It’s My Fault You’re Still Single

Relationship status? Single.

That’s true of most of you. That’s not necessarily big news. Singleness isn’t a curse or a season to be “endured.” It’s not a disease or something to seek out a cure for. But I’ve been paying attention, and I’ve noticed that more of you are single than ever before and that you’re staying single longer.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed.

Psychologists say that Americans now spend more years of their adult lives unmarried than married.
Christian researchers point out that the percentage of single people has increased from just over one-quarter to three in ten.
Secular researchers have noticed that our overall attitudes toward marriage have shifted. The idea of never getting married just doesn’t seem to bother us anymore.

I know the readers of this blog. I study you closer than psychologists and researchers watch graphs and trends. I know that for the most part you want to be married, yet I’ve met many of you who are single much longer than you thought you’d be. Perhaps you’re in your twenties, your thirties, or beyond, and you’re not married, engaged, or even dating.

I’m sure the reasons for this trend are vast and varied. But I have a theory . . . it’s my fault. I know that’s a bit melodramatic. After all, I’m just one woman running one blog. It’s true I don’t have the power to determine the relationship status of an entire generation. But I do think I’ve played a role. There are many of us who work to influence young women with our words, and somewhere along the way we started sending you signals about romance that aren’t helpful. I want to do what I can to untie that knot. Here are four lies we’ve told you about romance.

1. Some day your prince will come.

It’s not the main message, but a lot of times when we talk about marriage and singleness, there’s an undercurrent, a footnote of thought that implies, “If you wait well, God will send your dream guy your way and he will be worth the wait.”

But singleness is not a test. The apostle Paul called it a gift, just like marriage is a gift (1 Cor. 7:7). Your single years are not the Hunger Games, a series of battles to be endured until you finally find yourself at the altar. The truth is not that some day your prince will come. The truth is your Prince has already come.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6, emphasis added).

Jesus is the best portion we will ever receive. He is the dream come true we need most. When we put our hope in anything other than Him, even if it’s waiting for the gifts He loves to “lavish” on us, that hope is misplaced.

Speaking of waiting, here’s a doozy of a lie . . .

2. Singleness is the only waiting room you’ll ever be in.

We’ve written a lot about singleness here on the blog. I see a lot about singleness on other blogs, and in magazine articles, and on Instagram posts. That’s good. If you’re single, I want you to be encouraged, but I don’t want to trick you into thinking that once you get married, you’re done with waiting. You may:

  • Wait to get the job you want.
  • Wait to have enough money to buy a house or car.
  • Wait to get pregnant.
  • Wait to get a diagnosis.
  • Wait to be healed.
  • Wait to fit in.
  • Wait to get a promotion.
  • Wait to retire.

That list could go on, and on, and on.

Our lives are a series of waiting rooms, but we’re not really waiting for our circumstances to change. We’re not waiting for a wedding day, but for this day:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:1–4).

Getting married won’t make that anxious waiting feeling go away; neither will having a baby nor landing your dream job. Your deepest longings can never be met by relationships or achievements. That restlessness will remain until you are face to face with Jesus.

3. Virginity and purity are interchangeable.

God’s Word is clear that sex is to be saved for marriage. Through ministering to girls, I’ve had a close-up view of the carnage that happens in our hearts when we violate God’s best for us in this area, but virginity is not the ultimate goal—purity is.

Purity isn’t a gold band around your finger; it’s a commitment to be holy because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Virginity is one teeny-tiny piece of that puzzle. Virginity is a behavior choice; purity is a heart choice. Yes, God calls us to keep the marriage bed pure (Heb. 13:4), but He also says:

Just like marriage is not a finish line to be crossed, neither is purity. If you think it is, you may take pride in your status as a virgin or struggle to embrace healthy sexuality if you do marry. We need to broaden the conversation here. No matter what your relationship status is, God has called you to a pure devotion toward Him that purifies every pocket of your life.

I don’t want you to focus on the “don’ts” of virginity. That’s not the goal. Purity is a by-product of focusing on God and wanting what He wants for our lives. We don’t stick to His guidelines for sexuality to convince God to love us but because we are gobsmacked with gratitude that He already does.

4. Wait for Mr. Perfect.

I call this “The Jesus Standard.” I’ve written a whole post about it here. Here’s a section:

For years, those of us who seek to speak truth into the lives of young women have been pushing you to wait for the guy that God has designed for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you read this blog very often, you know that surrendering your love life to God’s standards is a drum I beat often. But I fear we may have swung the pendulum a little too far. I worry we may have pushed you to wait for a fella who isn’t coming.

The bottom line is, there is no perfect man. There is no guy who is able to “complete you” or meet all of your needs. What’s more, none of us have serving Jesus all figured out. We’re all still sinners, working to be more like Him, but bound to struggle some along the way. If you’re waiting for a guy who is without sin, communicates perfectly, and has his faith all figured out, it’s going to be a long wait.

