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Single and Broken are NOT the Same Thing

Dating

Whether you’re single, married, dating, divorced, or “it’s complicated,” I want you to hear me loud and clear:

Single and broken are not the same thing.

And sometimes we act like they are.

Getting engaged felt a bit like receiving an invitation to the cool kids table—people know about you, they talk about you, they ask you questions about bridesmaids dresses even though they don’t actually know you, and everything you do is all of a sudden shiny and romantic.

And it’s strange, really, and kind of wonderful. Because just like in middle school, you’ve watched a million girls sit at that table, and you’ve always wanted to be one of them.

But as I sat at this new table, I looked around and realized some of my favorite people were missing. My single friends weren’t invited to this table, and I realized the people at my new table were hurting them quite a lot.

Sitting at this exclusive table, we somehow feel like we’ve made it. We want to look back and tell people how to get where we are. We look back at how it happened for us, and try to put a three-step process to achieve the same result.

We give ass-backwards advice, or worse, we show pity.

We ask deeply personal questions, prying into each other’s romantic lives. We’re worse than our mothers, asking if there’s a special someone yet, and demanding to know why not.

One of my girlfriends was patted on the knee by a girl several years younger than her and told, “don’t worry… it’ll happen for you too someday.”

Nobody needs that.

Being engaged doesn’t mean I’m cool, and being single doesn’t mean you’re not.

Life isn’t broken as a single person in the same way it’s not fixed by a ring.

Yes, life has changed a lot since Carl entered my life, but I’m not a new human because of it. My life didn’t begin once he slipped the ring onto my finger. My life began a long time ago, and so did yours, and hers, and hers too!

Our relationship status is a part of our lives, not the whole thing.

I have a million other things to tell you about and so do single people, and married people, and divorced people too.

Our relationships make up a huge portion of our lives, and they have the ability to seriously impact the way we feel. But we’re mistaken to put all of our eggs in the relationship basket, to believe that the status of our ring finger dictates our worth or the joy in our lives. But we act like this, sometimes, and usually not on purpose.

We make perfectly happy people insecure about the fact that they’re single, or just dating, or not yet married. And it’s just got to stop.

And so this is what I think we need to do: I think that single, married, engaged and “it’s complicated” people alike need to take a deep breath and talk about something else.

Because there’s so much more to life than a ring.

God is big, and wonderful, and has huge things for us to do in his Kingdom. There are people in this world that need food and water and someone to show them they’re not alone. There are friends to make and skills to learn and jobs to rock and places to visit.

We have important business being on this earth — and I think it’s time we talked about it.

So next time you’re with a friend, regardless of their relationship status, ask them about work. Ask them about their hopes and their dreams and the things God is teaching them. Ask them about the best moment of their day, the most beautiful thing they saw, and what they want to be when they grow up.

We are made to do massive, stunning things in this world, things that aren’t defined by a piece of metal around any certain finger. So let’s spend some time talking about it, and give each other, whatever our relationship status, a break.

 

 Awhile back a girlfriend asked me a question I just could not get out of my mind. She asked, “Now that you’re married, if you could go back and give your single self some advice, what would you tell her?” I immediately knew what I’d say, so I sat down and wrote myself four letters full of the advice I would go back and give myself if I had the chance.
I would love nothing more than to share those letters with you! Click here to hear more about them, and if you pop in your information, the first one will be in your inbox before you know it!

 

How to Stay Close to Friends When you’re in Different Stages of Life

88

How to Get Out of Your Head and Stop Toxic Thoughts

93

For the Girl Who Wants to Know God but Isn’t Sure Where to Begin

90

How to Rest: A Guide For the Woman Who Feels Stressed and Burned Out

96

A New Perspective on Preparing for Marriage and Praying for Your Future Husband

81

The Girls Night podcast will help you take big steps towards your most beautiful love story, your truest self, girlfriends who have your back, and the God who adores you. 

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A 4-week online course that will help you savor, enjoy, and truly make the most of your single life, all the while setting yourself up for amazing relationships (and marriage!) in the future.

