Elated announcements of fairy-tale proposals populate my Facebook newsfeed. Dreamy wedding photos from high school acquaintances radiate pure joy. My sister and her boyfriend actively discuss their own future together, and it seems that most people I know are contemplating engagement or marriage, or at least in a relationship with someone.
And then there’s me, whom lasting romantic love has thus far eluded. It’s hard to watch everyone coupling off and not wonder whether God has forgotten about my happily ever after. I can’t help but feel a little heartbroken. But, if you’re like me, I want to assure you that God hasn’t forgotten about us, and encourage you that there are ways to make the best of being single and be attentive to God’s will, even while you’re in a state of limbo.
Pray for your future spouse
One thing I try to remind myself while I wait restlessly for my future spouse is that he has a journey to go on, too. The changes God is working in my heart to bring me closer to marrying the right person are also happening for him. It’s slow work, but I am confident that if this is the path I am meant to walk, God will lead me to it. And if not, God will guide my footsteps somewhere else.
Seek out a spiritual director
Often, we need someone to help us interpret God’s whispers as we begin discerning whom to marry, or whether, indeed, we’re being called to marriage. Enter: a spiritual director. This might be a priest, nun, or even a lay person who has received proper training to give spiritual counsel, and their insight can be instrumental in helping us uncover God’s will for our lives. Inquire with your parish to learn who might be a spiritual director in your community or use a website like this one to start your search, and meet with her/him regularly to consider the vocation God might be calling you to.
Develop your gifts
Waiting is challenging largely because it feels so passive. To make the most of this time and to avoid feeling as though you’re letting someone else decide your fate, wait with intention. Develop your gifts and talents, and apply them in meaningful ways. In my single years, I’ve given myself the time and space to cultivate my writing career, which is why I’m able to write this for you today! And since I’m unmarried and without a family of my own yet, I have had the luxury of the time necessary to enroll in graduate school full-time. Being single gives us the precious opportunity to listen for what God asks of us individually and to find ways to move toward that. Find ways to begin to live out your calling now, in full faith that when God places the right person in your life, you will be ready to meet them.
Create meaningful friendships
Being single is a far, far cry from being alone – and God calls us to love wherever we are — not just in a state of romantic love or wedded bliss. Seek out love in other ways by creating meaningful friendships in your parish, in your community, or in shared hobbies. I know this might be hard to swallow, particularly when we just really wish we had someone to bring along on group date night, but the truth is, there are so many ways to give the gift of our love to the world! Be present for a friend who needs to talk, and really listen, without distractions. Volunteer with a service organization to practice charitable giving of talent, time, and heart, while meeting new people along the way. And who knows? Perhaps a friend might turn into a love interest? Which brings me to my last point…
We won’t find the one we’re waiting for if we take no action at all. Get out there and date people to learn who God might be calling you to love. Talk to new people in your community. Let your friends introduce you to people they know. Sign up for online dating via sites like CatholicMatch or CatholicSingles. Expect to learn something from everyone you meet, including those acquaintances who become nothing more, and those relationships that just aren’t meant to be. Trust that it’s all part of the love story God’s writing for you … but you have to pick up the pen first!