By Elissa Emoto, staff writer | Communication Studies major
Cue the romantic and heartwarming theme song, a disarmingly handsome prince, and a beautiful princess with a little bit of spunk, to encourage our disillusioned images of what a love story should look like.
If only life could be as simple as a fairytale plot with that desirable “happily-ever-after” ending. If only finding a princess locked up in a high tower or a prince charming whom you gallop away with on horseback was real life. Living a life of singleness in a culture full of unrealistic expectations is like this unspoken pressure that has slithered its way into our deepest insecurities. For a lot of people some overwhelming questions remain: Will I be single for the rest of my life? Will I ever find ‘the one?’ Here are some stories of hope, stories about defining your own season of singleness amidst the unreachable fairy dust and glass slippers.
“In second grade I started making a list of what I wanted in my husband. He has to like gummy worms or he has to like the color green,” said sophomore marketing major Lindsay Foregger. “But as I got older, things got crossed out, and I’ve had this list that is crumpled and deteriorating from all these years.”
She knows she has high expectations and worries that her list of characteristics for a suitable husband might be setting an impossible standard.
“I’m afraid of either ending up alone or having to settle,” Foregger said.
Even while disclosing her fears, Foregger also revealed her contentment with living the single life.
“I’m happy,” Foregger said. “I feel like my role isn’t to be in a relationship. It’s to mentor others and really build relationships with other girls.
Redefining Relational Identity
JP Charfauros, Pastor of SHIFT Ministries at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, Calif., firmly believes that finding contentment in singleness begins with a foundation upon God.
“You have to make sure that your solitary focus is on being a son or daughter of God first,” said Charfauros. “Having your foundation in Christ alone is the only one that can be laid.”
Charfauros, who graduated from APU in 2006, reflected on his own season of singleness as both a struggle and a blessing. He met Stephanie during their senior year in high school, and they dated for about a year and half before breaking up. Left with feelings of emptiness, Charfauros decided to dedicated his life to God and set out on a path to true identity.
“Through that break up I knew that she was my idol,” Charfauros said. “She was the one I put all my hope in, and the one who I put all my value in.”
For a year he remained single, learning more about God everyday. Although Charfauros still felt tempted to reach out to Stephanie, he continued his journey to become the man of God he felt called to be.
“I realized that family can’t become your foundation, friends can’t be your foundation, [and] the opposite sex can’t become your foundation,” said Charfauros. “The only foundation that can be laid is in Christ Jesus.”
The high school sweethearts realized that God was moving them towards a reunion after months of prayer. They dated for two more years before getting married in 2006. The couple just celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter, on November 25. Today, the couple is able to appreciate what they learned during their time apart.
“If I base my life off of my wife, she is still not going to sustain me and give me everything I need,” said Charfauros. “My identity has to be in God first or else everything else will crumble.”
Current APU students are feeling the same. Sophomore liberal studies major, Lindsey Myers, believes in having a deep love for God before diving into a romance with anyone else.
“I still need to have that romance with God, and He needs to be my spouse,” she said.
Things ended with her most recent boyfriend over the summer, which inspired Myers to reevaluate her motives for wanting a relationship.
“Can you imagine not spending time with your husband everyday?” Myers said. “And if Christ is our husband, then we need to be spending time with Him everyday.”
Junior political science major, Zach Porter, believes that the pressure to be in a relationship comes from no one else but himself.
“A lot of people talk about the idea of ‘ring by spring’ being the primary pressure to be in a relationship, but honestly that is not how I feel,” he said.
“It is an internal pressure of something that I want, rather than something that is expected of me.”
Porter explained the pressure to be in a relationship as a reflection of the care that he hopes to contribute to a romantic relationship someday. Caring is a personality trait that allows Porter to value another person’s needs and not just his own.
Allie Marie Smith is the founder of Wonderfully Made, a Christian ministry dedicated to helping young women to know their value and worth. Smith believes that once you become engaged or married you should almost feel a sense of loss for your singleness.
“I think a season of singleness really provides us with such a gift,” said Smith. “I really wish it upon every single girl and guy.”
According to Smith a season of singleness really pushes you to tackle your insecurities head on.
“Think about the dreams that God’s given you and really guard your heart,” she said, “Take the opportunity to really grow in your true value and worth or significance without a significant other.”
Now a happily married woman, Smith laughed when she admitted that she sometimes misses the freedom of being single. Some single people can find freedom in making individual choices. She used the example of no longer being able to plan a spontaneous backpacking trip to Europe without, of course, thinking about her significant other’s approval first.
“I think it is such sweet time in your life,” Smith said. “I strongly believe that the best thing a young woman or a young man can really have is that long uninterrupted season of singleness.”
Even during those solitary periods of time, it is hard ignore the potential romances and what-if relationships. Being human, we will continue to make specific lists of expectations of what we seek in a future spouse. However, singleness is also a time of self-reflection and finding your individual identity in Christ.
Last year, Foregger said God put it on her heart to reexamine the list she had made. Although she had focused on qualities she wanted in a man, she needed to consider another list.
“When do I ever make a list of things that I should be as a wife?” said Foregger who has moved on from gummy worms and the color green to an attitude of patience and learning.
“There is a man out there, and I want him to expect as much of me as I do of him,” Foregger said. “I think the best way to do that is while I’m single, to really grow in that and be mature enough to have a relationship.”