I have been on a long journey of singleness. All throughout high school and college when seemingly everyone around me was dating, and then getting married, and now some of them are starting to have children, I have remained single. It wasn’t until after I graduated college that I realized how great of a time it is to be single and unattached (at the ripe old age of 23). I started to notice that there were a lot of people in my circle of friends and family that needed the love, attention, and time of someone who had lots to give. I noticed that my friends who were dating or married didn’t have that kind of time to spend with others. So, I started spending a lot of time with one of my friends who was fostering several children and was staying home with them while her husband worked full time. This has been, and continues to be, a beautiful time for our friendship and for their family. I believe that I would not have had nearly as much time to invest in and support this family, had I not been single.
Just over half of adults in America are single (unmarried). The number of single adults has been on the rise in America since the 1950s when only 22% of the population was single. The average age of marriage is on the rise, too, sitting at 27 for women and 29 for men. Singleness is becoming an increasingly normal and prominent way of life for many Americans, yet pop culture doesn't always reflect that. Our culture tends to idealize relationships and sometimes doesn’t value singleness, whether that means not being married or not being in a relationship at all.
For this reason, I want to talk about singleness in a way I don't see a lot of people talking about it, which is to point out how valuable it is. Even if you are in a relationship, you can still learn from this because chances are you will go through times of being single before you get married, if you get married at all. You may even realize that you are in a relationship simply because you don’t want to be single. Sometimes it is hard to be single when a lot of your friends and people around you are in relationships, BUT..
Here’s what I want you to know:
1. You are whole and complete by yourself. You don’t need another person to complete you or give you value. You, yourself, have value and worth, and you are awesome! We’ve all seen romantic movies where the main character is miserable and incomplete as a single person, but when they find the love of their life, they are made whole and everything is perfect! What kind of a way to live is that? Single people are not empty vessels waiting for the perfect person to complete them, they are whole and complete already.
2. Being single doesn’t mean being alone. You probably have a lot of family and friends around you, and if you don’t, you should work on deepening existing friendships or building new relationships rather than trying to make one person fulfill every relational need you have. Human beings need lots of relationships, and even if you are in a relationship, you need more than that one person in your life.
3. You can thrive as a single person. It’s easy to place your value, self-worth, and security in a person who loves you. But this is so fragile. Their feelings toward you may change and that can really affect the way you think about yourself. At the end of the day, the person whose opinion you should care most about is you! Do you like who you are? Do you value yourself? You should! As long as you do that, and surround yourself with others who value you, you can live a full and vibrant life as a single person.
Plus, there are some awesome things about being single:
1. You get to figure out/decide who you are without the influence of another person. You will be figuring that out well into adulthood. The right person can come along and help you do that too, but it’s incredibly valuable to be able to figure that out on your own. I have known several married people who have said they wished they had taken time to figure out some personal stuff before getting into a relationship, or that their relationship could have benefitted from knowing themselves a little bit better and working through things prior to getting into a relationship.
2. You are free to go wherever you want, whenever you want. There are many opportunities that you can take advantage of more easily than people in relationships. Relationships complicate things—where you live, how you spend your time, how you spend your money, what kind of job you have, all affect the person you’re with. When you’re single, you aren't as limited by these things—the world is yours to explore!
3. You have a lot more free time. Romantic relationships take a lot of time and investment. This is not a bad thing by any means, but when you’re not in a relationship, you have way more felxibility with your time! If you want to pick up a new hobby, work towards a goal you’ve always had, or focus on advancing your career, you have more time to do that as a single person. Maybe you just want to spend more time with your friends! Whatever it is, being single often gives you more flexibility to invest.
Being single can still be very difficult, especially if you desire to be in a relationship, and desiring to be in a relationship is not a bad thing by any means. But I do not see singleness as a lesser way of living. I am in my twenties and single, and I really wish that someone would have told me all of this when I was younger. I didn’t start to see being single as a normal way of life and a valuable opportunity until just a few years ago. Now I see it as an opportunity to get to know and love myself, as well as do things that would be far more difficult to do if I was in a relationship. If you are single, embrace it and make the most of it!