Singleness has a unique way of putting things into perspective following the end of a relationship. For many people and myself, it has been a time of self-discovery: finding out who we are, what we’ve done right in life, and where we went wrong. It has provided a unique blueprint so we can learn from the past. In this article, we want to share 3 important lessons we’ve learned through this process.
The need for patience
When relationships fail, there can be multiple reasons. A common one is often patience. Patience is a crucial virtue that everyone needs to master. It is listed as the fourth virtue as part of the fruit of the Spirit. When we develop patience, we can love others more and better. The truth is that no one wants to deal with a hotheaded person, easily frustrated, and prone to anger. In any relationship, this can be very toxic. A lack of patience has the potential to slowly destroy a relationship and even a marriage. Furthermore, it can lead to making rash decisions, a lack of organization and failing to respond with love to others.
Can you identify any relationship in your life that could be or could have been improved if you were more patient? You must understand that when patience becomes your practice, all your relationships will improve. As a result, you will understand others better including their feelings and points of view, which in turn will result in fewer misunderstandings. The Word of God tells us that a person who makes a habit of being patient has the ability to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11 CSB). And oh how we need to be able to overlook offenses in relationships especially in marriage! So as you journey on your singleness, ask the Master to help you develop this virtue and make a decision each day to “put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Your ability to become patient will also reflect your ability to control your emotions, which is key in relationships of any type (family, children, friends, spouse, etc.).
Controlling Your Emotions
Emotions have a way of stepping into the driver’s seat of our lives and taking control if we let them when in reality they really should be taking the back seat. Too often though, they control us. The Word of God tells us that it is important for us to learn to control our emotions, in particular, the negative ones, which can lead us to sin (Ephesians 4:26). When we can’t control our emotions, they have a way of tossing us in various directions “like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:6). Though James was referring to a person who wavers, the same can be applied to one whose emotions are constantly changing. Our inability to control our emotions will cause others to refrain from building or pursuing relationships with us whether friendship or romantic. No one wants to deal with someone when they don’t know which version of them they will get.
When emotions aren’t controlled, they can often lead to unexpected reactions. Remember when Joseph met his brothers after many years in Genesis 43; well he had to run out of the room because he was overcome with emotions (verse 30). Sometimes, emotions will come and that is natural. However, how we deal with them is what matters most. The Bible tells us that God examines not only our thoughts but our emotions also (Psalm 7:9). When Peter was angry or afraid, it often led him to make rash decisions such as denying Jesus three times (fear) or cutting off a soldier’s ear (anger and panic). In both instances, Jesus was deeply disappointed and revealed to Him the need to be transformed from the heart.
As a single person, potentially looking to date, you must examine your emotions. If you are unhappy with a situation, it can lead you to either stuff your emotions inwardly or explode. In both cases, you will suffer the consequences.
To be practical, you must identify how you react to troubling emotions, decide on how you would like to respond, be transparent and honest about your emotions with God and others, and reflect on your motives and the assumptions you make about others and/or a particular situation.
This will help you to be in better control of your emotions. Also, surrender the latter to God and take time to reset with God on the weekly Sabbath He has provided for you. The Sabbath is a great opportunity to let go of your burdens, your emotional baggage, and start fresh with God. Take advantage of it. God knows life will throw many things at you and you won’t always know how to react, that’s why He desires that you rest in His presence. By resting in His presence, you will be better equipped and refreshed to fight life’s battles and overcome your emotions.
Healing from your past
Healing is key for your own well-being and for the health of your relationships. If you desire to have healthy relationships, it must first begin with you. That’s why healing from your past is so crucial. The simple truth is that hurting people hurt other people. You cannot love others adequately when you are hurting. When you don’t take care of your hurts, they will tag along with you into other relationships whether friendship, romantic or family. So in order for you to build better and healthier relationships, you must first heal from your past hurts so they won’t transfer unto others. If you give in to your hurts and your past, you will prevent yourself from reaching your full potential.
Most of all, you need to heal that you may be open to receiving love as well as giving love. The majority of people who’ve been hurt tend to be overprotective of their heart and cannot truly let others in. Hence they deprive themselves of receiving love in the process.
So as you continue on in your singleness, take the time to nurture the areas of your life that need your attention. You will be left better as a result and so will your future relationships. If marriage is on your heart and mind, do yourself the favor of dealing with these potential threats now. You want a flourishing and healthy marriage, not a wounded one.