Single In Your 30s: How NOT To Lose Hope

In Dating, Single by Debra Fileta42 Comments

Q: I’m in my mid-thirties and have lost all hope in ever finding love. I’ve never had much luck in the dating department, and with each passing year, I get more and more discouraged. How can I keep believing for something that I- and everyone else around me- thinks will never happen? -Brittany

A: It seems easier to trust God when you’re single and still in your 20s. You are hopeful, patient (well…sometimes), and even excited to see what lies ahead when it comes to relationships and finding love.

But doesn’t it seem like something happens when you turn 30 that sabotages your hope?

There was a funny video going around YouTube where two girls sing about their singleness. One is 29 and the other is 31, and in just a couple short years, their attitudes about their singleness drastically change…

Because….Thirty!!  All of a sudden the reality hits that life hasn’t turned out like you planned. You thought you’d be married by now, with a couple kids in tow. It may even seem like all your friends are reaching those desired milestones: getting married, having children, starting their families. Everywhere you look, from church pews to your Facebook news-feed, you seem to be faced with the nagging reminder of what you don’t yet have.

Being single in your 30s is hard, because for most of you, it isn’t what you had planned. For some, “love” has come and gone and your heart has been severely broken. For others, love has yet to come along. It can be hard to keep hoping and believing like you did in the decade that passed. Here are some things to remember when you’re single in your 30s.

1. Keep Trusting- Even When You Don’t Believe: Trusting God can be really hard when things don’t make sense, but to be honest, that is the very definition of trust. It’s believing what we can’t see, not what we can. If you’re struggling with this stage of life, it’s okay. But more than anything, don’t allow your struggle to pull you away from God, instead use it to push you closer to Him. Oftentimes in my life, I’ve had to come to God in the middle of my darkness and cry out “Lord, I don’t believe…help my unbelief.” God honors your heart, and understands your humanity. He will give you what you need for today.

2. Don’t Buy Into the Lies: It’s easy to start thinking crazy when we are trying to “figure out” why life didn’t turn out as we planned. We can start to over-analyze everything and end up frustrated and discouraged. There are so many lies that we might be tempted to start believing about singleness (such as “Something must be wrong with me….[read more here]) but these degrading lies are straight from the pit of hell, because they are meant for our destruction. Avoid the mental traps of blaming yourself, blaming God, and blaming others- and instead fill your mind with the truth of God’s promises. If you are walking with Jesus than you are right where you’re supposed to be. Trust His words, because they are the only things in life that are guaranteed to stand the test of time.

3. Become “Un-Independent”: We live in a culture that totally OVER-values independence. We want to do everything on our own, without having a need for others. We spend so much of our 30s managing our own money, building our own careers, and taking control of our own lives. But the attitude of total independence goes against the very core of who we are made to be, because we are made in the image of a God who wants to be in relationship. We, likewise, are made to connect with others. There’s a huge difference between being dependent (needing others to complete us) and interdependent (inviting others into our lives).

We need community, not because people complete us, but because God gave us people to edify us, help us, encourage us, and sharpen us. Rather than allowing your time of singleness to lead to isolation, be deliberate about entering into the lives of others and inviting them into yours. Plan coffee dates and movie nights; attend bible studies and small groups; take art classes and ballroom dance….and surround yourself with people who hope and believe for the same things you are hoping and believing for. It’s more than okay to long for a significant other…but don’t forget to surround yourself with “significant OTHERS” (mentors and friends) while you wait.

4. Remember, God’s Plan is always Good: My favorite quote reminds me that “If you knew what God knows, you would have chosen what He’s planned”. God’s plan is always good. Not only that, it’s always best. I’m not sure how long it will take us as human beings to get that straight, but from what I’ve experienced in my life, God has been willing to prove himself over and over again to me. His plan has always been so much better than mine, even when I didn’t believe it would be. From the blessings of my career and family, and all the way to through my pit of depression and family crisis…God has always been there, and everything has been working together for my good. For those who love God, we can always count on the truth that God has our best interest in mind. He hasn’t forgotten you, not for a moment, and greater yet, He’s never left your side. He cares about you and He cares about your love life. Trust Him on this journey, and open your heart to what He has in store for you today. It’s always, always, always going to be good.

