It’s Valentine’s day, and you’ve doubtless seen a lot of material out there about guys, love, and dating. And for good reason. Navigating girl-guy relationships in a God-honoring way can be difficult. But I’ve heard many young women bring up an important question: “What if no one ever expresses interest?” If you’ve ever had a similar thought, this post is for you.
Many of you are still very young, and honestly, it’s okay that you haven’t been out on a date yet. In fact, my friend Paula Marsteller says it’s probably to your advantage. But others of you have been out of high school or college for quite some time and never been asked out, and you’re beginning to wonder why.
Waiting is hard. I understand your plight—I’m currently single and have only dated one guy (and that wasn’t until I was twenty-five). It’s important not to let your heart sink into despair by dwelling on what isn’t true. We only frustrate ourselves and hurt others by making false assumptions about our situation, such as . . .
Myth #1: There’s something wrong with me.
You believe that if you just changed something about you—your appearance, your job, your personality, your family—then you would get noticed. You assume you’re not married because you’re not ready (or smart enough or pretty enough . . .) I love what writer Jasmine Holmes has to say about this:
Somehow, we have imbibed the message that broken people don’t get married. I may be the minority on this one. But just in case I’m not, the number one thing I wish I would have known as a single is that I didn’t have to have it all together. I was a broken sinner in need of a savior, and there was no reason to hide it. This didn’t make me a horrible marriage prospect; it just made me human.
Convincing yourself that you’re the problem isn’t merely an issue of low self-esteem. Ultimately, it’s telling God He got it wrong. Psalm 139 says God meticulously, deliberately, and with great joy determined every single thing about you, from the color of your hair to the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh. You are not a mistake or an oversight. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. As Louisa May Alcott once said, “If God had wanted me other than I am, He would have made me so.”
Myth #2: There’s something wrong with him.
If it’s not your fault you’re still single, it must be the guy’s fault, right? Clearly he is immature or lazy or distracted. In fact, you’re about ready to believe there’s no guy anywhere good enough! But elevating your ideals while finding fault with guys in general is not the answer. Maybe you’re no longer pining for a guy, but mentally creating a list of why all men are jerks is no better.
Whenever we set our hopes on a person—or anything other than God—we set ourselves up for disaster. There’s not a single man out there who will meet your expectations or completely satisfy your deepest longings. Looking for a guy to fulfill that is not only unfair to him, it’s idolatry.
That said, it’s also true that there are longings which are, to a certain degree, made only for a husband and children to fill, because that’s how God wired us as women. I don’t mean to make light of that. In an article from Boundless.org, blogger Sarah Magee says, “The fact that I crave marriage and children isn’t in and of itself a sign that I’m not finding satisfaction in Jesus. It’s OK to feel heart hunger. We’re not inferior Christians because we do.” Bingo!
Longing for marriage, something God created and has called “good,” is not wrong unless that longing trumps your love for the Lord and becomes your god.
Myth #3: There’s something wrong with God.
If it’s not you, and it’s not him . . . is it God? Did His plans for you somehow get lost in the shuffle? Why hasn’t He sent someone your way yet?
Regardless of your doubts or disappointments, hang on to the truth that God is sovereign and good. He doesn’t take joy in dashing your hopes or leaving you in suspense. He loves you and has placed you on a path that includes singleness for reasons perhaps known only to Him.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh remind us in their book Lies Young Women Believe, “God is more concerned with changing you to be a reflection of Christ than with solving your problems.” Your questions or desires may never go away. However, God is worthy of your trust and your worship no matter what unexpected season or trial may come.
Remember that putting too much stock into the here and now will only lead to disappointment. To quote Jasmine again, “Your time here pales in comparison to the grand weight of the time eternal you’ll be spending with the greatest Pursuer there is, whether the earthly version comes or not.”
Single girl, there’s nothing wrong with you (or with me!). There’s nothing wrong with him. And there’s nothing wrong with God. I believe it is possible (and best!) to fully trust God’s plan and His timing, knowing it may or may not include a man at your side. God is wiser than our most brilliant plans, greater than our biggest problems, and has promised His children a brighter future than anything this world can offer.
A version of this post originally appeared at LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.