave. It’s not unbearable. Just sweetly tugging.
Marriage is sso sacrificial. From what i’ve read before there’s nothing like ia family to stretch you.
I pray the best for you whatever it may be.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
I have thought of this several times over the past year. Wondering if at age 37 I am missing out on something or happy with where God has me. Don’t get me wrong! I know marriage can be great! I have my parents to thank for that. But ya’ know what else is great? Getting to be me! And I’m not knocking my married friends at all, but there is so much change that comes with marriage and children and I have watched as just about each and every girlfriend has turned into someone else that no longer even tries to relate to me or anyone else outside of being a wife and mom. Fabulous callings! But I feel content with where God has me right now. And I don’t have to become someone I’m not. I have full control of the tv remote and I can roll all over my full size bed. I can come and go without great planning and I have a freedom that many others do not have.
You are a strong voice for being content with God. And I thank you for this! I also rejoice in your ministry to college students. It’s funny because this morning I was listening to Moody Radio and they were going to interview a woman who has written a book about embracing singleness and being content. Wish I knew the name of the book. It was an interview with Nancy Turner.
Anyway, I love your heart! Why should we be yearning for what God has not chosen to give us…yet, or maybe it’s not His plan. It’s perfectly OK to be single, especially when you model contentedness. Those college students and your friends are very blessed to have the love you give them. And I bet they love you back!
Thanks for writing this.
Been married….. now I’m not. Societal pressure aside, only God willl lead us where we need to be & where is good for us. Content in Him is truth whether married or not. SHINE where you’re at!! (Yes, especially those married folks who suffer the most lonely existence. You know what I mean!!) Because it really is true…. Marriage does NOT complete you.
Cynthia McGarity says
Annie, I love everything you write. You’re amazing. Thanks, as always, for your viewpoint. The only thing I want to contribute here is my thoughts on this sentence: “I wonder if this selfish single living for my entire adult life has made my brain start to not desire anything else?” What I know to be true about you from your writing and the efficacy of that statement in regards to your life doesn’t gel. Selfish isn’t sleeping in or having an open ended vacation or spending your money how you see fit. Selfish is living only for yourself, hoarding your gifts and thinking only of what you want. It’s CLEAR that this is not the case. You give and give and give some more. What lucky college students in your ministry. And lucky us to get a glimpse into that incredible, funny, thought-provoking, generous brain of yours. Thank you for your honesty…your vulnerability…your transparency. Can’t wait to see what more He has in store for you!
Annie: You are very YOUNG, do you know that? almost 33 is great, and it’s really so wonderful that you are able to do all that you DO!! I was married and had kids, then my husband DIED when they were in their young teens! i was a widow for 7 years, it was a huge adjustment, but i started to do things i LIKED, i travelled to various hot spots, I went to Hawaii w. friends so we could do whatever we wanted!! Anyway, i had lots of single friends who only wanted to be married, great, smart, beautiful, really strong christian women. I didn’t get it. still don’t. but one day, after i had been assaulted at work, and got traumatic Brain Injury, kids gone off to college, it was not so great anymore, but as i was looking to find justice for the kids and staff where i was working, i met my now huband. He is truly a loving, cute, smart man, 16 yr married, and because we’re OLD (compared to you) it works good. Someone had prayed for a Boaz for me, a Ruth, (foreign widow), and GOD knew i would need him, w. brain injury. SO, do what you LOVE, be where You feel you’re meant to be. One day….Blessings to you and all you awesome single ladies above. I have a 35 yr old single daughter. She WAS married, to a guy who pretended to be SO nice, and beat her up, mentally, emotionally,so you don’t want THAT. Wait and continue doing good things for others. Let your friends love you too!! You are totally loveable, beautiful, and Jeremiah 29:11 says”I know the plans i have for you, for GOOD and not for evil’. Who knows what evil things you’ve avoided by NOT marrying yet!!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! This is ME right now, except I still struggle with contentedness. However I LOVE not having to answer to anyone and be able to do what I want, when I want with who I want.
Thank you for this! It gives me encouragement!!!!!
JoDee M. says
Nailed it. Simply nailed it.
That truly peaceful feeling of acceptance and grace in our lives is probably one of my favorite God gifts. Taking the time to revel in that struggled-for contentment, just makes it that much sweeter. Enjoy yours thoroughly and without regret!!
