Written by Andrea Chan, Singapore
Once I crossed the 20-year-old mark some years ago, I started to feel the pressure to get into a relationship. The recent SKII #ChangeDestiny Campaign could not have better depicted the struggles that single women face daily, especially after hitting the 25 year old mark when most women are getting married and having children.
In Asian societies, getting married can be likened to graduating with a college degree. It’s a measure of your market value and worth. If you remain single, people assume that the problem lies with you—too stubborn, too tomboyish, too independent. It hurts to have this social stigma attached to us, especially when deep inside many of us do want to settle down.
I’ve noticed that the topic of one’s relationship status never fails to surface during conversations. It’s always the same: once you’ve declared your single status, you can expect to be greeted with an awkward pause, followed quickly by a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and some consolatory remark along the lines of, “Don’t worry, you’ll find your special someone.”
Sometimes it gets the better of me, and I do get worried that I’ll never find someone to start a family with. While the freedom that comes with singleness is wonderful, seeing so many happy couples does get to me at times, and I can’t help but doubt my worth as a person.
I am sure I’m not the only single facing this silent struggle of self-doubt and uncertainty about the future. In these moments of questioning, I’ve found it useful to make the most out of my single life by living according to the following guidelines.
1) List the key qualities you want in a future spouse
As singles, it is helpful to have an idea of what we’re looking for in a future husband or wife. I share this because the importance of making a list only dawned on me when I realized I had compromised on all the qualities that were important to me with someone that I used to date.
It is good to do this when we’re still single, so that the qualities we look for are based on biblical standards rather than our emotions—which was the mistake that I made. Making this list also serves as a reminder to wait for God’s best and not to compromise on values that are important to you. For me, the three things on my list are that he loves God, he loves children, and that he can lead.
2) Be selective about what you read and whom you listen to
Singlehood is a good time to prepare ourselves for a relationship, which includes how we should interact with the opposite gender and the boundaries we want to keep. In today’s world, people care little about physical and emotional boundaries in dating, and it’s common to see dating couples behaving as intimately as a husband and wife would.
Selecting media and literature that is in line with what the Bible advocates prevents us from romanticizing relationships and having expectations that are shaped by the idealistic portrayal of relationships on social media, and protects us from getting hurt. Rather than reading secular articles on dating, it would be better to seek counsel from mature Christian couples or get advice from Christian articles and the Bible instead!
By doing so, we will know exactly how to behave in a God-honoring way in our friendships and future relationships—especially when all the advice around us is worldly.
3) ‘Friend zone’ your friends.
It’s normal to view each friend of the opposite gender as a potential romantic partner. So I’ve found it helpful to put friendship first—in other words, to “friend zone” everyone. This helps me to behave naturally around my friends, and not be tempted to put up a “front” to impress a guy. And hey, if things do develop beyond a friendship, I’d know for sure that he likes the “real” me.
I’ve been tempted to try to take control of my love life and to write my own love story. But rather than allowing myself to be caught up with fantasizing about a new crush, I ask God to help me view everyone as a brother in Christ, so that I do not end up obsessing over whether someone could be “the one”.
4) Volunteer in worthy causes.
Having been blessed with an abundance of God’s love, we are called to reach out and bless others. This could be through serving in ministry or volunteering in the community.
When you’re single, you have more time on your hands, so why not spend your time sharing God’s love with others? I’ve tried volunteering in organizations that involve children, or the distribution of food to needy people—or both—such as at food banks, soup kitchens, camps, or at schools.
But volunteering can be as simple as cooking dinner or doing laundry for the family. It’s a small gesture, but that doesn’t mean it’s insignificant. It’s an expression of your love for your family. And I’m sure your mother won’t complain.
5) Pray about your fears.
I’ve found that prayer is the best way to deal with my fear of not having a family of my own. When I am plagued by self-doubt and insecurity, I pray for:
- Wisdom, to know who God wants me to marry;
- Clarity, as to which ministry to serve in or whom to reach out to during this period of singleness; and
- Patience, to wait upon the Lord for my future spouse.
Ultimately, singlehood is a gift from God and a chance for us to grow deeper in our relationship with Him. Let us rejoice every day, because all of us have found our special someone—God. It is said that your first love is the most special. Well—guess what? God is, and will always be our first love.
There is no greater love than His love and His love is the only love that can complete you. There’s no greater comfort in knowing that your first love loves you too.
Trust God to work out your love story in His own perfect timing. For now, let’s keep living life to the fullest—devote our time to the Lord, bring joy to those around us and enjoy our hobbies