I must apologize for being MIA these last months, as several projects have been keeping me very busy. I am working on a book for those suffering from prolonged singleness. More specifically, my book offers hope for those desiring marriage by sharing the theological truths that helped me to seek God for a suitable spouse. I hope to offer more information about this project in 2024.
Also, I teamed up with Celeste Sibolboro, of Love Is On Its Way, in the spring and summer. We offered two live classes on hope and biblical dating principles. If you missed these and would like to know more, please feel free to reach out to me.
If you are struggling this holiday season with finding or maintaining hope for marriage, I understand. I was there. The Christmas season is always a reminder that you don’t have your own family to celebrate with. The weeks of Advent, however, can be a doorway to great hope for the future.
It was during this very time, 2009, that God spoke a word to my heart regarding my own prolonged singleness. I commiserated in prayer that, once again, another holiday season was passing by, and I was missing out. Then, this thought led to me telling God once more about everything I had missed out on as I was forty-one years old. I would never know what it was like to enjoy being the “wife of someone’s youth” and having all of the experiences that accompany this.
I opened my Bible to a Scripture in the Book of Job: “Thus the LORD blessed the later days of Job more than his earlier ones” (42:12a). In total shock because I had never read this verse before, and it was a foreign idea to me that the later part of someone’s life could be more blessed than the earlier part, this verse changed the trajectory of my emotions. I no longer felt that I was getting the short end of the stick in terms of life and blessings. As it turned out, I met my husband four months later.
I share this with you because I believe the scripture from Job was not just a word for me, but a promise to all who endure prolonged singleness. I also offer it to you now during this season of Advent because this is when I received it. Furthermore, Advent is the perfect time for all of us to grow in our hope for God. Hope for Christ’s second coming, hope for the growth of the Holy Spirit in each of us, and hope for God’s help with the impossible circumstances that each of us face.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us the following about this liturgical season:
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase as I must decrease.” (CCC, 524)
The struggle with prolonged singleness is very similar. Our deepest longing is for God, whether we recognize it or not. And the profound desire each of has for love and marriage—to share our life with a spouse—was put there by God to mirror him and the communion shared by the Most Holy Trinity. We are longing for something we were created for, something that God wants to give us. It is part of our longing for God himself because it reflects God’s own Trinitarian life.
As much as all of us must work on our sanctification, as well as the things that may be keeping us from finding love and marriage, ultimately only God can get someone married. At first, this may seem scary. It was for me because I was afraid that God would leave me single. But the more I learned about his character, and the truth about the vocation of marriage, I was able to grow in faith and trust his goodness. God “must increase as I must decrease.” The same could be true for you.
This past year I appeared as a guest on three different programs. I want to share them with you as resources of support in your journey from prolonged singleness to marriage. Please check out the following:
- Ready for Love: Deeply Connect with the Faith, the Saints, and Find a Godly Relationship. This is a talk I gave for a conference. Please click on the link to find the video on YouTube.
- Mamas in Spirit: A Catholic Podcast with Lindy Wynne. Someone once said that I make it look like I got married and lived happily ever after. I really don’t think this true! I always say that once you get married, that’s when God can really start to work on your issues. This is one reason marriage is so important. Well, in this episode, I share some of the heavy lifting that has been going on in my life, the issues that God was finally able to address in me as a result of being married. Take a listen at:
- Candid Catholic Convos:The podcast of the Diocese of Harrisburg. I had a great conversation with Rachel Troche about prolonged singleness, the desire and struggle to marry, and the especially trying times of the holidays for singles. Don’t miss the tips and tidbits offered:
If you don’t already, please consider following me on Instagram, as I post more frequently here. Also, if you are looking for one-on-one mentoring assistance with your prolonged singleness, I am available to work with you. Please click on the above link and you will see information on my website under the “Work With Me” page.
In conclusion, I am looking forward to offering more resources to you in 2024. Until next year, I wish you a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, from whom all good things come!
Julieanne M. Bartlett All Rights Reserved Copyright 2023