Transitioning from “Single and Lonely” to “Single and Loved”
by Gary Chapman
Married or single, young or old, every human has the emotional need to feel loved. When this need is met, we move out to reach our potential for God and our potential for good in the world. However, when we feel unloved, we struggle just to survive.
Single adults—a very diverse group of people—can be thought of within five categories: never marrieds, divorced, separated but not divorced, widowed, and a group that intersects with the others, single parents. However, these groups are still united by those factors that hold all of us together as humans. Everyone wrestles with values, morals, relationships, and meaning. If you are a single adult, just like everyone else, you’re seeking to understand yourself and your place in the world.
However, often, if not always, this pursuit of understanding for the single is accompanied by an unwelcome but common companion: loneliness. There’s no denying that the single life can sometimes be better referred to as the lonely life. Singleness, depending on your category of singleness, puts different struggles of loneliness in your path.
Loneliness can mean many different things: virginity, feeling left behind, raising kids alone, grieving the loss of a spouse, struggling to find someone to connect with, insecurity, unmet desires, and much more. But at the core, this group of people are all dealing with the same thing: not being married. There is an inevitable loneliness that, whether occasional or constant, all single people have to face. There’s no denying the importance of keeping significant relationships in your life, not necessarily of the romantic kind, but friendships and family relationships.
All We Need Is Love
The most important factor in every significant relationship is love. As a single adult you want to feel loved by the significant people in your life. You also want to believe that others need your love. Giving and receiving love is at the center of every single adult’s sense of well-being. If you feel loved and needed, you can survive the pressures of life. But without love, life can become exceedingly bleak.
While virtually every human being has people they care for and want to show love to, there are language barriers to our expressions of love. Chances are, there are at least a few people in your life who love you and believe they are communicating it to you effectively. However, they may be speaking English while you only understand French, so to speak.
Likewise, there are probably people in your life you love who are not hearing your expressions of love. In my experience as a marriage counselor, I have discovered there are five ways in which love is spoken and heard: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
Much of the pain in broken relationships in our world stems from the truth that many of us in Western culture have never been serious students of love. We haven’t really taken it seriously enough to learn how it actually works. Dozens of single adults from all categories and all ages have discovered that a proper understanding of love, spoken and heard in the appropriate language, really does have the potential to change the world—and, more succinctly, to change individual relationships.
This excerpt adaptation from The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition (©2014) by Gary Chapman has been reprinted with permission of Northfield Publishing. All rights reserved.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.