Single and Productive
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Single and Productive

Single and Productive

Marriage is not life's only objective.

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I'm single, have been for a long time and, judging from the last guy that showed up on my doorstep seemingly convinced that his outfit belonged in this decade and that sitting in his car in the supermarket parking lot for two hours with a cooling cup of bad coffee is the best way to woo a girl, I may be single for at least another short while.

Now all I have to do is figure out what to do until my prince figures out that I'm the one he wants.

I live in a world where getting married is number one on the list of things I feel I must do to be considered a productive member of my society. I align myself with a community and am committed to a belief system that bases itself on the structure of a family, on building a marriage and home based on the foundation of Jewish values. I really want that for myself, badly.

But the reality is -- I'm single. There are many possible reasons one could suggest for my not being married, but God in His infinite wisdom knows when the time is right for me and it seems that right now is not it.

I can either live for the time when I will be married, or make every moment matter, now.

In the meantime, I have a few choices to make. I can either live for the time when I will be married, pushing off "real life" plans in my career and other relationships, and walk around as if I've gotten the shortest end of the stick and am just waiting for the good times to come -- a real picture of misery (Want to hang out?). Or I can make every moment of my life matter, now and always.

"Singles," as we are called, have endless opportunities to do good that "marrieds" simply don't, and as much as I would like to be married, I often think of the things I will give up once it happens. I love it that my apartment has somehow turned into a hotel over the last few years. A husband may not be as comfortable as I am with 13 teenage girls crashing on every inch of floor space for five nights, and when I do get married, I may have to tone that down a bit. I won't be able to take care of friends' kids while they take a quick vacation together, go on a last minute vacation myself, drive people to airports hours away with no notice to anyone.

In my personal growth I can go to classes whenever and wherever I would like. I have time to study a variety of subjects and get to know different families, learning from them when I spend Shabbos in their homes. The list of opportunities is endless. It's easy to say that I could get so much more accomplished "if only..." but the world doesn't work like that. We have only to look at the gifts and opportunities we have in each situation in order to really feel happy with our lot.

While working on filling my time with meaningful and productive activities, I have to keep my goal of marriage in mind. God meets us more than half way when it comes to things we want, but we must put in our effort. I try to surround myself with people whom I enjoy and love, who can help me through rough times and cheer me up after another bad date. I keep networking, knowing that somehow through degrees of separation someone knows my beshert. And most of all, I keep praying, knowing that finding my other half is in the hands of the Almighty. I will continue to beseech Him and let Him know how painful it is to be alone. I know He is listening and wants only the best for me.

Love is giving and I have to practice.

The Hebrew word for love is ahava, from the root hav, to give. It's a verb, not a noun. Love is giving and I have to practice. I am currently in training for the ultimate acts of ahava, towards a husband and children. I admit I am an overachiever; here is the chance for me to be the Olympic gold medalist!

Ultimately, marriage is not our sole purpose in this world. God gave us marriage as a tool for accomplishing wonderful things in His world and we cannot fulfill our job in this world without it; but it is not the only objective of life. A rabbi once told me that a single person should work on themselves to be the person they envision they will be when married instead of assuming they will automatically become that person once they have a ring on their finger.

People are amazed that I am constantly entertaining, cooking and hosting guests. I always respond that you don't walk out of under the chuppah just knowing these things. I wonder how many of us singles can say that we are working hard now, at this moment, at being the person we want to be at leading the most fulfilling and productive life we can, and not just waiting for marriage to begin living our lives.

Published: July 19, 2009


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Visitor Comments: 38

(38) Manya, September 10, 2013 10:54 PM

dating

It sounds like you enjoy being single. You have listed several activites that you really enjoy being able to do that you wouldn't see yourself being able to do if you were married. I have recently spoke with a few of my own rebbetzins and read brief sections of marriage books and it seems like one of the most important caveats of marriage is compromise. This means that you put on hold your own needs to satisfy your partner. For example, many religious couples start their relationship off in Israel. This can be overwhelming to someone who has grown up in a secular society that taught them that getting advanced degrees is the best way to spend your time in order to secure your future. This is a road block for me as I want to continue my education when I graduate from undergrad and don't really feel like compromising about this at the moment. This decision could delay my dating and even have serious ramifications for my future relationship. I hope that after finishing my BS and attending a seminary in Israel for one year upon graduating that I am able to put my desires of continuing school right after seminary on hold in order to find my besheret. Obviously this isn't for everyone. If you value your independence that is fine, but something we have to realize is that in life you cannot have everything think you want. This is a tough idea to grapple with and I find myself thinking about it. A very trusted friend told me that she will know that I am ready to date when I am not bogged down by feeling like I am sacrificing something for my beshert. It won't feel like that when I am truly ready to date. I hope this helps.

(37) Anonymous, May 16, 2011 4:03 PM

L.A. is not the place to find a proper shidduch

I was born and raised in Los Angeles.I converted to Judaism in 1980 in Jerusalem and 30 years later am still single.For half of my Jewish life I lived in Los Angeles,in Pico Robertson and never once met a religious Jewish man who was even in the same ball park.I remember sitting at a kiddush where so called frum men spoke of wanting to marry a frum Miss America! All of my serious girlfriends moved to New York and most of them,but not all,found their besheret there.Not in Los Angeles. I have lived in Israel the past 15 years and am still single,but no longer worry about it.HaShem must have his reasons,and whatever they are they did not include marriage and children for me. I want to encourage Rachel to move to New York or anywhere else,because Los Angeles may not be the best place to find a mate.

(36) Melissa, May 6, 2011 12:52 AM

There's hope for everyone.

My sister recently got married & she was on the "dating scene" for about 15 years so... there's hope for everyone. I also know someone who got married at 61ish so yeah. G'luck to everyone!

(35) SusanE, October 26, 2009 6:23 PM

Interesting Column Interesting comments.

If I wanted to marry, I would. We women use excuses for not having a steady man around. " I couldn't find a man. Or it's a jungle out there. Or he wouldn't commit. He's not the one G-d choose for me. It's not my time. And on and on". If any woman truly wants to marry or just to have a boyfriend she will. (Exact same with a man) The excuses we women use are screens. Most of these women are not comfortable admitting that the real reason they not married is because they don't want to be. For all the women who do date the men who won't take them for a nice evening out. Either the men are married and can't get dressed up for a date, or he is on an allowance from his wife and she will want to know where the money went. (this is very true, and is a classic married man date). Married men have countless ways of dating single women. .~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One thing I've not read much about here in the Dating area of Aish, is how the mans friends treat THEIR girlfriends and wives. If you are not included in his circle of friends, and he doesn't include you in group activities with them you aren't included period. Likewise if he doesn't want to go out for group activities with your circle of friends, something is wrong. If you haven't met his friends then beware of him.

(34) Anonymous, October 6, 2009 9:10 PM

wow! very inspirational, thanks! keep up the good work.

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