Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

Single? Why you shouldn’t wait to love your life

My feeds are flooded with highlight reels, page after page. Lives seem glorious: over-the-top proposals, idyllic wedding days, sweet moments with spouses, a mom hashtagging gratitude for the way a tiny head fits on her shoulder.  It’s hard, this quiet honesty that wells up in my single heart: I want that. Why not now? Why not me?

I feel disconnected from my chronology. I’ve not been inducted into that mysterious sisterhood of wives and mothers. It is the province of many of my peers. Others of us are left picking up subtle implications: there are things we can’t possibly understand.

Some married folks tell of perfect worlds. They swear life didn’t start till they said, “I do” or held their first child. Others imagine me sleeping in, bingeing on Netflix and ice cream. They bemoan lost freedom and complain, tell me I’m much better off single. For all their tales of the hard work of marriage, “better off single” feels like a lie.

The truth is this: trading the expectation of settledness for singleness hurts.

It just does.

I know the stab when another marriage or pregnancy is announced, and the guilt that follows. Why can’t I be totally happy for them? I know the disappointment of hoping that every bend in the road will bring somebody, only to realize it’s more of the same.

I’m not naïve, dreaming a wedding fixes everything. Instead, I dream of building a refuge, of loyalty and believing the best even when I see the worst. My heart longs to be someone’s biggest fan, safe place, and partner in crime, to take the world together on good days and bad.

Deep, unfulfilled longing is always painful. Whether we wait for marriage, a child, or any other desire, waiting hurts.

But pain is not the only truth.

The other is this: I am a whole person. I’m not waiting for completion. I have dreams beyond sharing my life and raising beautiful babies. A sense of calling keeps me up at night, makes me forget to eat. I have precious relationships even if they don’t share my bed or live under my roof.

I want to be a woman of character and kindness, all-in with passion and joy, taking the bitter with the sweet.

A voice of hope and healing to those around me.

A guide making the way easier, leveraging strengths and experiences in the service of others.

A taster of beauty, savoring rich coffee and sunlight and cool mountain breezes.

None of those things require me to be married.

Certainly, the best of life is better shared. Mountain hikes and fragrant coffee and big dreams gain depth and color in good company, especially the kind that commits to forever and loving through darkest days. But I refuse to miss their sweetness by obsessing how much better it could be.

Today, I can be a safe place for loved ones and for those I serve. I can fight in prayer, send a text that says I remember someone’s grief and I’m on her side. I can breathe deep and literally count blessings, savoring the chance to be alive. Today, I can turn my heart inside out on this screen, knowing someone needs to hear.

Sweet friend, if that’s you, you are not alone. I know it hurts and you may not believe, but you’re not less for your singleness. You aren’t forgotten. Your beautiful heart may be discouraged and doubt there’s a happy ending. I get it. I really do.

Give yourself permission to have a happy middle. Click To Tweet

But today, give yourself permission to have a happy middle.

Be kind to yourself. Savor something that makes you smile. Go on a hike or out to dinner and enjoy it all on your own. It’s okay.

Write down those dreams of who you want to be. Find one tiny step that will take you closer to being that woman. Look at your life today, find something that you love about it. If you look long enough, I promise it’s there.

This life is ours, dear friend. Let’s not wish it away season-by-season. After all, if that habit starts now, how will it stop when we see this dream fulfilled, only to long for the next thing and the next? Whether or not circumstances conspire to give us happy endings anytime soon, we can live today in the happy middle.

What about you?  Do you struggle with longing for a happy ending and living in the happy middle?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

24 Replies

  1. “I am a whole person. I’m not waiting for completion. I have dreams beyond sharing my life and raising beautiful babies. A sense of calling keeps me up at night, makes me forget to eat. I have precious relationships even if they don’t share my bed or live under my roof.”

    You know your writing just absolutely makes me smile a big cheesy grin. This is fantastic. I remember our pastor saying something along the same lines as what the above paragraph says, “Two halves don’t make a whole. You must have two whole people to make a marriage work.” AND IT’S TRUE.

