Being Single – To be, or not to be?

Dear Michele,
I have been single since my annulment over 30 years ago. My husband left me for another woman, leaving me to raise three children I had to work and take care of my aging mother, and I did not have the time or inclination to meet any men. I have been on dating sites since 2000 on and off, and have met quite a few men. Some were very nice, but there was no chemistry and most of them lived too far away to start a relationship. Since I have been on dating sites for so many years and have not met anyone who I want to be with, do you think this is a sign that God wants me to be satisfied with being alone for the years that I have left?

I am fairly happy being single, but it is not an easy life since we live in such a couples’ world. Thank you in advance for your much needed comments and advice.

Am I Where God Wants Me to Be?

Dear Where God Wants Me to Be,

Your question has been considered by theologians for hundreds, even thousands, of years. How do we know if we are living within God’s will? Is God trying to send us messages through our circumstances? Do God’s desires line up with our own?

Without pretending to know those types of answers, I can tell you what I know about being single and waiting. It can be difficult and lonely. It also can be fulfilling and offer freedom to pursue many different dreams. It sounds like you have experienced both: you are both satisfied with your life, and unsatisfied with your life. If there is any lesson in all of this, it’s how to hold the tension between those two things. Some days I imagine it’s fine, other days it’s not so fine.

So, what do you do? As people of faith, we live in the unknown. The Bible does not give us Google directions; it’s more like guiderails on some very winding roads. The guiderails on relationships involve honestly, loyalty, chastity, devotion, consideration for others, etc. I would imagine if you are trying to live your faith within your dating relationships, then you are living God’s will.

And speaking of will, each of us have the freedom to deny God’s will in our life. Maybe He did have another marriage partner picked out for you, but that person turned away from faith or from God. Or, somehow made a choice that removed him as a possibility for you. I know God does not want to keep anything from us. I know that He wants us to live abundantly, and He wants to grant us the desires of our heart. But, that doesn’t mean he delivers a romantic partner. I believe it means that if we make Him the center of our desires, He will deliver His presence and His peace. Remember, Jesus did not promise to remove all troubles from our lives, but he did promise us to be with us in the struggle.

If you have found some peace in being single, you have found a great gift. If you can date from within that peace (being ok with the outcome, no matter what), then you have within you a peace beyond understanding. It’s not a prize, it’s more of a relationship. And in some moments, it’s the relationship with our heavenly partner that can fulfill us in ways that an earthly partner never can. On that day when being single is difficult, seek the Prince of Peace, the Wonder Counselor. And know that your faith can carry you further than anybody’s advice.

God Bless and thank you for your question!

Michele Fleming, M.A.