Successfully Single Part 3
In “Successfully Single Part 1” we discussed what it means to be successfully single. In “Successfully Single Part 2” we looked at contentment as a key to successful singleness. In this, the final post in this series, we will look further at how to be successfully single.
You Are Complete
Another key to being successfully single is to realize that you actually are a complete person. You are not half a person looking to join up with your other half. You do not need another person to complete you. In fact, neediness will not only rob you of peace, joy, and contentment, it will rob you of attractiveness. It will literally drive people away from you.
About the time I went through my divorce there was a popular song we sang in church. It went “Jesus you’re all I need, you’re all I need.” I had sung that song dozens of times before my divorce and really meant it, never knowing that concept would be put to the test. Those words took on a whole new level of meaning when He was all I had left. That proved to be truth — a life-giving truth to me when I needed it so badly.
In Him You Are Complete
In Him I am complete — I need no thing — I need no one.
That does not mean that I stopped desiring to be married. That desire never went away. But, when I finally, years later, remarried, it was out of a desire for intimacy, not a need. Neediness is a terrible thing and a terrible foundation for a relationship. The best way to have a strong relationship is for both people to become content, complete, strong and independent as singles first, then come together.
Be Truly Single
Many people never learn to actually be single. They go from relationship to relationship to relationship to relationship … and never spend any time just being single.
It Takes Time
Take time in your season of singleness to just be. Be single. Be with yourself and discover who you are at your core. What do you like? What do you love? What are you passionate about? What do you believe? What do you want your life to be? Let it be all about you and God for a while — a long while.
Here are two examples of good teaching we heard on that subject. In DivorceCare (which we highly recommend if you have been divorced or have broken up after a long-term relationship) several experts say that it takes, on average, five years to recover from a divorce. Other experts say one year for every five years of marriage. Andy Stanley (who has one of our favorite teachings on singleness, “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating”) teaches single people to take a year off from dating.
A Lot of Time
So, when we talk about spending some time being single, we are speaking in terms of months and years, not days and weeks. For some reason, speaking in those terms elicits strong reactions (especially older divorcees who do the math on the one year for every five years of marriage!). You would think someone was suggesting a lifetime vow of chastity or becoming a eunuch. Regardless of those overreactions, I firmly believe that if you are stuck in a cycle of date-breakup-date-breakup-date-breakup …, this is the only answer. It is also the best course of action if you find yourself divorced or recovering from the breakup of a long-term relationship. Take time to be single.
Time Well Spent
Of course, the mere passing of time is no magic bullet, it must be time well spent. Being truly single does take quite a bit of time and effort. But, you will be surprised at how fast the time passes when you are living life purposefully. Before you know it, as you are living life well, growing, and becoming, the joy and peace and contentment kind of sneak up on you, and you realize that life is good. In fact, you begin to realize that your life is too good to share it with just anyone. You begin to reevaluate why you want to be married and to what kind of person.
At that point, you are much better positioned for successful singleness or a happy marriage. And, we believe you absolutely must have the former before even considering the latter. To attempt marriage before learning to be content, complete, and truly single is to risk horrible failure. Being successfully single is its own reward and sets you up for happily ever after whether single or married.
Being successfully single is its own reward and sets you up for happily ever after whether single or married.
Date the Right Way
Another key to being successfully single is to forget how you have dated in the past and learn to date the right way. Thinking about that left me wanting to say so much that I decided to cover that in other posts. Be sure to check them out.
For now, just consider this: if you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results. You cannot be successfully single dating the way you always have, the same way the world does.
Reframe the way you see your singleness, learn to be content, learn to be complete and truly single, and change the way you date. Do these things and you will thrive and be successfully single.
Are you successfully single?
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Originally published at thrivesingles.com on October 15, 2016.