I Didn’t Get Married in my 20s (And Here’s What I Learned)

In Advice and Encouragement, For the Ladies, Marriage, Single by Debra Fileta30 Comments

If you’re new to TrueLoveDates.com, I just want to thank you for visiting this blog all about dating, love, marriage, and relationships. I’m Debra Fileta, Professional Counselor & Author of True Love Dates, and I created this blog as a space to pair psychology and Christian spirituality to address some really important topics. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest!

The following is a guest post by my dear, sweet, friend Alison. She’s one of the most beautiful women I know (as you can see in the photo!)- inside and out. I had the privilege of witnessing part of her journey, and seeing God at work in her life. I asked her to write about this really important subject, and share her heart-felt experiences about being single in her 30s.  Her heart and story blessed me, and I know it will bless you. Feel free to leave her some encouragement!

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When I was young I always envisioned being married in my early 20’s, and of course, babies would come soon after. I dreamed that I would be a stay at home mom and take care of my husband, children and home.

In short, that is not the way my life turned out.

Along the journey of my life there has been unhealthy relationships, anger towards God and a lot of tears shed in the name of my expectations. I went through cycles of hope — to hopes being crushed. I experienced really difficult times in my life, thinking that God might be punishing me because of my past. If I could have somehow killed my desire for a husband and a family, I would have. The pain ran deep and it hurt. I had to start over with God to find out what it is that He wanted from me and why He wasn’t giving me my heart’s desire: a family.

I had a lot to learn.

God needed to do some major work in my heart to prove to me that He always had my best interest in mind. And, I had to do this part alone. At one point, I really felt the Lord drawing me closer to Him than ever before. During some intense prayer I felt as though the Lord asked me if I would be willing to fast from men for one year.

No dating, no friendships– not even hanging out with men. It wasn’t easy- but I of course said yes.

Through the course of that year I learned so much. God had given me wisdom that I would have not learned any other way. Above all, I knew in my heart and soul that He was actually not mad at me or “holding out” but he was protecting me! His grace and love had changed me, from the inside out.

I then had to let go of the fact that I was not in control and God’s timing was not mine. I had to surrender to this many, many times. I wish I could say that God blessed me with a husband right after but it wasn’t until 5 long years later that I met my husband. I admit there were still seasons of tears, still seasons of feeling embarrassed to now be single in my 30’s. The “advice” of some was also disheartening. I was told that I was too picky, or that maybe I needed to move. It seemed like everyone was always trying to set me up. I hated that too. It was always so awkward for me.

In my heart I prayed that God would bring my husband to me and that it would not come through another set up. I had moved back to my home town again feeling prompted by the Lord. I had started attending a local church and then called about any current Bible studies. I chose to go to the Romans bible study and the night that I attended they told me that there were only 2 sessions left. One of the guys definitely stood out to me but my heart was so guarded that I honestly didn’t even go down that road in my mind. I actually got sick and couldn’t attend the next session, so that was it.

About a year later on my way to church I had the random thought, “I wonder what ever happened to that guy from the Bible study last year?” That same Sunday when I sat in my seat, I looked over and there he was sitting right in the isle that I chose to sit.

We were married about a year later. I had just turned 33.

I had my first baby at 35 and I’m believing God for one more.

Throughout this entire journey, one thing I know to be true is that trusting God is not always easy. And believe it or not, getting married and having children doesn’t automatically give you the ability to trust God. There are still times of struggle. If I could be completely honest here, there are still times in my life that I have to let go of the fact that I am going to be an “older” mom, or that my children’s friends parents are going to be younger than me. I know all this might sound silly and selfish to some, but it is something that I think about. I guess I still feel old and sometimes out of the social norm.

However, I have to actively choose to think about the blessings that God has given to me from His never ending heart of grace. It wasn’t until I got married that I understood why people say being called to singleness is a gift, in that you can place all your attention and affection on the Lover of your Soul. I struggled again with my relationship with God after I was married and had my first child because I felt that I had no time to do anything because the very thing that I begged for was now my reality: a family.

