just single or really living?

Christian singles are among the most frighteningly driven individuals one could ever meet. They want marriage more than any other group of people I’ve ever encountered, and they seem to expect it just as much as they want it. Why is this? Why Christians? Why the need? The desire? Is it the search for fulfillment? Is it part of some social expectation? Are singles scared of facing their own realities on their own? What about living attentively through their emotions and circumstances without another intimate person to care for them and be there with them? Is it spiritual?

Any way I slice it the single life seems to be a state of going instead of being–that it is treated more like an on-ramp/off-ramp between two roads: one being marriage and the other being a dating relationship. It’s just a means to an end. Even Christian dating books (and I bet you can imagine how many of those there are) suggest singleness to be a productive time for finding out what qualities you do want in a mate so when you do marry (and according to them, you will and should) you will be ready to make the proper choice. Or they encourage you to do the best with your circumstances that you can. Grow, if you can. Spend time on yourself, if you can. And for goodness sake, try hard to forget that you’re all alone and should be married making babies right now. If you can. And most likely, you can’t.

So what’s the big deal about singleness? Why do I suddenly feel the pressure to go looking for a mate? Why do I give in to the pressure? What good will it do to treat this stage of my life as an on-ramp to something worthwhile when it can simply be worthwhile on its own? Can I just be here and do my thing without making it a special project? Is there a reason why I should treat my singleness as a frightening anomaly that must be dealt with and handled and studied?

Since when is being single a project? It’s not. It’s just a part of life like any other. It’s not even a label or a curse or a reason to make a special Sunday/Sabbath School class to gather all the single freaks together into a little pen and then tell them, “We’re not pressuring you to get married. But until you are, we’re going to shine this spotlight on you and give you tips on dating and being the best wife/husband you can be so when you do date someone we can check up on you and give you more seminars and books and surveys and tests to make sure you’re doing it right. And then, well… you’ll be great because you’ll finally be married. Not that anything’s wrong with being single. Hey you, get back under the spotlight! We’re going to play the name game now…”

The single life is just life. Deal with it or be eaten alive.

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7 thoughts on “just single or really living?

  1. Ha! I was just thinking about something relating to this this morning. Loneliness is a problem with deep deep roots. In fact loneliness was a problem before the fall. Adam was alone and it wasn’t good, so God made Eve to correct the problem.

    That is probably where the idea that everyone has to be married comes from. Certainly people don’t want to be lonely, but there are ways to not be lonely and at the same time, not be married.

    Paul encouraged those who were not married and even had warnings for those who were married about putting their spouses before the work of the Lord.

  2. A hearty AMEN!!! What always strikes me as odd is that our Master was single and they all don’t think that to be odd… but I’m odd for being single and actually LIKING IT!

  3. Great entry!

    I’ve found that church is the hardest place to be single. You’re exactly right that singleness is treated as an “on/off ramp”. I’ve found that many churches have a hard time figuring out what to do with singles, so the singles end up being shoved off into a corner somewhere until they can go out and find a mate.

    The timing of this blog is funny because today as I was driving around at lunch, I was thinking about being single a little. My nephew is 8 years younger than I am and he’s planning on getting married in 2008. I thought, “Huh, he’s going to be married before I am!” And my next thought was, “But I wouldn’t trade my life and the experiences I’ve had as a single for the world.”

  4. Oh my. This post brings out the cynical Vega in full force…

    I really wonder how much of that drive is due to brainwashing and propaganda. Let’s put it this way: the “sexual liberation” of today’s modern/Western society today has completely permeated our ways of thinking. Everything in sight is inundated with it, it’s nigh impossible to avoid being bombarded by that mindset every moment of life — not just rampant promiscuity, but that everyone is hooking up, and if not, they’re either abnormal or getting into another relationship post-haste.

    Hence the cynic in me wonders about that desire for marriage in Christian singles, and all those Christian books about dating and relationships: WHAT is the root of that desire? Could it actually be sex/relationships-saturated society? Are such singles seeking marriage because they want to (apologies for the bluntness, I’m speaking my honest mind here) have a ‘stamp of approval’ to do what others already do outside of marriage?

    I’m by no means scorning the desire for intimacy and relationships — God designed us that way and there’s everything right about seeking intimacy! (Of course, I have it desire too and am not objecting — though sometimes I resent it greatly. *heh*) But I really wonder how much that God-given desire has been twisted/tainted/supplanted by the values our society is currently proclaiming.

    The statement, “church is the hardest place to be single,” makes me grit my teeth. The fact that in some churches singleness is a ‘problem that needs fixing’ just demonstrates to me that said churches have been influenced society’s values instead of God’s. Paul upholds singleness above marriage, saying it is better to be devoted firstly to God than to your spouse. Seems like God’s people sometimes misses that point completely.

    Eek, I’m pontificating on your blog. *gets off soapbox in a hurry* This kind of pressure that’s placed upon singles nowadays, Christian and non, is one of my biggest peeves. Leave me be in my singleness! I have more important, pressing and interesting things to do than look for a relationship. –Though I’m keeping an open mind, if one comes along. ;P

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