Lessons on Being Single from Elizabeth Bennet

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. Its heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, is a strong woman. Not without her faults, but she stands up for herself even in the face of reality with odds stacked against her. I love that her love story isn’t an easy one. It has twists and turns. It builds. From Elizabeth Bennet, here are 3 lessons we can learn about being single.

Don’t make life decisions based on other people ideals or society’s standards. Elizabeth defies society’s conventional ways. Although she observes cultural/class protocols to be respectful and courteous to others, she doesn’t waver on the important things. When you’re single, it can be hard to stand up for yourself especially when it feels  like you’re standing by yourself. When the people around you try to set you up with someone they think is good for you. When people around you tell you this or that about your single life. When they tell you how you should prioritize your life. When they act like they know better at a time when you’re doubting yourself.

When you don’t have a partner standing next to you, it can be hard to filter out the bad from the good. Like Elizabeth, keep holding on to your beliefs and don’t make life decisions based on other people’s ideals or society’s standards. Pause. Remember who you are. Remember who your Creator is and the plans He has for you. Remember that you’re not alone.

Give people another chance. And another. And another. When reading Pride and Prejudice, I wanted to know who was prideful and who was prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy were both, but I found Elizabeth to have more prejudice and Darcy more pride. Elizabeth learns that she misjudged Darcy, and that’s something we do all the time. We misjudge people because we don’t have a complete picture of them even in our social media culture.

It’s easy to let our own prejudice and pride color our opinion of people. It’s true enough that there are people whose motivations aren’t pure, and we need to exercise wisdom. However, from Elizabeth, we can learn to give people multiple chances.

It’s in the same thought of forgiving people seventy times seven, and doing as Jesus did, welcoming people no matter their background, situation, or sin. This applies to everyone and in every season of life, but in the single life, it’s good practice when it comes to community and meeting new people. Exercise wisdom, but also be open and give people a chance.

Don’t lose hope. A big difference between the book and the movie is that in the book, we see Elizabeth’s inner turmoil when she realizes she loves Darcy (and her own mistakes about his character), but had already turned him down and is unsure if he still loved her or if there’s even a chance of them being together. I know how doubt plagues, especially if you’re single and want to marry. It makes you waver on your convictions and makes you wrestle with faith.

We have a God who is Hope and Love personified. Who cares and provides for His children. Who is always with us. Don’t lose hope, and if doubt comes knocking, lean into the One who is ever faithful.

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