Let me talk about singleness.
I am 29 years old, and I am single. I have been single my whole life. I have gone on dates here and there, but have never had a girlfriend, never had a romantic relationship. There’s several reasons for that: emphasis on school, career, and personal development; inconvenient timing; fear of rejection; lies I told myself that I was unattractive and undesirable (never underestimate the power of negative thinking).
Singleness has been tough at times. I’ve definitely experienced my share of loneliness. But I’ve also been glad for it. I’ve learned how to be content with life by myself. I remember seeing my friends in college who had a really hard time with singleness. They saw the status of “single” as a commentary on their worthiness as people. To be single was to be unloved. It was really tough for them.
Yes, I would like to get married at some point. The married couples are able to do so much more together as a team than they could as individuals. Marriage is not just about satisfying one’s own emotional need for companionship, but about finding someone with whom to explore and share and shape the world. Plus, I would like for people to stop asking me “When are you getting married?” all the time. But as I’ve written before, I don’t think my life’s fulfillment and happiness is contingent upon marriage.
I remember this quote: “Some of the most loving, joyful, and compassionate people I know are single, while some of the most shriveled, dried-up, lonely people I know are married.” Marriage is not a panacea for loneliness. Marriage cannot replace all other relationships. That’s why I appreciate many of the marriages I see; the marriage relationship takes center stage in my friends’ lives, but doesn’t eclipse other friendships and connections.
As my friend Isaac Kim said, “How can I use this unique season of singleness to grow as a person of faith, character, and wisdom?” Maybe, like Isaac, I will get married. Maybe I won’t. But in either case, I would do well to grow in these attributes.