    You’re a beacon, my friend.

    1. Thank you so much, Steve! I so appreciate your encouragement and support!

  2. Kelsey

    This was incredible. I love and admire you.

    1. Thanks so much, Kelsey! I feel the same way about you ❤️

  3. Dear Sarah, I feel so reflected on your words. Specially with the paragraph after “But pain is not the only truth.” I am also an independent woman. Yes, I am getting married and all that but the truth is that if that person wouldn’t be there, I know exactly what I would be doing.

    I would be doing this. Because I love what I do. And I think the best part is that I get to share it with him.

    Honestly, I needed these words today. Thank you.

    1. I love that, Alba! It’s true, whether you have a somebody or not, it’s crucial to know who you are and love what you do. Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Oh, fellow Hope*Writer and fellow single striving to live well and fully now, your words resonate with me! It’s interesting how in the past few months I feel I’ve been able to be truly grateful for my singleness and the amazing lessons I’ve learned and opportunities I’ve had because of it. I still believe God can provide a husband for me, and I hope He does; but even if He doesn’t, I am whole and I am His. Keep writing (about this and other things)!!

    1. Kristen, I’m so glad it resonated with you. I’m still believing, too, but it’s so good to know we’re in it together! Thanks for coming by!

  5. Love these two points, Sarah:
    Write down those dreams of who you want to be. Find one tiny step that will take you closer to being that woman. Look at your life today, find something that you love about it.

  6. Sarah, this is wonderful! I wish that I had read something like it when I was single. I didn’t get married until I was 29 and I really struggled with being single for most of my twenties. Looking back, I wish that I had embraced it more and really lived life during it. Thanks for writing such a lovely piece. =)

    1. Thank you so much, Heather! It truly is a battle. Thank you for the kind words!

  7. (falls over) Amen.

    I’ve read a lot of articles trying to console people struggling with singleness, but this one nails it. Sharing!

    1. I experienced the same thing as a single girl. Most of the advice I got didn’t connect to the heart of my struggle. So glad it spoke to you, Randi!!

  8. I wish I would have read that as a striving single gal. I let myself stay “unwhole” for a long time. Awesome article. Love your writing.

  9. Joyce Hughes

    Sarah, I am a senior citizen and when my husband of 46years committed suicide I never saw that coming. It is 4 years and I will always love him but I have a wonderful man who cares for me and one day we will probably marry but we only take one day at a time. Have a blessed day!

  10. Celia

    I love the way you write and the heart behind it. Thank you.

  11. Renee

    I never dreamed that after over 10 years of a divorce I would still be by myself. Many unmatched “opportunities” have come and gone. I know the pinch of seeing smiles of couples and happiness. Of faithful husbands and wives who are committed to each other. I truly am happy for them, but I ask why? Why am I alone for so many years? I have left the hurt of loneliness and can now say I am alone but rarely lonely… yet I still miss and seek companionship. Thank you for your posting. I enjoyed it and am thankful to read your perspective. God bless you on your journey.

  12. Cat U

    Sarah, I Just discovered you. I don’t even know why you appeared in my email or what’s more why I took time to read it in the midst of scrolling through countless emails I have to get through, dispose of each day. But you reached into my heart. Today I read the second article of yours I have read and how deeply it touched me! My divorce was finalized this month after 3 years of separation! Trust me I will look forward to reading everything you write! Thank you!

  13. Melissa Wilson

    I totally agree with this, it really helps! I have been chasing my happy ending my whole life to create the happy settled family I wished I had as a child only to end up rushing into relationships that never lasted as I didn’t take the time to get to know if they were the right one and never took time to work on and heal myself. Now is the time to focus on myself and the life I want to enjoy and the rest may fall into place someday. Thankyou for your words of wisdom and love Sarah! <3

    1. That’s so insightful, Melissa – I think tons of us make choices out of a desire to correct the tough things from our past/childhood. I’m glad this connected with you!

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