Sunday, April 15, 2007

"But what if I never get married?!"

Isn't this the secret fear of so many women – and even girls? We would be much more patient and willing to wait for God's perfect time if we knew for sure it WILL come.
Waiting is easy enough for a 16-year-old girl, who feels she has plenty of time ahead of her. It's not too bad for a 21-year-old like me, even though I already feel how quickly years are passing by. But what will happen if I turn 30, 35, 40 – and find myself still single? Am I still going to trust God, accept His plan for me? What about the day when I realize I can't have children anymore? Will I still praise God and make most of the blessings he gave me?

Marriage and children are so natural for a woman, and happen in such an overwhelming majority of cases, that trying to discuss one's possibilities as an older single usually gets responses such as these:
"But you're young, how come you're thinking about something like this?!"
"I know a very nice man who could be just the one for you…"
"Oh, don't be so silly; OF COURSE you will get married, just like everyone else!"

I agree one shouldn't give up too quickly and say "I'm probably called to singleness" – we all know women who got married and had children later in life. I also agree a woman can be more active in her search for a husband (praying is the first, but not only, thing to do). But some women – not many – will remain single. I know a few who did.
You can say they were probably career-focused, irresponsible, or unwilling to start a family until it was too late. Maybe you're right. But don't we all know many women who weren't marriage-minded at all and still got married and had children? The ultimate reason why some women don't get married is because God didn't have it in His plan for them.

I've read dozens of articles, essays and books for single women, and while all of them contained messages I agree with – that a woman shouldn't think "real life" only begins once she gets married, that we should be patient, full of faith, pray for a husband while making most of our single years – most of the time, the singleness is only regarded as a "period" in one's life; yes, a period of a few months or many years, but still – a period. Not many discuss the issue of women who will remain single and speak of possible options for them.

I can't say that at 21, I've already defined a plan of "what I'm going to do if I never get married". But I do know that whatever happens, I have two options: I can become desperate, bitter, lose my faith, succumb to feelings of frustration, envy, discontentment and emptiness, and feel my life has no purpose. Or I can seek God with all my heart, do His will, believe He has a plan for me, love the people around me and do everything I can for them, and live day by day, joyfully, with a smile on my face, with a gentle, loving heart.
Somehow, I think I already know which one I prefer.

Maybe I'm idealistic. Maybe this is harder than I think. Maybe I can't imagine the agony of a 45-year-old single, childless woman, who tries her best to keep a cheerful smile during weddings, or while babysitting for women twenty years younger than herself.
But no matter if my singleness is temporary or permanent – who knows? - I want to do God's will with a feeling of peace and contentment. I want to be a blessing to those who surround me. I want to make my life worthwhile.

19 comments:

Tracy said...

Anna,
As I have stated before, you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. This is a gift from God. People can be intelligent, but not wise. I'm talking about wisdom in this case.

You are so right on this. I rarely think of my daughters as being single for life. I somehow always think that they WILL get married. But, if that is not what the Lord has for them, they can still be wonderful servants to Him.

I know only a few women who never married. One remained at home, and is now in her 50's. I know that she is a blessing to her elderly mother. And at one point in my life, she was a huge blessing to me. We lived right next door for 5 years, and I was a young mother. About 23 when we first met. She would help with my children, even if it only meant playing with them in the backyard while I started supper.
Another friend I know, I fear was too picky. She had several suitors, all godly men, but she waited for someone "better" to come along. Maybe this was right, maybe not. She is now 40, and remains unmarried. She wonders where Mr. Right is...

But, God is in control. He does have a plan, and it is good, and right!

Anna S said...

Tracy,
Thank you for your wonderful comment.
I didn't mention the "pickiness" factor here, but I'm sure it does play a role in the increasing number of older singles we see these days. I believe this deserves its own post.

Candy said...

In your last sentence you said you want to be a blessing to those around you.......you already are :)

Anna S said...

Dear Candy... thank you!
We should always strive to do much, much more, though!

Christie Belle said...

Anna, you are such an inspiration. You have such a sweet nature and kind spirit, and I admire you for choosing to always keep that attitude no matter what your future holds!

Anna S said...

Christie: I wouldn't be entirely truthful if I said I'm never anxious or frustrated. But I try not to let these moods last too long.

Anna Naomi said...

Thanks for the comments on our blog! I have enjoyed reading your writings as well. This post was an encouragement to me, even though I am yet young - merely 16! =) Thanks again!

