Single, Married or Other? How to maintain your sanity despite the pressure to get married
When I was single it felt like every time I filled in an application form, I was reminded of that fact. Do you sometimes feel like that? I was single for what felt like a very long time, and now that I’m married it almost seems like a distant memory. But I haven’t forgotten what it was like to be single and searching. I come from a very traditional African family, and as the first daughter, once I graduated from university and got a job I was expected to get married. The pressure was real, but looking back now, I realise that I was nowhere near ready. I had this fantasy of meeting my prince charming and getting married in my early twenties but in reality when that time came, I had other things to think about! Having said that, I would like to share five tips for staying sane despite the pressure to get married.
1. Build experiences. Life is too short. And the older you get, the more you realise how true this statement is. A lot of people spend so much time daydreaming about the day they will meet a so called Mr (or Mrs) Right, and dance off into the sunset, that they miss living in the now! I’m realising now that life is what you make of it. There are things that happen to us that we can’t help, and others, we can do something about. For example, if you have the money, you can go travelling. Or if that’s not your cup of tea, try learning a new skill. Or a new language, or volunteering. You’ll be surprised at the fulfilment you can get when you commit to a cause outside of yourself.
2. Build friendships. And this includes with members of the opposite sex! Get to know people for who they are and not just as potential life partners. There’s the saying that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and whilst I don’t agree with this, it is true that men and women are wired and think very differently. What better way of getting to know someone than in a friendship setting and outside the confines of a romantic relationship?
3. Focus on your own journey. In other words, don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Not your friend, sister, or even your mother. Don’t let the fact that all your friends are getting married add pressure; remember that we are all on different journeys in life. If God’s plan for you includes getting married, He will make it happen in His own perfect timing and it will be just that- perfect. Comparing yourself to other people causes you to lose your peace and could lead you to settle for something less than God has planned for you. So, focus on your own life’s journey. Things will happen at the right time.
4. Avoid negativity. Negativity can come in the form of friends that sit around bemoaning the fact that they are single and the lack of good men out there, or even family members reminding you that ‘you’re not getting any younger.’ Try not to let such conversations get to you. Take yourself out of those kinds of situations and surround yourself with the right kinds of people. The right people will encourage you, pray with (and for) you, and won’t make you feel like bad about the fact that you’re single.
5. Remember whose you are. There’s nothing wrong with being single, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married either. God ordained marriage and I believe it is a gift. But, in our pursuit of marriage we must not lose sight of our first love. Ask anyone who is married and they will tell you that marriage does not satisfy you. It doesn’t matter how amazing your spouse is, they will never meet the deepest longings of your heart that only Jesus can satisfy. Therefore it is important to remember that first and foremost your calling is to a relationship with God. Don’t let marriage, or the desire for it become an idol in your life. Remember that there is already Someone who loves you more than any human being ever could, and He’s already given His all for you. Anything else is just the icing on the cake.
How do you deal with the pressure to get married? Feel free to share in the comments section below!