I’m a single millennial who’s experienced intense pressure to begin a relationship that I don’t want. And I’m not the only one. I frequently hear single Millennials tell stories about people in their lives pushing them towards a major life change that they aren’t ready for yet—marriage. These people’s questions and statements—sometimes innocent, sometimes pointed—threaten to lure these young adults out of God’s will.
More and more Millennials are consistently hearing about their singleness from their parents, friends, siblings, other relatives, and even church leaders. The latest study by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that 44% of U.S. residents age 18 or older are single. And according to the Demographic Intelligence’s U.S. Wedding Forecast, the marriage rate was projected to break records in 2016 by dropping to 6.7 Americans out of every 1,000.
Fewer of us Millennials are concerned with getting married at the same age as generations past. Within our generation, delaying marriage until thirty is perfectly normal.
What Single Millennials Really Hear from you
We know that people rarely intend to be hurtful when they mention our singleness. But sometimes their words and reactions may come across differently than they intend them to. Here’s what single Millennials may really be hearing.
“So you’re a senior. Are you dating anyone yet?” One of the college administrators asked my friend.
“No, not yet,” she replied with half a laugh, used to this kind of question.
“No? Well, you need to get on that.”
Wait a minute. What if God doesn’t plan for my friend to get married until three years from now? Should people really want her to “get on it” now? This common advice screams inconsistency.
We Millennials hear Christians advocate contentment, but then they encourage us to try to escape our present situation. They preach trusting Christ, but then they make us feel that we aren’t doing enough ourselves. Though we many never tell you, this can be incredibly disheartening.
“I think my mother is more desperate for me to find a guy than I am!” says the college girl walking behind me.
“Well, tell your mom to have patience. You’re trying!” replies her friend.
This girl is not the only single adult to ever feel this way. Often, when singles arrive at a “marriageable” age, it can feel like family members are trying to marry them off. Not in an unloving way, of course, but to the one being ”married off,” this well-intentioned effort can cause more pain than good.
My friend Landon knows that his longing for a wife is not wrong. His desire is a good one—a God-made one. But for some reason, every relationship keeps falling apart. Landon cries himself to sleep more than once, believing he will never find anyone to marry and will grow old alone. He begins to believe something is wrong with him.
When Landon’s dad and siblings tease him about “not being able to keep a girl,” Landon laughs it off or gives a snarky response. But inwardly, the comments cut deeply into an already troubled heart.
The True Goal
Should marriage be a single person’s true goal? The obvious answer is no. Yet, sadly, we don’t always act on that knowledge, and the results are confusing and hurtful to the very people we are trying to encourage.
Different as it may be, we Millennials have our own unique way of approaching life. We may wait until later in life to “settle down,” and we may date our significant other for a much longer time than past generations did before getting married.
But we single adults need to know that you love us and are proud of us, exactly as we are—single—and that you do not wish anything more for us, outside of what we already have.
As we try to rest in God’s beautiful plan, we need you to rest too. As we trust in His omniscient timing, we need you to also trust. When we long for the good gift of love, we need to be assured of your love and belief that we are whole and well just as we are. And if someone should indeed come waltzing into our lives, we hope that you’ll celebrate with us with all the joy you can muster!
As Jesus uses you to lavish His love onto the single adults in your life, you’ll have a front row seat to watch as His sufficiency transforms their lives.