Inspired by Happily Whenever After by Bookie Adekanye

One of the main stigmas in African cultures is around marriage. Marriage has been placed on an elevated pedestal. Marriage is treated like it’s the only way to become truly happy and successful, and this is simply not true. Marriage is a treasure that deserves celebration, but that doesn’t mean that singleness is a punishment or a crime. As Bookie Adekanye, author of Happily Whenever After, explains, “Sometimes it seems like society tells us that we should not succeed or pursue the dreams God has placed in our hearts. Maybe we defy all the naysayers and succeed. But we have to fight more than necessary to protect our territory.” Women especially are often pushed to find a man as quickly as possible and have children as though it were their only purpose. There is no set timeline or life map that is the same for every person on earth. God created each person differently with their own unique purpose and special gifts. God does not make mistakes, so we must learn to trust him when it comes to marriage.

God created us as relational beings with desires and longings. Many people who hope to marry one day constantly question and wonder when their time will come. It’s hard to understand why one must wait when seemingly everyone else around them is “farther ahead” because they are married. One’s relationship status does not determine their beauty or worth because our identities are in Christ and nothing else. Seasons of singleness are incredibly valuable and should not be taken for granted. We should invest time in understanding singleness and God’s heart behind it. He can teach us in all stages of life.

When facing questions in a time of singleness herself, Bookie Adekanye went straight to God’s Word for help. There, she discovered many strong single women that God used for greatness. Mary, Rahab, and Esther are three of several examples. Many times, we overlook the fact that these women were single yet it did not define them and their mission. These women said “yes” to fulfilling their God-given purpose with willingness. They were bold and brave even when things were hard and scary. They stood up and did their job. God can use anyone at any point in their journey, for his glory. When we are single, we can serve God in ways that married people cannot. We have a unique role to fill for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).

One of the hardest things to do is obey God right where you are. We live in a world that teaches us to constantly chase new things until we finally reach the “end.” But, where is the end? It’s a constant cycle of running after our wants until we find something else to want. When we reach what we thought was our goal, we end up unhappy and unsatisfied. That’s what happens when we try to do things within our own power and choose our plan over God’s plan. Waiting patiently is hard, but it’s less hard when we know that whatever God has in store is good (James 1:17). Singleness isn’t God’s second best.

This isn’t to say that seasons of singleness will be easy, only that they will be worth the wait. Pray for the future that God has for you, including a possible future spouse. In all seasons, including singleness, make Proverbs 3:5 your mantra: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

This excerpt is inspired by Happily Whenever After by Bookie Adekanye. A Nigerian lady who’s single in her 40s, in a culture which places high premium on marriage, Adekanye shares her journey with God with a hilarious no-holds-barred twist.

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