In my 3 years and 3 months at college, I’ve overheard quite the commentary on singleness and dating—enough that I feel like I could write a book (or a blog post) about dating culture at a Christian college.

“I know she’s just a freshman but I don’t think she’s ever going to get married.”

“Aren’t you worried that you’re going to be single the rest of your life?” 

“If you don’t date at this college you might never meet anyone.”

“You need to be 100% committed to Jesus and then you can find the right man.” 

“You don’t have a date? Oh…I’m sorry.”  

“You’re a strong woman. And that’s just…a challenging quality.” 

“I just wish this wasn’t so hard.” 


I just wish this wasn’t so hard. 

That one hits home. Love and romance at the collegiate level: more perplexing than that physics homework and more stressful than final exams.

It’s hard

Now before I continue, I’m going to include this disclaimer: Many would not believe I have authority to speak on this topic because I am single and have been single every last day of these 3 years and 3 months of college. Right now, I’m about as single as one can get. I don’t have someone “I’m texting,” I don’t have someone I’m even half hoping will ask me to a fraternity formal, I don’t have a list of “potentials.” Have I had those things in the past? Sure. I’ve had guys I texted and enjoyed talking to on the daily. I’ve had guys I hoped would invite me to a special event. I’ve even (horrifically) had a running list of guys I saw “potential” in (whatever that means) only to watch and be part of allowing that list to get shorter and shorter and eventually for no such list to exist.

Some will probably want me to stop talking now because I don’t have any “experience” to leverage commentary on a post about being single and why that’s okay. I could stop, but I don’t really want to.

Why? 

Because for 3 years and 3 months I’ve had too many conversations with intelligent, interesting, capable, compassionate, empathetic, funny, witty, winsome, wise, thoughtful, well-dressed, beautiful young ladies on this campus who continue to hear the statements I listed above and continue to accept them as truths. In a state of singleness that results from either our own choice or out of circumstances beyond our control, others tell us to get a datin’, and when we don’t, fear, shame, doubt, and confusion come flooding into our sense of self-concept way too quickly.

That’s why. 

That’s why I decided to write a blog post today about being single at college and why it’s okay. Because I wish more people would speak out about it. Because I’m not so afraid to talk about this anymore, 33% because I’m a senior and I know my time here is soon up so I’m less inhibited, 33% because I’m less afraid of speaking my mind than I used to be, 33% because I’m 3 years and 3 months older than freshman-Me and God has helped me learn a lot of things in those years and months, and 1% because this is a blog and writing has a way of making me more honest with myself and the world at large.

And lastly: because this topic is hard. 


So. 

To that girl out there right now, whether she’s a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior in college, or even if she’s not even in college, I’m here to preach to myself and to preach to you: you’re single, and it’s going to be okay. 

Why? Because I believe in what Shauna Niequist, my favorite (married) authors has to say: You are significant with or without a significant other. 

Isn’t that nice to reflect on? As the world spins madly on, full of married people, divorced people, dating people, and single people, you stand in the crowd and still retain your value regardless of your relationship status.

As you scroll through Facebook and see all those engagement photos—you are still enough. As that nice guy you and all your friends like gets a girlfriend, you are not stripped of the good qualities you have and always will possess. You are no less intelligent, interesting, capable, compassionate, empathetic, funny, witty, winsome, wise, thoughtful, well-dressed, or beautiful with or without those life events. You are still all those things.

And you know what else? You don’t have to wait for someone else or something else to let yourself believe that you are enough. You don’t have to keep waiting around for someone else to complete the picture for your life to start. Life starts right here, right now.

This is it. This is enough. College can be fun and fulfilling without that date to the dance. You can toss the list without pledging to burn your bra and buy 13 cats and become that weird aunt who always comes alone to Christmas and drinks too much Chardonnay. You can rest at night knowing that there’s more than this, and that our God’s plans are bigger than what we can fathom, and that he can do amazing things in the lives of us single folks and the lives of married and dating folks, too.

I love how Shauna says it again:

“Marriage isn’t like being named prom queen. It’s a partnership, one I love being a part of. But it doesn’t make me more special. It’s not a status symbol…Your value is not up for grabs, and certainly your value is not riding on a cultural obsession with romance and tulle and diamonds. Being in a dating relationship or a marriage relationship doesn’t validate you or make you more. You are extraordinary, enough, more than enough. Don’t let a multi-billion dollar wedding industry tell you who you are. What do they know about your particular awesomeness?”


So today I want to finish by replying back to all that commentary I’ve overheard these past 3 years and 3 months.

