What NOT to Believe About Singleness

In Advice and Encouragement, Single by Debra Fileta34 Comments

Have you ever heard of a mental trap? Well, believe it or not, they exist.

Seemingly-innocent thought processes with some majorly dangerous power. They enter into our minds when we’re weak, discouraged, tired, angry, hurt, frustrated, or feeling alone. They creep their way into our thinking, and start wreaking havoc on the way we view and feel about ourselves and our lives.

Patterns of negative thinking that lead to nothing but frustration and pain.

At the risk of sounding “holier than thou”, let me start off by saying that even as a Professional Counselor, at some point in my life, I have uttered every one of the below phrases. Over the past decade, I’ve learned a lot about the power of my mind, and being careful the things I think about. It’s true that our thoughts have so much power over our feelings and behaviors…and in turn, the things that play out in our lives.

So, if you’re single and feeling frustrated, here are a few mental traps to avoid:

1. Is there something wrong with me? This mental trap is dangerous because it shifts the spotlight from God’s bigger picture- to you. It’s a seemingly innocent question that makes you start to doubt who you are and who God has made you to be. Soon enough, you find yourself struggling with your personality, body image, spiritual life, and feeling like you don’t measure up. Being single doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you- it simply means that there is a bigger picture unfolding in your life. It’s important to use this time to become healthy and whole, but never at the expense of degrading yourself.

2. Am I going to be single forever? I heard a statistic once that over 90% of the population will get married. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but it’s funny how much comfort that truth brings to some people. But true or not, this question is a mental trap because it causes you to dwell on the worst-case scenario of your future, rather than tuning into all the good that is happening in your life here and now. God is bigger than statistics, and knows exactly what you need. I’ve interacted with hundreds of people who have learned that God’s best plan for their lives was always better than their best plan, no matter what that plan entailed. So turn this worry into a prayer because He knows what you need, and trust God with your tomorrow.

3. Why does everyone else have someone to love? This mental trap is dangerous in that it magnifies the good in other’s lives, and minimizes the good in our own. Even beyond “relationship status”, we can wind up doing this with so many things in life: looking at the good all around us- but failing to see the good inside of us. God calls you to look up, at what He is doing in your life, and to look around at all He has given you. Don’t allow your thinking to fall into these extremes of seeing what everyone else seemingly has…because your perspective of their lives is not the full truth.

4. Is God punishing me? It’s easy to wonder if God has something against you when you’re struggling with a particular stage of life. But this mental trap is so dangerous because it challenges the very characteristic of God: GOODNESS. No matter how we feel or what is going on in our lives, we need to hold on to the truth that God is GOOD, that He is FOR US, and that His plans for our lives are better than we could EXPECT or IMAGINE. Nothing is truer than that. God doesn’t “punish” His children in wrath, but protects them, shepherds them, and leads them in love. Rather than allowing these lies and worries to taint our perspective of God, we need to focus on who He actually is and remember His great promises to take care of us.

As a Christian and therapist I truly believe that so much of how we live comes down to what we think. May God begin to challenge, heal, and transform our minds – and in turn- the quality of our lives….today.

***Did you know that certain beliefs could be keeping you from engaging in a healthy relationship? Learn about the 7 lies that can have this impact (and how to overcome them!), by signing up for my NEW program today!!***

“This program is bringing to light lies I didn’t even know I was believing! There is freedom in truth!!” 

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national 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!

Comments

  1. I struggle more with “has God forgotten about me?” and, “does He really have a plan for my life?” more than “is He punishing me?”…but I think they all get to the same base issue-doubt or unbelief that God is who He says He is. Great post, Debra!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Aimee! I think you are so right….all these false beliefs are ultimately rooted in our fear of trusting God, our doubting of who He says He is. Appreciate you sharing your insight!

  2. Top of the morning to all,

    Debra one of the main reasons I subscribe to your views is because you have it backed up by paperwork- the Holy Scriptures.
    1. ” for as he thinks in his heart so is he” Proverbs 23:7
    2. ” Death and life are in the power of the tongue” Proverbs 18:21
    3. ” Finally brethren whatsoever things are true, honest, just, lovely, of good report…..think on these things” Philippians 4:8

    Thanks Debra.

    1. Author

      Amen, Jessy! Thanks so much for sharing these awesome Scriptures!