My prayer for you is that God would give you the strength you need to trust Him, that He would fill you with hope, and that your life would be rich with the relationships He’s given you right here and right now.

For some major encouragement, check out my friend Alison’s incredible story: I Didn’t Get Married in My 20s, and Here’s What I Learned or check out A Guide to Singleness: For Your 20s or A Guide to Singleness: For Your 40s+

*This post is a modified version from an earlier post that appeared in 2014. Thanks for tuning into the Q&A series!

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life – where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

You can’t find love unless you know how to recognize it when it comes along:

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42 Comments on "Single In Your 30s: How NOT To Lose Hope"

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James
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Thanks so much for this. I can imagine myself coming back to this regularly!

Rachel
Guest
Thanks Debra, really enjoy your articles. Being single in my late thirties, I’m now more at peace than in my early thirties. Went through the depressions, believed the lies, blamed mostly myself. But the Lord never gave up on me and I’m thankful for that. His love and His Word are keeping me. I’ve quoted Proverbs 3 :5-6 and Roman 8:28 many times a day and my new favorite is Romans 10:11. At times I still struggle with the lies and it can get really hard. But I refuse to let depression slip in again. And the community the Lord… Read more »
Brittany C.
Guest

Thank you, I have been praying ALOT about this lately. I feel as though God forgot or cant hear that I want love and a family. I am 31 and like most women, panicking as i go to all the kids birthday parties and baby showers and weddings, alone.

I have to keep remembering GOD has a plan! Even though I have A HUGE PATIENCE problem on top of it ha ha

Freddie
Guest

As always, there’s good stuff here. But I’m still looking for a bit more hands-on advice. How do you use your struggle “to push you closer to Him”? How do you “surround yourself with people who hope and believe for the same things you are hoping and believing for” when almost everyone around you is married with kids? It’s a lot easier said than done.

Beckie
Guest
Freddie, After reading the blog and comments, your comment stood out to me. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but we obviously share singleness. I don’t have all the answers, but your paragraph really hit home with me, it has so many truths in it! SO many! So, I respond to your comment in love and respect! First, to answer how do you use your struggle “to push you closer to Him”? I still have better days than others with this one, but the Lord is pretty cool, in that He knows our hearts better than anyone and… Read more »
Haddy
Guest
Brilliantly put Debra. Very true to wait upon God’s time but sometimes to be true the wait can be painful and also upto when can you keep waiting. I mean if your mum calls you to bring her something and you keep saying I will I will I will that can be directly read as “i don’t want” too at the end. This journey of singleness to those like myself purely waiting is really frustrating. At times it feels like you are procrastinating yourself then you realize later that you can’t just lead this life the way you wanted it… Read more »
Freddie
Guest

Beckie,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a lengthy comment! Or perhaps it could be called a short novel… Anyway, I really appreciate it. I’ll get back later with some comments.

Freddie
Guest
Beckie, A few more comments… and don’t take my frustration personally! We seem to have certain things in common, like singleness and being in our mid-thirties, and I like your attempts at practical advice, not just bringing standardized “nice” words. But apart from that, our lives seem to be very different. It might be that God knows exactly how to draw me closer, but then He can’t be using that knowledge at all. And obviously, I’ve prayed that God would put people in my way that I could connect with and perhaps find some close friendships there eventually – it… Read more »
Beckie
Guest

Freddie,

I am glad you responded. Will you please clarify what you mean by your sentence: “It might be that God knows exactly how to draw me closer, but then He can’t be using that knowledge at all.” I am not sure what you mean. 🙂
And, I am praying for you!

Freddie
Guest

Beckie,

I simply meant that I don’t see any signs of God drawing me closer, or being interested in my life, or having some kind of plan for me, or whatever… Thanks for your prayers!