I speak to all those who can relate to my experience. Please know that God is for you, he is not withdrawing a blessing because He is mean or uninterested. Take Him at his word, that no matter what, He is working ALL things for good.  I am grateful to God that He had protected me and allowed me to learn so much before I was married and became a mother. I love my husband and son with a fierce, deep love that I had never experienced on a human level. He saved me for them.

His ways are higher and so much better than ours, because He knows the end of the story. We must commit to trusting Him with ALL things and taking Him at His Word. The essence of who we are can never be defined by the blessings of God but rather in knowing the God of the blessings. Hold to that truth in ALL things and you will be blessed beyond measure.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:17-1

Like Alison shared in this post, God was on a journey of preparing her heart. The first step in finding true love, is preparing yourself for it. To learn how, take a minute to check out the book True Love Dates.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this great post. I’ve been single for 3 years since my wedding was called off. I turn 34 tomorrow and feel like time is getting away from me and that all the good Christian men were taken long ago. This article is a good reminder to trust God and that he is in control. It was a blessing that God saved me from marrying the wrong person 3 years ago but I do wonder what he is doing with the rest of my life. Trying to learn to trust, let go and just enjoy living each day living in the present moment and situation rather than worrying about what the future may or may not hold. The one certainty is God’s unfailing love for me 🙂

    1. hi Helen.. thanks for your openness in your reply.. i have also gone gone through a phase of a wedding cancelled 3 months to the due date..
      i am still struggling with coming to terms with that and moving on but i believe God is there for me.

      this articles has brought tars to my eyes

      1. Author

        You share such a hard story, Busingye…praying for God to show His faithfulness in your life, to heal your heart, and to prepare you for greater things.

    2. What a great message. I convinced myself that I was the only person who dealing with the pain of a broken engagement, and it was because something was wrong with me. While I’m happy for them, watching everyone around me experience marriage and parenthood (including my ex) has been felt like a punch in the stomach. As much as I have felt like giving up, there’s still something inside that keeps me hopeful that God has great plans for my life.

      1. No, you are definitely not alone! I still deal with the pain of not one but TWO broken engagements. It was embarrassing enough to have one, but I could excuse it by pointing the the fact that I was only 19 at the time. The second time was when I was 26, older, wiser, but still fooled lying tongue. What started out as a seemingly healing experience turned out to be even more painful than the one before. Thankfully, I had already learned a lot about trusting God in the midst of dreams shattered. Still, it wasn’t easy watching him stay at my small church and marry one of my friends. It’s less awkward now, and hopefully I’ll get used to it eventually, but it is not easy.

        Now I’m 29 and watching 30 loom closer as the months slip past. It’s hard not to become discouraged, or worse, apathetic. I trust God, but I’ve come to grips with the fact that he never promised me a husband or children. He promised he’d walk with me through life, and THIS he has more than fulfilled. He never promised to take the pain away, but he did promise to help me face it — and he does.

        It’s encouraging to read articles like this one, to hear how God is still working even when you are “past your expiration date” (to quote a popular movie). And I’m thankful for the women brave enough to comment and share their stories. 🙂

        Blessings to you all!

  2. “The essence of who we are can never be defined by the blessings of God but rather in knowing the God of the blessings. Hold to that truth in ALL things and you will be blessed beyond measure”

    This was my best part of the article. Thanks for being real and transparent Allison and thanks for posting this Deb. I love this blog!

  3. I have been enjoying this blog for a while and I am always so encouraged. Allison, I am 55 and divorced. I married at 23 but didn’t have my son until age 35. So I can identify with you about your feelings of being an older mom. You are not alone in that thought. There are quite a few women who are having children later in life.

    And here’s the real kicker, I’ve been divorced 12 years and have never been on a date with anyone. And you are so right, trusting God is not easy especially waiting on God for so long. I have been reading alot lately of how God does the healing and work inside us during the wait. I must have needed a lot of work 😉

    Thank you again for your words of encouragement.
    Deb

    1. Author

      Deb thank you for sharing your story and your kind words, so glad to know you’re being blessed….

      May God continue His healing work in your life…as you trust Him for greater things.

