Photography by Matt Wyatt

When you aren’t married by your late twenties; thoughts on contentment.

When I was a teenager working my way toward adulthood and through the tumultuous high points and low points of adolescence, finding a lifelong partner was always somewhere back in my mind. At first, it was way in the back, because at sixteen or seventeen years of age it didn’t feel like I had anything to worry about. I don’t think I ever questioned at this point if I would ever get married. I didn’t know exactly how it worked, but it seemed like something magical happened in your mid twenties.

It was like the board game Life, you landed on the marriage block on the game board and you added a pink peg to your car. You somehow found each other out of all the other pegs in the bag. This was followed by a solid career, a family and many pay days along the way. It was just bound to happen. She would be beautiful and you’d be well, -you- but it would be okay because somehow she would look past all that and be there for you.

At eighteen I had my first serious relationship (aka one that lasted for more than a couple months). Trust me when I say she was out of my league. At first, things were just fun, but as our relationship developed into something more long-term than I had ever experienced before, I couldn’t help but think about what the future may hold.

At nineteen years of age, I bought a set of ‘True Love Waits’ rings, one for her and one for me. If she was going to be the one I would marry, I wanted to do things right and I wanted to show my commitment to her and God. Two years later I experienced my first break-up. My heart felt a new kind of pain and I struggled with how to move forward. Would there still be more pegs in the bag for me?

It was around the age of twenty-one that I dated again. It felt like such a relief. I was going to be OK. I was going to get married ‘in time’ and ‘on par’ with my peers. I wasn’t going to miss this drastic next step in life. When that relationship ended at age twenty-three, I felt a panic set in. I was so close to the ‘deadline’ and if I didn’t find someone fast I was going to miss it. Panic like this only leads to relationships that are anything but healthy, and without going into much detail, that’s exactly what happened.

I’m twenty-eight now. I still live at home and I still haven’t found my pink peg. I’m unsettled in my career and don’t have any little pegs in the back of my car.

But I don’t feel panic.

Sure, there are lots of times I would love to have a ‘special friend’ to share life with and many more times when I want to move out. Do you know how awkward it is to have your Dad tell you make your bed when you’re twenty-eight years old?

I still wear my True Love Waits, ring but I’ve gotten a lot better at the waiting part; I’m not necessarily waiting for marriage anymore as much as I am waiting to see what God has in store for me next.

One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is “who knows maybe God will” (See Jonah 3:9, Joel 2:14) What this powerful phrase does is insert possibility and hope. If your single, let me encourage you to have hope, not necessarily in getting married someday, but in God who has a perfect plan for you.

But what are we to do during that time of “who knows?” Another verse comes to mind; “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:8) This verse comes from Jeremiah shortly before the 29:11 verse which we are more familiar with. In this particular moment, the Israelites find themselves in a position they don’t necessarily enjoy, yet God’s response to them was to find peace in it and prosper. He had them there for a reason.

I believe that God wants single people who have fallen into the uncomfortable not-always-fun category of unmarried and almost thirty to do exactly the same thing He wants those who are married to do; seek the peace and prosperity in the situation we find ourselves in.

‘Who knows maybe God will’ can go either way according to His sovereignty, but seeking first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness is certain (see Matthew 6:33). So, if you’re single and almost thirty then join me in waiting, join me in seeking because with or without a life partner we never have to face anything alone.

“And surely I am with you always until the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)


One reply to “When you aren’t married by your late twenties; thoughts on contentment.

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