Annie, you know I’ve got thoughts about this! I often say it’s going to take an amazing guy for me to give up my current lifestyle- and I am so grateful to be in that place. I still want to get married but I am well aware of the gifts of singleness. I’m also aware it’s going to be trickier melding my life with someone else because I’ve had the time to develop preferences and opinions about how to spend my money, which way to hang the toilet paper, and what I’m going to eat for dinner tonight. So, yes, it’s going to come down to love. I’m open to it happening and I hope it does but I think I’ve finally settled into my own skin and I’ll be OK if it doesn’t. At least, most days.
This is a really great post. I felt the same contentment when last year as a single. And this year, God gifted me with a really amazing guy. We’ve both said that we wished we had met sooner, but then know that we wouldn’t appreciate each other the same way if we had.
And not to point out something negative, but the only part I didn’t agree with describing your single life as selfish. You’re obviously not selfish with the way you serve the college students in your life. I bet you are also not selfish when it comes to family. I think singles are often labeled selfish, self-absorbed and the like because the assumption is that this life is what we imagined as a child. But it isn’t. The choice I exercise in not having been married yet is choosing to wait for the one God chose for me. But that choice doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me obedient.
Enjoy your completion and contentment – I pray your heart’s desires are fulfilled sooner than later, but know it will happen with His perfect timing.
Monica Smith says
I am 52, never been married, nor had children. Not by choice, but by God’s design. The Apostle Paul talks about the life those who are single should live – one devoted to Christ. My being single allows me to help two of my family members who are disabled, write, and spend more time before the Lord than perhaps someone who has family obligations. Each of us has our own call on our lives and I see serving God as a single woman a gift and an honor.
May you be encouraged and continue to enjoy and bless others in this particular season of your life. Thank you for writing this post. It has helped me take my eyes off what I don’t have, thank God and embrace what I do.
Elizabeth L says
I’ve been dating my boyfriend (who I met online in a desperate attempt to find a husband) for almost a year. Every day I think about something I’ve already given up or will have to give up when we get married (which will happen eventually). Almost every day I also think “is it worth it?”. Some days I know, absolutely, it is worth every bit of sacrifice and compromise, other days…not so much.
Love, relationships, marriage, family…they all come with good and bad. You take the bad with the good because that’s life. But sometimes I wonder how much bad am I supposed to be taking. I feel like my main question with this post is “when is the cost too high?”. I don’t have an answer to that, don’t know if I ever will.
I don’t know what God’s plan is for me, so right now I’m using that as motivation. I know He will send me a sign and/or give me the help I need to follow on His path. I think it’s all any of us who battle the uncertainties of relationships (or complete lack of) can do.
Jennifer Manuel says
Loved this post, and it looks like I’m not alone with all these comments! I’m 27 and single and in the ministry. I definitely understand that when God does bring me the man He has for me (I say WHEN because I know God knows the desires of my heart) I will certainly have to sacrifice certain freedoms, such as sleeping in the middle of the bed! As a Children’s Pastor right now I’m just focusing on putting all my energy into my kids at the church and community. I’m taking full advantage of this season because I know I won’t be this free to spend my time as I want forever. I’m doing my best to stay content where I am and continue to be obedient to the calling God has on my life right now, as a single woman. Thanks so much for your encouragement. It’s great to be able to share with others. We are not alone!
I read the article and many of the comments (not all). I think what God’s been teaching me in the past few years is that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A good friend once said to me that being married is not better, it’s just different.
I’m just a few weeks shy of turning 50 and a never-married single. I’ve always had a desire to be married. For most of my life I have been content as a single–probably not always living it up to it’s fullest. But I now find myself desiring that covenant relationship more than ever. At the same time, I have married friends who are in marriages who (for lack of a better word) envy my freedom.
I think the key is finding our contentment in Christ, in whatever place He has us at the moment. People and circumstances cannot fulfill us like Christ can.
Do you know that universities like Stanford do studies and came to the conclusion–be in the moment–and I say well yes, God says that same thing. I’m reminded of this verse when I read your post: You are neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female but you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians
I suppose I don’t think about a 32 year old not married as very old for you are so young to me and my friends and nieces got married at that age and into their 40’s for their first marriage.
But you have the key. Thou shalt not covet
You are content. You are using this time for Gods glory and reaping benefits you see.
I am disabled now. My brain. I can’t even process that. Hard to explain. But I’m more struggling with all that and learning to live in the now. You are already practiced!
