By Kelly-Jayne McGlynn, Crosswalk.com
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single editors.
Hello. I’m working, unmarried, not dating anyone, and am wondering when is the right time to move into a place of my own? I have lived with different female roommates over the years since graduating college, sometimes women from my church, but I’m getting a little tired of changing roommates every year and dealing with the drama. But, I feel like somehow me moving into a place or my own or buying my own house is like giving up on the dream of getting married. What do you think?
Hi! I can relate to this question so much, thank you for sending it in! Adjusting to new roommates over and over can certainly be exhausting, especially learning how to navigate all types of personalities and backgrounds. Having the common ground of all being Christians can definitely help, but that never guarantees an easy household or easy friendship! And who you live with, or with anyone at all, is a big decision that affects many areas of your life.
Everyone’s needs are incredibly different, but I have three thoughts that could help guide you in this decision, all around the idea that you should do what is best for you spiritually.
1. Roommates can help us grow to be more like Christ
I think the first question I would have to ask myself while making this decision is if I’m running away from something challenging because I just simply would rather not go through hardship, i.e. do I just not want roommates because it is easier to live alone? I’m not advocating living with just any stranger you met or putting up with abuse. But I’d ask yourself to think about all the benefits of having roommates and how they have helped you grow in the past.
Roommates help us grow in self-awareness and selflessness, we get to learn how to get along with all types of people, and we get to learn how to speak up when something is bothering us in a constructive way. All of these things help us to grow in love and to be more like Jesus. Especially if your roommates aren’t followers of Christ, it’s an especially effective way to share your faith and life with someone!
Honestly, it would be easier, in certain senses, to live alone. No one else’s dishes to do but yours, no one else to talk to in the morning before you’ve had your coffee, not having to deal with roommate fights over who used who’s shampoo again. But a couple scriptures that keep me motivated during those conflicts is Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”, and John 17:22-23 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
God loves it when we join him in his mission to put the world back together, and not tear it apart. So I think it’s worth asking yourself “Have I made every effort on my part to live at peace with my roommates? How might it help me to grow spiritually to keep living with them? How might I grow spiritually having a place of my own?”
2. Know how to get your needs met
Everyone’s mental and emotional needs are different. Personally, I’m an introverted extrovert. I adore being around people until a certain point, and then I’m down for the count and need some serious time to myself to recoup. Recently though, I tried going on a solo vacation to the beach for a couple days. It was so bad for me mentally! I spent a whole week getting out of the funk I put myself in just because I’m privy to getting stuck in my own head. So, I know that living by myself will probably never be a good option for me.
But you might be completely different. You might thrive having an environment just to yourself and it might help you to be even more giving and loving because you’ve gotten enough time to regain your social strength. In order to feel filled and encouraged, how much time do you need by yourself vs. time with others? Know this about yourself before living alone. Ask people who know you really well what they think would be most beneficial for you.
In addition to roommates helping us to be like Jesus, they can serve two other purposes: 1) They help meet our social and emotional needs, and 2) they provide accountability. I would have a plan in place for how you would get those needs met before deciding to move into a place of your own.
Jesus set us up in communities for very good reasons. For one example, Ecclesiastes 4:10 says “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” As well, we need eachother to stay in the light about our sin and to pray for eachother! James 5:16 says “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Having Christian roommates are a ready-made way to get these two needs met. However, they are certainly not the only ways. You can set up consistent time with a discipling partner. You can schedule time every week to meet with your small group and do something fun. There are even apps, like My Mobile Watchdog, that could give someone in your life that you trust access to your phone/internet usage, so you have extra accountability not to fall into sin.
Again, everyone is different, but I think the key to deciding your living arrangement is to ask what will be best for you and your walk with God in the long run.
3. Life doesn’t only start when we get married
I definitely can understand the feeling that moving into your own place, without a husband, feels like you’re being moved into the “forever single” category in life. But this just isn’t true. That is just Satan taking advantage of an insecurity.
I can’t promise you a husband, of course, but I can repeat Jesus’ promise: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
I have a couple friends, actually, who have within the past two years bought a home of their own and lived by themselves for the first time. Then, within those past two years, both of them have gotten engaged! In the meantime, though, they pursued their passions. They excelled in their careers, gave their hearts to their ministries, and made it a point to enjoy life. They didn’t wait for their life to start until they got married—they took Jesus at his word that he came to give them life to the full, at any stage.
It’s never too late for God’s perfect timing, and God’s design for marriage is the joining of two different lives, not just the beginning of one together. I’d encourage you to take hold of Jesus’ promise that life with him is life to the full—with or without a husband—but also be secure in knowing that God knows the desires of your heart, and you can trust him with it fully. As long as you are putting your relationship with him first, you have nothing to fear!
Kelly-Jayne McGlynn is the Family Editor for Crosswalk.com. She loves being able to combine her love for God with her love of writing, and highly enjoys being at a job where the debate over the Oxford Comma actually matters.
Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.
Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email [email protected] (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Antionio Diaz
Kelly-Jayne McGlynn loves her role as Family Editor for Crosswalk. She sees the act of expression, whether through writing or art, as a way to co-create with God and experience him deeper. Check out her handmade earring Instagram and Etsy for more of her thoughts on connecting with God through creative endeavors.