Why does it matter if young women have their sights set on flawlessness? I think this issue has the potential to grow into something bigger once you say, “I do.” Specifically, I don’t want you to hold your husbands up to a standard they can never reach.

Your decision about who to marry will have a major impact on the trajectory of your life. Wait for someone who loves Jesus. But on his best day, your boyfriend/fiancé/husband will be a sinner in desperate need of God’s grace just like you.

Trends will come and go. Your relationship status may change (or not), but I want to hold up a megaphone to this truth:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:16–18).

What about you? Are you still single? Do you recognize any of these lies in your own heart? Are there other lies we tell single women? Tell me about it in a comment below.

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Olivia Vinson

    Oh my. This is exactly what I needed to hear..
    Thank you so much!!

  • Guitar Girl

    I always forget that my future husband (if there is such a man) is not perfect. I want to imagine that he has no sin, will never hurt my feelings, and, in short, will be everything I’ve ever wanted. I also forget that it might not be God’s will for me to have a husband (pause for dramatic gasp).
    Thank you so much for the reminders!

  • Kanah

    Wow! This is so great and true. I think that often as single girls we are told that there is one perfect guy out there who we are meant to wait for, and yes God has a plan for each of us in this area of our lives and yet, there was/is no perfect man, other than our Jesus of course! I like what my Bible teacher said: “Don’t overlook who’s right in front of you.”

  • Sharla

    This is awesome. I loved it. The end.

  • Natalie

    My idealistic and romantic notions of a future husband have been crushed by reality. It was so comfortable to believe the lies you listed above, yet reality has opened my eyes. The Christian group at my university has a ratio of about 3 guys to every 5 girls. No man could be blamed for wanting to date the prettiest, fittest, sweetest girl out of a group of godly girls with good characters. I’m sometimes unnerved by the disparity between the physical attractiveness of husbands and their wives. I also know of a doctor who married an auto-mechanic because he is a strong leader in his church and loves Jesus. I’m happy for them, but I feel that my desire to marry a man who could provide for a family well and whom I could imagine kissing will keep me single for a very long time. At this point in life, I’d rather stay infinitely single than marry a man I’d have to support financially and to whom I wasn’t physically attracted. I’m not sure if I should even pray that God would change my expectations concerning a husband. It’s all a bit dreary. I try to stay hopeful because I’d love to be a wife and mother someday, but I’ve made peace with the reality that it might not work out. Maybe it’s His plan to keep me single.

    • Kena

      How old are you? You mention your university, so I assume you are in college? You are far too young to be jaded! There is an entire life to be lived after college if God doesn’t plan for you to meet your husband in college. I’m 35, have my doctorate and would never “settle.” God keeps us single because of his plans for us. I’ve dated plenty of men that others wouldn’t consider attractive by their standards-but they are mine! I’m not saying you should decrease YOUR standards. But don’t get down because your college group doesn’t have your mate in it.

  • Melanthe

    Very good article! A lot of books I read when I was younger had a lot of do’s and don’ts. Like…if you stay at home and serve your father, one day a wonderful man will come and court you because he sees your serving heart. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the heart behind that principle, it is not guaranteed to happen. Needless to say, those books influenced me lot and I have just started re-programming (or trying too) my thought process about guys and singleness. And reality is a whole lot different than a step-by-step plan of how to court a guy (if you ever meet him). It can get very discouraging to wonder if you will ever meet the right guy, but I have to remember that, ultimately, in eternity it won’t matter. Store up heavenly treasures.

  • Gabriela

    Lie #4, waiting for Mr. Perfect as if we weren’t sinners too. That’s one that I have bought into, and one that many Christian girls believe. Thakns for bringing light to this matter!

  • Emma Kauffman

    #4 has been one I’ve struggled with! Waiting for the perfect guy makes us soon end up imagining a perfect human being for our husbands. I absolutely want Gods best for my life, but I (and may I say we) need to realize that only God can love and protect us perfectly. If we get married, we are still not perfect and neither will our husbands be.
    Thanks for posting this!

