Single and Satisfied
elationships! While we have been created for them, they can be a bane or a blessing, a joy or a sorrow. They can promote deep satisfaction or drive one into the pit of despair.
Many people, though not all, would agree that being in a loving marital relationship has many benefits. It provides love, meaningful companionship, an understanding partner to talk with every day, someone with whom to share our joys and sorrows, security, and the joys of physical intimacy. Good marriage relationships help keep one contented, and physically and emotionally healthy.
On the other hand, without meaningful relationships we can limp along in the shadows of life eking out a miserable and sometimes lonesome existence. It has been claimed that eighty percent of life’s satisfaction comes from relationships; that is, healthy, loving relationships. Alternatively, many of the stresses and sorrows of life are caused by broken, impaired or unhealthy relationships.
But does one need to be married to experience loving relationships? If so, our society would be in sad shape as a considerable percentage of adults in today’s society are single—either having never married, or are divorced or widowed. And, of course, the high percentage of divorces testifies to the fact that marriage, in and of itself, doesn’t guarantee satisfaction—oft times just the opposite. So the answer to our question is no, one doesn’t have to be married to find fulfillment and happiness. In fact, nobody except me can make me happy. Happiness basically comes from within.
Furthermore, unless we have learned how to live fulfilled, contented and happy lives as singles, we are not likely to find fulfilling relationships or make healthy marriage partners should we decide to marry. Happy, well-adjusted people tend to have happy well-adjusted relationships. Looking to someone else to meet our unmet needs and fill the void caused by unresolved personal issues is a recipe for relational disaster. This is why it is imperative to resolve our own personal problems if we are to find loving, lasting and healthy relationships. Fundamentally, to a varying degree, especially romantically, we are as sick or as healthy as the people we are attracted to.
Happy, well-adjusted people tend to have
happy well-adjusted relationships.
If you have either chosen a single life or been thrust into it by circumstances beyond your control, the question is, as a single, "How do you find fulfillment and satisfaction in light of the fact that we have been created for relationships?"
First, make a commitment to continue growing emotionally and spiritually. Be a perpetual learner. Read widely, attend helpful relational classes, seminars and retreats. If needed, don’t hesitate to seek qualified professional counseling. These can help further improve your relationships, and build a healthy positive self-image that, according to Joyce Brothers, “is the best possible preparation for success.”
Second, and equally important, is to take care of your physical wellbeing. Without being obsessive, stick to a healthy diet and get sufficient rest, relaxation and exercise.
Third, maintain a clear conscience. There’s nothing like a guilty conscience to destroy one’s peace of mind. Put wrongs right. When needed, admit and genuinely say, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me.” Be quick to resolve negative feelings towards and forgive all who have hurt you. Resentment and nursing grudges is another sure-fire way to destroy peace of mind and damage physical health. As another has said, “Failing to forgive is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Fourth, remember that character counts. Newspapers are replete with stories of business personnel, politicians, and others who abandoned moral and ethical standards for the sake of personal gain of one kind or another. As Teddy Roosevelt stated, "To educate a person in the mind but not the morals is to educate a menace to society."
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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