Why I Gave Up Dating for a Year
So I’m not quite sure who all will relate with this post, but I figured I would share my thoughts. Now I know most people my age (18-30) want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend and don’t particularly like being single. Whether it is because of the lonely feeling we all get every now and then when we see those adorable couples (my brother and his wife are seriously precious), or the comfort and stability of having someone with you when you need to talk, to cry or to simply spend free time with. And I know most people older than me always seem to say, “Be single! You’re young and have the rest of your life to be married and have kids.” So I have some thoughts on the matter which have brought me to this post.
Single is not for everyone, it cannot be a blanket statement in which all young people should wait to get married. Relationships have taught me more than I can even quantify since the age of 15. They cause people to grow, they teach people communication and how to be patient with others. They reveal many things we didn’t know about ourselves and things we didn’t know that we wanted or didn’t want. Many relationships end tragically, which help to teach us to pull ourselves out of the dirt, dust off and carry forward. Relationships are huge for learning conflict resolution and how to live with or spend time with someone else respectfully (also learned with college dorm mates). And of course the joy of being in love, unmatched is the feeling. All of these benefits are even before marriage. Many of these are enhanced during marriage, and many more benefits come into play (mmhmm!).
But for this post I want to visit the idea of being single, and touch on all that it has to offer. Since it seems like in our culture today, people think of being single on Valentine’s Day as depressing, and that if you’re not dating someone, you should be out there meeting people to date. I have some encouragement to the would-be depressed individual looking for your soul mate. Although right now this might seem like a sad season to be in, take every advantage of it! And I am not referring to playing around with hearts or living any bit of a promiscuous lifestyle. Take some time to travel! The U.S. has fewer long-term, young, international travelers than most other first world country per-capita. I think it is because of how scary it is to leave the country, or because you’re still in school, or because you don’t have the money for it. But I think it is essential for everyone to get out on their own for a bit. Take some time to take some risks. I see so many people who get married so young, and who settle into that career job immediately after school. They never go see anywhere they want to see, or do anything they’ve dreamed of doing. But more importantly than living it up, I find so few people who actually know the depths of themselves.
When you get into a relationship, you get caught up with the other person, you find yourself thinking about them and wondering about the mystery of all that you do not know about them. Over time you find yourself catering to the needs and wants that you discover within them, and when you do try to think about yourself, it is usually through lenses which they wear. We adapt to people around us, we learn how to please our family, our friends and our significant others. Now maybe you don’t relate to this type of relationship, I have friends who keep good space and who have healthy alone time whilst being in a relationship, but I know few who do it successfully. Most people I know focus in so narrowly on the one, and leave the peripheral out.
My last relationship was pretty serious, yet I did not feel right about marrying this girl. It wasn’t until this breakup that I realized that as excited as I was to be married and step into that season of life, I was personally not ready to be married. There were things I needed to do prior to marriage, but we’ll get into those in a bit. Since then I have begun to ask myself some questions which I think everyone at one point or another encounters. Questions about the legacy I will leave, the person I will be, the things I will stand for and stand against, and about how to carry these things out. Do not hush these questions inside of you. Usually they are only whispers within us, they are almost silent and it is often that we do not hear them or we ignore them. My challenge to you is to give them a microphone. Whether you are single or in a relationship, never hush these questions. Talk about them! Share them with a close friend or your significant other, without the intent on pleasing them. Now I am not asking anyone to end a healthy relationship if they are in one. But never fear being single, embrace the season you are in! Go out and do something! Stop waiting for your wife or husband to come along, go do what you want to do and see who is doing it with you!
I have had 5 relationships in the last 8 years. I do not boast about this, because each of them ended, and not always in a healthy way. I have not spent very much time being single since before I turned 15. I committed to spend the last year single. And although I didn’t stick to it as religiously as I had planned, it was exactly what I needed. I cannot begin to explain how much it has impacted my entire life, especially in my relationship with the Lord. I started looking at those questions with intensity. I began to pursue the Lord more intimately, invest more fully into the men in my life, read more, learn more, grow more and dream more. I rarely spent time texting females, not that I was excessive about it before. I found myself able to harness energies that I had no idea existed. When I would meet someone who seemed pretty special, instead of questioning if this person was “the person”, I had the decision made up before the question arose.
“Right now, no one is ‘the person’, because even the right person at the wrong time is the wrong person.”
I cannot begin to explain how much of a drive it increased within me. I now see the world as limitless; a frontier to conquer rather than a dealer in a button-down and bow tie handing me a couple of cards while I pray to Lady Luck for that perfect hand. I entered into a season of learning and searching, and I feel as if I made Neo’s same decision. The rabbit whole goes deep, and in all of my learning, I am beginning to see how little I actually know. But the journey is not for the destination. It is not in an event that we achieve enlightenment, it is when we realize that it was in us the entire time, and that we only had to see it with the right eyes. I will never see the world the same.
I want the greatest marriage in the world someday, one filled with passion and love and excitement for each other. A relationship where two whole people come together and give each other their all, one where God is the center and everything else comes after that. But if God is not your center, or you are not whole, or you don’t even have all of yourself to give, or if you know in your heart that the dating relationship you’re in is not healthy but you fear or hate being single, maybe that is what you need most right now, to be single. Was it selfish to take a whole year of my life for me-time? I am quite sure it was, and I am quite sure it was also my best decision yet. Because I know that it is the greatest investment I can offer my future wife: A whole year spent solidifying my character, identity, vision and destiny. Don’t rob yourself of what actually needs to take place while you’re single, it may be the biggest theft of your life.
My blogs are always open to feedback, so feel free to post questions and thoughts in the comment section below!