  • Noelle Weiland

    #2 is definitely the one I’m in right now. It’s so hard waiting without putting my life on hold. I’m just now getting to the point where I understand that waiting doesn’t mean my life won’t really begin till I’m married. It means walking in the path God has called me to moment by moment trusting in His over all desire for my best. Living with an eternal perspective and trusting in His plan. It’s really not easy and sometimes it’s sooooo hard and heartbreaking. But I had a wise woman once tell me that it takes courage and bravery to be single. I definitely agree but I would go so far as to say that it takes courage, bravery, and FAITH to follow the Lord in general. Because His plans are not mine and His ways are far above my own. Overall I have to remember that He is Good always. Period. And even the pain and heartache that I am going through right now has a purpose. I’m 20 years old, working a full time job, going to a Bible Study for collage age adults, I’ve been a director of one of our churches children’s programs for the last two years, in starting up a discipleship program for our middle school girls next fall, etc. the point I am trying to make is that I am doing all of the right things that all young Christian women are told to do and I still don’t have a boyfriend. Doesn’t sound like a logical comparison. However I feel like we are taught that if we do all of the right things that a man will just fall into our laps. Well it’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong I’m not doing what I do to get a husband, ha ha, no I believe God has called me to the things I am doing but it becomes so easy for me to look at what I’m doing and say to God,”See, look at what I am doing for you, don’t you think it’s about time to give me the desire of my heart?” Or,”God, I’m doing what you have asked me to do why aren’t you bringing me my beloved?” Faith in Gods will also means faith in His timing. Right now God is calling me to wait on His timing and that’s Hard! But I know that there is a purpose in all of this and for right now I need to just obey in what He has asked me to do right now and trust that He has only my good in mind. I know that was a lot but I’m hoping that there are some other 20 something young women out there who will be encouraged that God is good always and this hurt of feeling alone or unwanted or like you are stuck until you get married isn’t specific to just you. You are not alone! He isn’t doing this to taunt you. Please don’t waste this precious time of getting to know Him better with bitterness and ungratefulness. My encouragement to you is to read Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

  • Mandy

    I don’t believe that you all at this blog are guilty of pushing these lies. I actually think you’ve made it quite clear that girls should not expect marriage as a reward for good behavior. Not only that, but you all have done a great job of presenting Christ and helping girls stay grounded and realistic.

    However, I’ve been scanning this blog for years now. Long enough to the point where I am no longer a teen, but I come back every now and then to see what’s up here. So I think I can say with a certain amount of confidence that yes, you all are the reason some girls are still single, but it isn’t for the lies you’ve mentioned. I would like to list the reasons below, but as I do, understand that I may make extreme statements to get my point across without having to write a whole essay. So please don’t say, “We’ve never said any of those things.” I’m aware of that. Yet it remains that there ARE certain themes being pushed on this blog that are unhelpful and counterproductive to anyone who wants to find a spouse:

    1) Flirting is wrong (when I say flirting I actually mean playful banter between two people who find each other attractive, not sexually suggestive conversation–that is wrong)
    2) Wanting to be desired by a man is wrong and means you have not found your worth in Christ
    3) Thinking about your crush a lot means you are idolizing him
    4) Wanting marriage a lot means you’re making it an idol
    5) Marriage is really no different than singleness–in fact, sometimes married people want to be single again
    6) If you were really godly, you wouldn’t even notice the men around you until God pointed him out–you wouldn’t even want to date because you’d be so focused on Christ.
    7) Crushes are wrong in general. If anyone makes your heart beat fast and your head spin, it’s probably idolatry.
    8) Falling in love before you’re sure you will get married, is not only unwise, but sinful.
    9) If you fall in love before marriage and get your heart broken, you have less of your heart to give your husband.
    10) Don’t date someone unless you’re sure you’re going to marry him.

    Again, these are extreme statements, but these are the lies you imply that are leading to prolonged singleness among younger women. Do you see how these themes attempt to delegitimatize or undermine good desires for romance and marriage? Not only that, but I believe statements like these create a culture where girls are shamed for wanting to be married or for having any desire for the opposite sex. We say on one hand, “Marriage is good and you should want it,” but then we condemn girls for having crushes. This leads to a common experience among young women: guilt. And fear. We are telling girls to suppress their desires, their romantic feelings, and basically trying to undercut the natural progression of a romantic relationship that leads to marriage. This is why girls aren’t married. I go to a large Christian university and I’ve experienced this culture first-hand. The men have been immobilized and the women are waltzing around on a high horse because they turn down every guy who asks them for coffee without declaring his intentions.

    These are the lies that are leading to singleness. Why? Because they teach young girls, subtly, but surely, that pursuing/desiring marriage is wrong.

    • Mandy

      Again, I’m aware you may have never said these things outright, although I do think you’ve said some of them. I’m also aware that it’s difficult to engage in a conversation with someone who may not be accurately representing your side of the argument. However, I believe that these are the themes that are suggested by the things you DO say. It is the themes that I have a problem with–the impact and culture these themes create.

      • erinleedavis

        Hey Mandy! I think you make valid points and do son in a respectful way. I appreciate that! I’d love to dialogue with you about this. However, I’m slammed with a writing deadline for the next couple of weeks. I will circle back to this when I am able to give it some brain space. This is an important conversation and I’d love for you to inform me/my team about how to expand this conversation in ways that are meaningful and Biblical.

