Struggling with Your Relationship Status?

It’s been two weeks since that day. The one that you either meet with apathy, disdain, or giddy excitement. President’s Day. Just kidding.

When you’re single, it’s easy to despise February 14th. I did my fair share of bashing, affectionately labeling it “Single Awareness Day” and wearing black in silent protest of the pink and red world I was forced to endure for a day.

Those of you lucky enough (or unlucky, depending on your view) to have a Valentine that day, you may have been frantically searching for a way to celebrate the day in a way that would somehow live up to expectations without draining your savings account.

The day evokes mixed reactions from everyone, but I find that it’s those who are single who struggle with it the most. Just look at the host of articles that crop up each year around that time providing quick tips and encouragement for how to “get through the day.” Now that the noise has died down, I’d like to say something.

You are more than your relational status on Facebook.

Every time I would go home from college or to visit my family, I’d inevitably run in to someone who would imply that my singleness somehow made me incomplete, that it was only a matter of time until my better half would show up and I could really start enjoying life. Well-meaning perhaps, but completely incorrect.

What of the passions that burn deep, of the dreams that each of us holds dear, of the experiences and interests that we can offer to one another? Are we only as interesting as our relationship status?

Being single does not mean you’re limited to living life at less than 100%. Neither does being in a relationship mean that you have somehow arrived, that life will hold more rainbows and butterflies, or that life will finally be all that you dreamed.

Relationships stretch us and challenge us to be better people, and they add a richness to our lives that cannot be imitated on our own. But that is true of any relationship, not just romantic relationship.

Our relationships do not define us.

They help to shape us into the people we are becoming, but as with anything, they are only a facet of who we are. They are not our sole identity. Being a wife is one piece of who I am, but it is not all of me. It adds to my life in a way that singleness never could. But in saying “I Do,” I let go of aspects of my life that can only be lived through being single and unattached.

If you’re single and wishing you were not, may I gently encourage you to stop living in the “What if,” or “Someday when…” and instead go forward and boldly embrace the life you have, take the adventures that are best done when you’re on your own, and pour into those around you the love you desire to give to that special someone. A day may come when you will no longer be single, and I’ll be thrilled for you!

Whether or not that day ever dawns, do not let your singleness define you, hold you back, or keep you from embracing a life full of joy, wonder, and excitement.

For those of us in a relationship, dating, married or somewhere in between, let us be thankful for the gift we have in that other person. Even, and perhaps especially, when their quirks and habits cause us to become frustrated and lose sight of what they add to our lives. It is a frustration many others would love to have.

What are ways you have found (whether still single or now with someone) to embrace life and keep from being defined by your relationship status?

Photo courtesy of sparktography via flickr.

6 thoughts on “Struggling with Your Relationship Status?

  1. I’m going to be honest, this reminds me of the movie Fight Club. It’s similar to the whole philosophy of “You’re not your job; you’re not your car, or the amount of money you have in the bank”. In the same way, you could say “You’re not your relationship status”. That’s beside the point, however. I have in the past prayed to God to take away my desire to be in a relationship, and for the most part, He did! That was how I dealt with it. At the moment part of me would like to be in one, but if I think about the responsibilities involved, the pressure of what other people think of me (I tend to struggle with that), or the awkward scenarios that follow, I tend to decide it’s not worth it.

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    1. Thanks for your honesty! And I love how you tied it to Fight Club. 🙂 At some point, we have to decide that the risks, and work, of being in a relationship are worth it. But that usually comes when we’ve found someone who we would rather be with, than be without.

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      1. “when we’ve found someone who we would rather be with, than be without” What if we feel this way about multiple different girls?

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      2. Then I’d say you haven’t found that person yet. There are friends that are valuable to our life, but when it comes to a romantic partner, it’s someone that we’d rather fight with and go through the hard times with than avoid that and miss out on them in our life.

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  2. Thanks Joanna for this thoughtful follow up to “Single Awareness Day”! I think we focus so much on the actual day, but people forget that it is a struggle throughout the year.
    For myself, I’ve been reading a book called Lady in Waiting and it talks about using our single hours productively and, like you said, doing the things we can’t do when we’re married, like discipleship. Also, I’ve really just been trying to take my single years and use them to practice building strong relationships with friends (both guys and girls). It’s good practice and its so fulfilling to invest your life in someone else.
    Keep up the great work Jo!!!

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