I never planned to be most of the things I became: a wife at 20, a teacher, divorced, not able to handle a difficult teen, disabled, so our paths? Gods in charge! And have so much fun at the beach too!!!!
beautifully written and thought out. One thing I’ve always told my girls (teen-aged daughters) is that being grateful and content with where God has you is the most important thing. If you’re not content as a single person, you won’t be content as a married person. Good for you!!
Julie Sunne says
Annie, this is a wonderful post! I think much of what you’ve written are thoughts that have crossed married women’s minds as well. Being “completed” by their husband. Whether what we desire so desperately is what we really desire. The idea of selfishness verse contentment.
Wow, much to chew on! Hang onto God’s plan; that’s where contentment comes from.
Annie, thank you for your courage in posting this. It’s can be scary to write something we know not everyone will agree with. It’s clear from the responses that you’ve been rewarded for stepping out sharing what God put in your heart.
I’m 36 and single. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s where God has me, and I am learning to be content in this season. Because, as my pastor recently said, “if you can’t find the joy of the Lord when you don’t have the thing you want, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to when you finally get it.” And I have certainly found this to be the case. Apart from Him, I really do have nothing – even if I have everything.
But, to answer your question, I think we can both embrace where we are and also hope for a better future. In fact, God’s word tells us to. Doesn’t it say to be content whatever our circumstances AND that hope does not disappoint? It’s hard to do both. It takes guts. It takes heart. But, for me, there’s no other way.
Annie! When you first started writing your singleness series over here, I loved it. You have said a lot of things that have rolled around in my heart over the past 28 years. 28 years where seemingly no one was interested in me and there was no prospect of the marriage I so desired. But around October of last year, he showed up. And he showed up in a big way with flowers and surprise dates and laughter and, as you said, love. So much love. We are getting married in September and I couldn’t be happier. But lately I have realized what it costs already to be in this relationship – it has meant a rearranging of my schedule, a reprioritization of my friendships (not leaving friends but the time and ability required to invest so deep and wide change), spontaneous girls road trips I cannot afford to go on (and one that I have gone on anyway!) and a youth small group that I have served faithfully and continue to do so but this particular year I feel like I have just been getting by. I have mourned these losses and I am still trying to figure out exactly how to navigate certain areas because the truth is my life was so so very full of good things, of God things, of fun things, of ministry things and of friend things that when a major relationship happened, something had to give even if it was a good thing or the love couldn’t grow. Is it worth it? Yes it is worth it because as you say, we will give up a lot for love. And because he loves me too, he knows my friends are important and ministry is important and even alone time is important and we have worked and are working through this together because his life is changing too. But the change is good because while he doesn’t complete me (I would agree my life was complete before), he shows me ways I can grow more like Jesus sometimes without even realizing it and he loves me through it. And that is worth the change even if it is sometimes painful.
Hugs to you!
Such an awesome post! I was so scared of being alone as an adult that I chose to marry someone completely wrong for me and ended up divorced at 26. It took me a little over 5 years to learn how to be comfortable with myself and realize I needed to embrace where I was and let God’s plan for me happen. I’m also just shy of being 33 and see this same struggle with my other single friends. Seems to be a very common thing with women our age.
Annie, So true. I’m 33 (and a 1/2) and I’ve never been married. I have wanted nothing but the family and the wedding and the husband and kiddies…all of it. And now, I’m not there. I’m just coming out of a relationship where my heart is broken. I think we have to embrace where we are today and live it as the gift we’ve been given. We can always hope for something in the future, but we aren’t sure what that will hold if He really leads us. I am going to embrace this season in my life of singleness to do just that….come and go as I please, focus on my writing/reading/praying/relationship with God himself. This might have been what God needed me to do/where He needed me to be. I want to know myself and embrace where I am at with Him…make him the place I run to instead of relying on another human. Too often, I lose myself in a relationship. And I think He needs me to get right with Him now…and with myself…before anyone else can be in my life romantically (if that is in His plan). I hope that makes sense. I’m reading these posts and I realize I’m not alone in my thinking….or in my situation. I thought I was one of the last young single girls out there! Praying for you!