        Grace & Peace!

        Erin Davis

        • Mandy

          Hi, Erin!

          Thanks for your reply! And thank you for hearing my heart behind this. I’d love to continue this conversation sometime.

          -Mandy

          • erinleedavis

            Hey Mandy!

            Feel free to shoot me an email. My email address is erin@erindavis.org. Warning: I’m a slow responder as a result of being a bit of an internal processor and and a busy momma, but I will get to ya as soon as I can. I also think it is good for us to have this dialogue here, where other readers can engage. One of the things I love about the readers of this blog is that we are able to disagree/discuss graciously. So, I will respond to your thoughts here as soon as I am able. I’ve already begun praying through them and want to weigh them with Scripture.

            Like I said, you have good points. I actually think you captured the heart of the post I wanted to right better than I did. So, let’s keep talking, friend. Our goal is always to identify lies and replace them with God’s Truth. You are helping us do that well.

            A fan,

            e

  • Nikki

    I’ve struggled with #1. I used to tell myself that I’d be married by 25. I came to the realization that I may never get married because that may not be in the plans that God has for me; and I’ve learned to be content with that. I had to remind myself of the plans that I made for myself at 18, and how they didn’t work out as I planned. I’ve learned that when I start my day off singing to the Lord, I am aware of my actions and thoughts, which helps me in frustrating traffic, at work, when interacting with difficult family members, and even my food choices (I’m trying to lose weight).

    I’m looking for a church that doesn’t twist scripture (if anyone knows of any in the Atlanta area, PLEASE let me know).

    • Lydia Davis

      Hey, Nikki,

      I go to Rehoboth Baptist Church which I believe is in Tucker Georgia… I enjoy it! I am in the youth group, but I would definitely assume that the young adults group is really good too! The Pastor (Troy Bush) seems to teach the scripture well! I hope this helps!!!

    • erinleedavis

      Hey Nikki,

      Another commenter recommended Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker Georgia. The pastor is Troy Bush. We’ve removed her comment to protect her information, but wanted to pass the recommendation along to you.

      I just took a minute to ask the Lord to plant you in a vibrant, Bible-believing church SOON!

      Grace & Peace!

      e

      • Nikki

        Thank you, Erin! That means a lot!
        Thank you, Lydia for the recommendation.

    • erinleedavis

      Dear Lydia,

      Hey there! Thanks for your recommendation. We’re so glad you’re plugged in to a great church! We’ve removed your comment for your own protection. Unfortunately, placing your name and your town and place of worship on a forum this public may not be safe. We want to protect you, but we’ve re-posted your recommendation to Nikki below.

      Grace & Peace!

      e

  • ChristianGirl

    I didn’t think you sent lies subconsciously I honestly thought you based your blog off of the Bible. With the first lie, I thought you meant someday your earthly prince will come. With the fourth lie, isn’t there a blog about how there isn’t a “good guy” and that guys are made in God’s image? I felt you have encouraged us to be satisfied in Christ and look to Him for true satisfaction and full happiness.

  • AndThisIsWhyUsGoodMenAreSingle

    Not really my fault at all since it does take two too really tango these days which it is the kind of women that are out there now keeping many of us good innocent men single unfortunately. A very different time that we now live in since there are so many women today that have their careers which made them very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, narcissists, and very money hungry as well. These women will only want the very best of all and will never settle for less either since unfortunately they will only want the very rich type of a man anyway which makes them such losers too. Very obvious why there are so many of us single men now since the real good old fashioned women were never at all like the ones that we have today which tells the whole story right there which many of us men Aren’t to blame at all.

  • AndThisIsWhyUsGoodMenAreSingle

    Well i can certainly blame the women of today why many of us good men are still single since there are many of us that were really hoping to meet a good woman to have a very serious relationship with, but unfortunately most single women out there now Aren’t really looking for a relationship at all anymore. Women today Aren’t at all like the old days anymore since they really have Changed since then which is why many of us men are still single now when we really should’ve Never been in the first place. Since most women now want a rich man these days which that has a lot to do with it since many of us men really Can’t Blame ourselves at all either, and now that this society has really Changed just like most of the women did really adds to the problem as well. With all of these very stupid Reality TV Shows as well as Social Media which has really Corrupted many of these women now to hate us men altogether. Today unfortunately many of us men Can’t even say good morning or hello to a woman that we would really like to meet since it has become very dangerous for us men now as well. They will be very Nasty to us and walk away all the time which really doesn’t make any sense at all for them to behave this way which makes these type of women very sad and pathetic now altogether. I had this happened to be quite a bit and friends that i know had the very same thing happened to them as well. What in the world happened to the women of today? I know that i made this comment already a few months earlier which really hurts me to be a single man since i never would’ve expected this to happened to me.