I wonder how many tears will be shed tomorrow.
While happy couples are overspending in overcrowded restaurants and cleaning out our continent's supply of chocolate and roses, many will stay home... alone.
For them, it's Valentine's Day for Single People — aka, the worst day of the calendar year.
And I know there will be tears — of anger, hurt, shame, loneliness, embarrassment, frustration, disappointment, discontentment, jealousy, and fear.
I know this because I know many single people hate being single. They long for romance. They desperately desire marriage. And singleness feels like a bitter experiment to endure until their dreams come true.
Here's the thing, though: that's not the perspective Christians should have on singleness. Hating this season displays discontentment with God's plan for your life. It's okay to want marriage, but it's wrong to idolize it. It's wrong to place your completion in another human instead of your all-fulfilling God. Singleness isn't a curse; it's a gift.
I'm single, and I have to say, I kind of like it. Yes, I want to get married one day. But for now, I'm good. These days I'm just especially conscious of the benefits of singleness. Yes, benefits. Gifts. Advantages. Blessings. Singleness comes with them, you know.
And for those of you aching for a relationship this week, here are 7 benefits of singleness to consider:
1. Freedom For Spontaneity.
Singleness means less binding relational responsibilities providing more space and room for spontaneity. You can drop everything and do... anything. You can babysit last minute. You can go to a movie last minute. You can go on a mission trip or help with disaster relief last minute.
2. More Time to Serve.
Paul says that the married person is busier, which means they have less time to invest in service. Single person, take advantage of this season! I know single twentysomethings who are intentionally taking time to mentor several Christians who are younger than them. I know single young people who are investing tons of time in serving their church (more than they'll ever be able to again!). I know single young people who are volunteering or serving at charities. Serve abundantly!
3. Easier Travel.
It's a lot less complicated to travel when you're not in a romantic relationship. With the opportunities I have to speak, I've loved traveling so much this past year. I'm only concerned with my schedule and not concerned at all about being away from my boyfriend or husband too much. Sure, I know I'll have to face those real concerns eventually (Lord willing), but right now, it's nice that I don't.
4. Fewer Distractions.
Paul also says that married people are distracted because they're focused on the needs of their spouse. It's true. Even though those are good distractions, single people have the advantage of not having them. We aren't entangled by a spouse's issues, needs, and problems. We don't have that burden. We have more time to focus with laser-sharp singularity on obeying God and serving others around us.
5. Deeper Friendships.
People in a romantic relationship are each other's best friends and spend a lot of time just the two of them together. Single people have more time to invest in friendships, which means they can have more friendships — and they can have deeper, time-consuming friendships.
6. More Money.
This sounds weird and worldly, but being single means you have a lot more resources to give. You can give more to your church. You can help with other financial needs. You can save more. You have more to steward well.
7. Greater Dependency on God.
Like seasons of sickness, the season of singleness often pushes us nearer to God. We're reminded that he is our satisfaction. He is where our identity is found. He is our hope and joy. As Sam Allberry says, "Singleness is a way of saying that my marriage to Christ is so sufficient, that it is so rich and satisfying, I can do without human marriage in this age. … And so singleness is a way of saying to a culture that is obsessed with sexual and romantic fulfillment that actually Jesus is enough.”
Enjoy Your Singleness
Statistics show that most of us will get married. That's not a guarantee, but it's a fact. There's a good chance that singleness is just a season for you right now.
I hope you don't hate it.
I hope you grab this season by the horns and wrassle all the joy and beauty and gifts out of it you can.
I hope you're confident and complete and content in Christ.
I hope you travel and save money (and spend money!) and invest in friendships and serve and embrace spontaneity and absolutely love this season.
Don't stop wanting marriage if that's your dream, but whatever you do, don't waste your singleness.