Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC
First let me provide you some statistics; 50% of adults today are single and it is believed that, according to a questionnaire, 90% of that 50% desires marriage and feels incomplete in their present status. Dr Evans who wrote, Kingdom Singles, provided and interesting analogy as to what might be occurring. As I further researched, social media and the fast track of how singles meet online without taking time to learn each other, is driving much disconnect and frustration.
Singles are pressured from multiple forums to get a mate, to marry, or to be somehow connected with someone with the belief that they cannot be whole or worthy if they remain single. Single people confront do-gooders who are attempting to 'fix them" and are often bombarded with innuendos of being a second class person when living without a relationship of some sort. As they are pressured then singles often feel inadequate and attempt to appease others-often leading to connecting too soon with others-then suffering the after math. While they buy into this notion that they must have a mate-and therefore focus of the thing that they want (a relationship, a marriage) then all efforts are driving that goal and often without safeguards or prudence. As relationships falter then they ask, "what is wrong with me? or think, that they will NEVER find that special person-driving negative moods and increasing distortions of thoughts.
When a person is married then they have divided interests and added responsibilities that they now focus upon. Life is complicated as they now must account for their time, money, and life decisions with someone. Communication and conflict resolution is continual as both work to work out the kinks and to learn more of the other. Possibly then children add to the stress and the complication of their relationship.
Often goals of higher education, creating savings, travel, or devoting themselves to something other than their marriage that is also very important; such as a person who serves others in a mission field, or as a Red Cross responder; or to protect the country within the military; who is free to be sent to other lands- are often placed onto a back burner and lost to one who is married with obligations that hinder that freedom to be able to go as one wants to, due to the obligations of the marriage. Yes, those married have a companion and a family; and this can be a very rewarding relationship for those who prioritize their mates and family, and does not seek their own-as they work as a team together to seek and to satisfy each other; therefore both are complete. But, this is not the only way to be content.
A single person however; if they instead-focused upon the opportunities that they have as a single person and embrace this as a stage of their life; to maximize in the services of helping others, building their own strengths, improving their weaknesses, and allowing themselves to feel whole and okay while being single; then a single person may find many advantages are at their grasp. By wishing for something to the loss of the present opportunities then one sacrifices self and the others who could have been blessed with that person's help or presence.
A recent research revealed that regardless of economic station, race, or gender-the youth and many single adults are stressed over not having a special someone in their life and do believe that without someone then they are not whole or worthy. Due to this distortion then these individuals will "hook up" and lower their standards to be able to feel connected. Let's use an analogy to see if we can help de-
tangle this false delusion that is hurting our singles and hindering their finding that right person in due time while they waste their efforts on meaningless or one-sided relationships that are due to the fear of being alone. Often they settle due to their fear of being alone.
Analogy: This analogy was provided by Dr. Evans: If you had to keys, exactly alike on a ring, then is either fully functional and whole? Now let us take one of the keys off of that ring and now the ring only has one key on it. Is that key functional and whole by itself? Exactly, of course it is. It does not require the other key to complete it or to do its purpose does it? The same is with people. Each of us have gifts and each of us have a purpose-and we use our gifts and fulfill our purposes during each stage of life.
I therefore will expand upon that analogy. As a young child our purpose is to obey and to respect our parents and authority figures; but our purpose is also to learn and to develop life skills so as to be productive adults. Each of us must do this alone as we are guided through that stage of life. No one can do this for us.
Then we become teens; oh my- and our purpose is to complete our learning of life skills, to educate ourselves to be well rounded in all of the major disciplines that will open doors of college and career. In addition, we are to build character of integrity, dependability, responsibility, and like traits so as to be the best that we can be. During this time we are also lessening our dependency upon our parents and learning how to discern our own world. No one can do this for us. If we are mindful and do our best-then we will have better opportunities open to us-and if we decide to be unwilling to put in our best effort then we will reap those consequences when it is time to leave the nest. Others can advise and others can guide but this is the teens time to do this alone and his or her future will reflect the choices that the teen makes.
Adults begin their journey as they are often out of the nest to begin building their future further as single people; or as married people-and each of these groupings have their own set of benefits and also their own set of risks and hardship, yet; the individuals of each group is whole and has a purpose. Neither is better than the other.
The average age now for people to marry is mid to upper 20's yet some wait til over 50 and are perfectly happy in their lives. It is truly okay to be single and without a mate. One interesting item that has increased the contentment of these individuals is to not isolate. Single people who have good, wholesome, and healthy activities to enjoy with friends that are also content is a major factor. Some volunteer to work with others as they reach out to help others while attending school. Others take more courses or learn languages to increase their ability to travel into countries. Working a career and working oneself up the ladder of success is still another experience to enjoy.
The identity of that person should not be whether or not they are connected or attached to another person as if the relationship makes them whole-since it does not improve or take from either party's wholeness or purpose simply to be with another person. We who are older can attest that being alone is preferable to being with a negative person, a selfish person, or an abusive person and that we were okay when we were alone. We were whole then and we are whole now, with or without a person sharing our lives. The right person is worth the wait to find, but one has to be available.
A person who does not feel validated in and of oneself and seeks others to validate them-will be disappointed since no one can provide this for another person. Many come to my office due to their feeling empty and unworthy as if they are incomplete. We work to help them discover that they are okay and only need to believe that their creator created a beautiful person.