In service last Sunday, our pastor mentioned Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick. This stuck out to me because I had recently read that verse and had been thinking a lot about it. I read it in the Message translation, though, and that had been even more powerful to me. It reads, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick.” I can’t get that out of my head. I’ve been struggling with some stuff in the last year or so, and ‘unrelenting disappointment’ just seemed to sum up what I’ve been feeling. There are a few areas of my life that term could cover, but the one that creates the most heartsickness for me is the fact that I am single.
I’m 34 years old, and I’ve never been married. In fact, I haven’t really had that many relationships in my life. The longest I’ve dated someone (at least consecutively) was eight months. For a good portion of my life, I was totally okay with that. I’ve always wanted to be married, but when I was in my early and mid 20’s, I really couldn’t see myself being married. I knew I wasn’t ready. When I was 28, I had a very short lived engagement, and I had really thought that I was ready to get married. God didn’t. I can see now that it would have been a mistake to get married at that point, but ever since then, the struggle with being single has become stronger and stronger in my life.
In the last couple of years, it has become something that I hate. I know all of the benefits of being single, but I am done with them. I’m tired of going home alone. I’m tired of feeling like I don’t have anyone to talk to when I need to debrief. I’m tired of feeling like 99% of my life goes completely unnoticed because I have no one to share it with. I’m tired of going to sleep in an empty bed.
Don’t get me wrong – I completely understand that marriage will not be perfect. I am well aware of the fact that there will be days when I will wish that I were still single. But being single sucks. I am ready to trade in the benefits of being single for the struggles of being married.
The area I live in is mostly young families. It has been very hard to connect with other single people. Recently, I got some of the singles from our church together. We are trying to do something together once a month. There are not very many of us, but I’m hoping that it will help with my struggle to know that other people are out there who struggle with some of the same things.
There have been several times in my life when I have felt that God has confirmed that I will be married at some point in my life. I have held onto that hope for so long, but I am at a point where I feel like I have experienced ‘unrelenting disappointment’ in that area. It is so hard to be around married couples – especially those who have been married forever and have no idea what it’s like to be single. I don’t want you to misunderstand. I love my married friends. I completely realize the benefits of being with them. Sometimes, I just wish they could understand my struggles a little more.
It is so hard to watch couples kiss, hold hands, and put their arms around each other when I’ve experienced that so few times in my life. Even worse than that (at least for me) is when a couple sneaks away to ‘talk’ or debrief something. That kills me because I have been struggling so much with feeling like I have no one who can listen to me. When something happens – good or bad – very rarely is there someone available to listen to me. So I get the concept and need for that time, but it’s so hard to watch as a couple goes to another part of the house or leaves for a little bit so they can talk to each other, but I have to hold everything in when I need to talk because there’s no one there. It would be different if my desire wasn’t to get married. But that is the desire of my heart, and it sucks to be living the exact opposite.
The second part of the Proverbs verse says, “…but a sudden good break can turn life around.” I feel like I have been waiting so long for that ‘sudden good break’. It becomes very difficult to hope that it will ever come when the ‘unrelenting disappointment’ is so overwhelming.
During service, I kept listening to the message, thinking that there would be some help. There were several references to the first part of the Proverbs verse, and I kept waiting for the reference to the second part of the verse. But it never really came. What do you do with the ‘unrelenting disappointment’?