Great post! I just got married last year (at 27, which was MUCH later than I had planned in my head), and before I did I was most definitely of the mindset that “If only I had a husband, ______ would be so much better!” I was very aware of what a lot of the benefits would be. But I honestly didn’t consider the costs very much, if at all. I had lived alone for 6 years before marriage and I’ve noticed that it definitely takes its toll. It’s not easy (or conflict-free) to let go of the freedoms of singleness and starting thinking of yourself as part of an “us.” I’m having to train myself to remember to factor my husband into decisions I make. I can’t just do whatever I want whenever I want. I can’t spend my money however I want, and neither can he (and oh how many arguments this one has caused). It’s hard. Like every married woman says to her single friends (who totally don’t want to hear it, neither did I), marriage is wonderful and also very difficult.
I enjoyed reading your healthy perspective on marriage. Marriage is a gift. Singleness is a gift. They’re just different. 🙂
I am 36, on the flip side of where you are, and wishing I had never done it. Wishing I had taken time to have a life, and wishing I had a ministry and could get away when I wanted and not have to make the budget s—t—r—e—t—c—h so far. I made my choice, 16 years ago, and now I have to figure it out, to see my family as my ministry, and not long to get away from them, for something more fulfilling. So pray for me, please? No joy in this place I find myself in…
Chris Malkemes says
Mine is just a voice among the voices, but let me congratulate you on finding “the place” of His perfect, pleasing and acceptable will. You can say with meaning: “Thank You, Lord, for the place you’ve placed me in right now. I trust the faithfulness of Your faithfulness. Amen”
Jenn C says
Annie, Thanks for this article. I am 48 and have been married for nearly 5 years. I was really content when I was single, mainly because JESUS was my EVERYTHING… my best friend, my security, my hope when facing tough times. I felt so saturated in JESUS that life was good, content.
Then I got married, and yes, am in love. However, it is so different than I thought it would be. And, when women say your husband won’t complete you, they are so right. I love hanging w/ my husband, facing adversities together, having someone to laugh with and cry with and pray with, but …. still JESUS is my everything, not my husband.
I’m very grateful that I knew Christ the way I did before I got married, or I think I would have been going kind of crazy in my marriage.
I Love the Lord, and when I don’t get to spend time alone with him, my heart misses Him. JESUS is the ONLY one who will EVER COMPLETE me…. single or married!!! (didn’t understand this so much as well as alot of other things til as you say experiencing it for myself)
Kristen Strong says
I just love this, Annie. You are brilliant, beautiful, and true, just like your words here.
Much love always.
Thank you for your post, I really loved it. I am 73 and have been single all my life. There have been times when I wished I could be married but am comfortable that God knows best. I would have never been a missionary nurse and worked in 4 different countries if I had been married or at least not in the ways I was able to work.
I also would probably not be able to do what I am doing in 2 weeks and go out to Kenya and stay with a group of young girls in the Olmalaika Home for girls, for a few nights and teach them how to sew and many other things.
There are times when I would love to be married especially when I see some of my friends who just seem to have a love and companionship with their partner.
But I look at my life and thank God for the way he has lead me, and I would not want it otherwise. Again Thank You
Annie, I can assure every soon you will meet your man where your rib is taken, very close
Jesus Christ is Preeminent
Relationship. with one another in the form of marriage or friendship is the hardest thing one can do in this life and without trust there’s no relationship. Unless one get it right with GOD and pursue Him first. front and center of one’s life. it’s impossible to do relationship,
Beth Williams says
Far to many people rush into marriage as something that is “supposed to be” or that they think they want. I believe people that marry later in life have their priorities straight & know exactly what to expect from each other.
I fully believe that young people should explore life to its fullest and embrace singleness for a period of time–even do some sort of ministry, if possible. Then when God puts someone in your life…it will be that much sweeter.
I have been married going on 10 years now. We’ve had ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Being single allowed me to do some ministry things & spend time learning about myself and maturing as a Christian.
God Bless you! 🙂
Jennifer Roth says
Annie, you have no idea how blessed I have been by the words you share on this topic. God has used you very specifically on more than one occasion and I am grateful for your obedience to the Lord and willingness to share your heart.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I am blessed, encouraged reading your post. I am 41, single, never been married. Did not expect to be single this long but it is what it is. Your post reminded me that I am not alone. As much as I believe marriage is not easy I also believe it is a beautiful thing. At the same I am thankful to God for the gift of singleness. Like you I sleep in the middle of my bed, rest as much as I need and want, read whenever, buy whatever I want (without the fear of somebody reacting over my expensive purchase even though I can afford it).
