A Guide to Singleness: For Your 40s+

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, Single by Debra Fileta15 Comments

If singleness in your 30’s is marked by discouragement, for many people, singleness in their 40s+ is marked by despair. For some of you, your 40s and beyond are years marked by a time of struggle as with each passing day you find your “time-table” and stage of life looking less and less like the people around you.

Whether you’ve been divorced, widowed, or never-been married, singleness at this stage of life is a challenge because it is often filled with times of emptiness and isolation. It’s hard to navigate the expectations of the world, all while sorting through your own personal feelings, desires, needs, and beliefs about this stage of your life. For some it is a time of healing, and mending what has been broken. And for others, it’s a time of waiting and hoping. But either way, it’s a time to put faith and trust into full action.

One thing I often hear from older singles is that even the dating scene doesn’t look like it used to when they were in their 20s. They feel lost in the process of singleness, and don’t even know how to take steps in the direction toward a relationship. As I work with singles in their 40s and beyond, a few reminders come to mind that I wish I could share with them all:

1. Don’t Look Around- Look Up: The biggest mistake you can make in this stage of your life is to look around at what God is doing in everyone-else’s life. You look around and see “happy marriages”, families, and rich relationships. You can quickly start comparing the best of their lives, to the worst of yours. Maybe you’ve been broken by a divorce, or are mourning the deep loss of your life-partner. Maybe you’ve been waiting and waiting for God to give you someone to love. No matter what your story, the next step is the same: Stop looking around, and look up.

Look Up to see what God is doing in your life! We can spend so much time looking out, that we miss the blessings that are happening in our life, and fail to see Him at work in the process. Your story doesn’t look like theirs, and there’s a divine reason for that that you may never know. It’s okay to be angry, to be hurt, and to be sad for a time- but don’t ever forget to look up, and ask God to fill you with joy, peace, and hope that moves you past your circumstanced and into what God is doing in your life.

2. Keep holding on to your desires: Whatever you do, don’t let go of your desires. Don’t give up hope for the blessing of a relationship. Whether or not life will head that way is up to God, but it’s up to you to keep believing, to keep asking, and to keep hoping. God knows your desires, and He wants to fill them with Himself. If you have a strong desire for marriage, don’t snuff that desire. Don’t quench it out of fear, hopeless-ness, or discouragement. So many times in Scripture we see examples of God intervening when no one thought He would, or even could. He is a God that comes through at the last hour- even when everyone else believes it’s too late. He doesn’t need to work on our time-table, because He’s working out of His. Continue to hold on to the desire He’s given you, it’s there for a reason.

3. Seek Meaning as you wait for a Mate: As I write in True Love Dates, finding true love is just a fraction of your story, because your story is so much bigger than simply that. So many times we spend our single years focusing on love as though it’s the final destination…and when we arrive, we realize that there is so much of life yet to be lived, that has been put on hold. Don’t put your life on hold. Marriage may be part of your story, but your life will only be filled when you learn to seek meaning, purpose, and passion. As you wait for love, remember to invest in the things that matter most- loving God, and loving others. Seek to be all that God wants you to be, and live that out in your day to day life. Find healing, wholeness, and growth in the life that God has given you today. And while you wait for love, use your life as a vessel of  love, bringing hope and meaning to the people God brings your way.

4. Take Next Steps: As you navigate the world of love and relationships, continue bringing your desires before God, but then, go out there and do something about them.  Open your heart and your mind to meeting new people, getting to know others, and spending some time with the opposite sex.  Get creative, and don’t limit yourself by saying “no” to things that may not be what you envisioned.  On top of investing in the people that are around you, take advantage of blind dates, match-ups, and even online dating.

Not only is it okay, but it is REQUIRED for you to take an active role in your life in all areas, and relationships are such an important part of that.  Don’t just wait for love to happen, but begin taking the steps and opening your eyes to the things God might already be doing in your life.  At the end of the day, strive to be holy first and foremost, and then do whatever you feel led to do!  If God is truly at the center of your life, He won’t let your foot stumble.  Trust Him with this, and then take the next steps.

My prayer for you is that God would restore all joy, hope, and purpose for this stage of your life. May your life be filled with meaning, and the joy of healthy relationships with others and with Him most of all. May he take your discouragement and despair, and replace it with excitement and anticipation of all that is to come. Greater things are yet to come, hold fast to that promise as you trust Him with tomorrow.

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

Comments

  1. Thanks for this dose of encouragement, Deb! Was eagerly anticipating your column geared to those of us in our 40’s….and it was certainly worth the wait! Your comments on holding on to desires God has given us spoke directly to me today. There are so many times, when I’m weak, that I start buying into the enemy’s lie to just give up, build a wall around my heart and accept that I’ll never be given another chance. Thankfully, the Spirit steps in and always finds a way to remind me to keep pressing on with a loving heart (as was the case this morning as I read your post). He knows my end from the beginning…and I do trust Him with all my tomorrows…whatever they end up being!

