I’ve asked myself that question at least a million times. Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration. I also get asked this question a fair amount by strangers, co workers, and friends, to which I used to answer “your guess is as good as mine.” Since I’ve matured and grown a bit, my answer has evolved and now I simply say “because it’s not my time yet.” That is, unless I’m having a “potato moment” and then I simple give a half hearted smile while rolling my eyes before I walk away. Even though I’m well aware of the practical reasons that I’ve been single for so long, I still ask myself this question from time to time. What about me is inherently un-dateable? What about me does the opposite sex find unattractive?
I’ve been given every textbook answer (and some not so textbook answers) from my family and friends: “You’re too busy”- I’m not too busy, I’m simply not wasting my time waiting around for a relationship. “You’re too picky”- I don’t happen to see it this way, I simply know my priorities and I’d rather be single than have to settle. Besides if wanting someone who is kind, funny, and has a deep faith in Jesus is too picky, then okay, color me picky. Or I’ve been told “you’re too quiet,” to which I say, I’m simply observant. I was once told by a friend “you’re the kind of girl guys marry, not the kind of girl they date.” I don’t even want to try to understand how that would kind of work. I was also told by another friend in a round about way that guys didn’t like that I had “morals.” I know where he was going with that and I refuse to accept that as an answer. So needless to say, I know why I’m single.
The thing I don’t know is why God apparently wants me to be single and has kept me single up until this point. All of the reasons that other people have stated are disproved by my observations of other people (friends, family, and strangers) in romantic relationships. I know tons of people who met their partner while busy in college or working a hectic job. I also know people who happened to find their spouse, despite being picky about everything from their spouse’s hair color to the car they drive. I also know plenty of women who never had to compromise their values in order to find a boyfriend. So what is it about me what has kept me out of the dating pool for so long?
While I can’t be 100% sure of God’s reasoning (only He knows for certain), I’ve come up with a few possible reasons that God might be keeping me and you from finding that special someone.
- He wants you to work on yourself.I’ve heard it said that you have to know who you are before you can share yourself with someone else. Think about it, if you have no idea who you are, what you stand for, or what you believe, then what exactly are you bringing to the table in a relationship? We need to make sure that we are confident in our convictions and strong in our beliefs before those foundations are challenged by someone else. Not that you shouldn’t learn from the other person and grow along with them, but if you’re not sure what you want in life and then take that with you to a relationship, you’re setting yourselves up for a difficult road. God knows that and that’s why He may be wanting you to work on yourself. So seek His guidance and find out exactly what He wants to prepare you for.
- He wants you to complete some work/ assignment that you cannot do as part of a couple.
Let’s face it, there are some jobs that are great for couples, but there are so many other jobs that are better suited for single people. There are missionaries who travel with spouses and families and it’s great when they are called by God and follow His calling. Families of missionaries have a place, but there are also many places for singles to help spread the word of God to others who may be marginalized in a way that couples and families can’t. There are also many other ways that God may be wanting to use your talents as a single person (not everything has to be overseas mission work). He may simply by keeping you single so that you will have fewer things distracting you from a local endeavor that may require your sustained attention. He has set up work for each of us that only we can do, so talk with God and see what plans He has for you and what assignment He has for His single, beloved child.
- He’s protecting you from something/ someone.When you enter a relationship, there’s a certain amount of vulnerability that occurs. In order to truly be in a relationship, you have to be vulnerable to some extent, otherwise the relationship can never deepen past the initial phases. Unfortunately, when we expose our vulnerability, that puts us at risk for judgment, hurt, and pain. God may be keeping you single in order to protect you from someone that may have entered your life. He ultimately knows what is best for His children and He wants to protect us, if we allow Him. So don’t try to force something that may not be working, that may simply be God’s way of protecting you from heartbreak or other negative consequences later.
- He’s working on your future spouse who isn’t quite ready for you yet.I heard a sermon once that talked about the possibility that we may not always be the center of the story that is unfolding. This may be the case where you are a side player in the story, while the main character may in fact be your future spouse. It’s very possible that God is changing and refining and preparing that specific person for you, but they are not yet done with their journey. You will soon be part of that story, but not until God knows that your spouse is ready to be with you without the risk of either one of you slipping away from Him in the process. So be patient, you only want the best version of that person to enter your life, don’t rush the process.
- He knows that ultimately dating and marriage will not make you the best servant of God that you can be.This one may be hard to swallow and I’m sure will be very unpopular, but alas it is necessary to mention. I’m not at all a believer that there is “someone for everyone” like the saying says. The numbers just literally don’t work out that way. I do, however, believe that while God calls most people to enter a God centered marriage, there are certain people whom God calls to remain single. Just like Paul says that he was called to a life of singleness, we may also be in that boat. 1 Corinthians 7:8 says “So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows–it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am.” While I know that not everyone is called to live this kind of life, it is possible that you are single because God may be priming you to live like Paul did. I don’t think that God would guide you to a life long calling of singleness if you didn’t have the personality for it. He wouldn’t be using your talents to the best of His ability that way. If you have prayerfully sought His guidance and don’t feel called to be a lifelong single, then this may not be the reason that you are single. However, if you’re feeling apathetic about dating and unsure if you’re really destined for marriage, then maybe it’s time you talked to God about what His calling for your life really entails. He may be calling you to a life of singleness, free from the burdens of distraction and able to focus and devote your whole life to serving Him.
While I can’t claim to have the solid answer about why you are single, there are many things that God may be trying to do in us during our time of singleness. Whether He’s prepping us for a relationship or prepping our partner to be with us or simply prepping us to pursue the ultimate relationship with Him, you have to realize that He’s planning something pretty amazing. So use this time of singleness to your advantage. Seek out and ask God what He’s working on in you during this period of your life and truly embrace it because it’s a unique time that only God can use for your good. Who knows? You might get an unexpected and exciting answer.