I was always waiting for my prince charming to come along, sweep me off my feet, and we would live “happily ever after”. Many women are driven to find that right person no matter what. Consequently, red flags are completely overlooked. Likewise, families often push young women into a relationship because she is 20 or 30ish and “still not married”. What happens when you don’t find that “prince”, or when you and the “prince” can’t work it out? I want you to know that conquering loneliness is possible, even in a “happily ever after” culture.
Is there such a thing as “happily ever after?”
I don’t want to pretend that being single is easy, but the truth is you can still feel lonely when you are married. Numerous surveys reveal that a high percentage of married couples are indeed lonely. (1) So finding a partner is not a guarantee to conquering loneliness. Finding a partner is only putting a bandage on a deeper issue.
Where does “happily ever after” come from?
“Happily ever after” is the theme of many movies, musicals, novels, and childhood stories. Our culture is full of it. Just look at “proms” and “homecoming”. A king and queen are selected for these events. Hmmm, sounds like Prince Charming and Cinderella, doesn’t it? However, high school is not where this phenomenon begins.
Children begin early in life with “happily ever after” in many of their bedtime stories. Even their movies are riddled with this theme. Here are just a few examples.
- Snow White and the seven dwarfs
- The Princess and the frog
- Sleeping beauty
- Beauty and the beast
Can you think of more examples? If so, please drop them in the comments.
“Happily ever after” then continues into adulthood. In my late teens and early twenties, I was in awe of the movies, “The King and I”, “South Pacific”, “My Fair Lady”, and so many more. And look at the many romance novels available. Even some TV reality shows have been dedicated to finding the perfect bachelor or bachelorette. Is it any wonder that we have been duped into thinking that “happily ever after” is real? No wonder we keep striving to attain the fairy-tale.
What is the cause of loneliness?
While some of our loneliness is the result of cultural reinforcement, there actually are physical and spiritual reasons that we feel lonely.
Within our DNA is a type of hard-wiring for a sense of community. Even introverts need some interaction with others. In fact, “social relationships are critical to the maintenance of health.” Complete isolation leads to delayed growth and development in babies and children. (2) That is why even the smallest of premature babies must experience skin to skin contact with another human, and hear the voices of those who care for them. (3)
We were created for community.
Can loneliness actually be conquered?
The answer to this question is “yes”, and “no”.
Feeling lonely is like feeling empty. If your life were a bucket and it had holes in it, everything you tried to fill it with would leak out. You would try frantically to keep it filled to no avail.
The same old thoughts lead to the same old results. At some point it would feel hopeless, to try and try and never be filled. This is what happens when we chase after the “happily ever after” that our culture has conditioned us to believe.
But read on. There really is a prince charming and a “happily ever after” if we look in the right place.
Conquering loneliness: what is the cure?
There is only one Prince Charming
Ultimately, that inner void we call loneliness is a need for Jesus. We are not complete without Him. We are separated from Him because of sin. But that can be changed. We can have perfect fellowship with the lover of our soul. If you don’t know Jesus personally, please call or text 1-888-NEED-HIM. You can also chat at www.chataboutjesus.com. Someone is waiting there to talk with you.
There really is a “happily ever after”
God has a “happily ever after” waiting for us if we choose His ways. It is in His presence. Psalm 16:11 reads,
“In your presence is fulness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Here on this planet, we can have moments of knowing the closeness of God’s presence but we will also have moments of loneliness. Life here is not perfect. Let moments of loneliness remind you that:
- We need God every moment
- Here on earth, Jesus is our bridge to God the Father
- We will have “happily ever after” once we leave this earth to be in heaven. We will be in God’s presence – full of joy and pleasure forevermore. What a glorious thing to look forward to.
Reach beyond yourself for conquering loneliness
You can’t expect the world to reach out to you. People are human and often self-centered. The Bible sums up how to have friends in one simple verse.
“A man who has friends must show himself friendly” Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
So what does it mean to show yourself friendly? Many other scriptures discuss in detail how you can reach out to others.
Find someone to encourage
Are you aware of someone who is discouraged or overwhelmed? “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (I Thessalonians 5:11). Begin now studying people and notice the things that encourage them, such as a phone call, text, card. What about going shopping for an elderly person? There are so many little ways that we can encourage others, and in return, we are blessed and less lonely.
Be supportive of others
“Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). This actually overlaps with encouraging others. The best way we can bear the burdens is to pray for people and to let them know that we are doing it. Additionally, ask yourself, “If I was in that situation what would make me feel loved and cared for? What would lighten the load?”
Find a service project and volunteer. Many churches have service projects, as well as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Working with others builds friendships and camaraderie. It automatically gives you something in common.
Practice the golden rule
Treat others as you would want to be treated (Mark 12:31). If you want people to be friendly to you, be friendly to them. If you want people to smile at you, smile at them.
Connect in person whenever possible
The irony of being “connected” on social media, “chat rooms” and texting is that people are more lonely than ever. You just can’t replace person to person contact. Put away your phone or social media for a while. “We can decrease our loneliness if we build stronger in-person connections. We do this by looking at people in the eyes, listening, being mindful, and choosing not to be distracted by our phones or other technologies.” (4)
A Gift for conquering lonelines
The following scripture card is a gift to remind you that you are never alone, even when you feel lonely. It is to remind you that God has a path to conquering loneliness.
Simply click on the picture to download. No Email Required. Enjoy!
- (1) Together but Still Lonely, written by Guy Winch, Psychology Today, June 26th, 2013.
- (2) “How does social isolation affect a child’s mental health and development?”, https://noiolsation.com/global/research
- (3) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15276-skin-to-skin-contact-for-you–baby
- (4) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201902/feeling-lonely-discover-18-ways-overcome-loneliness