I received a call late Sunday evening and I listened as my friend’s voice quivered and her tone lowered as I sensed the pain in her voice. She was telling me about a friend’s upcoming wedding, that she wasn’t sure she could buy another dress, sit back, and watch as one of our friends stood in front of the altar and said their vows. She felt that she was reliving a dream she had envisioned for herself and yet as she neared the forty-year mark it seemed as though this dream was no longer possible.

We had enjoyed our twenties together, having spent ladies’ night eating at expensive restaurants and going to the movies, giving updates on our dating lives, and striving in our careers. However, we both felt that we were missing out, unable to experience what it meant to come home to a loved one and to a house filled with kids running up to greet you as you entered after a long day in the office. We had spent years in college, moved up in our careers, and had been blessed to make enough money to buy our own places. Even with all of this success, we didn’t have anyone to share it with. As I listened to her, I thought of the many women in my life who were finding themselves in this position. I too, until my current relationship had moments when I wondered if marriage was truly attainable.

 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:22

It was hard to listen and not have an answer beyond quoting women in the Bible like Rachel who had waited 14 years to marry Jacob or those like Hannah who was barren for many years and had children later in life. It was easy to suggest that she spend time doing what she loves and be open to meeting someone in those situations but it also was important that I acknowledge these feelings because I too have had them and I recognized that the pandemic had made being single so much harder. After all, it had been over a year since we last met up for brunch and our families lived out of state.

If you are dealing with loneliness, know that it is okay to be alone. It is okay to go through the emotions and wonder why you haven’t gotten married. It’s also okay to not attend another wedding if you don’t want to. There are ways to support friends while taking care of your mental health. First, cry out to God for what you want and acknowledge how blessed you are. Second, be willing to look within and be honest with yourself about where you needed to better yourself to be prepared for a life of marriage. Third, recognize that our timing is not always aligned with God’s timing. And finally, remember that the Bible doesn’t state that we must be married by a certain age.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Preparing for marriage takes time and those steps may look different for all of us. Are you too picky? Are you only career-focused? Are you done with partying every weekend? These are just a few things to think about when considering a life with a partner. Are you ready to become one with someone and deal with all of the things that come with that? Unconditional love, compromise, respect, and more.