Opinion: Single and Productive – Marriage Is Not Life’s Only Objective


engagement-ringBy Rachel Davids

 I’m single, have been for a long time and, judging from the last guy that showed up on my doorstep seemingly convinced that his outfit belonged in this decade and that sitting in his car in the supermarket parking lot for two hours with a cooling cup of bad coffee is the best way to woo a date, I may be single for at least another short while.

Now all I have to do is figure out what to do until my prince figures out that I’m the one he wants.

I live in a world where getting married is number one on the list of things I feel I must do to be considered a productive member of my society. I align myself with a community and am committed to a belief system that bases itself on the structure of a family, on building a marriage and home based on the foundation of Jewish values. I really want that for myself, badly.

But the reality is — I’m single. There are many possible reasons one could suggest for my not being married, but God in His infinite wisdom knows when the time is right for me and it seems that right now is not it.

I can either live for the time when I will be married, or make every moment matter, now.

In the meantime, I have a few choices to make. I can either live for the time when I will be married, pushing off “real life” plans in my career and other relationships, and walk around as if I’ve gotten the shortest end of the stick and am just waiting for the good times to come — a real picture of misery. Or I can make every moment of my life matter, now and always.

“Singles,” as we are called, have endless opportunities to do good that “marrieds” simply don’t, and as much as I would like to be married, I often think of the things I will give up once it happens. I love it that my apartment has somehow turned into a hotel over the last few years. A husband may not be as comfortable as I am with 13 teenage girls crashing on every inch of floor space for five nights, and when I do get married, I may have to tone that down a bit. I won’t be able to take care of friends’ kids while they take a quick vacation together, go on a last minute vacation myself, drive people to airports hours away with no notice to anyone.

In my personal growth I can go to classes whenever and wherever I would like. I have time to study a variety of subjects and get to know different families, learning from them when I spend Shabbos in their homes. The list of opportunities is endless. It’s easy to say that I could get so much more accomplished “if only…” but the world doesn’t work like that. We have only to look at the gifts and opportunities we have in each situation in order to really feel happy with our lot.

While working on filling my time with meaningful and productive activities, I have to keep my goal of marriage in mind. God meets us more than half way when it comes to things we want, but we must put in our effort. I try to surround myself with people whom I enjoy and love, who can help me through rough times and cheer me up after another bad date. I keep networking, knowing that somehow through degrees of separation someone knows my beshert. And most of all, I keep praying, knowing that finding my other half is in the hands of the Almighty. I will continue to beseech Him and let Him know how painful it is to be alone. I know He is listening and wants only the best for me.

Love is giving and I have to practice.

The Hebrew word for love is ahava, from the root hav, to give. It’s a verb, not a noun. Love is giving and I have to practice. I am currently in training for the ultimate acts of ahava, towards a husband and children. I admit I am an overachiever; here is the chance for me to be the Olympic gold medalist!

Ultimately, marriage is not our sole purpose in this world. God gave us marriage as a tool for accomplishing wonderful things in His world and we cannot fulfill our job in this world without it; but it is not the only objective of life. A rabbi once told me that a single person should work on themselves to be the person they envision they will be when married instead of assuming they will automatically become that person once they have a ring on their finger.

People are amazed that I am constantly entertaining, cooking and hosting guests. I always respond that you don’t walk out of under the chuppah just knowing these things. I wonder how many of us singles can say that we are working hard now, at this moment, at being the person we want to be at leading the most fulfilling and productive life we can, and not just waiting for marriage to begin living our lives.

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  1. great article 🙂 I agree!! Singles have to live in the present and not just for getting married. There is a reason Hashem does not want a person to be married yet, so live now!!

  2. After dating over 11 years, I found my bashert, and am happily married. There were times in my single-hood that I was totally absorbed in my misery, and there were times when I was very focused on being happy (which involved focusing on anything other than my single state – doing chessed, hanging out with people that made me laugh etc..). I don’t think that being miserable helped me find my bashert – just the opposite, it was the time I was happy and self fulfilled that helped me reach my goal. There is no mitzvah in tearing our hair out, losing sleep, or worrying. Being self satisfied with who you spend your time with, what you do, and focusing on being happy will attract the right kind of person you want to end up with. Being miserable will attract the opposite.

  3. It is vital to have supportive company while being single. Being around people that look down upon or “nebach” singles don’t understand the hurt and agmas nefesh they cause. Please treat us like you’d treat a married person and say hi. We’re not invisible even though you wish we were. I recently overheard a conversation that went like this “I can’t give Sarah a ride…she’s still single after all these years…what will I talk to her about?” – I could just cry!

  4. On the other hand, perhaps you can work on yourself not to judge someone based on the suit he wears. Is that really what you look for in a husband?

  5. If I were you I would kick and scream to get married. If you don’t do so you will end up being 50 without you realizing it and then what? Going to sleep and “Just accepting” your situation is exactly what the Yazer Hara wants you do. You have to be active!!!

  6. To Moshe-

    Do you actually think that our parents are sleeping I will have you know that my parents call shadchanim every single night!Most shadchanim are USELESS!

    And yes family friends are quite well aware of the fact that I am in the parsha of shidduchim!Few have tried to help most come with the excuse of too busy..,don’t know boys…,my husband’s not the type to approach boy x…Nobody just sits there with out trying to get themselves a shidduch.What are they suppose to do have a nervous breakdown I mean lets be real over here.Most people would love to get married right away.Until they get married – they might as well try and be upbeat and productive rather than become a recluse/hermit! May all those that are searching for their basherts find them bekarov!

  7. moshe- kicking and screaming has never, to my knowledge, gotten anyone married. but doing chesed, working on middos, and improving avodas hashem all eventually work. if anything, through all her activities, she is bound to meet someone who might know someone…

  8. Moshe-
    I do not think that anyone is just sitting around accepting the fact that they are single. But we have choices we can sit around crying we are single and do nothing but wait or we can use this opportunity to grow while we wait. I know for myself over the past 10 odd years of dating I have had ups and downs and the most important advise my mother gave me was “live life” I have never been happier and I know that these years have helped me find myself- which will now only help me be a better wife and mother when Hashem sees the time fot for me to get married.
    Anonymous- I dont think anyone is only judging the suit someone wears…however, lets be honest attraction is VERY important….and I am sure if everything else but the suit he wore was ok…she would have continued going out with him. I sometimes think married people get a little hung up on finding fault with singles as a way of explaining why we are still single. We are single b/c Hashem has decided it is not yet our time!!

  9. If she decides she is attracted based on the suit he wears, then married or single, she is shallow. Don’t forget, all of us “married people” were single once too. If I had focused on the way my husband dressed, I still would be.