If You Are Not Content Being Single, You Will Not Be Content in Marriage

contentment in singlenessWritten by Jane Merson (Founder & blogger at theunrivaledroad.com)

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Here’s a hard truth: if you are not content in your singleness, you will not be content in marriage.

Now before you respond with cries of rage or despair, let’s back up a little…

As we work through this idea together, we need to remember a few things:

Firstly, we are the same person in marriage as we are single.  There is no magical fairy dust at the altar that will change that.  So who we are as a singleton we will take with us into marriage – for better or for worse.  This includes attitudes, characteristics, insecurities, emotional baggage, ideals, expectations, and much more.

With this in mind, it is so important to prioritise becoming a healthy, whole individual during those single years; our single and our married selves will thank us for it.

(You are going to LOVE this devotional. Click below to grab your copy of 31 Days of Prayer for Your Future Husband!)

Secondly, we are all a work in progress.  Say it with me: “I am a work in progress”.  This means that throughout our entire lives – singleness, marriage, family-life, career changes, and the lot – we will inevitably fluctuate through seasons of varying levels of contentedness.   Our human, fleshly selves can’t help but be tossed about a bit by the waves of life, but we can help ease the disruption of transition by finding contentment in all seasons, not just the ones we enjoy or anticipate.

Contentment is not a product of our circumstances, but a condition of our spirit.

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 10,

Know the importance of the season you’re in
    and a wise son you will be.
    But what a waste when an incompetent son
    sleeps through his day of opportunity!

The heart of the wise will easily accept instruction.
    But those who do all the talking
    are too busy to listen and learn.
    They’ll just keep stumbling ahead
    into the mess they created.

The one who walks in integrity
    will experience a fearless confidence in life,
    but the one who is devious
    will eventually be exposed.

True enrichment comes from the blessing of the Lord,
    with rest and contentment in knowing
    that it all comes from him.

The fool finds his fun in doing wrong,
    but the wise delight in having discernment.

The lawless are haunted by their fears
    and what they dread will come upon them,
    but the longings of the lovers of God will all be fulfilled.

The wicked are blown away by every stormy wind.
    But when a catastrophe comes,
    the lovers of God have a secure anchor.

Living in the worship and awe of God
    will bring you many years of contented living.
    So how could the wicked ever expect to have a long, happy life?

Lovers of God have a joyful feast of gladness,
    but the ungodly see their hopes vanish right before their eyes.

The beautiful ways of God are a safe resting place
    for those who have integrity.
    But to those who work wickedness
    the ways of God spell doom.

God’s lover can never be greatly shaken.
    But the wicked will never inherit
    the covenant blessings.”

King Solomon writes that, no matter what we face, we can rest in God if we choose to trust Him.  He calls those who seek God, “wise”, and others to be foolish.  So who do we look to to fulfil our desires and lead our lives; ourselves? our spouse? or God?

I have found, having journeyed through many (many!) crushes, that I am least content in my singleness when my own expectations are not met.  Perhaps they are expectations thrust upon me by society, or friends, or family members, or even others at church, or sometimes they are simply responses to my own unfulfilled hopes and desires.  But no matter where they stem from, those unrealised expectations are what drove my discontentment.

I placed expectations on the crushes themselves: how they might act, what they might say,  longed for moments of intimacy.

I placed expectations on social situations and new experiences: who I might meet, opportunities that might arise, how I might portray myself best.

I placed expectations on time: when milestones might be reached, how quickly new relationships might be established, how quickly intimacy might be cultivated.

And because I held such high expectations of specific scenarios in my mind, I was inevitably disappointed on a regular basis.  My expectations were unrealistically high, and therefore the lows that followed often took a nose-dive into despair: “Will I be single forever? Will this ever happen for me or am I doomed to be always the bridesmaid, never the bride?”

The change came when I discovered that a life surrendered to God is a life full of peace, contentment, and excitement.  When I realised just how much God loves me and I learnt to trust Him with every detail, life with Him became a romance and I began to see all the little notes of His love daily: a glorious sunset, a special conversation, an opportunity to help or encourage someone, a well-timed gift of provision.

