Written By Noni Elina Kristiani, Indonesia, Originally in Bahasa Indonesia
“It’s a new year already but I see you’re still single, eh?”
“When are you getting a boyfriend?”
“You know, your friend from high school already has two children. When will you be like her?”
Those are the questions I often get. As someone who has been single for quite some time, I can laugh with my friends when they joke about my singleness. But sometimes it still upsets me to hear such comments.
Recently, I received a direct message on Instagram, where I often share my thoughts and feelings about life. The message was from a girl who was in her final semester of university. She told me that she always feels sad when those she considers her close friends tease her about being single. She also shared that she feels uncomfortable whenever they start talking about their dating life. Coupled with their thoughtless teasing, she often feels hurt by her interactions with her friends on this subject.
While I completely agree that true happiness doesn’t come from having a life partner, but from an intimate relationship with God, it still isn’t easy being single. I believe God will satisfy all my needs, and I have no problems waiting for God to bring the right person into my life in His perfect timing. But sometimes, comments and questions from people around us can make us singles feel left out.
If you can relate to the story that the girl shared, or have felt hurt by inconsiderate comments on singlehood before, I’d like to share five tips that have helped me confront and deal with such comments:
1. Be honest with God about how you feel
How do you feel when someone asks, “Why are you still single?”. Perhaps some of us don’t take these questions to heart and can confidently share the reasons why we may still be single. But I’m sure that there are many of us out there who might feel upset upon hearing such questions. If you fall under the latter category, I want you to know that it isn’t wrong to feel this way.
Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. When we’re hurt by the words or behaviors of people around us, I believe God wants us to be honest with Him and to bring our thoughts before Him. Admitting my feelings to myself and God in prayer enables Him to heal me from the hurts and disappointments that the words of others inflict on me.
2. Bless those who offend you
Even though questions about our singleness don’t cause us any physical harm, they are still hurtful and can make us feel depressed. Whenever we feel offended or stung by the comments of others, it helps to remember the example that Jesus showed as He went to the cross when He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Even though it may be hard to do so, forgiving those who hurt us and choosing to bless them instead is a good way to recover from our pain and hurts. Not only does it release us from any form of bitterness, it also enables us to turn our attention to how we can be more aware and sensitive of how other people are feeling, and pray for them instead.
3. Build an intimate relationship with God
While others may base our worth on our relationship status, we can be assured that God doesn’t. He sees us as precious just the way we are (Isaiah 43:4).The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, the more we’ll understand our true worth and learn to define ourselves based on what He says about us, not what the world says about us.
As I’ve begun to read the Word more, I’m also coming to a better understanding of what true love looks like. This has helped me readjust my expectations of love from what the world offer us, to what God offers us through our fellowship with Him.
4. Spend your time wisely
Rather than fretting about other people’s comments about our relationship status, it’s more helpful to use our time for personal improvement—especially in the areas of our gifts or talents. If there’s a dream you’ve always wanted to achieve, go ahead and start making plans to work towards that. Invest your time in building up the lives of those within your community.
I’ve found that filling my time with activities that are edifying—such as serving the young people in my church and training disciples, as well as joining a writing community—has helped me live this season of singleness with joy instead of resentment or self-pity.
5. Develop a heart of gratitude
It’s easy to be grateful when everything’s going well in our lives. But can we also be grateful when everything isn’t going according to what we’ve hoped for—especially in the area of relationships?
It’s never easy, but I’m learning to cling on to the wisdom of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Practicing gratitude has helped me become truly grateful for the season of singleness I’ve been in for the past eight years. It also helped me become truly happy for my friends when they find their life partners and start tying the knot.
Even though they have been painful, I am grateful for the questions and comments I’ve received over the years about my singleness—because they have helped me examine my life more deeply and reconsider how I can make the best out of this time in my life.
As I’ve grown closer to God, I’ve been strengthened by His promise that He will make “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). So even though it may be tough to constantly field questions about my singleness, what’s more important is that I know I can face all of life’s challenges with joy, because God knows exactly what He is doing with my life, and He is with me every step of the way.
These days, I’m learning to take on a different perspective. Instead of asking God when I will meet my spouse, I’m beginning to ask: “God, what do You want me to learn in this season? What do You want me to do?”
Since then, God has shown me areas where I can serve Him more fully. When I’m more focused on what He wants me to do, the questions and assumptions of other people don’t matter as much to me anymore. What matters most is knowing that whether I’m single or married, I will never be alone because God is my guide.