I am thankful for your post. As much as I am blessed by the postings of others majority of it is on marriage, family. It is good to hear about singleness especially for single people like me. Thank you again. 🙂
jennifer cleveland says
Becky Jones says
Just hold on and trust in God. I have a 2nd cousin twice removed who is now 61 and she did not get married until she was 35. We were there for it all. She was our youngest son’s English teacher and she had met this guy years before and finally told him and another guy to get lost. Now she has 3 girls. One is a graduate of USC, one is attending Penn State and the last one is at home attending her final year in high school this fall. So just hold on, there will be somebody out there for you if that is God’s plan. Are you a TN native or a transplant? We lived in CA for 20 years ad were glad to get back home to the TN mountains.
Deb Stevens says
Hi Annie!! First off marriage is NOT for everyone, and ultimately should be between you and the Lord anyhow. So anyways, I’m going to address your ‘mentions’ (and seriously really try to make them quick!).
“I’ve wanted to be married since I was old enough to define the word. I’m not sure what God is doing in my heart and mind, but I spend some portion of every day lately being really grateful for exactly the life I have right now.”
-First, there is nothing wrong with this. AT ALL. A BIG part of being single is truly appreciating it because once you are married, your life is truly not your own anymore, but a conjoined effort in advancing His kingdom and living freely and abundantly in Christ as a married participant and child of God!!
“The cost of giving up this life I love seems great, too.”
-When you live a life for Christ and are at a point when you ARE content and truly HAPPY, it always seems as though it can’t REALLY get any better than this! But with Christ things are ALWAYS possible to change! That’s the awesomeness of this life we have: just when Christ has blown our minds with his love, he fills us up even MORE almost to the brim of our love tanks! With Christ, we always run the possibility of our life constantly rotating around a great and incredible Father. So, fasten your seat belt!!! *winkwink*
“marriage won’t complete you.”
-I loathed the person who used to give me redundant single/marriage advice!! but you are right in saying that they ARE right. On the other hand, every person’s life in Christ is different from the next, and we’re overall diversely colorful from each other! But if you are content, happy, settled in your heart and spirit THEN I AM SUPER HAPPY FOR YOU!! Actually I am a bit (healthy) envious of you. I was not as NEARLY Christ motivated, inspired and encouraged to live so freely AND enjoy it as you seem to be. I did not use my time wisely whilst being single. That is my only regret. However, I would have never known the closeness with the Lord as I had, had it not happened the way it did in my life, at my most desparaging, desperate moments of loneliness.
And quite honestly, I don’t believe you are doing anything “wrong” or questionable in your single Christian walk. And I think you sencing your life as “complete” is so admirable and encouraging to single women EVERYWHERE. Its just proof that we can truly have our own identity aside from our potential mate! I have girlfriends that are opposite of you and really wish they’d find God’s match for them already, but I’d tell you what I’ve told them if you were in there shoes:
-Do not be in such a rush because your attention will be divided 2, 3x as much or MORE between those in your own family (God/spouse/children/you).
-Find who you are NOW, with what God has placed in you to do, and immerse yourself in God’s work as much as possible (because part of marriage is partnership anyhow, and once married your spouse is ultimately your teammate). So life doesn’t ever begin or end with marriage.
That’s the whole thing with God, you don’t have to give up hope. Its always there, like a soft twinkling of a star that can’t seem to burn out. Its always etched within you. No matter what, you fully embrace when you know its God. And we never stop, whether we think this life we lead is the best it will ever be, because until we get to finish our race and stand before God, how we live with what we have now and who we become in the faith will be all that matters.
Blessings, encouragement, prayers and cheering from this side of your life stadium 😉
I’m 47 and never been married, or even had a serious boyfriend. Being single feels like nothing more than a test of endurance for me. I applaud your attitude, but I cannot say I have ever spent one day of my life contented with being alone.