  4. I am 35 & never married & I have, at times, believed that God was not interested in my love life. I’ve had a series of terrible relationships until 2 years ago when I met someone so great that I thought God had finally blessed me with “The One.” Unfortunately, he was not the one & I was devastated. I met someone else after a time & we hit it off, but it ended abruptly, & again, I was deeply hurt, angry & distraught. It seemed all this confirmed that God simply wasn’t interested in giving me a husband. I’ve considered that maybe God wants me single, but I don’t think the desire to be a wife would be so strong if that were true; however, this year I decided to give up dating & just leave it up to God. There are times when I, too, think my window of opportunity is closing, but I just refuse to believe that God won’t give me my heart’s desire, but I will not live in misery because I am not married. This is a time of healing for me & I am certain God is working on me to prepare me for my future family OR He is giving me the strength to remain single & content.

  5. I so felt like you during my lonnnnnng journey of singlehood, now in my mid 40’s almost kissing 50. I understand that God is in control, but I have lost hope of God finding anyone for me. I no longer want to “help” him out, by doing that in the past got me my beautiful 10 yr old. I no longer have the desire or trust that’s needed in order to be open to him when God calls. And I don’t know how to get that back, nor do I don’t know if I want it. It was and is still a very painful subject. So being in your 30’s and getting married in this day & age is not the social faux paux that it was in our mother’s and grandmother’s day. Continued blessings on your marriage and babies.

  6. Dear Erica, Fynesse and friends.
    I am single, 37, never married, no kids, with a few relationships but none worked out as I wished for. And looking back I realized that the guys I dated were not my “Song of Songs” man, the man that I am praying for so long.
    My sister, 35 is a beautiful, caring and successful woman, who never had a serious relationship.

    And yes, that breaks a person. It breaks your hope, your trust in God, even your faith. You wonder what you did wrong. You look at your cheating exes and how happy they are in love or married. You wonder why a descent man shows no interest in you. You wonder why a caring, child of God, would rather prefer to look for other girls than stick with you. You start to wonder if your Heart’s Desire is really God’s desire for you. You start to “investigate” other callings for your life, like Missionary work overseas.

    I still don’t have all the answers, and as the years move along the questions get more. Yes, and I have tried. I tried to fit in more social groups into my already cramped lifestyle, smiled and greeted more at the gym, changed churches and joined Christian groups. And read many books! But it just seems that there is no one interested in me, and the guys that show interest bails out quickly. And the guys that bailed out walked away with my heart, and every time it just took longer and longer to mend the pieces and start again.

    But even though I don’t know what my future holds (and that of my lovely sister) I know that our futures are in the hands of God, who knows the desires of my heart. And I trust in Him. So I’ve started (and is still learning how) to ask Him what He wants instead of telling Him what I want. Yes, I still have my “Wish list”. It reminds me of the qualities that I look for in a man and help me not to give up the one that’s going to hold my heart for just anyone, just because I am lonely. But I am trusting God that He has a plan for my life. He is not showing it right now, but I know that it will fall in place at the right time. It is like Peter, stepping out on to the raging see. Not seeing the land, but seeing Jesus. Who will grab you when you fall.

    I ask God to open my eyes for His Will – there is a reason why I am still alone. Maybe He has a different plan for me. I know that He is busy working in my life and looking back to every failed relationship or every lonely year I can see how I grew. He wants me to be happy, live a life of abundance (John 10:10). And I will let Him work His miracle in my life.
    And remember, a relationship takes two people. You might be ready for it, but God might still be working on your loved one.

    I am happy. Although I am still longing, I can be thankful everyday because I am truly blessed. I have a lovely family, dear friends, a full life with more than enough, and lots of people to share my love with. I don’t know my future, but I know my Guide.

    All the best for each one of you on your journey to healing, learning more about yourself, and your preparation for your loved one. God knows what He is doing – let Him work His miracle – trust Him!

    (Read the story of Abraham and Sarah and their longing for a child – sometimes God waits to show His power!)

  7. HI everyone! I just want to say thanks for reading and commenting on this article. Your journey is not over. I am continuing to learn that the life of the Christ follower is not easy or predictable. One of my mentors once told me that she could not guarantee that God would bless me according to my desires, but that He does promise to give me what I need. While that may not seem fun or exciting in a temporal way, it is great to know that His eye is always on us. Thank you for encouraging me through your personal stories! WE can all look forward to the day that all will be made right and I’m sure we will all agree that it WAS WORTH THE WAIT!

