40 and Single – How Do I  Cope?

40 and Single – How Do I Cope?

Many singles have woken up one day and discovered “wow! I’m 40 and single; how do I cope?

There are many reasons why one may still be single at 40. Some of the most commonly known reasons are as follows:-

Death of a spouse, Never Been Married, Divorce, Health or Personal Choice

Truth be told, 99.9999% of single people out there (especially women) never saw themselves single at 40 or beyond.

Of all the reasons for being single, one that poses the greatest challenge is that of never being married. Am I saying that other reasons are not as daunting or challenging? Nope! But sometimes society dictates otherwise.

Coming to Terms With Being 40 and Single

 Navigating the waters of being single after 40 differs from one person to the other. But the constant factor that must anchor every Christian single is the bible.

Although many physiologists have a lot of theories on coming to terms with singlehood after 40, nothing beats the word of God.

To come to terms with your single status, you have to believe God’s word and hold on to it, come rain or shine.

Don’t roll your eyes just yet. Let’s consider these scriptures:-

1st Corinthians 7:17 The Message

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.

Ephesians 1:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:4-6 The Message (MSG)

3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Practical Ways of Dealing With Singleness

Free yourself from societal expectation

So many single people live in constant fear of what people are saying about them. They are taunted by the ridicule and castigation of society.

I have first hand experience of it here in our African society. I’ve also heard about the experiences of my sisters in other climes and societies.

From the snide remarks at weddings, baby showers or other family gatherings. To the insinuation that something must be wrong with you if such a pretty and intelligent woman can’t get anyone to marry her. Or the admonition that you should please tone down your intelligence and assertiveness so that you wouldn’t intimidate potential suitors… the lines are unending.

For the guys, I’ve heard it said that a guy that’s still single at 40 and above must be irresponsible. In some circles, they say that there must be something wrong with the man physically (in reference to his sexual health/ abilities). In this day and age some people even go as far as questioning the person’s sexual orientation.

It can be exhausting I know but we all have to learn to cope with it.

 Tips for coping

Let me share some of the coping mechanisms, I’ve adopted over the years

Spiritual Fortification

Before going for any gathering that I know may trigger pressure, I meditate on some scriptures. I call this my spiritual fortification

I keep emphasizing the fact that the bible is an anchor for our souls. Please don’t trivialize this fact or take it as cliché.

These scriptures work for me and I believe they’ll work for you too. Let me share some of them with you . They are Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 49. You can still find more for yourself.

In addition to meditating on scriptures, I pray in tongues for a bit. This helps to keep me grounded because I could become caustic if aggravated. I’ve noticed that this helps to fortify me and keep me calm no matter the jabs, innuendos or aggravations. 

Psychological Fortification

In addition to meditating on scriptures, I remind myself that life is an adventure and not a plan.

When I was coming to earth, I didn’t come with a plan. I was just born! I had no say on who my parents were going to be or about any aspect of my life. So there’s no need to stress myself over any situation

This is not a “Que será, sera” attitude but a paradigm shift. Build up a stronghold in your mind that you are complete in Christ and that nothing is wrong with you.

Marriage is not a reward for good behavior neither is singleness a punishment for bad behavior.

I would not be bamboozled into fulfilling anyone’s expectation of me. I would be courageous enough to trust God’s plan for my life.

Please note that these affirmations and fortifications is not a one off exercise but a continuous exercise. Trust me, the more you engage in this exercise, the calmer you become and more equipped to ignore all that society throws at you.

Avoid Pressure triggering situations

Try to avoid those situations where you are always put under undue pressure.

I’ve had to delete some numbers from my contact. I don’t attend every program I’m invited to (especially by long time acquaintances) I’m not saying you should cut off everyone from your past but learn how to evade too much proximity that leads to comparison.

 Case in point; I was invited to the wedding of one of my Sunday school kids (she’s 20 years younger than I am). I knew most of my old acquaintances would be there and the first question out of their mouths would be “when would we attend your own wedding? Or why don’t you want to get married?  So I called the bride-to-be’s mum (who happened to be an old friend) and asked for the bride’s account number (this was after making the requisite enquiries and congratulatory speech).