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Add a Comment
  1. Christy says:

    AMEN! this is a constant battle with conversations…and crazy trying to guide one’s heart well though the journey and place of waiting. Love this Steph! Miss you also! 🙂

  2. amanda says:

    thank you 🙂

  3. Molly says:

    Ah! This made me so happy. I especially loved “But we’re mistaken to put all of our eggs in the relationship basket, to believe that the status of our ring finger dictates our worth or the joy in our lives.” Thank you for sharing this, Stephanie! I love love loved it. I completely understand both sides and I’ve received pity, set-up offers, and advice. There’s so much more to me than who I’m dating, and I just had a conversation with one of my best friends the other day about how people act like they need to ‘fix’ us so that THEY can be happy. It’s almost like our lack of dating makes them miserable, even when we’re perfectly okay with not dating.
    Thank you again for sharing this!

  4. K Steck says:

    Preach! Love you Steph 🙂

  5. sunny says:

    so well said! You articulated what I’ve been feeling. A few years ago, I was all about getting a new-to-me little SUV.. and thought about it a lot. Then one day, I realized. Even if I had that vehicle, I’d STILL be using it to drive to work, drive to church, drive to meetings and ministry work. My daily life would go on..whether I had a new or old car. Then that thinking poured into other areas of my life. For instance I recently was in a flirting, more than friends relationship, and found myself thinking of him probably too often. I’d have to shake my head and tell myself, “Even if I was dating him, or engaged, or married, I would STILL be living my life – going to work, church, and working with youth group students.” My life would go on – whether dating or single.

    I love your post and will hold onto it AND share it with friends!!!

  6. Catherine says:

    It’s so true! But sometimes I think I’m as guilty as the engaged/married friends because often when I get together with my engaged friends, I don’t know what else to talk about…it’s as if I think they’ve completely changed into WEDDING-ONLY ZOMBIES.

    Let’s talk about life. And that means relationships, family, work, friends, God, and everything in between.

  7. Kimberly Spencer says:

    I really needed this, and I just love reading all of your articles.

  8. Kiara says:

    Amen sister! I was just thinking about this! There’s so much more to our lives than our relationship status, so many things we have here to do all in the name of God. 🙂

  9. Laura says:

    I loved Shauna’s post the other day and I loved yours today! I really need to hear this message right now, that no matter what my relationship status is I’m enough! Thanks so much for encouraging us to talk about something else!

  10. Kimmy says:

    I love this ! Thanks Syephanie ! As a 31 year old single girl, I feel like only in the past year have I come to the understanding that although it’s still ok for getting married to be one of my dreams …. It absolutely can’t get in the way of my other dreams …. My “God dreams”. Sure I can keep praying for a guy to flat out chase God alongside me …. But I can’t stop doing that on my own while I wait for that to happen. And friends that ask me about the other parts of life are the ones who remind me I’m still a whole person and although life will not magically transform when it get engaged. We all struggle , and we all have victories , so lets be real and do all of that together.

  11. Lauren Tien says:

    This is such a great post, Stephanie!

  12. Abidemi Dada says:

    Gosh I love this!! So true! My relationship status does not define me!
    Thanks for the reminder!
    http://www.loadsoflight.com

  13. Elaine says:

    Thanks so much for your encouraging words. Really helped me. God bless you.

  14. Marewartin says:

    The ability to see one’s self as equally loved by God and worthy thru the blood of Christ is crucial to the belief that you are in exactly the right place in life. The comfort of knowing and trusting in a loving Father is immense.

    I wasn’t ready in any way, shape or form when I married my husband. I tried to get all I needed from him, which of course, led to my feelings of rejection and resentment on his part when he wasn’t able to deliver.

    Let me tell you, there is no deeper or painful loneliness than the loneliness felt inside of a relationship with the one you love during times of turmoil, anger, rejection and resentment! It is a feeling of profound sadness, disappointment and utter despair.

    I refused to entertain any thought of divorce, and while we actually separated twice, we now have been married for almost 28 years. God has brought us through–both of us having to grow in our faith and reliance on Him.

    “…Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

    Godliness first, a decision to be content second is all that’s needed for inner peace and joy!

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