My expectations soon morphed into: how might I be used today, what might God do through me, who can I encourage or inspire.  My expectations were no longer centred around me – primed for disappointment – but around God’s plan for the day.  I can I just say – God’s plan always exceeds any expectation of my own.

(Click below to grab your copy of Lord, Prepare Me to Be a Godly Wife.)

Before any new experience, or potential sighting of a nice guy at church, or opportunity to represent myself, I am intentional in taking time to pray for God’s guidance.  I do not want to fall back into the trap of operating at ‘surface’ level – of what can be seen and heard during my interactions with others – but I want to be responsive to the Holy Spirit and to all that He wants to achieve in me and through me.  Christ didn’t just die so that He could help me find a nice guy to meet at the altar, He died for the world, many of whom still don’t know Him.  So is it not selfish of me to focus on my hunt for a man when so many are heading for a lost eternity because I am allowing my discontentment to blind me to everything else that God is trying to achieve?

Let’s broaden our perspective and be a disciple of Christ, first and foremost, then everything else will be given to us (Matthew 6:33).  Being married may change our expectations, but unless we shift the subject of our expectations from ourselves or our spouse to God, we will remain discontent in marriage too.  As we focus on God and draw near to Him, our expectations will supernaturally align with the intentions of God, therefore our expectations will be met in abundance and we will find ourselves most content in Him.

What are  your thoughts? Comment below and introduce yourself!



17 thoughts on “If You Are Not Content Being Single, You Will Not Be Content in Marriage

  1. Hi thank you for your message. I’m 51 in 52 I’m getting older and giving up a husband finding me what do I have to offer I Pray And fast I read Bible read books on marriage I have been prayed over I love Jesus very much. I have cried a lot about this also sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me and I think that maybe there is

    1. Hi Tammi, thank you for your comment. I am sure of this: there is nothing wrong with you – God made you just the way you are, He makes no mistakes! He also knows the desires of your heart and loves you dearly. We cannot always understand the ways and timing of God – His ways are so much greater than what we can perceive – but we CAN trust that He is a good God, a loving God, a faithful God, and He hears our every prayer and catches our every tear. Don’t be afraid to tell God exactly how you are feeling – every disappointment, every fear, every desire – then rest in the knowledge that He acts on our behalf. You can trust Him to protect your heart. I’m praying for you!

  2. I think it’s very important to have a healthy relationship with God and yourself before trying to be in a relationship with someone else. I also think the single season is a time for developing yourself (and of course letting God develop you) to be an asset to yourself, your spouse, your children and the world. No one loves love more than God and if anyone can write an amazing love story, it’s God. So relax, trust his plans and beware of “guydolatry”

  3. This was so amazing and timely. I find it so intriguing to pay attention now to Gods love language. How he communicates with us through out our entire day in the most romantic way. His love is exciting and I want to experience this more and more in my life than through a spouse first. Thank you for your transparency and I know when it’s time I’ll be able to recognize my husband by remembering the love God has for me first. My focus though is teaching and growing his kingdom. Matthew 6:33

  4. Hi thank you for your message. I’m 58 and I’m getting older and very broken hearted, struggling to have faith in the last 3-4 years. I have focused my life on serving God and reaching and loving people, but because God has never taken the desire for a husband and family away (I asked Him to if I was to remain single) I have begun to feel and think that God does not care about me. I am just a puppet for Him to do as He pleases. I will never get to have children and have a family…which is hard to deal with. I have been told for so long by men in the church that I am not good enough- too thin, now not thin enough, to quiet, not “their Kind”, not interesting enough, too spiritual….you name it, many things about me has been the reason why they would not choose me. They always go on to choose a woman who is not a believer or practicing her faith. 45 years of being rejected is hard to recover from. It has been something I worked through until about 4 years ago. I have always worked on myself and my walk in Christ but have come to a breaking point where I believe this life is futile. I am not good enough and that is the message God wants me to have. In recent years I have just not been able to believe God even hears or cares or will respond to my prayers. With my mother dying right now and my father in bad health, I will soon be all alone. Yes, I have friends and 2 siblings but their spouses and children and grandchildren come first. I am tired of all this and am questioning scriptures because of the many messages it gives which conflict within me. There are promises I have yet to see God do in my life and I now doubt if He will ever. Women were made by God to be a partner to men- that is why they yearn for that, so as much as I want to be content…… if I believe scripture, I am not. When people say God gives you the desires of your heart, I struggle to believe that. He has not given me the desires of my heart. I have to keep lowering my desires because He chooses to give me what He wants me to have not what is an innate desire within me that He put there- a desire for a Godly husband and a family I can teach about Him. I am as content as I can be- that is all I have but it does not make me feel alive, loved, respected, valued or even having a purpose. Being single is not that easy as some think nor is it desirable.

