To the Single Girl Who’s Given up Hope
Somewhere in my bedroom, buried beneath a dusty collection of books and birthday cards there are a few notes I wrote to my future husband when I was a preteen. On personalized stationery, I scribbled prayers for his heart (wherever in the world he happened to be). They’ve never been opened.
This isn’t a post about the night I handed those letters to a guy I loved. This isn’t about how the moment was everything I ever wanted and more: sweet and romantic, a dream come true. I’m not married.
No, this post is for the single woman. If you’re wondering whether you’re allowed to admit that you have unopened letters too—hope in sealed envelopes—which may never be read by another, this post is for you. Is it safe to share your longings for the future? The fears that your dreams will never come true?
Your Most Fragile Hope
Hope can feel incredibly fragile. Think about the last time you sat across from a friend and listened to her open up about a quiet desire, whether it was her dream to stay home with her kids, to pursue a new career, or to be healed from a struggle that’s been present her whole life. When she decided to tell you, it was as if she handed you a piece of her heart and trusted you to handle it with care.
Sharing your hope, no matter the topic, feels delicate because hope expects an outcome. Hope looks to some sort of fulfillment or measure of success. When a friend speaks about what she hopes will happen, she becomes vulnerable to the possibility that it will never come to pass.
Rather than risk the embarrassment of having to explain what went wrong when our hopes don’t come true, it can seem safer to avoid sharing them at all—even with God. We may try to shove away longings, thinking it will help us feel less disappointed if the desired outcome never occurs.
As a single woman, you may think that if you give up hoping for a husband you won’t feel as bad when your relationship status remains the same. I get it. I’ve pretended it isn’t important to me and even, for seasons, stopped praying about the possibility of marriage altogether. But as followers of Jesus, we have a better option: we’ve been given a safe way to hope.
Hope and Humility
Last month, I sent a survey to a group of single adults and asked: “When you pray for your future spouse, what do you pray for?” One woman’s response stood out. “I don’t usually pray for him,” she said. “I find it difficult to pray and to believe there is a person out there for me.”
You may feel the same way. Looking back over the last few years, you may wonder why no one has asked you out. You’ve followed all the advice you’ve found online: you’ve tried to be more attractive, more interesting, more mysterious, more dateable . . . but it hasn’t made you more hopeful about finding someone. If anything, all your efforts feel like a waste of time—and now you find it even harder to pray in hope or to pray about this desire at all.
It can be difficult.
But here’s what we tend to forget: the very nature of hope is longing and waiting. “Hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?” (Rom. 8:24).
Building hope doesn’t happen by spending more time in front of a mirror. The antidote for dating discouragement isn’t found in an ambitious self-improvement plan. If we want to grow our confidence in what God alone can accomplish, we have to spend less time fixing ourselves and more time fixating on Him.
Grab your Bible, and flip to Psalm 131. This short Psalm, only three verses long, divides into two themes: humility and hope. We don’t always pair these together, but David did. He provided a model for hoping in God that you can apply to even the most personal desires of your heart.
1. Start by acknowledging your pride and recognizing your limitations.
In Psalm 131:1, David told the Lord, “My heart is not proud.” Can you say the same? You may be able to spot pride in other areas of your life but miss it when it comes to your singleness. You may even assume you’re doing okay in this area because you feel anything but arrogant about your potential for marriage. But pride loves a pity party on a Saturday night. It shows up and makes us feel sorry for ourselves for not being desired by others the way we feel we deserve. Pride turns our heads to look at friends who get more male attention than we do. Pride wants others to find us worthy and feels wounded when they don’t.
Pride also whispers that it knows more than God. David did not allow thoughts like this to slip through. He wrote, “I do not get involved with things too great or too wondrous for me” (v. 1). He actively chose humility, and he chose to not busy himself with activities that went beyond what he was able to accomplish on his own.
2. Humble yourself before the God who is not bound by anything.
David wasn’t talking about dating, but the principle sticks: we all need humble hearts. You may already believe that it’s presumptuous to think God has a husband for you, but it’s also presumptuous to believe that He doesn’t. Your knowledge is limited. You don’t know what God has planned for the future, and even if you did, you’re not able to carry it out as He alone can. He is able to take even the most “undateable” among us and match us with a spouse, if and when He wants to.
He cares. He cares about your desires, and He cares about your distrust. If this is an area where you struggle to believe God, slow down today to examine why. Ask God to help you lay down any pride that makes you believe the lie that independence is better than life surrendered to Him. Ask God to help you look to Jesus—not so that He’ll give you a husband, but so that you’ll learn how to trust Him with your whole heart. There are no safer arms to run to than His.
3. Quiet your heart in faith.
In Psalm 131:2, David expressed that a humble heart finds rest in God: “I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother,” he wrote. David learned to trust the Lord. Like a child curled up in his mother’s lap, he experienced peace—not because of his circumstances, but because of the One who held him.
You may not be in the habit of turning to God and talking to Him about your love life. But if you’re craving peace and contentment and calm, where else is there to go but to Him? Pursue Christ in prayer, knowing that nail-pierced hands hold your deepest hope.
4. Encourage others to put their hope in God.
In Psalm 131:3, David issued an invitation to all of Israel: “Put your hope in the LORD, both now and forever.” Underneath his words was a confident expectation: God would respond. David’s faith was childlike and simple, but it was secure because of the object of his hope. When you’ve learned to trust Christ, you can’t help but want others to do the same. Look to Him in faith and find that “none who wait for [Him] shall be put to shame” (Psalm 25:3 ESV).
Single friend, I get it. You’ve been burned and bruised by disappointment, and even allowing yourself to hope is hard. But know this: no one is safer than Jesus.
David was confident in God’s character—so shouldn’t we who live on this side of the cross lean even more heavily on Him? Hope directed toward Christ will never be misplaced hope, “because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5).
Lord, You already know my fears about the future. I don’t know what’s to come, but You do, and You can be trusted—no matter the outcome. I’m choosing to put my heart in Your hands, and all of my hope in the precious and powerful name of Jesus, both now and forever. Amen.