    1. Author

      Jennifer, I love this word from you!!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart, and the reality of what God is doing in your life every single day. I believe you are right, these words were just for you. He knows what you need. Keep holding on to Him…he will always prove to be worth it! Blessings to you!

  2. Blessings to everyone
    What an absolutely blessed post. This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.
    In the words of one of my favorite songs, ‘ God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind, when you don’t understand, when you cant trace his hand, trust his heart. ” The plans of God for us are always, always, always much, much, much better than we could ever dream or imagine. Let us not forget the best is yet to come, in the world to come. This in not just a trite saying. The Lord deals with us as individuals and knows that like David who said( ” I have fainted unless I believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” Psalm 27:13) we too are waiting for the Lord to show himself strong.
    ” I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in his Word do I hope” Psalm 130:5
    Thank you Debra.

  3. Thank you Debra for this article.

    I will be 50 this year. I am divorced and have been ‘single’ for the last 25 years. I have to honestly say I was content being single because I didn’t have to answer to anyone but me. I never had children (by choice) so I could come and go as I pleased. Occasionally I would have a thought about meeting someone and getting married, but that usually didn’t last long and I would go on my merry way.

    Well, a little over a year ago THAT all changed. Someone came into my life (unfortunately nothing has come of it, we work together) but all of the sudden I found myself wanting to be in a relationship. I NOW…..all of the sudden have this deep desire to be married. I really don’t understand why this has happened, but it has and I have been talking to God about it. I don’t know where this attraction/desire has come from because it has been years since I have felt this way. We do have a mutual attraction for each other, but I think that’s all it will ever be because neither will make a move. I believe it’s the man who should be the pursuer not the woman.

    I now find myself struggling with my ‘singleness’ and I NEVER thought I would be.

    My thought on online dating is “I don’t feel I should have ‘pay’ to meet someone”.

  4. Debra!

    Enjoyed the post! It was just a wonderful reminder for me! I will be 45 this year, never been married & a virgin. All of us have a story. . . . .And God truly does hear the desires of our hearts. I know that for a Fact! He does so thru the wonderful work that you do! And thru His word to speak life it us! Every story is SO different! But, God will use our story to Bless His Name & we will be Happily Blessed with all God’s Absolute Best!! And who wouldn’t want that! Debra, may God continue to bless the work that you do for Him & thru Him!!!!

  5. Debra: thank you so much for this. I am 51 and after a 28 yr marriage have been “single” for 2.5 years. Earlier this year the desire and yearning to be in a relationship surfaced! I prayed and prayed for God to give me the desire of my heart. I joined online website and kept looking up and then around. 4 months ago I began a friendship with someone in my own church and we are officially dating as of last night! I am still looking up and giving this to God- determined to enjoy each season and not rush… Feeling overwhelmingly blessed. 🙂

  6. I too have been eagerly awaiting the guide for the 40’s. As always, your insight is helpful and relateable. I truly appreciate your committment to help all us single people who are waiting on God’s direction for the desires of our hearts. Thank you.
    God bless!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for the sweet words, Kim. I’m so glad you’ve been encouraged, and your words are so meaningful to me and keep me going. May God continue to give you that perspective and that hope!

  7. Hi Deb,
    Could age be a big factor when one or other is much older or younger? How much would you say is the age limit difference, if there is one?

  8. I’m a nearly-60, Christ-loving divorced, DV-survivor who has discovered that there are more than a few single males in my age group who aren’t looking for a wife. They’re looking for their next-ex-girlfriend (someone they can go on a few dates with then take to bed).

    This utterly astounds me, and I’ve sworn off dating because of it. I’m sick of hearing people tell me that their decision to have sex outside marriage is between them and God. It’s not. It affects the entire body of Christ. Friends with “benefits” is still called fornication in my Bible.

    1. Author

      LB, such a sad thing to hear. Our culture’s brokenness is penetrating the church in a really dangerous way. Glad for people like you who believe, and stand up for, God’s best plan for relationships.

  9. Thank you for this post. You seem to speak to what my heart and head need to hear! Please keep it coming. (:

  10. Thanks for this reminder to be looking up. I am in my early 50’s, never been married, and that not by choice, as I have been praying for a wife sine I was in my early 20s. It still hasn’t happened. I have dated only a couple of women (I had promised God that I would only date born again, Christian believers), but I don’t think they were right for me, or it wasn’t the right timing. But I still wait and pray. Your words, Debra, are encouraging. Thank you.

  11. Great article for those in their 40’s, but I am in my late 50’s and all but given up hope of finding a mate. Scared to death of online dating, but do get out as much as possible.

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