  3. Woöoow u just made my day, and hey so as mylife, I was thinking that I am cursed asking myself until answered questions, but after reading this I am strong and I believe that God has good plans than mine. Thank you thank you

  4. I was happily Married to a most wonderful lady for 44 years before she was taken from me through Parkinson’s…now thirteen years after she passed away here at home, lying next to me, I wonder every day…Now What?? It seems that all emphasis in your discussions never consider those of us ‘older folks’, who are still alive, after experiencing so many years being “Happily Married” but have lost our spouses to death…I’m just wondering, “Where do I go from here…??”. Wish someone would ‘write a book, or sponsor a website for us…(:-))

    1. I really feel for you John. I hope Deb sees this and responds to you. I remember the words of Shakespeare(I think..): “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”

      God bless you.

    2. Author

      You are SO right, John. I recently spoke to a group of divorced and widowed men and women, a talk I did called “True Love Dates…Again”. You are right in saying that this is a group of people that is sorely neglected in the church and in these discussions. My eyes have been opened to this reality ever since writing True Love Dates, because I heard from so many men and women in the older generation who were so appreciative of the content, and it made me realize what an incredible need there is. I am going to do my best to address more of this group through my future articles…and I am even working on a future edition of True Love Dates for this crowd specifically!! All in God’s timing, but I know God wants to reach you and others like you just where you are at. What a beautiful love story- may God continue to bless and fill your life with love and joy through His presence and through the people He brings into your life.

      1. LOVE the concept of True Love Dates…Again! Can’t wait for more on this topic, Debra! Still in the ‘letting the Lord (only) love me’ healing phase. Have found so much encouragement in your writings already….those that are geared specifically to those of us in this situation are sure to be true blessings!!!

  5. I love all of your articles and book! They are truly a blessing!

  6. Just found your blog, your articles are a blessing!!

    Thank you for sharing your Godly wisdom!!!

  7. Debra,
    Thanks for the reminder! Whether single or married, we can never become complacent with our thoughts. It is a daily practice to take thoughts captive, and learn to speak God’s truth to them. No matter how we feel, we can trust that God is good, He is for us, we can trust Him not only with today, but with our future!

    Thanks again,
    Lisa Murray
    lisamurrayonline.com

  8. I def thought something was wrong w me. Im single bc God has cursed me. Bc of the sins of the father. But maybe He has another plan. Not too worried about it.

    1. I’d love to see Scripture that states that God cares about romance…and evidence that backs it up. Truth is, God only cares about the spiritual health of our hearts. If you question that, there’s plenty of evidence in reality pointing to believers the world over who have virtually nothing but salvation in Christ.

      1. Author

        Greg, of course God cares about our relationships- just as he “cares” about everything else in our lives. Is the state of our spiritual lives more important than anything? YES. What good is it a man to gain the whole world, but to lose his soul. But He also reminds us that we can bring all our requests before Him, and that He wants to give us good things like a Father who wants to give his children good things. If God didn’t care, he wouldn’t have created relationships, marriage, and sex in the first place. There are so many things in this life that are good because they point us to His glory, relationships are one of those things. The bible is filled with stories that included romantic relationships. There’s always something deeper going on….

  9. Just some thoughts on each point you made:

    1. Is there something wrong with me? – We should indeed try not to blame ourselves, because there are (sadly) plenty of people who are happy to do that for us…’giving us advice’ and pointing out our flaws, failures, and reasons why we’re still single. In my own experience, many of these people are Christians.

    2. Am I going to be single forever? – This one is kind of like “Two-Face” in Batman: God’s sovereignty vs. the widow pestering the judge to get the justice she wanted (Luke 18:1-8). Since truth isn’t truth if it conflicts with reality, the bottom line is that (sadly) there are plenty of men and women who long(ed) to be married, but have never experienced it, despite their best efforts and sincere, heartfelt prayers.

    3. Why does everyone else have someone to love? – It’s true that while there are couples all around us, we can’t always see past their public smiles into their private pain. And tragic things can occur out of the blue that suddenly jam the spokes of those who seem to have “perfect lives wrapped in perfect happiness.” One of my favorite related quotes: “I’m very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me: ‘Don’t complain about growing old—many, many people do not have that privilege.'” — Earl Warren, Chief Justice (although he was responsible for ending prayer in public schools, this is still true!)

    4. Is God punishing me? – Only God can answer this one (John 9:1-3). We won’t know until we’re in heaven; and at that point I doubt that question will still be on our minds…

  10. True story. My cousin and his friend went to a Church dance many years ago which he saw this girl that he fell in love with, and he told his friend that he was going to marry this girl which he really did. And now they’re starting their 43rd year together with two grown children, and their older son is now married with a daughter of their own. I myself was married at one time before my wife of 15 years Cheated on me which i was a very good husband, and now all alone and Single again certainly Sucks for me.

