There are times in my life where I have felt like God forgot me. Like I was the kid in the room that no one wanted to play with. This has often changed from one area to the other depending on the season I was in at the time. Most times I have come out of these seasons and have gone on to experience an abundant harvest where there was once a “famine”, but one area that has remained consistent since my mid-20s has been my love life. It has often left me feeling forgotten, angry and even completely perplexed.
To understand my vexation, you must understand my twisted and unhealthy relationship with the idea of marriage. From the time I was a little girl and I found out about “prince charming”, the “white Cinderella dress”, weddings, and how they all led to “happily ever after”, I knew I wanted it. So, as you can imagine I had this overly unrealistic idea of what marriage was. To me it represented being worthy, accepted, chosen, and completion. That I would finally be whole once I got married. Infact, I believed that anyone who turned 30 and was not married whether man or woman, that something very wrong with them. I secretly Iooked at people who were single with pity, like they were somehow less than those who were married. And I believed that I would never ever be that “single” person over 30.
Additionally, I have always known, that when the time was right God would give me a husband, and of course it would be before I turned 30. As a result, I was never that girl who chased after men because I always knew God had it covered. That I would not have to search too hard or kiss too many frogs that my God would simply bring him my way when the time was right. So, in campus when everyone was looking for boyfriends, I had no interest at all, I was there to finish my education, and further, the idea of getting married at that age did not seem plausible or even practical. I had other problems on my mind like building my career and helping my family. So, I dated when the opportunity presented itself but nothing stuck. However, I must admit when I turned 29, my confidence in God started to waver.
As a result, by the time I was 30 I am not proud of it but I became a little desperate and probably gave chances to people who did not deserve my time, and who I knew could not cut it. Nevertheless, I figured better to have a man that was kinda okay than to be completely single because what would people think! When I turned 31 and “Mr Right” was still nowhere in sight, I was upset with God but held it in and continued to smile. At 32 I continued to hold it in but I was not smiling any more. By 33 the anger started simmering and creeping to the surface. Then when I turned 34 early last year and my younger cousins were getting married and having children, I finally cracked. It was the straw that finally broke this camel’s “tough” back. I found myself not just single, but “very” single with no marriage prospects in sight and I was not amused. So outraged was I that I threw a tantrum at God and decided that 2018 was finally my year by force. That I had had enough with being a spectator in other people’s love lives. I even dramatically made a declaration to my closest friends that I was done with attending other people’s weddings, or going to people’s baby showers, that I would be damned if the next wedding or baby shower was not mine! So, 2018 was quite dramatic for me. I spent the first half fasting and going on my knees and begging God for my "illusive husband". The one He had promised me from the time I was a young girl. The one who was going to complete me and make my life worthy. I was not going to be that single person who was “forgotten”. I reminded God that it was time he delivered him (the chosen man) after all my clock was ticking and my eggs were not getting any younger. By mid- 2018 no prince charming was forthcoming, and worse I found out that I had fibroids in my womb. I was not only mad at God, but I was so discouraged. I felt rejected and forgotten. Nevertheless, I continued to seek God, and he finally spoke to me, and ironically it was while I was writing this piece. It’s funny I prayed for one thing, a husband, but God did not give me that, instead he gave me what I needed: freedom to be single and happy. He gave me peace and grace. I am finally free, this chain and weight of “I- have- to- be -married- by- a -certain- age” has been lifted. I finally had my “aha” moment; I gained enlightment on being single. It was like my eyes were opened for the very first time.
I finally realized that the famous line in the Jerry Maguire film where Tom Cruise character tells Renee Zellweger’s character, “You complete me”, was a big fat Hollywood lie. As a single woman who has given her life to God, I am complete, marriage is not supposed to complete me, it is a partnership where two wholes come together to share life and live out God’s purpose for their lives. I now feel free and very confident in being single. If I get married, I am good, and if I do not get married, I am still good, either path I am good as long as I have God by my side.
Looking back on my life I now realise apart from my wrong idea about marriage, it took me a while to get to the point where I embraced my single season because everywhere you look society tells women from the time, they are young that it is their destiny and right to be married and to have children. That marriage and children will be the answer to all her problems. That it is the one and only path to happily ever after, and if one does not get married or have children that her life was not worth anything. Consequently, when a lady turns 30 and they are single or childless, society starts to tell her to get very worried because her expiry date as an “eligible female” is closing because she is no longer a fresh tulip. Infact, singleness past 30 is seen to be this “heaven- forbid” season where the only thing one can look forward to is dried up eggs, loneliness, and if one is lucky a loyal cat or dog to call a friend. And it is not just for women, singleness even for men is abhorred. As a result, single people are told that if they pray hard enough, change themselves, serve long enough in church, that “prince charming” or “wife material” will eventually show up. What a bunch of bullocks! What if your “prince charming” or “wife material” does not show up or cannot be found, can a woman or man still be whole and complete? What of those who die before experiencing marriage, does it mean they were never whole and their life was a waste? What of those who are divorced, widowed or who choose not to get married, does it mean their life is a waste and unworthy? What of a man or woman who are not able to have children, does it mean that they are forgotten, unworthy and not loved by God? The truth of the matter is that not every one will get married, not everyone who gets married will have kids, and not everyone who gets married will stay married or even find the illusive "happily ever after", that is just how complicated life is.
However, no matter the season I am in, what gives me great comfort is that God still loves me and that is enough! Thus, I will no longer apologise for being single or dread questions about my personal status because I love my life. I know that the current narrative about singleness is that one cannot be happy, but this is a lie. There is freedom, blessing and many opportunities that come with being single and that is what I hope to share in this space. To create a platform where different people can share their journey and experiences in this very misunderstood season. Additionally, despite my 2018 tantrum, I still love and will continue attending other people’s weddings and bridal showers because it’s a wonderful experience that gives me great joy. Plus, count me in for baby showers, I will not only give the best gifts, but I will be the best aunty ever. Lastly, whatever my calling is, whether it is to be a wife or to be single, Lord I accept. I will wear my crown with joy and I will run my race with excellence. I will seize the moment and will squeeze life out of every opportunity that God brings my way. I will not regret or shed tears about the past or future. I chose to live in the present, to enjoy it and maximise it. So please do not shed any tears for me or keep trying to hook me up with your friend, colleague or brother, I am okay because I am right where God wants me to be. To all those who are single, whether by choice, in waiting for that “perfect spouse”, divorced or widowed, remember to embrace this season and to see it as the great opportunity it is, no, as the gift it is. And most importantly remember that no matter what happens in this life, God is good, God is fair, God is kind and He loves you very much.
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