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

Graduating from Baylor University in the mid-90’s I assumed like my friends that I would marry in a few years. Why would my life not follow the pattern of my mom and friend’s moms? For many women in my generation our 20’s flew by and especially for me, as I was in graduate school most of my 20’s and early 30’s. After graduation I moved to New York City where I lived for the duration of my 30’s. So, you are probably thinking how did she not get married in Texas. If I told you that I had blonde hair, then you might be even more surprised but not Texas blonde. (You know you are laughing and googling Texas blonde.) Also, I have not mentioned that I went to seminary in Dallas as well. A Christian girl in seminary and in Texas seems like a perfect recipe to find true love.

Many amazing women and I share a similar story of being in supposedly the right place to get married. So, why are more women single than ever in the history of our country? Moving back to Nashville at 40 years old, my northeastern friends thought that I would be married in a couple of years and that is what I thought too. Busting my assumptions, many of the same amazing women whom I knew in my mid-20’s were still single. How could this be? Sure, many women were married, but more women were still single. Weren’t people supposed to marry earlier in the South? I certainly thought so.

There is no easy answer to this question: why are so many women single and have never been married in their late thirties and forties? We could blame the culture, men, sexual revolution, and online dating, and they have contributed to the sexualized culture and prolonged singleness. More than anything I want you to see– you have a role in your singleness too. Blame shifting will not help you but only hinder your growth. Leave the blame key at the door. The blame key does not open the door to contentment.

Let’s consider this: Has a lack of contentment caused you to miss some good guys right in front of you or good women for the guys? Discontentment breeds focusing on the negatives in a person, complaining about that person or the relationship, not committing because somebody better might come along, and not being able to be alone. Others of you barely noticed some of the good ones or did not encourage them because you were into another guy who was not right for you and probably not a good match. Those of you who like having a guy around are never single long enough to feel loneliness. If you can’t be content alone, then you will not be content in a relationship. Two healthy people make for a healthy relationship. In my experience, God did a lot of heart healing in my loneliness and through counseling.

By far the greatest joy in singleness has been finding contentment. By that I mean not focusing on what I do not have, but instead loving well those whom God has placed in my life and cultivating those family relationships and friendships near and far. Now, in dating relationships I focus more on these questions: do I really enjoy him, do I respect him, do I see good qualities in him, does he seek God, and does he treat others and me with respect? “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)    *Read stories of women walking through challenges in singleness

-Mary Carmen

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