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How to Handle Those Unexpected Single Years

By: Bethany Beal

Me: “Sooooo any new guy prospects in your life?”

Kelly: “Nope, none in mine. What about you?”

Me: “Are you kidding? I’m just as single as ever!”

Kelly: “Well, at least we have each other.”

Me: “No kidding. I’m glad I’m not the only single girl in town.”

That is a typical conversation between me and my friend Kelly. We are both in our mid twenties and *I don’t want to say this* still single.

Kelly and I have known each other for nearly our entire lives. Neither one of us would have ever guessed that we would both be in our mid twenties and still single. I always assumed I would get married by nineteen or twenty. The thought of being twenty-six and single never even occurred to me.

We aren’t the only ones.

Sometimes my friend Kelly and I feel like we are the only older single girls around. It feels like every time we get on social media, someone has just started a relationship, been recently engaged, or just had their wedding.

I think to myself, “How do they do that? It seems like getting into a relationship is nearly impossible!!!” Any of you girls feeling me on that one??

After reading through several of the comments in our recent blog posts, I’ve realized that Kelly and I aren’t the only single girls out there.

I’ve realized that there are a whole bunch of single girls, who are all asking the same question, “What am I supposed to do with these unexpected single years??”

I’ve asked myself that very same question. I’ve even had thoughts like, “what will I do if I never get married? What will I do if I’m single into my late thirties or forties?”

I’m sure you girls have had some of those very same thoughts yourselves.

With all that being said, I want to take the rest of this blog post to answer some questions I’m regularly asked about my singleness. I’m going to answer the questions from a personal perspective, sharing with you exactly what I do.

What are your favorite books that apply to your singleness?

I think I’ve read just about every book on the topic of relationships, singleness and the future. I’m going to give you my top 5 favorites. I’ll list each book and then give you a small explanation as to why I like that book.

1. The Sacred Search by: Gary Thomas

I wish I would have read this book about 6 years ago before I entered any relationships. It’s a must read for anyone hoping to be, has been or is currently in a relationship. He asks some really great questions and get’s you to think about romantic relationships from the right perspective.

2. Sacred Singleness by: Leslie Ludy

This book challenged me to view these single years in a totally new way. Instead of wasting these years on selfish pursuits, this book showed me how to use my time well. I can be used by God in mighty ways, as a single woman, if I am willing. If you want to use your single years well, this book will help you do that.

3. Get Married: What Women Can Do To Help It Happen by: Candice Watters

I really appreciate the practical advice that Candice offers in this book. It cleared up a lot of questions for me and was a very refreshing read. She is a huge proponent of marriage and reminds you that wanting to get married is a good thing. I think this book is the perfect balance to Sacred Singleness.

4. Idols of the Heart by: Elyse Fitzpatrick

Learning to find your complete satisfaction in Christ is key for the single girl. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you’ve ever struggled with with worry, fear, discontentment, etc., this book is for you. It’s packed with truth and simply amazing!!! I’m currently reading it for the second time and LOVE it.

5. Choosing Gratitude by: Nancy Leigh Demoss

This book was a life saver for me a few years ago. I was struggling with finding joy as a single girl and this book transformed my perspective. It’s totally possible to have complete joy in Christ, but, it will take work. I wish I could make every unmarried girl read this book.

What do you do with your time?

I’ve chosen not to use these single years as a “free pass” to live out my wildest dreams, but instead, to use them as an opportunity to invest in those around me. Here are the basics of my week; I work for my dad in our family owned business three days a week and then work with Kristen on ministry projects the other two days of the week. I also nanny for a few hours one afternoon a week.

I mentor my two younger sisters on a weekly basis. I co-direct the AWANA 3rd-6th grade girls program. I attend a weekly young adults Bible study through Bible Study Fellowship. I love people and love hosting parties, celebrations and get togethers. It seems like my family is always having someone over or planning a party on a regular basis.

If I don’t want to pursue a career, what can I do with my time?

I once heard a single girl in her late twenties say something similar to this, “If I had known I wasn’t going to get married until later in life, I would have used my single years more wisely.” I would encourage you to use your single years wisely. Don’t waste them away on selfish pleasures. Realize that you have an opportunity to work on projects, invest in others, take missions trips, lead Bible studies and grow spiritually in ways you probably won’t be able to if you get married.

