Who Has It Easier? Single vs. Married

In Marriage, Relationships, Single by Debra Fileta

In my practice, I’ve observed a strange irony that exists. Over the past decade, I have counseled just as many singles who want to be married, as I have counseled marrieds who want to be single. 

Each category of people, looking at the life they “wish they had”, longing for something better than what they have been given.

The married couple battling the struggles that come with “one-ness”.  Tired of living life with the constant responsibility and attachment to another human being, wishing they could be free from this lifelong expectation.  Human selfishness has caused pain, heart break, and strain in their life that they never imagined possible.  Can we ever learn to love?  Is my partner even worth loving?  Did we ever really desire to be with one another or was it all a facade?  Broken hearts, broken hope, broken spirits.  Does God even care?

The single, struggling with being alone for one more day in a world that seems to cater to couples.  Longing to share life with someone, to have a person to walk by their side.  Insecurities deep within have caused pain and heart break.  Could I ever be loved?  Am I worth loving?  Will someone ever desire to be with me?   Broken heart, broken hope, broken spirit.  Does God even care?

So who has it easier?  Married, or single? 

I’ve come to realize that no matter who you are, or where you are- every stage of life comes with it’s own set of struggles.   Single or married, we are all on a journey of becoming…

Becoming holier.  Becoming healthier.  Becoming wiser.  Becoming stronger.  Becoming whole.

Becoming more like Jesus. 

There was a time in my life where I struggled with my place in life.  On the spectrum of single to married, I was way far left on the single side.  I remember looking at the lives of those around me who were further along on the spectrum of relationships, in fact, close to marriage- and longed for the day I could be there too.  It was as though marriage was the final destination but somehow my train had gotten derailed to a very single place.  I longed to be where they were.

In my mind, marriage was a place where life would be easier.  Insecurities would be quieter.  Purpose would be clearer.

But what I know now, and didn’t know at the time, is that while I was longing to move forward, some of those married friends were already longing to make the trek back.  Back to the single life.

Life would be easier.  Insecurities would be quieter.  Purpose would be clearer…they thought.

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I wonder if at times we have placed the weight of our joy on our relationship status rather than our relationship with the only One who can truly satisfy.   

I look back at my own life and I see the seeds of discontent, the anxieties, the insecurities, the loneliness and the pain stemming back to my life as a single…but slowly taking root in my heart as a married woman. Because it is in the VERY moment that I place my joy in the circumstances of this life, I lose it.

And so I wonder if these perpetually negative feelings have very little to do with who we are in relationship with, and everything to do with who we actually are- standing alone.  Unhappy people, make unhappy lives- whether married or single.

I think it’s time for us as believers to take inventory of what is really going on inside of our hearts.  It’s time to recognize that our value, contentment, peace, and purpose has so much less to do with our relationship status and so much more with who God made us to be.  It’s time to take our focus off of the problems that our “relationship status” (whether married or single) have brought us, and instead fix our eyes on the potential that God has in store for us in this very moment.

Potential for growth, maturity, and healing.  Potential for transformation, for consecration, for sanctification.  Potential for purpose, for pleasure, and for peace.  Potential for contentment in our place of life that has nothing to do with our relationship status, and everything to do with our connection with Him.

So who has it easier, married or single?

Neither do.  But each is provided the opportunity to take the struggles that come with this stage of life and allow them to haunt, or heal.

Today, I am choosing the latter.

*This post revised and updated from the original version*

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