Dear Singles…It’s Okay to be Picky.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Happy Galentine’s Day.

Happy SAD Day (Single Awareness Day)

I’ve heard all the different titles. I’ve celebrated each of them at different times in my life. And each one came with its fantastic moments and disappointments. Last year I talked about how Mister Ninja and I do Valentine’s Day (and how anyone can join in the tradition). But this year, I wanted to talk about the relationship side of things. Because I know that this day can be hard for a lot of people. So I wanted to share a little of my “single story.” Yes, I’m married, so “who am I to talk”? but before I was married, I was single. And everyone’s story can encourage in some way.

As a single girl I had high standards. I was PICK-Y, people. I knew exactly what I wanted in a husband and I didn’t want to settle for anything less.

 

What this meant was that I didn’t date much (if at all.) Either the guys asking me out were definite “no”s in my book or the guys that I thought I wanted to go out with just weren’t asking.

The years of “So, Nadine, are you dating anyone?” went by and I answered with “Nope” and then deflected their “Have you met my brother/son/nephew/friend?” People started asking, “Why not this guy?” (because he doesn’t value Jesus like I do.) and “What do you have against that guy?” (He laughed at the fact I wanted to be a writer.) and “Just say yes to a little date. It’s just a date.” (No, because I can already tell that he’s not for me and I’m going with my gut.)

Eventually, people stopped asking. And they started saying, “Don’t you think your standards are a teensy bit too high?” I started to feel like Ron at the Yule Ball.

 

“Get a move on, or all the good ones will have gone.”

I mean, a decent, polite guy who feared the Lord and who was fun and who had an adventurous heart…was that too much to ask? (Not to mention attractive and not a million years older than me. Because I’m picky like that. 😉)

To be honest, I started to fear that maybe my standards/hopes were too high. I graduated high school without a boyfriend. But I was off to Biola University–a whole college filled with eligible guys. That was where husband was waiting. I just knew it.

Then I graduated.

I left college with a family of friends whom I loved (and still love) with all my heart. But no husband. I was okay with that–I didn’t go to college to get married. But, to be honest, I really thought that if I was going to find “my guy” anywhere, it would be there. And that didn’t happen. And a teensy twinge of panic set in (especially as everyone renewed their inquiries of, “You just need to stop being so picky. Maybe you’ll be surprised!”)

I wasn’t trying to be a stick-in-the-mud, but I knew that marriage was a big deal and I didn’t want something mediocre. And when I realized that maybe a guy didn’t exist who had the values, morals, and spirit that I desired in a guy…I realized I might be single forever.

And that was okay.

Young, happily single Nadine in motorcycle leather. Yup.

At first, that was a scary thought. Because I’d grown up reading all the romance novels and dreaming of How We’d Meet and All the Life Things Together. And it took some time for me to let go of those dreams and realize that there were other amazing paths that I could take as a single woman with God. New dreams that I hadn’t considered yet. Singleness was not “Plan B”. It wasn’t the path I took if “Plan Marriage” failed. It was just a different path–a different adventure–with just as much life and just as much fulfillment that requires an adjustment of mind.

I have several dear friends who are single who are doing incredible things for the world and for Christ. Theirs are some of my favorite stories and I think about how different those stories would be if they were married. And how they are able to minister in a way that a married person would not be able to.

Well…I didn’t stay single.

I wrote a post several years ago about how I met my husband, but in short, when I met Mister Ninja and married him all within a year, it was because he not only met all of my hopes and standards…but he exceeded them. And that wasn’t because of him, that was because of God. It was like God said, “The world claims you dream too big. But let Me show you how to really dream.”

Can we all agree that both Mister Ninja and I look like babies in this photo?

I share this post to encourage you to never stop dreaming. Don’t lower your standards or your hopes. Single or not, God will use you in amazing world-changing ways if you allow Him to. I know that is pretty close to sounding very Christianese, especially when I’m saying it on Valentine’s Day…but I was there. Part of my story is proof. My world-changing single friends are proof.

And this story is proof that, no matter how big you dream, God knows the desires of your heart and He will exceed them all when you keep Him as your ultimate reward. Keep seeking Him. Keep turning to Him as your fulfillment, even when it’s hard or it’s lonely.

There is joy and happiness–truly–to be found on both paths. 🙂


What’s your story?

What paths are you currently walking?

And how can I pray/praise for you?

.

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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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17 Comments

  1. Nadine, this post was such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your story, and ever-reminding us of God’s faithfulness and goodness, and not trying to take matters into our own hands too much because we think we’re desperate. This was just what I needed to read today! ❤️

    • I ditto Amanda’s comment! 😀 Thank you, Nadine.
      Every year, my sister and I say this is probably the last time we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day as single ladies. Well, very year we’re wrong, and every year I inch closer to my thirties. Its discouraging, really. I start asking, “What’s wrong with ME?” and I start envying the other young ladies I know who get attention from eligible bachelors at church.
      Its hard to keep at the forefront of my mind that God has me right where I am for a reason. I don’t have to go chase a Jesus-loving man down. God will unite us in His timing. Maybe I’m single because there’s something He needs to teach me right now. Or maybe future hubby lives in a different state and God is arranging a job transfer and a new apartment, etc. Who knows?!
      But, unfortunately, patience has never been one of my strong suits. I continue to wait and try to use my single years to bring God glory. I truly believe that my heavenly Father didn’t give me this overwhelming desire to be a help-mete if He wasn’t going to fulfill it in His perfect timing.
      I have to get to school; thanks again for the word of encouragement!