  11. This post is so awesome!

    Deb, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself “Is there something wrong with me?”
    I’ve faced a decent amount of rejection in asking women out, and it’s made me feel pretty terrible about myself in the past. That’s all that question does. It just makes you miserable and does nothing to move you forward.
    I’m in my early 20s about to graduate college in May (Praise the Lord!). My last relationship was my freshman year, over four years ago. That relationship hurt me in a lot of ways, but it also taught me a lot about myself that I previously didn’t see. Your blog and your book have also helped me SO much in knowing how to properly approach the world of dating and relationships. I may still be single, but I’m slowly learning to make the best of my current circumstances.

    1. Author

      So good to hear!!!! I’m so happy for you, Jamin. May God continue teaching you as you walk toward Him. So happy you’ve been blessed by the blog and book! Thank you!!! I’d be so appreciative if you could leave your review for others on Amazon, it helps get the word out in ways that I cant 🙂 Thank you so much for being a part of what God is doing here. Blessings to you dear one!

  12. Ditto to what John said! Married at 18, stayed for 42 years, divorced and have no clue what I am doing out here dating! Your writings have helped this over 60 woman feel like she has a few bearings in her life! Thank you and I look forward to the “older folks” version in dating!!! Btw…. Hurry because unlike you young ones, we do not have as much time to watch things flourish!

  13. Well the way that i look at it God punished many of us with Singleness, and i really had hoped that i was going to be married with a family which God Blessed so many others to have, and what about us Good men that certainly would’ve wanted that too?

  14. Hello Debra, i believe that with so many women nowadays that are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, and very spoiled, certainly has a lot to do with it as to why there are so many of us Good men out there that are still Single as i speak since many of us are Not single by choice. With so many women that have their Careers today, really speaks for itself when years ago many men and women had to really struggle to make ends meat which it was certainly a lot different in those days. Most women and men back then did make their marriage work too, so the divorce rate was Nothing like today. I really wish that i could’ve been born much earlier to avoid this mess today, and it would’ve been much easier finding love too just like our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles did. That certainly explains why the times were so much better back then, and many of our family members are still together today. As you can see when it comes to having Money, many women today will Not settle for less which the time that we are living in now made many people Greedy.

  15. First time on.. I learn from others what they say on these subjects. I too am waiting for My father in Heaven to allow me to be married before I die. Im a Army Veteran, now a Pastor, teacher, mentor and walk in Jesus Footsteps, And I teach Bible studies to many who are hurting. I don’t do church.
    People needs to have a one on one understanding about The Bible. very few truly explains. I agree with everyone on this. Im not looking for a woman, but a REAL WOMAN. Big difference. In 60 years old and in very good condition for my age. Very hyper. But not just any woman can keep up with me. So, I will wait till my turn, if ever, becomes one with the right one. may the Lord bless you and answer your prayers also soon.

  16. Those were great points, and very true. When I have self doubt, I read the bible and God always guides me to bible verses that remind me of his love and devotion to me, and what I mean to me. He reminds me of the ultimate sacrifice of his only son for my life. I’m reminded that he’s kept me in the midst of many storms, and he’s always been everything that I need. That helps me to make it through.
    I pray that God continues to bless you, and use you to reach, teach, and inspire people. We are listening, and we hear you.

    Thank you 🙂

  17. Love this article! Thank you for posting it Debra! Those are very common mental traps and I can relate from past experience.

  18. Since this was in my inbox today, I’m going to comment on it because I can say pretty much three of four apply to how I feel so I understand why people think and feel this way. Of course, this is coming from a guy’s perspective so some might not apply as much to women. It does seem like some of those who commented earlier (yes, I know those were back in 2014) don’t really get it.

    1. Is there something wrong with me?

    No one starts out believing this; it builds up very gradually overtime. Perhaps your family was not very supportive when you were younger, or as time as progressed, they have stopped supporting you or even turned against you because they feel your life is not going the way they think it should.

    You ask someone out, and get told no. Okay, big deal, happens to everyone. It’s annoying and disappointing, but you move on. However, it keeps happening, over and over and over again. Soon you’ve been turned down/rejected by 5, 10, 15, 25+ women and your success rate is 0%. The years go by and it never gets better. You get more and more depressed because it seems like nothing is getting better. It is even worse when the women didn’t just turn you down, but do so by insulting you or worse. When you have people telling that they will not go out with you because you “ugly” or “too nice” or “repulsive, hideous, grotesque, stupid, fat, etc.” or that you should “do the world a favor and kill yourself” because “any woman would be too embarrassed to ever be seen in public with you,” it can tear an already fragile psyche to shreds.