Thereafter, I made my excuses and expressed regrets at my inability to be at the wedding. Then immediately wired a cash gift to the account. This was a case where I could avoid the event. But in a case where you can’t avoid the event, you fortify yourself before attending.

Anyway, that’s my personal opinion and experience. You may differ or have a better way to handle this… I’d love to hear from you.

There are so many other pressure triggering situations and events. Learn to identify yours and ask for divine wisdom on how to avoid them or at best cope in those situations.

Surround Yourself With A Positive Support System

Be An Active Member of A Church

As the saying goes “no man is an island”. Everybody needs someone; that one or two persons that you can be vulnerable with and not feel judged or condemned.

As a Christian, it is pertinent that you have a church family. This is so important that we can’t gloss over it. We need to emphasize this point especially in this day and age where one can be a member of a church by proxy. Do not assume that logging on to a service and joining in the chat room conversation is the same as physical attendance and membership.  

Remember Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of the saints. When you meet with other believers, you are encouraged and exhorted. You receive fortification to face the pressures and storms of life.  Additionally, you get the right kind of support!

Proverbs 27:17 says that iron sharpens iron….

Some may say that church folks have done them more evil than good. Hmmmm! Stay with us; we’ll discuss the purpose of the church in later posts.

Have Friends of Like Faith and Values

In building a positive support system, you need to bear in mind that they have to be people of like faith and values.  Amos 3:3 says “can two walk together except they agree?  Do not surround yourself with people who scoff at scriptures. Or those who tell you to be real (that is suggesting that scriptures are fluffy but worldly philosophies are real).

Case in point:

Me: My hormones have been running wild lately; I need some TLC(tender, loving, care).

Happy go lucky, church going friend: I can hook you up with a cool bloke. No questions asked. After all God knows we have needs.

Same scenario, spirit-led friend: Let’s go take in a movie or go for a Zumba session. You’ll be fine.

Who do you think I should hang out with? The one who affirms my sexual frustrations and proffers one night stands or friends with benefits?   Or the one who helps me find healthy alternative outlet for my frustrations?

Every human being is a slave to something; no one is actually “free” in the true sense. But thank God that we can choose our chains!  Ponder this:

Romans 6:16

New International Version

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

New Living Translation

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

The right kind of support would not only keep you away from sin but would also build you up emotionally.

Don’t be friends with negative people. Don’t be friends with people who love comparison(2nd Corinthians 10:12b NIV :When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise). Don’t be friends with people who sap you of spiritual or emotional energy. Don’t! Don’t!! Don’t!!!

Your support group should be people whose values mirror yours; people who would look you in the eye and tell you the truth in love.

Learn To Play And Have Fun

When you hit age 40 and above, tendency is that you have become set in your ways. You go to work, come back home, eat and sleep.

Some folks are fortunate enough to love exercise or have developed an exercise regimen. So these ones may hit the gym or exercise routes twice or more times a week.

Other folks who are active in church or ministry would also invest their energy in church or ministry activities.

At the end of the day you find out that life seems to become a chore or burden. But it shouldn’t be!

Find activities that excite you! Make out time to play and have fun with friends and family (minus pressure triggering events; the keyword is fun. If it aint fun or healthy, stay away!).

Do not isolate yourself!

Life should not be all about responsibilities and obligations. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy life; everyday that comes is a blessing from God. He has freely given us all things to enjoy.

Conclusion

Determine today to enjoy life in your single status. Whether single by choice, never married or made single by circumstance remember that your status in life does not define you.

You are already accepted in the beloved and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

The truth is that you do not just have to cope with being 40 and single; you can be 40, 50 or 60 and above and still flourish.

It’s not over until you draw your last breath; if you are still here, then you’re not done.

I’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us in our comments section; we’ll be glad to respond.

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