  2. Wow. I definitely needed to hear this. I’m in college/high school. This is the time of my life where I thought that I would have a relationship with someone. But I don’t. And I’m trying to learn to be okay with that.

  3. I went and read your “how you met your husband” post. I didn’t know you were originally from Wy. My hubs is a Wyoming man – we even lived in Sheridan for 5 years when we first married. Then 7 in SD. This Florida girl loved Wy but SD not so much so I’m glad to be back in Fl, though my poor mister thinks the heat may kill him. 😉

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I got married this past summer to my boyfriend of 2 and a half years. We started dating at 17, but it was honestly not something I had been seeking out. I had actually planned on being single forever and was pretty content with that, haha! In my experience it seems the Christian men and women that are really fixated on finding “the One” are the people who take longer than those who are content with either course. It’s kind of funny how God tries to speak to us through these situations but we are often so caught up in wanting this imaginary relationship that we can’t see that we just need to let go. Great post!

  5. I REALLY needed to heart this. I’m still in high school, but officially at “the dating age”… and it’s really frustrating. I’m interested in a relationship, but I feel as if all the guys I meet are no where near my standards (sometimes, I’ve actually wondered if my standards are too high). Thank you so, SO much for this post, Nadine!! <3

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this, Nadine! I’m currently in my sophomore year in college, and I’ve never been on a date before at all, or even had a guy ask me out, and it can be really discouraging, especially when it seems like all of my friends are dating. I also have really high standards when it comes to dating! So this post was really encouraging for me. I love that you said that there are other amazing things that single women can do with God, and that’s something I try to live out every day. Thank you so much for this post! 😀 <3

    • I’m in much the same boat (college, never been asked out, etc.), and many of my friends are dating. Some are even married and expecting their first little one! It can be discouraging when you don’t even know anyone with “potential,” but thank you for the wonderful reminder, Nadine! You truly are a blessing!

  7. Wise and wonderful encouragement! As one who got married quite young (20) with not a lot of wisdom and yet, still, a desire for a marriage that was all that you described, I can say that the Lord works in our naivety as well, when we put Him first. 28 years later I’m still married to my best friend and, I must say, he has set the bar REALLY high for our daughters as they wade into the waters of singleness. Putting Christ first is truly the key, and He surely does give us the desires of our heart–and that verse was actually what my husband had engraved inside my wedding ring…which I lost the day after our 15 year anniversary 🙁

  8. Sarah Barnhart

    Wow…I really needed to read this, Nadine. Thank you so much for sharing and being an encouragement. The things you described in the first few paragraphs are things I’m currently going through myself, so thanks for sharing your story!

  9. Love love love this Nadine! And so true! God’s timing (and plans) are ALWAYS best!

  10. This is beautiful, Nadine! Thank you for sharing. <3

    Happy Valentine's Day! May your day be filled with God's beautiful love, joy, and peace!

    Much love,
    Shantelle Mary

  11. This is so encouraging and inspiring. It’s not too ‘crazy’ to have high expectations, and God so completely has our stories in his hands.

  12. So there’s a reason you’re one of my favorite people. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  13. I’ve been stalking your blog for ages now and loving it, but this might be my first comment!
    Thanksso much for this post. It meant a lot to me as a single girl at the age where my friends are all getting into relationships. I’ve struggled a lot lately with being content, especially now that my best friend has the most amazing, God-fearing young man for a boyfriend, and I wonder if there’s any young man out there for me. It has been my aim to be content and joyful in all the situations God places me in, but its not easy. Thanks for writing this and being an amazing encourager 🙂

  14. “And when I realized that maybe a guy didn’t exist who had the values, morals, and spirit that I desired in a guy…I realized I might be single forever.

    And that was okay.”

    This is my story right now. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement, Nadine!

  15. I just wanted to say, thank you for sharing this, Nadine. I’ve been graduated from college for going on three years and never been on a date. I honestly don’t even know men IRL and don’t see myself being in a relationship much less married in the next five years unless God moves in a big way in my life and majorly surprises me. Sometimes I’m okay with that thought because I admit there’s some personal stuff I need to work on before I feel I’ll be ready for a relationship. Other times it upsets me a lot because I do want to be married someday and I get lonely and sad and frustrated at having to wait longer than what society wants to say is “normal”. It’s posts like this that help me see that I’m not alone, remind me to lean on God, keeping my hope in Him above all else, and encourage me to maintain rather than compromise my standards. So, again, thank you for posting this.

I love hearing from you!