There are so many things that could have changed the direction of my life (or realigned it for good) that I only realise now. Isn’t hindsight an amazing thing?
My husband and I started dating just after my 18th birthday - I was 18 and he was 20. (We were so young!) He was my first boyfriend and proper relationship, so to speak, and I am ever so grateful and thankful that he was the one that I married.
But your story might be different. You might be 25 and never been kissed. Or you might have had a string of broken relationships with a trail of broken promises. Maybe you've been engaged or married before but it didn't work out. Before you dive into the 10 things I've learned, I want you to know that no matter what your story is, Jesus is the only one who can determine your value - He is the great redeemer who makes you whole, and He calls you loved.
Oh, and there's one more thing you should know. Being single is not a disease, and being married is not the goal. Being single is a unique time in your life where you have a whole lot of opportunity that you may not have when you’re married. It’s a time to know your value, discover your purpose and calling, and dig into the things that God has for your life.
So like a sister or a friend, I just want to pass on the 10 tips that I would tell my single self. I hope they help you.
1. Dig in to God's word like never before.
Of course, this is a given. And we should be doing this at every stage of our lives, not just when we’re single. But honestly there is no better time to get grounded in your faith than before your life is literally intertwined with someone else’s life!
2. Know your identity in Christ.
Learn to see yourself as God sees you. No man will ever be able to validate your worth or value. It’s time to get to work and dig in to God’s word to understand His love for you. Know your identity.
The term ‘single’ is a label. Just like ‘in a relationship’, ‘married’, ‘divorced’, ‘widowed’ are labels. Your label is not who you are, and it does not define you. Do not define yourself by your label - know who you are in Christ Jesus.
3. Dig into your purpose
Spend time figuring out your purpose! What do you love? What are you good at? And what are you passionate about? If I could tell my single self something - it would be to make the most of the time you have to pursue God's purpose for your life.
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4. Cultivate long-lasting friendships.
Of course, you make friendships at all ages and stages of life, but I think it's such a nice thing to spend extra special time with your friends while you can really more often! Go on a girls trip, have regular dinners. Hold dinner parties for your friends. I love hosting and spending time with people. If I were single right now, I'd hold dinner parties with my friends (the single ones and the married ones!). It's nice to do something special for others.
5. Serve in church.
While you may have more time and less commitments, why not spend more time serving in church? Who knows, while you're running in that direction the right guy might just happen to be running in that direction too.
6. Sort out your finances!
Not just save up for a car (which I did and I’m very proud of this) but set up my bank accounts so I was able to save for the long term. Time flies by! I wish I were able to buy my own unit before I got married, or at least been able to bring a decent amount of long-term savings to my marriage. Regardless, you shouldn’t wait until you’re married or in a relationship to start saving for something like a house - you can do it right now by yourself. :) Save up a house deposit... and eventually buy a unit if I could! For all of the Aussies out there, I recommend reading Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. Scott's content has changed my life and it has changed the way my husband and I deal with our finances. Honestly, if I knew this information earlier, this would have helped me get ahead so much. But there's no better place to start than now, right? This is a timeless tip for people whether you're married or not. But for all you single ladies, do not think that you can't save up to buy a place of your own, or at least to really get ahead until you have a man and are married. Honestly, that's when the money goes like never before. So get smart now.
7. Treat yo self!
Having said that, I’d still treat myself a little every now and then! While you most likely have two incomes when you're married, your finances are combined, and more times than not, there are more bills than ever before. So I would have taken the time to treat myself every now (maybe once a month!) to a facial or massage or something nice like that. For you, that might be something else that you enjoy like a dress or a nice lunch out with the girls.
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8. Determine your relationship expectations
Know what your relationship expectations are before you get in one. Before you get carried away with the warm fuzzy feelings and attraction, it’s important to establish what your expectations are, so that when you get to know someone you can think with a clear mind! If you are a christian, here are a few guidelines and questions to ask yourself.
- Being in an equally-yoked relationship. The bible talks about how believers should not marry those who aren’t believers (2 Corinthians 6:14). This analogy has nothing to do with eggs and everything to do with yours and your potential guy’s relationship with God. Is he genuine in his faith? Does he have a personal relationship with God? Will he point you toward Jesus? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
- Waiting for marriage to have sex (and understanding why you believe this, not just that you believe it). Waiting for marriage to have sex isn’t just something to check off the box, it’s actually something that honours God and honours your husband.
- What sort of person do you want to marry? What are their friends like? What do people say about them? How do they deal with difficult situations? How do they act when things don’t go their way?
9. Be yourself
Don’t change who you are in the short term to attract someone for the long term. Be your silly, awkward, fun self. If he likes you, he’ll stay around. But if he doesn’t, then you’ve dodged a bullet. You don’t want to invest in a relationship where you have to hold up a facade. You want to do life with your best friend - someone who you can be your goofy, silly, normal self around!
Don’t get so fixated on finding ‘the one’. Finding the right person isn’t as important as being the right person for your future husband. There is no rush, being single isn’t less important than being married. Trust in God and his timing.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I'd love to hear what things you would tell your single self, or what take aways you have for other ladies. Comment and let me know.