When I was single, I was afraid to write or talk about being single. I feared sharing the struggles, and wondered if embracing the joys of singleness would marginalize me. I wanted to get married someday, but didn’t know if that was going to happen. Now that I’m married, I realize that it was an incredibly life-giving season to be an adult woman living a single life. Most significant to my singlehood was that my dependence on God was insanely beautiful and uninterrupted. This served as much needed time to deepen my roots in the Lord.
During college, I quickly learned the phrase, “Ring by spring!” for us graduating gals. Guess what? I didn’t have a ring by spring and my May graduation wasn’t followed by June wedding bells. What I hoped then, and realize now to be true, is that it is more than OK to not follow the cultural expectation to get married at a certain age or stage in life. God usually doesn’t work that way in our lives, right? He has an individual plan for each of us that works out how we never would have imagined.
If I’m honest, my single years were definitely marked by some tears and worries and frustrations and loneliness, but not because God was absent. No other time in my life than when I was single was it easier to find time away with God. Whenever I wanted I could worship, journal, read His word, talk and share. I was busy working and traveling, cooking and cleaning, building lasting friendships, and I always made time for God. Now, the demands of marriage and parenthood… they are constant. And it takes much more effort to find time away with God. I have to be more creative and sacrificial. Because my time isn’t just mine anymore. I am grateful for the life I have now, and know that God has brought every promise and desire to pass, but I realize that singleness provided me some very nice luxuries that I didn’t always appreciate in the moment.
I believe that being single until I was almost 30 was a gift, not a flaw. I got to figure myself out, become comfortable in my own skin, and get deeply rooted in my faith and relationship with Jesus. I traveled, I lived in other states, I got an education, and I worked for pennies but got to spend my money however I wanted. I felt like me all the time. And God was kept front and center. This season of singleness was a special time that God pursued me in the most powerful and loving ways I have ever been pursued (probably because I was paying attention a bit more). It made me stronger, wiser, and more in tune with God’s will for my life. I dodged a lot of aches and pains during my single years because during that time, I was drawn closer to God and holy living.
What I’ve learned is that having a spouse doesn’t solve all your problems or make life instantly easier, or make you feel loved any more. In fact, some days are much harder being married. It’s not easy work for me to try to put the other first. To love the other more. To serve the other before myself. My marriage came at exactly the right time for me. I’m a better wife because of the years I was single. Marriage gets romanticized, which can leave plenty of us stunned at the realities of life as Mr. and Mrs. But God took care of me every step of the way, and He continues to do so now as I navigate ministry, marriage and motherhood. That’s what this life of faith is all about anyway. Letting God in, accepting His unconditional love and grace, and not having to do it all on my own.
Author: Pamela Palmer