Anna S said...

Anna Naomi: wonderful to see you here. I'll be waiting for updates on your blog. :)

Lean Not said...

Anna,
Like I said in a different comment, you and I are so much alike! :) I feel as though you wrote down my own thoughts.

I have to be on guard against worrying about never getting married. I have a very fulfilling life right now, but naturally my wish is to be married. However, there is a very large number of godly ladies in my church who are in their 50s or 60s and have never been married. They are remarkable people, and they would have *loved* to serve a husband and children, but they did not have the opportunity. I must confess, it makes me nervous to see that around me so much!

However, these ladies have blessed ministries serving their Lord even in their singleness. I need to keep remembering that I must serve God on His terms rather than insisting that He allow me to serve Him by being a wife and mother. Perhaps this is a period where God is working on my trust. If I cannot trust God, how will I trust a future husband?

This time of singleness also forces me to pray more, thus forging a closer relationship with the Lord.

Nea said...

Hi!

This post is old, but I'm glad I read it just today :) I'm happily married, but childless, and the things you said about singleness also fits for this time in our life while we are wondering if we are ever blessed to have a child. God knows best, and He knows when we are ready to have the child He has for us, or if He has some other plans for our life.

Vicki said...

Maybe I'm one of the few ones who feels like she probably doesn't want to get married? I'm not apologetic about it either. And I am happy :)

LoMo said...

Hi Anna,

Maybe its very simple for you to write this article. You already seem to be happily married with kids. What advice will you give me

I was diagnosed with Cutaneous lymphoma in 2007. The 2nd opinion was negative. But later another doctor re-diagnosed it again and I knew its time to face it. I prayed to God for his strength. My boyfriend who was all supportive suddenly became more aloof after the 2nd diagnosis. The 4 month photochemotherapy left depigmented burn marks on my body. He says he cant get married to me till my scars heal. I pray to God everyday to heal me. But I know in my hearts heart that I will never find a man. Because I just dont fulfill the criteria to be someones woman. I feel hopeless everytime I see/hear someone getting married or starting up a family. Does your God have answers to my problem? Probably not. He can surely raise dead to life but I guess he finds it way hard to find a husband for a cancer survivor :-(

Mrs. Anna T said...

LoMo,

When I wrote this post, I didn't know my future husband yet. I did not have to face the agonizing process of fighting cancer, that's true, but my level of eligibility in the Orthodox Jewish singles pool was not too high because of my background. A year after writing this post, I was already married and expecting my first baby. NOTHING is impossible for God.

Jo said...

I'm 64 and still waiting ... and it's very, very hard.

Candace said...

I'm only 18 years old and have seen myself in the past months being to think i'll never get married. I've been single for almost two years now and haven't been on a date since my last boyfriend. I've even joined dating websites and only found horn balls.

I know i'm young and 'have time' in my life. But I honestly feel like i'll be single forever. It's always been a HUGE fear of mine.
But you're blog made me realize I need to put this problem in Gods hands.

Amber Jean said...

Hi Anna,

I stumbled upon ur blog. happy to hear u got married after this post.
my fiancé and I broke up a few months before our wedding. it was the most painful period ever and I'm slowly overcoming it.
I go through such emotions all the time. will I get married? can I trust the next man who comes along? Does God really hear me?
what if i end up waiting forever? when will I know that it's time to stop waiting? I have no idea.

I just turned 32. to some I'm still young, to others I'm old and to some others I'm just plain unlucky.

we can keep telling ourselves god has a bigger plan n keep our hopes up or just bloody well accept that marriage is not for everyone n make the most of a single life.

I'm struggling to make a choice between the 2.

Anonymous said...

how to live if not earning if there is no support of money from anywhere

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Just stumbled upon blog and you have mirrored my thoughts .
I am 25 year girl , working in a top MNC and earning well. from last 2 years , the feeling of loneliness have sunk in . All my friends and my younger cousins are also married . Now i fear will i ever get married ...

ruth said...

Hi, i just read your blog,right now i am 40, never had a boyfriend and never had a date, so i have not had the chance to be picky.I have had amazing guy friends but i guess i have always been the great friend. It is hard going to wweddings, baby showers and the brides and mums are getting younger, i have questioned myself. I have and do enjoy my life but i want to have a husband and children and in enjoying now i have to keep trusting God and doing what He has placed in my hands to do now. My life is Jesus centred and i cant wait to share the miracle of my love story whatever that looks like.