Here are a few ideas on how you can use your time well:

  1. Mentor younger girls at your local public school.

  2. Volunteer as a leader with your Sunday School, youth group, AWANA program etc.

  3. Host a girls Bible study.

  4. Attend a “spiritual boot camp” like Ellerslie.

  5. Build a skill that will benefit you now and in the future. Learn an instrument. Learn how to cut hair. Learn how to highlight hair. Learn how to do a shellac or manicure. Learn a new language. Teach a language to younger children. Learn how to sew. Learn how to cook. Head up reading programs. Get medical training. Midwifery training. Create an online store. Start a business from your home. Work in the family business if you are able. Learn how to create websites. Learn web design. Learn how to code.

Don’t waste these years.

My final piece of advice would be this, don’t waste these years. God has given you these single years for a reason, so don’t squander them. Use them to point others to Christ.

If you are in need of more ideas and inspiration on how to live well as a single girl, check out these blog posts:

Why I’m Not Looking for JUST a Husband

Why Your Singleness is a Really Big Deal

Bored, Single and Still Living at Home

Will Marriage Turn Me Into Princess Perfect?

How have you handled your unexpected single years? Do you have any ideas on how single girls can use their time well?

Photo credit: | vic xia

How to Handle Those Unexpected Single Years

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20 Responses to How to Handle Those Unexpected Single Years

  1. Nikki says:

    What do you answer to people when they keep asking you ” when are you going to get married”?. It’s painful for me to think of an answer to this question especially when you don’t have any prospects of marriage.

    • Allie says:

      Good question!!
      I feel the same way, especially when my younger friends are getting married and there are many weddings everywhere! And averyone is asking…
      And I just… still single 🙂

    • CT says:

      I’m sure there’s a more graceful way of saying this, but basically tell them that you are waiting on God to faithfully bring you your future husband. I know, they’ll give you a hard time on this answer and make you doubt God’s faithfulness, but this is one thing you can unashamedly declare. It also brings glory to our Lord Jesus!

    • GirlDefined says:

      Nikki 🙂 I typically tell people that I can clearly see that God is in control of my life. If he wanted me to be married I would be married. It’s obvious that I am supposed to be single because God hasn’t brought the guy along. I also find it comforting to be reminded of that truth. If God wanted me to be married He could easily bring a guy along 🙂

      • Sarah says:

        I have the same concern as Nikkie, however, I never know what to say after I respond to them, telling them that I am waiting and praying for God’s timing… What should I do if they say, “Well, maybe all this time God’s been waiting for you to act?” “The guy will ‘never’ come until you go to a place where there ‘actually’ are guys.”

        It’s troubling to me when they say it spitefully and make me feel like I’ve just been sitting around for the past few years.. And it’s especially hard since there are no guys around my age that attend our small church, we hardly get visitors, and rarely visit other churches. All the young christian men that I admire and respect seem to live a ways away, I hardly ever see them, and there are generally plenty of other young respectable women who attend their church, whom I have seen some take interest in.

        Many times I still feel lost and forgotten in my own singleness(even though with the Lord’s help, I am getting better) and it’s easy to ask myself some of the same tempting questions… Do any of you have any encouraging advice on relying fully on God? Staying happy, cheerful, and content while waiting on God’s timing? Or know of any scripture verses that have been helpful to you through the single years?

        In the beginning, I have felt exactly as you have described in some other posts… And in someways I still do… Lonely, single, saddened, and forgotten. However, with God’s never-ending grace I have been strengthened and am learning and trying to continually place my trust in Him. It is encouraging to know he holds tomorrow, and there is nothing I can do to make God change his perfect timing, the only thing I have found that I can change is my additude towards the waiting process and draw my eyes to Christ and find joy in him through my journey of singleness. Even if it is hard, I just love this verse recorded in the Bible..”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

        It is encouraging to know that I am not the only one going through challenging times of singleness and what a blessing to know that when it seems everyone has left us we can count on God to still be by our side…

        I want to thank both of you, Bethany and Kristen, for making such a wonderful blog like this. It has been such an encouragement to me and I am sure to many others! Keep being that light that points ‘us’ to Christ.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Each girl will have a different calling from God. I know that God wants each of us to be spreaders of the Gospel. (Matthew 28:19) God has graciously led me to the place where I am happy to be single. Of course I desire marriage, but if that is not in God’s plan, serving my Creator and Saviour is enough. In what ways can we make the Gospel the center of our lives? It’s a good question to think and ACT upon.

