As the summer draws near so does the influx of Facebook updates, Instagram photos and (if you're lucky) wedding invitations.
As a single woman in her 30s who has felt drawn to settle and commit in this way since her late teens; there is often a bittersweet sentiment attached to this season. You want to feel happy for those declaring their love for one another, but sometimes you have that painful pang or downright sword-in-the-heart feeling that you are still 'on the shelf'.
So to in order to not only survive wedding season, but to genuinely be able to celebrate the happiness of our friends and loved ones, I've compiled some helpful tips:
1. Pray - Sounds cliche, but I really believe God can take on any amount of pain and disappointment we might be feeling. Although it sometimes doesn't disappear immediately or entirely in that moment; I do believe he can bring peace and healing to the feelings that come up. Even if it's just getting us through to the next time we feel 'that pang' where we may need to lay it before him again (not because he can't do it first time but because it's a process).
2. Remind - Another helpful (although difficult if you're feeling rejected or heartbroken) tip is to look up the Bible passages where God talks about his love and plans for our lives. It can be very helpful to remember that the truest and purest love comes from him; even amidst the feeling that we would rather feel that love with a body attached (who doesn't need cuddles right?).
3. Treat - Sometimes we need to do something that shows love and nurture for ourselves. This could be as cheap as a long luxurious bath with all the trimmings (I'm thinking music, luxurious bath products, maybe even candles?) or having a new haircut, or doing a favourite hobby.
4. Surround - Although it's perfectly reasonable to want to barricade yourself in your bedroom and hide under your duvet; sometimes you have to resist that urge, and run into the arms of those who do love and care about you. I think this also includes 'those days' where you might need to see a few of those special people in your life with tears (and probably snot) sliding down your face, wearing your pyjamas, and surrounded by the evidence of having binged on all your favourite comfort foods!
5. Support - This can be a hard one. If you know someone who is getting married, even if you're not invited (often an additional blow) find a way of helping them out. I've been behind the scenes often enough to know weddings can be extremely stressful; so why not ask if there's anything that needs to be done? Helping can actually provide a distraction (sometimes) and I'm sure the happy couple would really appreciate it, especially on the days before the wedding. A good side note to remember about this though, is that your individual input may not be fully recognised or acknowledged in the way you might have hoped; and it’s important not to to take this personally. I have found sometimes in the busyness of it all your name slips off the 'thank you list' and you can end up feeling a bit unappreciated and rejected all over again. In my opinion the best thing to do is go out of your way to be a blessing, and then leave it all in God's hands knowing that he's sees your heart and effort.
It can be tempting to ignore or push down the pain that sometimes comes from other people’s happiness; but I believe with God’s help it is possible to sail through this season, rather than be drowned by it. Who knows Mr or Mrs ‘Right’ might be sat on your table?!
Rose Philips lives in London, and is a single mum to a spirited toddler! She takes a realistic view on the struggles of Christian living in the 21st Century, and actively seeks out godly solutions. She longs to see an end to loneliness in the church; and God’s people walking in wholeness and healing.