Hi Annie, I appreciated your teaching today. You are AMAZING to share your personal
thoughts on this subject. I waited on Jesus to bring ”Mr. Right” along.I waited and I
waited and one day he came. I was happy and content in my life and Jesus was there all
the time. My ”Mr. Right” did come along and a week into our relationship he purposed
and 4wks. later we were married. It was and 15yrs later it is His Will.He was 58yrs old
and I was 48yrs. old.Never married before. We had a beautiful garden wedding with many family and friends. God walked with us and He blessed 2hearts together. God has a plan for you as well. ”He makes ALL things BEAUTIFUL in HIS TIME”. God wants each of us to wait on Him and He is the ONE to live for,dream about,Trust and live
one day at a time. God is using you in ministry today and He’s preparing your heart
to do ministry in a BIG way.You’re SPECIAL to Him.He LOVES you Annie
This is exactly what I’m struggling with internally right now. And it is a struggle. I’ve been married and have 2 kids but every day struggle with the negative, worldly thoughts of being single. for many years ur didn’t bother me…for the same reasons you mention. However, the devil likes to steal, kill and destroy. And the negative thoughts of being single is the playground he’s been romping around in lately. So thank you for your post, as usual…..it hits home with me.
How do we fully embrace the season we are in without giving up hope for the next? Or can you only fully embrace when you think this is the best it is going to be?
I have struggled with this question for a few months now. You see, I have a difficult time conceiving. It took us 13 months to become pregnant with our first child. She is now two and a half, and I long for another. It has been 18 months of disappointment. God has taught me much through it though, like a sweet cool river through desert. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy, and most days I am content with where I am. Some days though, the pain washes over me. It is the ultimate hope then disappointment, hope then disappointment . Hope is a very difficult thing when you have been disapointed so many times. One thing I know, Christ is a sweet Savior, and a rock. A sure hiding place.
This is a note I wrote while considering is very thing. I apologize for the length of all this, there are a very many comments here, but I hope the needy one will find it, and God can use it to encourage.
Luke 22:41-42 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
This week many disappointments hit me. A broken truck and car. Working long hours and getting overtime, but seeing the money gone before I even get the check. A dress that doesn’t fit, and a body that will not cooperate. And biggest of all, a reminder that I am still not pregnant.
I texted this to my husband during a conversation we were having about my disappointments.
‘I’m not just frustrated. I’m disappointed too. And I don’t know how not to be disappointed, besides not caring at all about anything.’
Neither of us could seem to come to a conclusion. Obviously, giving up, and being hopeless, is not good option.
How exactly do you balance hope, and prayers of hope, against disappointment?
The hope and prayers of another child…14 months of them…only to be disappointed again?
And today while reading a book, this passage came to mind.
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Christ prayed a prayer of hope. He did not want to face the pain of death. He prayed in hope that God would see fit to remove the event that was to take place.
And God was able to.
He could have. He was strong enough, powerful enough. He could have made it possible.
But He didn’t.
He was not willing. It was not His plan.
If it were me, I would have felt forgotten. Like I do now. ‘What about me, Lord? You ‘remembered’ all these women, gave them children, answered their prayers. I hope, and pray, and hope, and am disappointed time and time again.’
I hope for a child. I hope I can gather some savings. I hope I can lose weight and look nice. I hope, I hope.
Then the car breaks, the truck needs repair, I look in the mirror, and my monthly cycle starts again.
And I want to give up. How, how does one balance hope and prayer, faith and disappointment?
In spite of. However. Regardless.
It is the setting aside of one, in favor of the other.
Regardless of how I feel Lord, let YOUR will be done.
In spite of what I hope for, grant Your will for me.
I desire a certain end Lord, however, I most desire your will.
The desire for God’s will is the weight that balances my hope.
When disappointments come, I do not need to despair, or feel forgotten. I must remember that God is always in control. He does not lose track of what is happening.
If I wait on Him, He will strengthen me. Ps 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
If I give Him thanks, He will be glorified. 2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
If I give Him thanks, I am doing His will. 1 Thess 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you
If I stop worrying, pray with thankfulness, and keep my mind right, I will have peace. Phil 4:6-8 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
What is your prayer today? What have you been hoping for, praying for? Have you been disappointed and discouraged?
Can I challenge you to pray this prayer?
Father, you know my desire to__________. I pray that you would bring it to pass. Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine, be done.
Friday Five | Elizabeth Hyndman says
[…] Another Annie wrote this week about The Cost of marriage. I love this. I think about that cost every Saturday morning that I stay in the center […]
I think it’s about being OK with where you are now. I’m 35 and have been single for many years. I am a single mom so it’s been a little different for me, but honestly, when it comes to what you’re talking about here, not much different. I’ve come to that place where I like my life, minus the significant other, I like my independence and my opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Like you, though, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want a relationship because, like you, I see a lot of value in those relationships and one day I hope to have that again, but for now, I’m good right where God has me and that’s a WONDERFUL thing to say!
