Let’s dive into the awesome topic that is singleness (and not-singleness).

I shared a message recently around the idea of singleness being good. And marriage being good too. (Click here to watch it).

The idea was to really put the value back on singleness and to deal with the cultural romantic idol we have that meeting the right person will somehow complete us. That when we get married, life will begin and all be lived happily ever after.

Is singleness good?

Part of the problem with this conversation is that when we put value on marriage, it can feel like we’re devaluing single people. And when we celebrate singleness, often it can feel like we are devaluing marriage. This is often the way in our society but not so the aim in this blog post.

Many of us may not publicly admit to this but still hold on to engrained perceptions and thoughts (usually negative) towards singleness and (usually positive) towards marriage.

Handy hint: talk to married people about marriage

Hilariously all those who are married know that this nirvana-esque idea of marriage is simply a pipe dream. Finding the right person will not complete you if you are not already complete. And dealing with your schnitzel before making a life-long commitment to be one with another person is a good idea. My wife and I met at 19 and got married at 21 which is fairly young in today’s culture. And I think it’s fair to say that there were a number of things we had to journey through together that were a direct result of my incompleteness.

But once we’ve reset our valuation of both singleness and marriage, there still remains an important question that might apply to a category of people. What if I’m single but I do actually want to get married. And preferably soon. This can be entirely a healthy, good and normal desire for many.

A small disclaimer

So I wanted to talk about that today. If you’re single and you have no desire to get married then this is not for you. If you’re already married then this is not for you either. Although you might find it interesting and helpful nonetheless.

The last thing I want to do is keep perpetuating the cultural idea that singleness is bad. But what I do want to say is that if you genuinely do want to get married and you’ve not seen any ‘success’ in this area then maybe there are some practical reasons for it that may or may not apply to you.

I am making some huge generalisations that undoubtedly will have multiple exceptions. You can sense my hesitation around such a sensitive subject. From now on, the brakes are coming off and it’s on you. You have been warned.

Redefinition is required

Let’s create a new category that might fall between the ‘single and not looking’ and ‘married’ segments and call it ‘single and looking’. I think you could easily argue that dating could fit into this category as a stage of exploration and relationship building that in turn instructs whether marriage is the right decision (or not).

Note: for any readers of a more polyagmous or pluralistic world view around sex and relationships, I’ve probably already lost you already but I’m travelling down the assumption that most of us are seeing this from a traditional Judeo-Christian perspective. Let’s just have fun is a great motto but with devastatingly poor results for society and individuals. And even more so definitely for children. At least according to all the data. Tell me why you disagree though on Instagram @satssolanki

Primarily there are two reasons why one may find themselves indefinitely in the SAL (single and looking) category.

1. You might be afraid of commitment

Ok we went there already lol. So every relationship starts with attraction. This may be physical (most likely), intellectual, personality etc – you get the idea. Something sparks between two people and there’s a mutual (or sometimes initially one-sided) attraction.

Attraction is super important and we’ll cover that shortly but it is essentially the gateway into any relationship. Not even just romantic ones. Some people are great at attraction but not so good at commitment.

If you find yourself in a life situation where you are moving from romantic relationship to romantic relationship every couple of years then it is highly likely that you do actually have some issues with commitment. And by issues I mean… things that you can work on if you can be honest enough with yourself about them. Don’t get mad at me… get mad at the issues.

Self-sabotage is a very common outcome here and as the spark of attraction fades (it always does) without the decision to commit, there’s really no reason to follow through. Commitment is what perfects the relationship.

The bad news is that the more often we break our commitments to things and people, the more it becomes a part of our identity and habits. The good news is that you can change if you’re willing to.

Commitment is a habit you build in your life.

There’s a lot we could say here but ask yourself the question, are you the sort of person who follows through? Being a person who is whole and fully integrated (think integrity) will let their yes be yes on the little things as well as the big.

Choose to be a person who commits. Don’t wait til the last minute to decide if you want to go to the thing. Don’t play it safe. Shake off the old mentality. Reject the labels you may have unconsciously allowed to get on your soul. Let your yes be yes. You can work on becoming a committed person.

2. You may not be very good at attraction

If commitment is the ability to follow through then attraction is the ability to open the possibilities of a new relationship. Attraction is primarily about three things:

  1. Looks
  2. Personality
  3. Character

Clearly being super hot in genetics is very helpful for the looks side of things. But looks are not just about what you’re born with. It’s the clothes you wear. It’s the haircut you have. It’s the way you eat and exercise. It’s the sleep you do or don’t have. For me it really can be summed up in the word INTENTIONALITY.

There will always be someone better genetically disposed to be hotter, prettier, cooler, taller, thinner etc. But crucially, there is so much you are in control of. It’s easier to blame genetics for lack of attraction but perhaps it’s just an excuse we use to stop ourselves from being the sort of people we would like to be.

Instead of focusing on what others look like (and what you don’t), why don’t you focus on how you can improve yourself, one thing at a time? Become better each day. The goal of a workout is not to get ripped or skinny. The goal of the workout is to become better, stronger, healthier.

Personality is similarly endowed with all sorts of learned skills such as conversation, question asking, hobbies, interests, knowledge. Confidence is a learned skill that can be developed over time.

And of course crucially character cannot be underestimated. But this somewhat connects back into commitment. Working on character is a long-term investment. But then so is attraction full stop. Your future spouse will be undoubtedly be pleased if you keep working on it.

Finally consider how many people you interact with (especially new relationships). If you have a limited social life, your attractional qualities have limited opportunity to connect with the masses.

In conclusion

Culture is telling us that we shouldn’t change. That people should just love us for who we are. How dare someone ask me to change to accommodate for another? My future spouse will just love me for who I am of course. I can already hear the critics spluttering over their oatmilk cortado.

Sadly these statements are on the lips of many who may fall into the category of single and looking. And whilst I have sympathy for these feelings (because we all want to be loved for who we are), such ideals are not grounded in the real world or in actual stories of marriage.

Marriage is a life-time commitment of preferring, submitting and surrendering to another person. If any person is unwilling to change for their future wife/husband then they would be better not to be married at all.

Ironically this perspective shows a cultural idol that is attached to marriage that it is to be so prized that everyone should have it, regardless of their capacity to fulfill their marital covenant.

Marriage is good. So is singleness. But they are two completely different kettle of fish. I want you to enjoy being single. I want you to enjoy being married. But if it’s in your heart to get married then know that the pathway will always travel through attraction and then commitment.

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