But this is the way it feels, sometimes, no?
“So, are you seeing anyone?”
“Nope, it’s just me.”
There’s disappointment (very) thinly veiled in the voices and on the faces of some who ask. It’s like they want to tell you they’re sorry, like you’ve lost a loved one, but different, because you never had the loved one in the first place.
I was on the phone once, I can’t remember who with, it was some company of some sort. Insurance, I think, getting stuff sorted out when purchasing my home. I had pretty much the above conversation…. but with a complete stranger. Only she actually said “I’m sorry.”
I’d like to know why there are some people who feel sorry for me?
While it is not a choice I’ve made at present to be single, it’s not something I necessarily feel entitled to “get out of” either. At some point, if it’s in the cards, I’d love to get married. To a loving, God-fearing husband who’s willing to lead our household wisely leaning on God for full support, and me second, and who will love me the way Christ loved the church. It’s a high calling. I refuse to settle. I’ve watched too many disasters that come of settling.
It’s become pretty clear to me lately that this is even something we struggle to talk about in the church. I don’t like to talk about it to real-life people with faces. (I’ve already shared that I clearly have no problem dumping myself out through writing but you’d never get this out of me in person.) It’s tough, and I get why. It’s not that there’s NO place for me, because that’s not true. Any time that I’ve asserted that, it’s been me doing my own Israelite style complaining (see Exodus 14, what a passage to hit me with this week, goodness…). There are plenty of places for me to fit, belong, do good, and to be done good for (that is some awful, awful sentence structuring… you know what? I don’t care. I’m leaving it.). What I see though is that there’s a bit of a disconnect between people who are willing to talk about it and people who can talk about it.
Let me try to explain.
I don’t like to talk about it because I find it turns into this “what are you doing about it?” as if it were some affliction that I could fix. It was suggested to me yesterday that a husband would be the solution to a bit of a financial hiccup I was talking about to someone else. Stellar — get a husband to pay my bills. Riiiight.
Here’s what I’m doing about it. I’m keeping an open mind. God works in weird, wonderful, and wacky ways sometimes. I don’t necessarily expect that if this will happen for me, it will happen in a conventional way and I will as such keep my mind open to possibilities. I am refusing to see my singleness as a curse. It very much is not. There are many things I can do while single that I don’t know if I’ll be able to do while married. For example, I can make decisions that don’t require the input of another person regarding finances, life decisions, etc. I’m praying about it. I’m praying that God will make me the woman He wants me to be so that if He wants me married, I’ll be the wife He wants me to be. I’m praying that if God wants me married, He would also mold my future husband into the man and husband He wants him to be. I’m expressing the desires of my heart because I don’t think this is an unhealthy desire. While I’m content with my life and I’m happy with what I have, I don’t think it’s wrong to desire marriage.
Here’s one other very important thing I’m doing:
I’m keeping my standards high. I have seen so many times singleness in the late 20s and later start to turn into desperation. “He’s single, I like him.” Single with a job…. those are not enough for me. Those are important, don’t get me wrong. Any guy I would date must be single, and should have a job. But is that where I should stop? NO! I imagine if my standards for myself were that low, I’d have no trouble finding a husband, in fact I’d likely already be unhappily married.
Does this make me picky?
But when it comes to a husband, is picky (in moderation of course) a bad thing?
My take on this is: Singleness is not a disease, nor a curse, nor an affliction that I need someone else to fix for me. If God has it in His plan for me, then it WILL happen. I have faith in that, a secure hope, knowing that God’s plans for me are good. Do I expect though, as has been suggested to me, that if I don’t ever get married, that desire will just go away? No, not necessarily. I think the desire for marriage is good, as long as it doesn’t become an idol. But there are so many things this could be said for. Food is good, as long as it isn’t an idol. Earning money is good, as long as it isn’t an idol. Desiring marriage is good, as long as it isn’t an idol. I do not desire marriage more than a deeper relationship with my Saviour. Do I believe, as I’ve been told, that if I just get my relationship with God right, this will happen for me? Not necessarily. There are many people who have zero relationship with Christ, and yet still managed to get married. This alone is proof to the contrary for me. We were never promised marriage, nor were we ever given a checklist of things we must do before we can have it. If I were to put aside my desire for a strong, Godly marriage and want a mere marriage, I could probably have one in the not-so-distant future, but I am not willing to compromise in this area.
What I wish I could see in the church, for myself, is women willing to be raw with this. It’s painful for me sometimes, that it hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes it does feel like a bit of a mourning for something I never had. I don’t know whether that’s right or not, but it’s true. What I don’t need is yet another “your time will come.” What I don’t need is yet another “get your relationship with God in better standing, and it’ll happen.” And what I really don’t need is advice that is poorly thought through, like “if you get a husband, then you’re not the only one paying bills.” I need someone to just listen. Someone to just understand that some days this isn’t fun, but that other days it doesn’t bother me one bit, and others still I’m perfectly happy with it. After a long day at work where not a single kid has listened to me, let me tell you, it sure is nice to come home to an empty house void of anything alive but a wonderfully lovingly devoted dog who will curl up next to me on the couch and just snore her cute little snores while keeping me toasty warm. I have no one else to take out the unwinding of the day on, no one’s feelings to hurt while I do so, and no one to ask more of me than I feel I have to give. Some days, that’s a pure and true treasured gift. Some days.
If I can be so bold as to give the church as a whole a little bit of advice on dealing with the issue of adult singleness, it’s this: Listen to us. Understand that some days it’s easier/harder than others, and understand that I’m not looking for a solution, I’m looking for love and friendship.
Unless of course, I’m being whiny and demanding like “where is God in this!!” which happens sometimes… then I ask that you give me a (respectful, of course) rebuking and remind me that you read this and that I’m just having a bit of an emotional day, and that I should go read Exodus 14 again.
That’s about it for tonight. Maybe I’m alone in these feelings, but that’s sure what I could use.