At 47 and still single I am finally at a point where I can fully relate to this post. For so long I spent too much time waiting for life and the man who would make it complete. I realize now that he would have added something had he been there but I lost so much by not doing in the process of waiting. I am learning to live life fully. As my cousin just told me last week…sieze the day. I may never meet Mr. Right. I can however have a very full life and live out Gods dream for my life right where I am. And you know what. I too am now OK with that.
Thanks for this post. It is time that all the single ladies stand up and say we don’t need a ring on it. It is also time that the church doesn’t make singles feel “less than” and many do. We need to do what God calls us to do and live our lives fully right now. At 52 and still single I dreamed of being married and having children. I struggled for years before I came to the place where I knew that God has me right where He wants me, doing what He has called me to do and I am complete in Him. I am loving life and will continue to say “yes” to God wherever he calls me.
Courtney W says
Thank you so much for this post. You have worded so well what I have been trying to explain. I have always wanted to be married and I will be getting married this fall at the age of 42. At the same time, when I met my fiance, I had just, finally, realized what a great life I had as a single. And, now, I have to make time for him and do what he wants to do instead of what I want to do. I had always thought that I was single because “the guy” wasn’t ready. I am realizing that it was me who wasn’t ready. Would I have loved to have gotten married and had kids in my twenties? Absolutely! But, my fiance and I met at just the right time. God does know what He is doing.
Oh Annie! Thank you for writing this. I love my singleness (most of the time) and always seem to feel guilty when saying that to my married friends. Why? Isn’t it Paul who talks about how much easier life if when you are single? I hope that marriage is part of my story someday too, BUT – I fully believe that until then I shouldn’t spend my days mourning something that hasn’t happened yet. NO! I should spend my days making the most of my singleness. I have the privilege of waking up in the morning and only taking care of me, which means I can sit on my porch and drink my ice coffee and read the bible and (in)courage for a few hours before I get dressed. This is something that I know will not last forever so I should relish it now while I can.
I am reminded of of 1 Cor. 7:32-35 (MSG) I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
I don’t think you are being selfish. I think it is a matter of blooming where you are planted and coming to the realization that you have to find the happy where you are in your life. If you are always looking over your shoulder waiting for Mr. Right, you forget to appreciate the pretty awesome things that are happening in your life right now.
Well done, Annie! I wholeheartedly agree!
Judy Heffer says
I was married for 32 1/2 years. We got married at 21, had 3 beautiful children and were happy with the life we had. My husband died of cancer at 54. Now I have 5 1/2 grandchildren he will never see or be a part of their lives. I live alone with my 2 dogs and a cat. I like being single too, however after being married, I miss the companionship, the conversations, or the quiet of sitting together and saying nothing. It is different in an empty house! I am also content with my life now, however, I would like to have another relationship. I will wait to see what the Lord has for me. He is always good and this is the path I am on right now.
I recently deleted my “wedding” board on Pinterest. Not because I’m bitter or angry about being single, but because I feel like God is preparing me for something (one night I literally got no sleep because I was talking about this with God). I do love being single, for all the reasons that you mentioned, except for the fact that I’m at another crossroad in my life. No job, no prospect, living at home, waiting to see what doors God opens. I’ve thought about marriage, but honestly didn’t really think it would happen for me. But now, at 24, I feel like the Lord is changing my heart and preparing me for what is about to come. Let’s see what crazy things He is up to. 🙂
This is such a late response but I wanted to chime in. This is my first time commenting – ever! I was married young – but after 18 years, my husband died of cancer. I was left with 4 children: 8, 8, 6, and 4. My husband had been ill for about 2 years before he went to be with the Lord – so I felt like I was a single mom in charge of everything for years. Praise God I finally met a wonderfully strong, godly man and recently remarried…after 6 years of being a widow. So, your post resonated with me because I am still struggling to shift from being a single mom in charge of everything to a partner….with accountability….and my mate’s opinions and desires and input and decisions. Even though I had responsibility for my children, I got to make all the decisions about time, money, school, behavior, etc. I am so happy to be married again, and parenting with a partner….but yes, there is a cost!
So true, everything you say yes to requires a no somewhere else. I don’t think any one path is “better” than another as God always has His best in mind for us. Embrace and enjoy the season with that little bit of hope and excitement for what the future holds.