  8. I am 42…no prospects really…and the man who claims to want to marry me is wishy washy. I feel like I am in a prison sometimes.

  9. Wow Debra !! I exactly feel like you felt .. But I have a different kind of struggle too, every time Lord does send a guy my way , I feel I have lost my precious connection with the Lord as it requires so much time and effort to build relationship with a man, Its like a burden to me.. And when I come out of a relationship I feel terribly lonely and left out by God as well as men.. What is wrong with me ?? I don’t understand.. Can anyone advise ??

  10. I have a much different story than what I’ve read about here. I’d like to share it in hopes of hearing from other Christian women who may have similar experiences- in a way I NEED to hear that there ARE other Christians struggling with the same issues I am facing.
    I am currently going through a divorce. Unfortunately, it’s my forth divorce. I’d married rather hastily in my very early 20″s, mainly, as I look back, to get away from a dysfunctional home. The “marriage” lasted less than a year. We fought all the time, were both way too immature to be ready for marriage and each had some fairly major issues which should’ve been overcome before even considering becoming married. It ended after a fight during which my Marine husband hit the cement block wall of our apartment & broke his hand in 5 places. Upon returning home from the hospital, one of his friends came over & told me “Beth, you should be glad it wasn’t you”. That made a large light bulb go off in my head & I moved out, returned home ( we were in Arizona & I’m from Ohio)and started the divorce proceedings. It was final in May.
    Back home, I started nursing school, got a job as a night desk clerk in a motel and tried to rebuild my life. All my friends were either married or off at school and I found myself very alone & lonely. I looked up a guy I had dated prior to the marriage and pretty soon we were back together. He’d also been married before. By that December, we were married. So in less than a year, I’d gotten divorced & remarried! about 21/2 years into this marriage, I became very restless & dissatisfied with the relationship. There was nothing really wrong with him except the fact he was 7 years older than my self & ready to settle down & start a family and I wasn’t there yet. To make a long story short, I initiated a divorce and moved to a large city to restart my life as a single-again woman.
    After several years of being single, I met a man I thought was my “soul mate” and we married. It was a fairly good marriage, not as perfect as I wanted, but nothing too wrong with it. We ended up having 4 children and being together just over 12 years. Shortly after my 40th birthday, right before I had our forth child, he came home and informed me ” he didn’t love me anymore or if he did, he didn’t know in what way”. He wouldn’t talk to me about anything and refused to go to counseling. He just wanted time to figure out what he wanted to do. I went into a MAJOR depression right after our last child was born (about a month after his announcement). Once the meds and therapy started working & I’d rebuilt some emotional strength again, I forced him to choose to either re-commit to the marriage and get some help in doing so or to get a divorce. He chose a divorce. So at a time in my life when I NEEDED a man in it the most- I had two infants under 2 years old and two young school age children- I was alone again. The minuet the divorce was finalized the “other woman” was on the scene.
    I stayed single 10 years after this divorce, went through numerous depressive episodes and counseling for years and developed alcoholism. All this greatly increased my faith in & dependence on God. After around 6 years of prayer about it, He removed the compulsion to drink ( I’ve been sober 9 years now). It was a very dark time for me, to say the least.
    During the last two years of this 10 year period, I started dating a man who I thought a lot of & got along well with. I was impressed with him claiming to be a Christian and an ordained elder in the Presbyterian church. After dating for 2 years and NOT seeing any red flags, I married him. Within three months, I found out he had a major anger problem, he was verbally abusive when he became angry and he was a total hypochondriac among a few other minor issues. Not wanting to be divorce yet again, I stayed with him for 8 years trying to make things better. It never got better and after a year of marital therapy I finally realized that things would never change and I asked him for a divorce.
    So, here I am turning 60 next month and I’m alone again after 4 failed marriages! I’m extremely embarrassed over that fact and am not quite sure where I stand on this from a Christian perspective. I still have a longing for a good marriage- but is this appropriate with my past history? How do I repent from 4 broken marriages? Or is there no hope for a appropriate relationship with a man?
    I’d appreciate some feedback from other Christian women.

