I remember one conversation I had with a close friend of mine who is single. In our conversation, the subject of marriage came up, and my friend told me that I am very blessed because I already found the love of my life. I nodded my head in agreement but eventually added a small confession. I told her “If there is one thing I could change, I wish I did not spend a lot of my time moping around complaining about my single life; I wish I were more optimistic.”
Don’t get me wrong; married life is a beautiful thing, and although there are more challenges compared to when I was commitment-free, it still feels like a fairytale. However, not many beautiful adjectives can be found associated with the word “singleness.” Honestly, who hasn’t had moments of frustration, anxiety, or disappointment whenever they think about their single life? It’s true, being single isn’t always a happy place to be but has it ever occurred to you to look at your life right now as a subtle tender mercy from the Lord?
I consider myself a big fan of two women who spent much of their prime years single. These two women are Wendy Nelson and Kristen Oaks, respectively, the wives of Elder Russel M. Nelson and Dallin H. Oaks, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These two wonderful women, although married later in life, are stalwart examples of living one’s single phase with faith, optimism, service, and action. Both women are successful in their individual fields and the things they have learned while they were single prepared them to become the wives of two great men. Of course, they had their fair share of challenges as they were pursuing a happy single life. Sister Oaks once shared this story with a group of young adults:
“On one occasion, full of worry and frustration about my single situation and my advancing years, I went to a priesthood leader for a blessing to strengthen me. The words spoken in that blessing stay with me to this day and ring truer to me as time passes. I can still quote them: ‘If you cannot bear the difficulties and challenges of single life, you will never be able to bear the difficulties and challenges of married life.’ I sat a bit stunned. Those words were a call to action for me to make my life wonderful regardless of any situation or difficulty I faced. If I made a happy single life for myself, it would determine the happiness I would have as a married woman, and I wanted a happy future.”
Having a happy single life is a personal decision. It is the ability to see beyond the loneliness and the emptiness and focus on the blessings that come with being single. Being happy is always a decision.
So, how can you find happiness in single life?
In the Book of Mormon, a particular verse offers great advice on how to live a happy single life. 2 Nephi 32:20 says “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.”
1. Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ
Sometimes, feelings of frustrations and sadness can come to your life because of not knowing what the future holds for you. But, there is someone who knows the bright future ahead of you. The Lord loves you, and He wants you to be happy. Trust in Him and trust that He has prepared great things for you in the future. It is true you can only see the now, but you can make the most out of it. Rely on the Lord and trust in His plan.
While waiting for love to come, pursue other righteous goals that will prepare you for a relationship. Learn a new language, improve your skills of self-reliance, seek further education, do the things that make you passionate. Press forward!
2. Having a Perfect Brightness of Hope
You may not have a perfect love story now, but there are still little everyday moments that, if noticed, can bring joy. Joy comes when we learn to appreciate the things and the moments that we have rather than be sad for what we don’t. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said it beautifully:
“Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.”
3. Love of God and Love of all Men
You may be single now, but that does not mean you can’t share your love. Serving others is a great anti-depressant, and it is backed by science. In “Volunteering — 7 Big Reasons Why Serving Others Serves Us” published on huffingtonpost.com, Kathy Gottberg writes:
“According to Stephen G. Post, professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University in New York and author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, a part of our brain lights up when we help others. That part of our brain then doles out feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and possibly serotonin. According to Post, “These chemicals help us feel joy and delight — helper’s high.” A common reaction is that “some people feel more tranquil, peaceful, serene; others, warmer and more trusting.” When we volunteer we often give ourselves deeper purpose and meaning and that nearly always leads to greater happiness.”
When you learn to forget yourself and serve God through serving others, you feel joy. The emptiness and loneliness that comes with being single are replaced by a new sense of love, happiness, and fulfillment. So, if you sometimes feel a little glum, look for a service opportunity!
In closing her speech to the single adults of the LDS Church, Sister Oaks shared a powerful testimony:
“The Lord is aware of us. He knows each one of us individually. He not only hears our prayers, He knows our anguish, our fears, our trials, our triumphs—He is beside us. We need only call on Him, and He will be with us. Having faith doesn’t mean you will be filled with joy and conviction every moment. Having faith means you keep persisting and believing that the blessing and comfort lie ahead—, and I testify to you they do. The Lord desires that we draw near to Him, and in His own time and His own way He will draw near to us.”
Being single isn’t easy, and there may be more challenges ahead. However, remembering to trust in God, find joy in present life, and serving others will not only help you find joy in single life but also leave you better prepared when your time to love comes. Don’t forget to keep trying and believing. Your blessings will come.