    You try online dating, only to have eHarmony reject you numerous times, and never get a single reply on sites like Match, POF, Christian Mingle, okCupid, etc. or better yet, someone there insults you as well.

    Eventually you see all of your friends, coworkers, relatives, and even just people you see perhaps every Sunday at church, getting married and starting a family. Soon your friends no longer have time for you and your only friend left in the world is a pet or two. Your life is wake up, go to work, run errands if needed, go home, do something alone for entertainment, go to bed. Saturday is spent doing stuff around the house, watching TV, or just finding some other way to pass the time. Even if you go somewhere to do something, you’re still alone and worst of all, you have to see all of the happy, loving couples there as well, which of course ruins your day. Sunday is the same unless you have a church to go to. If you don’t for whatever reason, then it’s just a repeat of Saturday.

    So as time passes, you do endless amounts of soul searching and can only come to one logical conclusion and that is there is something so wrong with you, it is something that can never be corrected, and you have absolutely no hope in this world to ever find anyone who will love you.

    All of these apply to me except I do have two friends who are stuck in the same boat, although one just has no interest in getting married so good for him. I’ve been told all those things by women I asked out. Online dating was a disaster and my family has all but officially disowned me. My dad wants grandkids and tells me I am a disappointment and failure as a man and as his son because I haven’t done that. He did something else more recently which hurt 1000 times more, but it would take too long to explain. Even my mom has told me “you make me sick” because my life isn’t going how she thought it would when I was a kid. She thinks I need to see a shrink and is irate because I won’t. I’m not crazy, and if my company found out I went to see any kind of mental health professional, they’d terminate me in about 2 seconds, which is completely legal where I live.

    2. Am I going to be single forever?

    Once your psyche has been torn to shreds and you have nothing left, you finally accept the answer to this question is “yes.” When more than two decades have passed and nothing has gotten better, or it has progressively gotten worse, you have to accept and believe this in order to survive. Clinging to false hope does far more damage. It also does not help when our fellow Christians feed us the clichés of “you have God’s gift of singleness” which I will say more on later.

    3. Why does everyone else have someone to love?

    Back to #1, you come to believe and accept it is because you are defective, ugly, and simply unworthy of being loved. They on the other hand are attractive, rich, beautiful, intelligent, or whatever other qualities people are looking for in a spouse. Of course, then there is the guy you see who is uglier than you are, and he has an absolutely gorgeous wife, which makes you feel even worse. (Real reason why is he is probably rich. A woman who told me to my face in front several other people “girls don’t want ugly guys” ended up marrying a guy who looks like Gollum from Lord of the Rings except he has a beard. He is worth almost half a billion because of his parents and is an only child.)

    4. Is God punishing me?

    I don’t think God is; I just believe I got dealt a hand of worthless cards in the draw of life. However, I can understand why people believe this. When bad things happen, we often either blame God for it happening, or for him not helping us get through it. Then, when bad things keep happening, and little if any good things happen, one comes to believe it is either because God is punishing us, thus making us feel even worse, and which eventually leads to thinking that God doesn’t love me or care about me, or God isn’t even there.

    —————————–

    When someone has reached the level where they believe some or all of these things, I’ve found that so often what people tell them, especially Christians, is the absolutely worst thing they can do. Family often uses “tough love” or as I call it, “the beating will continue until morale improves” which just makes the person resentful. Sometimes all the person wants is someone to listen to them and not give advice at that moment. Just let them rant all they want and get it off their chest.

    Christians are always quick to quote the Bible and say the standard clichés like “God loves you,” “God wants the best for you,” “God gives his children good things,” or “God never gives us more than we can handle.” None of these things help and in fact can often hurt more as we ask ourselves, why none of it seems to be true for us. Then there are two things you should never, EVER say to someone who is single, lonely, and hurting. Do NOT tell them they have “God’s gift of singleness” or “all you need is Jesus.” I have heard pastors say this, other church leaders say it, and seen it on more than a few Christian websites, especially in the comment sections. Being told those two things is like a knife through the heart. The first says we have no hope because God has cursed us to be single and the latter is just idiotic because Jesus is not physically here with us, does not provide companionship, nor can he be a spouse. We crave and desire human companionship and only another flesh and blood person can provide that.

Leave a Comment