Right now, I’m dating a pretty awesome man.
He’s kind, smart and loving. However, we didn’t meet until about a week before my 23rd birthday.
If you grew up in the Church, you probably know this age better as “about 2 years after everyone in your life starts asking loudly why you’re still single.”
I’ve mentioned before how I left church for a number of years, but my last year of college is when God brought me back.
Of course, as life goes, this was also the year everybody (and I do mean everybody) in my church started getting engaged.
I was dealing with a lot just trying to let go of past relationships and build a new relationship with God. Unfortunately, a good number of women I went to church with took this season in my life to be one in which I “could really use the help of a good, godly man” to steer me in the right direction.
I don’t fault them for their bluntness, and I don’t resent a single one for the (seemingly) endless questions of “when” and “who” and “why not yet?”
I know these questions were coming from a place of love, and I genuinely appreciate it.
Worst was the advice.
I know this, too came from a place of love.
However, there are
6 pieces of relationship advice church people HAVE to stop giving
single girls and women in their congregation.
1. Wait for “the one”
There is no “one.” Jesus is your “one.” You might never find a guy, you might find a guy and he leaves or is taken from you. Jesus is always there. You may have multiple men in your life. There is only one Jesus.
Telling women to wait for “the one” perpetuates this fairytale notion of “the one” who’s going to fulfill their life.
“The one” who’s going to heal what other men have broken, right the wrongs in their lives and give their existence meaning.
Jesus has already taken this burden upon Himself. You don’t need a man to give you purpose, you already have a glorious purpose. Set your sights on finding your reason for being, and let your man find you in God’s time.
2. True love waits
You’re not waiting for anything. Live your life.
Jesus is using this time to help you grow in relationship with Him. He’s using this time to turn you into the person you were created to be apart from a man. There are things that can only happen when you’re single and things that can only happen when you’re dating but not married.
Embrace that time; don’t sit around waiting for a ring or your wedding day.
Note: This does NOT mean you have a free pass to have sex with every person who asks. It simply means the idea of “waiting” for your true love is a ridiculous oversimplification of a complex issue. For a better idea of what I mean, read this post on Grace for the Road. Her explanation is far more in-depth and beautiful.
3. You already belong to your future husband
No, you don’t.
Until your wedding day, you belong to Jesus, and Jesus alone. He has your heart.
Not your fiancé, not your boyfriend and definitely not an abstract concept that may or may not exist. Sitting around waiting for your perfect man because “he already has your heart” stops you from experiencing all God has for you now.
Go out and live your life. He’ll bring your man when the time is right. And if that man doesn’t last, there will be others.
Or not. Either way, you have Jesus. When you have Jesus, you have all you need.
4. God has someone for everyone
Actually, He doesn’t.
But that’s okay.
There are plenty of women kicking ass all over the world while rocking the single life. There are women who don’t meet their husband until later in life and women who don’t get married ever. And that’s fine.
What’s important is that you’re living the life God planned for you.
Sometimes that means saying no to a date because you have mission work to do. Sometimes that means ending things with a great guy because He just isn’t part of the plan anymore. Walking around looking for your guy and planning your life around a future marriage (that might not happen) isn’t helping anyone.
It also isn’t helping to try and change the mind of a girl who’s accepted God’s calling to singleness. Some women are called to singleness. There is nothing wrong with this.
In fact, Paul himself applauds this life when he said, “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).” A lot can be accomplished for the Kingdom when you’re not distracted by a relationship.
5. God hasn’t brought your husband because you’re not ready yet
They don’t know that. You don’t know that.
You might be ready, but your husband isn’t. You both might be ready, but it’s just not God’s plan. Like I said, there’s a lot that can only happen in your relationship with God when there is no other person around to distract you.
That doesn’t mean you’re not “ready” and there’s nothing you can do to change it other than to enjoy every second you’re getting to spend growing in relationship with Him. It’s not a bad thing and it’s not something that needs to be “fixed.” It’s something to embrace and to cherish.
Once you are married, you’ll never get this time back again.
This one strikes me personally because there have been relationships in my life that did not start until months (or years) after I was “ready”. Take my current boyfriend, for example.
1 year before we met, I would have happily disappeared into my husband’s life for the chance to be a wife. I had no real career goals to speak of and no big dreams other than to be a great mother.
6 months before I met my boyfriend, I felt like maybe I was being called to something besides becoming a stay at home mom*.
God fueled the writing fire in my heart, and started building bigger dreams. About a month before I met my boyfriend, God gave me a vision for my life that didn’t involve a husband or kids until years after I expected. Once I had accepted this vision, I met my boyfriend.
It’s not that I “wasn’t ready” to meet my boyfriend. It’s not that there was some flaw in my personality or his that needed to be fixed before we could be together. God simply wanted to remove the notion that I should be looking for a husband, and replaced that notion with the idea that I should be prioritizing my career for the next few years.[Tweet “It’s not that I wasn’t ready, it’s that God wasn’t ready to reveal the entire plan.”]
*Note: not “better”; simply different
6. You’ll find your husband when you ___
“You’ll find your husband when you stop looking for him!”
“You’ll find your husband when you learn to love being single!”
“You’ll find your husband when you become the woman your husband will want to be with.”
This is unfortunate for so many different reasons. As I’ve said before (and I’ll continue to say), there are one hundred and one potential reasons why you’re single. Yes, one reason MIGHT be a giant personality flaw. (If you think this is the case, just ask your family. They’ll be the first to tell you.) The greater likelihood is that
say it with me now
IT JUST ISN’T GOD’S TIME.
Yes, it helps to stop looking and focus on growing in your relationship with God. Yes, learning to love being single involves fully embracing this season in your life when you can totally devote your heart and time and energy to Him.
And yes, there are probably a few minor lifestyle improvements you could make to become more “wifely” and less “20-something who loves taking shots at the club.”
However, this advice of “Do X, Y and Z and THEN you’ll find your husband” again implies this situation is in your control. It implies the second you accept single life, you won’t have to be single anymore.
This simply isn’t true.
This piece of advice does nothing but establish unrealistic expectations about how hard a girl should be working to earn the right to be in a relationship. It takes the focus away from a relationship with Jesus and puts that energy into becoming the “right” girl.
As a church community, we shouldn’t be trying to “fix” our single sisters.
We shouldn’t be trying to force a girl who actually is loving singleness into a relationship to satisfy our yearly wedding quota.
We shouldn’t be promoting the idea that a girl is single because there’s something wrong with her or because she isn’t trying hard enough to find love.
If anything, I’ve seen most girls trying too hard to find love.
Instead, we need to be encouraging these women to find their strength, security, and comfort in Jesus.
To grow in him during this season in their lives – they’ll never get this time back.
There is so much to learn about ourselves in singleness and so much we can do to grow closer to Him and closer to one another.
Let’s stop rushing our ladies to the altar, and stop shaming those who haven’t found a significant other (or have chosen to stop looking).
Let’s encourage these women to appreciate this unique and beautiful time for what it is, and stop giving lame advice that isn’t actually helping anyone.
Photo Credit: Sam Caplat
Do you agree these 6 statements need to take a leave of absence from church conversation? Leave a comment letting me know which advice (or questions) I forgot!
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