“I know she’s just a freshman but I don’t think she’s ever going to get married.”

Please, enjoy your freshman year while you can. Revel in your lack of responsibility to organizations on this campus and take time to invest in the friends you’re making. If it’s girl friends—great! If you have guy friends—fine. Just don’t fall into the trap believing that your entire romantic future rides on one lunch date to the college cafeteria. Don’t get hung up on the fact that you haven’t had a date. Guys–I haven’t had a date yet, and I am living a content life where I have fun and I don’t feel sad all the time. It’s possible, and I trust that whatever lies ahead is supposed to (or not supposed to) happen. 

“Aren’t you worried that you’re going to be single the rest of your life?”

Remember that there’s great things about being single! You can live well now in all sorts of ways—add a second major if you want, join that club,  spend the summer or a semester abroad without fear of missing out. Dance like no one’s watching and sing in your car and laugh and read and learn and don’t be afraid of who you are becoming. Heck–do these things ALL the time, no matter what! 

“If you don’t date at this college you might never meet anyone.”

Here’s the thing: being married/engaged/dating isn’t a Biblical right. It’s just not. It’s not our right. It’s a gift. I love celebrating this gift, but at the end of the day, it’s a blessing not to be thought of as a mandated right. I’m thrilled that so many close friends here have found their person at college. I can genuinely say it fills me with a great and fantastic joy. I won’t deny that the Christian community my college is in makes it easier to find a like-minded kindred spirit, but this place isn’t the beginning nor is it the end, nor is marriage. 

“You need to be 100% committed to Jesus and then you can find the right man.” 

Hi, this isn’t possible. Ever heard of sin? It’s in all of us, and none of us will ever be 100% committed to Jesus because we are physical beings living in a fallen world that hasn’t been visited by the second coming of Christ. So! We can strive to focus on finding our value in Christ, and this is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to focus on. Just know that at the end of the day, the statement above isn’t even spiritually possible in this world. 

“You don’t have a date? Oh…I’m sorry.”  

Being single isn’t a disease. I’m not afflicted. I’m not sitting in my dorm room crying. Have I? You bet! But I’ve noticed quite a few more things about this place and about the good and hard things here at college about the dating scene and I’m thankful that God has brought me and grown me into the person I am and the person I trust he will continue to form. So…don’t feel sorry for me. I’m not dead. I’m happy! I have friends! Life is good. 

“You’re a strong woman. And that’s just…a challenging quality.” 

Just because a woman possesses leadership skills and isn’t afraid to say the word “damn” on occasion for comedic effect does not equate her with this quality of imaginary “marriageability.” Each woman has issues and weaknesses to work on, but don’t let someone tell you to subdue the same  qualities about you that are God-given and used to bring good to his kingdom in other ways. 

“I just wish this wasn’t so hard.” 

Yep. It is. And I’m glad you’ve come to the place to recognize this. It’s okay to struggle with it, and know you’re in good company. You at least acknowledge the struggle, and that’s a big step.

But also know that it does get easier. It gets easier because you learn to surround yourself with the voices of people who speak truth into your life instead of skepticism and criticism. It gets easier because 3 months and 3 years is a good chunk of time to live and learn and grow.

It gets easier because you’ve known God longer than you ever have before. He’ll continue to grow and prosper you, and teach you that you are enough. He’ll teach you that life is hard, but he is enough.

And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. 

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Posted by:Grace Leuenberger

"I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

5 replies on “You’re Single and It’s Going To Be Okay

    1. Ha! Jo I remember that blog and it’s got some great mic drop moments. I need to revisit it soon! (And thanks for reading this one!)

      Like

  1. Grace-you are wise beyond your years.
    I hope there are many more young women who do know they are a masterpiece created by God and that does not change if they
    are single. The other really important thing is if a young woman knows her value she will not settle for a man who does not deserve her. I am much older than you and I have seen my friends go through painful divorces. It was very unfortunate.
    I had to laugh when you quoted “Your a strong woman and that is just a challenge”. I am a federal agent with the Department of Justice and know first hand that a strong, commanding woman, is mostly appreciated by an older man who has matured and is secure within himself. I have been blessed by God who brought wonderful men across my path in life. I have had beautiful relationships that made me a more loving, understanding and patient person. I am 49 years old. I own 2 homes, 2 cars and have retirement savings to be secure. I can tell you first hand that a woman can be very content and satisfied with life and remain single. If God should bring me a life partner, great! Please know, there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely and if you have God at the center of your life, you are never alone.

    Thank you for supporting young woman with your words.
    Robyn

    Like

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