Is feeling unfulfilled an inescapable condition for singles?
Millions of singles feel unfulfilled. Are you one of them?
For many, many years I believed a spouse would fulfill me. We hear jokes about our "other half" or "better half" and believe that's true. We even remember that Bible passage (Genesis 2:24) about the husband and wife becoming "one flesh."
Is it as simple as that, though? If you feel fulfilled when you get married, why are there so many divorces? No, there must be something more.
Feeling unfulfilled at work
There has long been a misbelief that we should get deep satisfaction out of our job or career, but when you talk with people about work, more often you hear complaints and frustration.
People are dissatisfied at their job for a variety of reasons. A main one seems to be that they're unappreciated. Supervisors are condescending or unfair. Co-workers forget to say thanks when you pitch in and help them. And yes, nearly everyone feels they're underpaid.
I think to be happier at work--and this should not be confused with fulfillment--we need to lower our expectations. That won't solve all the problems, but it can help with being disappointed. My pastor recently pointed out an attitude that can reduce disappointment:
Oh, sure, we should expect a paycheck for our efforts, and we should give our best effort all the time, but rewards, commendations, appreciation, and thank you's may be asking for too much.
Somehow we need to make it a game of competing with ourselves and rewarding ourselves when we beat our old record. Then, even if no one notices, we do, and we'll experience a sense of achievement.
Feeling unfulfilled in relationships
Whether it's with our parents, siblings, or a special friend, we sometimes don't get the love and affection we want. As they say, you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your relatives. You can't necessarily "reform" your relatives, unless you sit down and have an honest talk with them and tell them what's lacking.
Friends, that's a different matter. Sometimes we stay in a dating relationship because it's comfortable, even if it's going nowhere. Even if we're dissatisfied or bored. Today, most singles think a bad relationship is better than no relationship.
This is not a dating site and I don't give dating advice. As I've said elsewhere, if I was a genius at dating, I wouldn't still be single!
That said, if you are unfulfilled in dating, you won't be fulfilled in marriage--because marriage cannot fulfill you, even with the perfect partner (who, BTW, doesn't exist).
Feeling unfulfilled with religion
Ah, here's the part you've been expecting, but maybe with a surprise. We can find fulfillment in religion, even though that's not the end goal. Different churches and worship styles appeal to different types of people.
Lots of people love modern churches with rock music and very emotional participation. It works for them. Myself, I like traditional, formal services with hymns and organ music. That works for me.
The bottom line, though, is that the service doesn't stand by us when we're in trouble. God does. The music and sermon may make us feel fulfilled when we come out, but that feeling fades.
God alone is your source of fulfillment because he never changes. Everything else does change, but God can be counted on when nothing else can. His love for you is always solid and strong. It's not based on how you look, how much you earn, where you live, or your performance. He loves you because you're you.
When you think about it, that's pretty fulfilling. God is never unappreciative, moody, or stingy with his love. He's above the pettiness of human beings.
He's reliable, and he has a powerful love for you. When your life is miserable, God is beside you, loving you the same as when things are going great.
Here's the takeaway: When you're feeling unfulfilled, don't look for contentment from things that are incapable of providing it. Go to God and his love for you.
That's where you'll get fulfilled.