Being Single in a Couples Culture
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When I was in high school it seemed like most of my friends had boyfriends. Relationships were something I thought about a lot and I was always on the lookout for “potentials” in my classes. When I entered university, my goal was to get a boyfriend. I wanted someone I could connect with, relate to, and be with. I wanted attention from guys – and when I got it my self-esteem rose. I wanted to feel beautiful, desired, and needed. I wanted love.

Being single in university sometimes feels both liberating and suffocating. It’s easy to jump from thoughts of “I don’t need anyone” to “why doesn’t anyone want me?” It’s easy to look at couples around me and place them on a pedestal of happiness. If I only had what they had, then I would feel complete, satisfied, and special. Society and the media often make me feel that if I only had a boyfriend, then I would be worthy of love. I noticed that I had a void in me for something deeper, intimate, and passionate.

But as much as I desired to be part of this culture of couples that surrounded me, I noticed something seemed wrong. These girls in relationships would talk as if they were unsatisfied and disappointed. That having a boyfriend didn’t complete them. Despite their relationship status, these girls still had the same void in their hearts for true love and intimacy, and having a boyfriend didn’t seem to fill it. Was it possible that there was something, or someone, else meant to fill this craving for unconditional love?

I’ve come to understand that being single amidst societal pressures to be in a relationship is okay. The truth is that I was created for relationship – just not the one I was daydreaming about. It’s not that dating is wrong, or even bad. But I realize that another person will never be able to fill the deepest voids in me. I need to find this love in someone outside of the limitations of human nature. An unconditional love from someone who is able to love me despite my mistakes, brokenness, and flaws. I found this unconditional love in Jesus who replaces the voids with true satisfaction and completeness. He brings me into a deep intimate connection with God because he experienced brokenness, death, and ultimate separation from God in my place on the cross (Rom 5:6-11, 1 John 4:9-12).

Are these qualities of deep intimate connection and complete fulfillment what you seek in love?

(See Part 2: “Finding Unconditional Love“)

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3 thoughts on “Being Single in a Couples Culture

  1. Bryan Joshua Suharly

    Great post! In times of need, it’s often easy to question God. I find this especially true when a lot of the people around you are finding what you long for – it’s almost like “God, why are you giving this to them? They don’t even believe in you!” However, I believe it is in these times where we learn the true meaning of reliance on God.

    University is certainly a time of learning, both academically and about yourself. As many people are finding out who they are and what they want from life/a relationships, I found that many of these relationships were transitory and short-lived. If you don’t have a solid foundation in God
    and take hold of that incorruptible seed that 1 Peter 1:23 mentions, it’s easy to get lost. On the one hand, you may begin to doubt your status as a prince/princess of the living God. On the other, you may be cheapened by someone who doesn’t understand your true value.

    While I don’t think there’s something wrong with wanting or needing someone, but that certainly shouldn’t be our be all and end all. Though some of us can be single (as 1 Corinthians 7 mentions), many of us need a partner to continually edify and encourage our growth in Christ. And as you mentioned in your post, God is able to love us more completely than any human ever could. I think it comes down to being judicious with you heart, and being grounded in the word of God.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, and look forward to reading more.

    1. Erin FordErin Ford

      Bryan, I loved your thoughts on this! It seems like you really grasp the role that God has in our relationships. Whenever I go through struggles I find it’s incredibly easy for me to question God – and wonder why He gives some people things but not me. And yet, those are the times when I grow the most in understanding who I am and who God is. University is an amazing time to figure out who we are as people. Often we base our identity off our relationships: the ones we have and don’t have.

      Thanks for your insight on this topic! It’s encouraging that someone else is thinking about the same issues as me. What result, or life change, did you find in your relationships when you had God at the center?

      1. Bryan Joshua Suharly

        I think the biggest impact was in a de-centralizing factor. Energies and emotions I had previously focused on myself were diverted, either to God or the other person. The focus was no longer on my own happiness – it was on making the other person (and ultimately God) happy. I also focused more on friendship. If the relationship deepened then it happened organically, if not, I was still thankful for a great friendship (instead of complaining to God).

        In short, I think that when the time comes to meet that special someone, I’ll be ready. Looking back, my views on relationships were very selfish – not only did I focus on my own happiness, I never really worried about personal growth. Now, I think that if God is going to present me with this awesome partner, shouldn’t I do my best to deserve them?

        Again, thanks for writing! Keep up the awesome work.

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