singleness is not solitary confinement

I had a friend in high school who decided to major in Liberal Studies because it was an “unusable” degree (basically, you take a few classes in every subject, which doesn’t make you qualified for any specific vocation), so when she met her husband, she wouldn’t be “tempted” to pursue a career instead of marriage.

It’s an extreme example, but many single women do a similar, albeit more subtle, thing. It’s as if we only have one commitment card, and we’re saving it for marriage.

So for now, until we meet our future spouse, we won’t commit to anything else. Because if we did commit to, let’s say, a career path or a graduate degree or a few months of travel, somehow that would exclude our ability to have a relationship with a guy.

This is a problem. A big, big problem. Here’s why.

1) It makes you put your life on hold

I thought I was going to get married when I was 27, because a guy I loved and had dated for several years called my dad and asked if he could marry me. And then, during the course of my cancer treatments, the guy bailed and I ended up single.

I’m 36 now. If I had put my life on hold and waited for another guy to come along and propose, I would have missed so many amazing things that have happened over the past 9 years. These are just a few of them — I moved from New England to the west coast. I switched career paths. I wrote a book. I traveled to 10 new countries and dozens of states. I “adopted” a family of Somali refugees, and I travel and speak about them a few times a month. I went camping in the wilderness by myself (which I don’t necessarily recommend, I’m just saying that I did it.)

If you’re still single in five or ten years, I guarantee that you will look back on those years and have regrets for everything you could’ve done but didn’t because you were in a holdling pattern, waiting to meet a guy before your adventure could begin.

2) It makes you miserable

Putting your life on hold will make you feel like you’re trapped in an unfortunate situation, waiting for marriage to rescue you and take you to a place where you have more opportunities and more freedom.

But it’s probably the opposite. You are free NOW. You have more opportunities NOW than you will have when you add a 1421629062u6ufzpartner and a few kids to your life.

Singleness is already challenging enough. If you see it as a barrier that’s keeping you from having the life you want, you will really hate being single.

Instead, use this time to explore anything you want. Basically, the only thing you can’t do right now is plan your wedding. Otherwise, every other option is available to you.

Want to travel? Well, who said you have to only travel with a spouse? Grab another single friend, buy plane tickets to Djibouti and have an adventure.

Want to socialize more? Take cooking classes or dance lessons or volunteer at the local rescue mission, soup kitchen or after-school program.

Want to see what it’s like to live in a new state? Pack up and go.

Want to earn a better living? Take classes for the career you want to have.

You get the idea. You are not living in solitary confinement until you meet your partner. You are free right here, right now. So go enjoy it.

3) It puts a lot of pressure on your future mate

I’ve talked to a lot of my guy friends about this idea, and they are terrified of meeting a woman who’s been living with her life on hold, waiting to get married.

It puts a ton of pressure on a guy if you’ve been waiting for him to make you happy and content.

Also, if you haven’t established your own independence by getting an education or traveling or having other important life experiences, it makes you needy and overly-dependent on him.

Men want you to be their partner, not their project.

So starting today, go life the life you want to have. Go write the exciting narrative you want to live. Make choices that, in five or ten years, will leave you with great memories instead of deep regret.


I want to hear from you! Is there something you’ve been putting on hold that you want to start doing? Or is there a risk you took or an adventure you had that you’re thankful for?

Thanks for sharing!

5 thoughts on “singleness is not solitary confinement

  1. Excellent points here–thanks for putting these words down! I want to serve the Kingdom beside a man, partnering in ministry. While I won’t pursue a man, I will pursue preparation and service now that will make my life fuller regardless if he ever appears or not.

  2. I love this post! It honestly is something I have been talking to many people about lately. I am 39 years old and yes….I am single and have never been married, but this is not the end of the world. There is so much out there to explore. So many amazing adventures to be had. Are we willing to go there? I think that for years I thought that I would wait to do things until I got married because really, I just thought it would be more fun to do them with someone I was in love with. Time has gone on and he hasn’t come yet….and I stopped waiting. I think about all the things that I am learning as I am on this journey and how the things the Lord is teaching me right now are going to be gifts and tools for when my dreams happen. I think about Joseph in the Bible. He had a dream at 17 that the Lord gave him. It wasn’t until he was 30 that those things actually happened. As I read about all the situations he was in during the waiting time of those dreams to come, some hard times and some good times….he learned a lot and was actually able to do what the Lord gave him the dream about. He had the tools and the skills he needed. He gained wisdom and had something take place in his heart on that long journey. What is it that the Lord is teaching me as I wait for my dreams? I want to go and explore and have adventures….and in all of those things, I want to get all the tools that the Lord has to offer me along this journey. Thank you for your posts about Singleness! I am deeply touched and can definitely relate to all that you are saying!

  3. Thank you for this post. After a couple years in a holding pattern, I have finally come to this realization. I went right from college into a relationship, which didn’t end up working out. While I don’t regret that relationship because of the things I learned, I regret the time I wasted time hoping that my boyfriend and I would get back together. But, my perspective is different now. There is so much I can do with my life to learn and grow and serve God, whether or not He chooses to bring a spouse into my life. I have a job that I love, I’m pursuing a M.A. with the hopes of teaching overseas one day, and I’m making a point of traveling when I can. (I visited Israel for the first time this spring!) I have a great church family, and the Lord has been very gracious to me.

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