    1. Beth am sorry and I pray our Lord Jesus will restore you. Have you considered going through a prayer of deliverance ?

    2. Beth, I’m so sorry that this has been your experience. Run, don’t walk, to a Celebrate Recovery group! I honestly think that finding a healthy celebrate recovery group will change your life in an amazing way and bring some healing, maybe even make it possible for you to get whole enough to love a true, healthy man again. Please at least check out this idea, because this group is christ-centered and it helped me when NOTHING else helped me recover from broken relationships. I iwas broken-hearted but was a DEVOUT Christian for years, went to church constantly, read the bible, prayed, fasted, tried Christian counseling, went to Christian college, did ministry training, tried deliverance ministry, renounced my past, and confessed everything, yet none of that helped me get restoration the way that Celebrate Recovery did. Please, please try it.

  11. Thanks for the article, it’s a blessing for me to read testimonies like that.
    I also love the blog, it helps me to keep in mind that other people live the same struggles than me ! Sometimes I feel a little “strange” because a lot of people is getting married around me and I have always be single and I’m 23 (it’s that old, I know!). But I trust God and I’m thankful for what he is doing now in my life, for all my friends, my projects… I know he is carrying me and, above all, that HE is the best for me.
    Blessings from Switzerland 😉
    (and sorry if my english is not very understanding!)

  12. I just wanted to say that I had my son at 36. Don’t. Worry about being an older mom when your child is in school. I worried about that and it was a needless worry. In my son’s. Current class (1st grade) there is a mom older than me! Therea re mom’s. Of all ages anymore. It’s. Not uncommon for there to be older mom’s anymore!

  13. “His ways are higher and so much better than ours, because He knows the end of the story.”
    So thankful that even though I don’t know, at least I know the one who knows… ya know? 😀
    Sometimes I get a little lost and think I’m in control and its up to me to figure this thing out! It’s comforting to be reminded that I personally know the author of my life. And He is good and loves me more than I can imagine. And it’s just comforting to know I’m not the only single 34 year-old wondering how this thing could ever pan out. Sometimes singles hide in church (or just quit going all together) because of those awkward questions, set ups and for feeling shame over everyone else feeling sorry for us. So thanks for sharing your story. It’s fun and encouraging to hear how the Lord worked in your life!

  14. I get most of what this author is saying, but I wonder: do they live in a really old-fashioned town or something? For one thing, there are tons of people now who get married in their thirties and certainly tons having children. I can’t imagine someone worrying about having kids in their thirties–that is so common, why on earth would that be a concern? Maybe people need to realize there is a demographic shift going on and now being married with kids in your early twenties (without a shotgun wedding) is probably weirder than being married or having kids in your early thirties. I mostly pity women who get married and also have kids in their early twenties. They usually don’t get a decent education, just don’t even know themselves well, never get to do anywhere or do anything exciting before being tied down so much, and they don’t seem to have anything left for a healthy self-concept or life purpose once the kids grow up because they’ve never been free to just be themselves and figure out life a bit. They don’t have the same kind of self-awareness and confidence that comes from having a little time of just one-on-one with God. And I know there are certainly exceptions out there, thank God, but the divorce stats for those who get married really young are staggering. I’d rather be an old maid than a young divorcee.

  15. I usually don’t comment online but now I felt I should say something. What especially drew my attention was this idea that being single means that you are punished by God because of your sins. I struggled with that for a long time and still happens sometimes. Because I am still single…. and…. in my 30s. Thank you for sharing it.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I desperately needed this encouragement in this stage of my life. I am holding on to those strong desires for a husband and family (just like you) and face discouragement a lot of times when it continues to remain “a dream.” I really relate to a lot of your fears and thoughts reading through this, and it really helped give me a new perspective on it. THANK YOU!

  17. Thank you. This is very encouraging. We’re walking out our stories but we don’t know the ending. We CAN know that His plans for us are good, no matter what!

  18. Id love to be married and grow old with someone but its not in the cards for me. Had 2 very bad relationships in my early 20’s, broke things off with my sons father shortly after he was born because all he was doing was causing problems and not helping out with anything. Other than the occasional date ive been alone. Im praying now to find a decent roommate once im an empty nester

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