  3. Elizabeth Williams says:

    I am having a hard time with singleness right now! I have read Sacred Singleness and I’m actually reading Choosing Gratitude right now. I know that we should be content in every situation and that our single years can be such a useful, important time, but it’s still hard. Right now I am just trying to grow closer to Christ. And then, one day, when I do get into a relationship, I’ll be more prepared and mature and have the wisdom I need to make the right decisions. By the way, it sounds like you stay super-busy!

    • GirlDefined says:

      Elizabeth, I can totally relate to you on the “having a hard time with singleness right now!” Whenever I take my eyes of Christ and His perfect faithfulness, I become discouraged. I read Psalm 100 this morning and was so encouraged by it. I love this verse, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
      and his faithfulness to all generations.”

  4. Allie says:

    Thank you! I really needed to read this!
    I’m 25 and still single. The guy I’m “in love” with (It’s not a crush actually, but I really appreciate him and tought he’d be a perfect husband, so it is going to hurt!) is about to engage another girl this very moth (prayers and advice for me are appreciated). And I can’t se any other guy for thousands of miles…
    But, I´ve prayed and prayed and prayed… and the Lord has showed me how faithful and loving He is. Sometimes I wonder, what am I waiting for? And He reminds me, “You are waiting for Me, in Me, you’ll never be shaken.” What a promise! And He will never leave nor forsake me!
    Many, many trials have come to my life, the last year and this year will be hard, but I´ve seen that gratitude is the best thing against bitternest and discouragement. Also thinking about others.
    I know that the Lord is doing what is best for you and me, soak in His Word, love Him, pray a lot! He is near!

    • GirlDefined says:

      Allie, Thanks for being honest and sharing your heart. I would highly recommend reading Idols of the Heart by: Elyse Fitzpatrick. There was a time in my life when I was really struggling to give up a guy. That book opened my eyes to so much truth and helped me a ton. I think you would enjoy it 🙂

  5. Moriah Mari says:

    Thanks so much for sharing what you actually do with your time. It was nice to hear how another single girl is using her time.

    Right now I’m praying and looking for more profitable ways to use my time. In some senses it’s difficult to know what to do but I’m excited that since committing this to prayer I’ve seen God opening up little (possibly bigger) opportunities. I think the most difficult part is the daily battle to use time well when we don’t have outside demands on our time.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  6. Phoebe Saywell says:

    This advice is really good for any single girl, I mean I’m a teenager and I realise how useful my time can be. Thanks for the excellent post Bethany!

  7. Lisa Hallahan says:

    Awesome post, Bethany! Thanks for sharing! =)

  8. Liz says:

    This is such an important post! I’m 22, still living at home, and have been convicted in the last year or two to start envisioning what my life will look like if I DON’T get married. Or at least not right away.
    The Lord has graciously shown me ways in which I can passionately serve Him and fill my life with meaning and purpose. He has reminded me of my interests and given me productive ideas such as mentoring, teaching music, writing children’s literature, choral directing, selling my paintings, etc.
    Here are a few more ideas to think about tackling during these flexible years:
    Learn how to garden
    Study nutrition and home remedies
    Study church history
    Read up on other cults/religions to be further equipped for ministry
    Memorize lots of Scripture!
    Become disciplined with eating/exercising habits
    Study and practice social skills

    Thank you Baird sisters for your wonderful ministry here online!

  9. Megan says:

    Hi Bethany! Thank you so much for this post..!! Just curious, have you read “Before You Meet Prince Charming” by Sarah Mally?? That is also a REALLY good book regarding singleness. =)

  10. Lily says:

    Is it okay to ask God to take away the desire to marry one day, if it’s not in His will for your life? It’s crazy because I’m only 18; quite young and still learning to surrender my dreams and desires at His feet but I want to be prepared and sometimes I just wish I didn’t have an attraction or whatsoever towards guys. I’ve never dated and feel sort of pathetic because I’ve never dated anyone. Is it possible for God to let me know He plans for me to be single rather than married?

  11. Kit-Kat Collins says:

    Thank you so much I really needed to read this!!! I’m still trying to be content with being single it’s definitely hard because I’m at a college where every where me and my best friend turn we see couples and it’s really hard sometimes because we wonder why we haven’t found the right guy yet…. I’m only 22 and she’s 20 so we’re still young but it’s really hard for me to be content when I see a lot of cute guys on Campus :/

  12. Arie says:

    Thank you sooo much these tips are soooo helpful! I’ve been looking for concrete Christ-centered tips for years and these are on point! Thank you so much

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