Beckie
Guest
Freddie, Hi again! I love that for some reason the Lord keeps putting you on my mind! I continue to pray for you, and am seeking the Lord at how I can encourage you. I obviously don’t know your whole story, I don’t know your history, your walk with the Lord, your testimony, what you have been through, what you do, what church you are involved in, etc. That is a lot of unknowns. But when I read your responses/questions, I hear, (and please forgive me if I am wrong as I am only reading words on a screen, I… Read more »
Beckie
Guest

***Psalm 139:16 correction: Every one of YOUR days, yes, DAYS was known before even your existence. Sorry about that!

Freddie
Guest
Beckie, Yet another long comment – thanks for your concern! I don’t mind keeping the conversation going here. It’s fair to say that my heart is heavy, being a Christian who has pretty much given up on faith and God. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and over the years I have obviously prayed and read the bible quite a lot. But I still ended up here, with ZERO communication, and lots of disappointment. I’m not expecting my life to be perfectly smooth and pain-free – the cause of the disappointment is feeling so completely disconnected from God when… Read more »
Beckie
Guest

Freddie,
Nothing taken personally! I do wish we could sit face to face. But, since that isn’t the case, here I go. Thank you for your realness. You are right, it can sound ridiculously vague to ‘draw near by trusting in Jesus Christ’. Anyway, a couple questions for you: Did you read Psalm 73? Did you ask the Lord to reveal the truths He wanted to encourage you with through His word? I look forward to hearing from you!

Shawn Branch
Guest

But single leading up to 40? I’m 36 so 40 is right around the corner. Sheesh. Seems like I’m Single4Life. I feel like I need to change my middle name to Single4Life and go by S4L.

Freddie
Guest
Beckie, Yes, I’ve read Psalm 73 a number of times now, trying to find anything encouraging there. And I did ask the Lord to reveal truths etc. Let’s say it wasn’t very successful. In fact, I didn’t have to read more than the first verse to feel discouraged instead. “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” I’d say I don’t qualify in either of those categories. And it doesn’t get any better towards the end. The only ones that are holding my hand are my brother’s kids (love them!), and earth has indeed a… Read more »
Beckie
Guest

Freddie,

It has been a crazy week! I will respond! 🙂

Beckie
Guest
Freddie, Good day to you! I have been praying and pondering how to respond to you. Here it is. Your last response, “I’d say I don’t qualify in either of those categories.” Is where I believe a good place to start would be. “to those pure in heart”. I would start with crying out to the Lord, to ask for a pure heart, to ask for revealing of the Holy Spirit. It sounds to me like your relationship with the Almighty God, the King of kings, the Creator, the Master, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ needs to be restored.… Read more »
Selina
Guest
BECKIE & FREDDIE !! Now that I have your attention! I am almost 31 and I will be honest. My heart hurts when I look around me at church or life in general and see couples dating, married, expectant mothers or mom with kid (s) in tow and I think , when is my turn? When is it my turn to find someone, start dating, have companionship with someone. Live life with someone? I live close to my bro and sis-in- law and I am their babysitter { 4 boys!!!} and that often means if we go somewhere together that… Read more »
Beckie
Guest
WHOA ARE WE!!! Since when did any of us DESERVE or have a RIGHT to be married?! Where in scripture does it say we will get married and live happily ever after? Where does it say that we will have that ‘one’ special person in our life to share with until the Lord calls us home?! Where?!!? I am tired of single people wallowing in their singleness, desiring what is on the other side of the fence. TRUE JOY and CONTENTMENT come in serving the Lord our God, Maker of heaven and earth!!! Seriously…our VERY existence, our very purpose for… Read more »
Sandra
Guest

Hi!

I stumbled across this site.. and this page.. by God 🙂
I am a 31 single woman who is also ministering to the youth and some young adults in my church. I read your posts and was thrilled to see your passion and love for Jesus coming through your words. I would love to connect through email if you don’t mind. Hopefully you will see this message! Well, God willing!

Blessings,
Sandra

Beckie
Guest
Sandra, God is good in His timing and how He works! I love how HE has directed us to this same page, and how we can encourage each other. Deb has a gift of writing and encouraging so many people! (I know I have been blessed!) Anyway, I don’t want to assume, but also want to throw it out there, as I am not sure if you were asking for Deb’s email or mine, or both…and would be happy to share my email. It is: rrsupertree @ gmail Anyway, if it wasn’t mine you are looking for, no problem! 🙂… Read more »
Keren
Guest

Beckie, your response to Freddie and Selina are so faith filled and beautiful. I wish I knew you in person because you really seem to be a woman of faith and a woman of God. Yes it hurts being single and knowing only God has total control; but I was so encouraged by your answer to Selina. Thank you so much!

