“Why are we still single?” It’s a question my friends and I would ask ourselves over and over again when we weren’t dating or married but trying to live fulfilling lives.
For the past few years, this has been especially challenging. Since graduating from college, I’ve switched jobs and moved several times. These years have been a period of growth, but it’s been a struggle to figure out who I am when I’m on my own so far away from my family.
While I’m grateful to be dating someone now, I haven’t forgotten the feelings that I had when I wasn’t seeing anyone.
I thought the love of another person would be enough to bring my life joy. I’ve learned, however, that being in a relationship is not a magic key to happiness. Most of the time, one day follows another and I still forget to experience everything that is around me.
I hope to one day be married and have a family, and now I see how my years of single life have helped prepare me for greater fulfillment in my relationships—current and future.
As I look back over the past few years, I can see how certain efforts to find meaning as a single woman have prepared me to be a better girlfriend, and will help me be a good wife and mother, one day. Here are two things that have helped me:
1) Quiet time every day
Setting aside time to be alone each day has helped me appreciate what I have in my life more. I often write down the things that I am grateful for, which helps me think of the positive even if I’m feeling negative.There are very busy days when I feel as though I don’t have time, but I always know it’s worth it. Having the space to decompress puts my head and my heart in the right place for the rest of the day.
Spending that time alone has also boosted my self-awareness. That’s something that helps me in my relationships, because instead of immediately acting out on my emotions when I am frustrated or tired, I’m learning to collect myself and hopefully read the situation better. I’ve learned that when I get angry or annoyed with someone else it’s usually because I am frustrated with myself. Being able to recognize that in myself has really benefited me. I know from watching friends and family, that raising kids and being a good wife takes a lot of patience. Learning about myself and how I react will only help me develop that patience.
2) Find and keep good friends
Just like anyone else, I’ve lost friends over the years because people grow and change and move. But there are still several girlfriends with whom I have maintained a close relationship. Although I may not see them as often as I would like, the sound of a voice over the phone or a simple hand written letter have provided ways we’ve kept in touch.
The tight friendships we’ve developed are important, because as we’ve heard and likely all seen, our significant others cannot be our only close friend. No one person can be our only confident or source of meaning and purpose.
What’s more, learning how to be in a close, honest friendship has strengthened my ability to be in a romantic relationship. I’m confident the relationship skills I’ve learned in friendship will be important in marriage and family life.
As it turns out, my restlessness in my singleness had a purpose. And those years were not as purposeless as I once felt they were.