    1. Hi Ruth, firstly, thank you for being so open and vulnerable. These hurts and disappointments are real and I can understand why you are now asking these questions. I do not pretend that I have the answers you are looking for, however I do believe that God does not want you to feel so hurt or rejected. I would encourage you to tell Him everything you are feeling – every deep hurt, every disappointment, every unmet desire. Remind Him of the promises that are yet to be fulfilled. And gently, lovingly, He will begin to heal you, restore you, and speak truth over those lies that others (including the men that you mention) have spoken over you. You are loved, you are chosen, you were created for purpose, and God has and will continue to bring much fruit through your life. With God, He always has MORE. Ruth, I would encourage you to lift your eyes again, as hard as that may be, and ask God to fill your heart with hope; hope for more, hope for the future, hope for the unthinkable. That is not to say that He will certainly give you a husband – I do not know that and do not wish to instil hope in a particular outcome – but we CAN hope in God. We can hope that He has many more things to do in your life. We can hope that He has a good plan that He is carefully outworking for your good, and for the good of those around you. He wants to use you to demonstrate His incredible love to everyone around you, but first He wants to pour out His love on you. Ruth, He loves you more than you could imagine.

  5. Dear Ruth,
    I am so heartbroken for you. This cannot be an easy thing you are walking through. Please understand that those of us who are married, don’t find our worth and value through this matrimonial relationship. My marriage makes me wish desperately that I was single again 😔. Please please please let God, if this is indeed what he is doing, save you from a life of trading one heartache for another. I’m not sure what is worse, being lonely from singleness or being lonely, nonexistent and worthless in marriage….

    God is the ONLY true lifeline there is. He is the only strength I have through my struggles. I am completely dependent on Him. We women fall into “guydolatry” and God loses His rightful place in our hearts and lives—-for which I am completely ashamed, yet He never let’s me stay in shame and condemnation, He just promises to walk me through the utter rejection from my husband and He promises to be my “husbandman”. He WILL do the same for you, if you believe His Word and His promises. In the meantime, He is walking me through the idol I have made of my man, my marriage and my situation. I’m praying you allow Him to do the same for you dear Sister.

  6. I am so thankful for this article and all of the comments!! I too have been struggling and knowing I am not alone truly helps. I’m 60 and divorced 10 years now. I’ve been through the men, relationships etc and for various reasons they haven’t worked out; mainly because I did it “my way” and not God’s way!! I am being as obedient to the Lord as I can and that brings a certain peace but I am NOT CONTENT being single. All of my friends (save 2) are not even Christians and they are all married, for the most part happy – as with any marriage, but they have their life partner. I don’t get it. I’ve waited and waited and nothing..I may see a glimpse of love or a potential but it doesn’t go any further. I am not sleeping with any man, trying to do it God’s way but very lonely deep down. I don’t mean to murmer ladies but it is what it is.

    1. Dear Jeanie, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in sharing these things so openly. It is certainly not easy at times, but be encouraged that God sees your heart to serve Him and be obedient to Him. He will strengthen you and help you, and lead you into His best for you. Keep laying every hurt, every lonely feeling, every question or tear before Him; He is the only One that can provide You with what You need.

  7. I’m 49yrs old but love my single life, I’m content with it but can’t say the same for everyone I know, they never fail to match make me or constantly ask when I will marry and so forth. I was a young Christian teen when I knew that I would be single for a long time and ask God to guard my heart. I settle that with God years ago. I enjoyed reading what you wrote. People still don’t understand why I love my single life. But when you leave it to God, you know he knows what’s best for you. I do not envy anyone, I’m just happy that they are married and I’m enjoying my single ness.

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