Beckie
Guest

Keren,

Thank you for your kind words…He, God, our Creator is worth all the hurts! HE loves us that much and I only try to love HIM back!

Freddie
Guest
Beckie, Again, thank you for responding! As I’ve said before, I basically agree with you – we have to wait, we have to try even when don’t feel like it, etc, etc. But I feel like I’ve been doing just that for such a long time, without any obvious result (other than me becoming mad at God, but that doesn’t count here). I was baptized 10 years ago, and it was like God pulling me out of the dark into the light, pretty literally. Wonderful – but it was 10 years ago! Also, when I held my newborn nephew for… Read more »
Beckie
Guest
Freddie, Hi again! You continue to be on my heart and in my prayers. And the line of your response that catches my eye is the physical healing. I don’t want to pry, but I am wondering what type of physical healing you desire(for 30 years)? And even if you aren’t seeing anything happen, this is where the Lord asks us to step out in faith, trusting HE will work all things together for His good. Whether that is complete healing, partial healing, or changing our heart to accept and use our physical limitations or ailments for His glory. Don’t… Read more »
Freddie
Guest

Selina,

You’re very welcome to participate in this discussion. My nephew has asked me too why I’m not married, and it’s easy enough to feel estranged as a single 30+ adult in church. But it doesn’t really bother me that much that I’m single, my main struggle is my (non-?) relationship with God…

Paul
Guest

True Story. My cousin many years ago went to a church dance with his friend and fell for this girl, and he said to his friend that i am going to marry that girl someday which he did. Today he has two grown children which his oldest son is married with a very good wife and they now have a daughter as well. It is very obvious God Blesses many men and women to have a family, but not us which i will never understand why.

Lesley
Guest

Indeed! The k you for posting this. This is exactly what I needed to remember. Bless you ❤

Lesley
Guest

*thank you I meant lool

Jen
Guest
I agree it gets harder as we get older. It is so easy to feel displaced, especially in our church community when we are surrounded by families but often not included. Sometimes it is hard to find where we belong. I can see how God is constantly wanting me to draw close to him and make him the center of my identity. A few years ago I felt the Lord lead me to really let go of the dream of ever getting married. It was a very painful time and process but I felt pretty compelled that I was supposed… Read more »
Carol
Guest

Thank you!

Salom1711
Guest

I am in my late 40s and still trusting God to find true love and his perfect will for me and I believe deeply that he has done it and in a matter of time it will manifest. So, no matter what do not give up

jessy
Guest

OOH good stuff. This is what I am talking about!!!let faith arise. It will manifest I know it. God bless you

Erich
Guest

What about those, like myself, in their 50’s? I have waited all my life for the right person and they are still no where in sight. I still pray almost daily, but have yet to see God answer. I have been waiting since my 20’s. And yes I do try to get out and get involved with people in various outings and groups. For whatever reason, it just has not happened yet. I am still praying.

jessy
Guest
Continue to pray Erich. Until you leave this earth or taken in the rapture, continue to hold on to what is your desire. Do not give up unless it is for real. After all God knows our heart and we cant lie to him. You hold on to your desire just don’t allow it to draw you away from God or become bitter, How do you do that? Each day live with expectancy ( look great all the time, wear fashionable clothes ( your fashion, whatever, just look your best). Smell great, keep your dental appointments or buy toothpaste and… Read more »
Kyle
Guest

We’re always told to “continue to pray” and/or “keep/have faith/hope” and it almost always comes from those of whom are not single and seem to have God on speed dial.

It’s easy to tell people to do these things, but until one has been in our position, no one can understand how hard it is to keep hope and faith. I have none of the former, and only a few specs of the latter.

Angela Thompson
Guest

Even harder when your 38 and fast approaching your 40’s it’s painful and it’s hard to stay content and joyful.

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