Faith

Almost 30 and still single: Is there something wrong with me?

Sharon Lim // October 31, 2017, 7:59 pm

Singleness

Although people are increasingly getting married later in Singapore, I’ve always wanted to get hitched before I hit 30. I’m turning 29 in a few months … But he’s still nowhere in sight.

I came to know Christ when I was just 14-years-old. But I wasn’t too committed in church back then because of the parental objection I faced coming from a family of unbelievers.

Regardless, most of my secondary school years were spent being in and out of relationships. I had issues with self-esteem and being in a relationship made me feel desired by the opposite gender.

Back in those years, I wasn’t able to see that only God could fill my heart. I wish I had known then that another person could never complete me.

Somewhere along the way my need for human love overtook my love for God.

I only stopped casually dating guys when I turned 17. I had grown in my walk with God, and I committed to serving God with my youth. In that year, I was rooted in Christ and I no longer felt the need to be needed because I realised God’s love was really enough.

Having entered the workforce, romantic relationships have gradually become a focus in my adult life – as they have for most people my age. As I do not have a large social circle, I tried expanding it with the opposite gender through dating platforms such as the Social Development Network (SDN).

But somewhere along the way my need for human love overtook my love for God. I decided to take matters into my own hand.

I got to know a guy on SDN who professed to be a Christian, though he was unchurched. Almost instantly clicking, we got along really well. He was about 4 years older than me and was doing well in his career. We met up several times and things were looking pretty good.

He must be the one. I started putting so much hope in this potential relationship and began to invest all my time, effort and energy in it. Yet as we continued to date, this guy never spoke a word to me about officially getting together.

I wondered about the mixed signals: Was he waiting for me to speak up? Was he shy? I was confused at the ambivalence between being friends and lovers, but I still hoped.

Mustering all my courage, I asked him the magic question over WhatsApp: “Do you think we’re meant to be together?”

I saw that he read my message, but it took him a very long time to reply me. My heart raced while I waited all day, anxious at the answer he would give me.

After what seemed like an eternity, he finally texted back. But the message tore my heart up with each word: “I enjoy spending time with you and we share many common interests. You are really a nice girl and whoever gets you will be a lucky man. But I’m very sorry, I don’t think we are meant to be.”

For almost a year, I had spent every single day on the phone with him! We spoke and shared deeply until we had no secrets left.

He would pick me up from the gym every weekend to go for dinner and catch a movie together. He took leave for my birthday just to give me a surprise. Every single thing I told him I would like to have, he’d make an effort to get it for me the next time we met.

So that “break-up” text came as a shock. Reading it, I felt a tangible and physical cut deep in my heart. Heartbroken, I decided that I would cut off all connection and contact with him.

From then, it would take me 2 whole years to recover from a relationship that never happened.

I kept asking myself: “Why are you crying over a relationship that never happened? We weren’t even together, it’s not even a break up – stop crying!”

I didn’t know then, but the illusion of intimacy we’d cultivated over that year had turned into an unhealthy soul tie.

But still the tears came. The pain was real because I was so emotionally attached to him. I didn’t know then, but the illusion of intimacy we’d cultivated over that year had turned into an unhealthy soul tie.

Perhaps the painful break-up was the consequence of taking matters into my own hands. If I had sought godly counsel instead of being so impulsive, perhaps I would not have had to go through such a painful lesson.

I knew God forgave me when I repented for my lack of trust, but I wasn’t spared from the consequences of my wrongdoing.

But in mercy He also led me back to Him – just as I was all ready to trade His love for earthly love. He met me where I was in my pain, and saved me from a deathly mistake.

It was easier to be single in my early 20s. It got a lot harder after 25. I grieved when I realised I was about to turn 29 and was still single. The dream of being married by 30 was dead.

And one by one, all my closest girlfriends were either getting married or already becoming parents. I would feel so bitter whenever I received wedding invites. A part of me was really happy for my friend but another part … I confess that my envy was eating me up from within.

I hated having an envious heart. I confessed it before God and asked Him, “Lord, I have great difficulty making sense of my singlehood. Is there something really wrong with me? If so, can you just tell me so I know? If there is nothing wrong, why am I not attached? Why?

God grew a heart within me that now firmly knows He is bigger than my desire for marriage.

God didn’t reply me then. And to be honest, even today I find He is still silent about this area of my life. But I’ve come to realise He wants to deal with me before even talking about marriage, especially when I came across a reflection question in a book I was studying: “Are you willing to live the life God calls you to – even if it doesn’t include marriage?”

I wrote these words without hesitation: “YES! Because life is not just about marriage and there is definitely more to it!” I was surprised at my own answer. I read what I wrote twice. It was surprising, but it was also a heartfelt truth.

God grew a heart within me that now firmly knows He is bigger than my desire for marriage.

As I invite Him into this area of my life, God has been using my season of singlehood to do a thorough work deep within my heart. In return, I am purposefully using my singlehood to serve Him in ministry. I’m investing my time to mentor someone.

I’m picking up music lessons – guitar and keyboard – with the hope of serving in my cell group and deepening my worship and quiet time with Him.

I have also spent 2.5 years completing a Master’s degree in counselling to upgrade myself as a full-time counsellor, and to better serve His people. I’m learning how to eat alone and travel alone to countries. But now I’m doing all these things – stepping out of my comfort zone – with security in the Father’s love for me.

Perhaps you don’t believe in “The One” – and that’s alright. I’d still like to share my personal conviction: Before The One comes, I need to be the right one first. And part of the process of being the right one is to let God deal with my unresolved issues first.

Only then can we enter marriage without constantly expecting our spouse to meet needs that only God Himself is able to meet.

My encouragement for anyone in a similar situation as me is to yield yourself fully to God. Let Him into your life, and He will do a new work within you.