They say to write about what you know. I hardly know what it means to be single any more. Marriage for almost 11 years has put my single-hood into the distant memory that looks like a beautiful, foggy day with a rainbow. This is true especially, when I am deep in the trenches of motherhood. However, I dug back into the recesses of my brain, and remembered…
I remembered what it was like to celebrate those “romantic” holidays without a significant other. Watching friend after friend marry and wonder, “Will it ever be my turn?” “Will I know when it is the right one?” “Will anyone ever like me in that way?” “Why hasn’t it happened yet, when it has happened to all my friends?” “Is there something wrong with me?” I’ve heard this a lot from my single girlfriends. Because there feels like there must be a special significance to being “chosen” in this way by a good man.
I also remember the pain of some of your friendships changing when marriage happens. This is good and healthy, but hard.
There were also the decisions you had to make all the time about which way your life would go. Would you choose to work that year? Where would you choose to work? Would your work be about making a living, or more a volunteer service–ministry type occupation? Should you go to school? Should you go for that, that, or maybe that? Should you go into the mission field and where? So many decisions…exciting, yet frightening, so much of your life depended on you making the right choices.
The things I appreciated especially looking back was…
I had lot’s of choices, irony this…
Excitement of not really knowing what was around the bend.
I had many opportunities to minister.
I had lot’s of alone time. (This may not be the case for everyone, but for me it was true, and I might be comparing the alone time I had than, compared to now, which may or may not be fair.)
I had lot’s of opportunities for learning.
I could enjoy other’s children and then send them home at night.:)
So this is pretty much the extent of my own experience with singleness, but I wanted to go much deeper. So I chatted to friends and put out a survey for a bunch of my single Facebook friends.
I am going to go down the list of questions and randomly answer some of what was said, some of the answers were similar and some were polar opposites. I felt so blessed by those that took the time to answer my questions, and it gave me a glance into the beauty of their brokenness as well as their wholeness. I’m hoping I can give you a glimpse into their hearts so that we may be better Brothers and Sisters. Some of these questions were answered in surveys, some I have gained from talking and listening to single friends.
Question # 1.
What are some of the difficulties of singleness?
–Going to special functions alone.
–Being seated at the children’s table instead of with the adults at holidays
–Going through the romantic season alone, Christmas to Valentines Day.
–Going to good restaurants alone.
–Being treated or feeling as if something is wrong with you because you are single.
–Having no one to share life’s burdens with.
–Having no one to set up house with.
–Not getting included in “married things unless there are other people involved.”
–Getting used to a room mate in order to make life more affordable.
–Having to share the load of finances, housework, out door work, and everything alone. Unless you have a room mate…see above.
–Dreams of child bearing slipping through one’s fingers as every year passes.
–No one to care for you when you are older.
–Lack of romance.
Question # 2
What are some of the benefits of singleness?
–Freedom to make your own choices for the most part
–Being able to pack up and go some where I want randomly without having to check someone else schedule.
–Deciding how to spend my own money
–I always get to be with my family for the holidays.
–Plenty of time to spend with friends and family and nieces and nephews.
–Not as many people to worry about.
How does your church family reach out to you?
–words of encouragement
–making sure I know I matter
–accepting me for who I am
Do you feel like you have a voice in your church?
–This is where we get polar opposites, some saying they have no or very little voice in the church others saying that yes they feel very much like their opinion matters. I would say for the most part we as a Church could step it up when it comes to making sure single people know they are being heard.
Are there any ministries you feel you can not be a part of as a single person?
–Again you get very differing answers here, from absolutely feeling like they are not an asset to their church to feeling like they are used wherever they are willing. Some areas mentioned as not being used very often were.
–pastoring a church
Is there anything you wish your married friends would understand about singleness?
For these answers I used some exact quotes that I felt give really good incite to what you feel as a single person.
“I think mainly we just want to be treated as individual people, and not pitied or lumped into a specific groups.. We also don’t like it when people assume we have lots of free time because we are single. Occasionally, it is truth, but often I am the one called upon by my siblings, parents or friends to do random babysitting or other tasks for the very same reason, add that to work, etc., and it still makes us busy people.”
“I have a lot of friends who got married at a young age; I have grown into a 30 year old adult as a single woman. It’s hard! But I can do big things and be respected as a single, Christian woman.”
“The most difficult thing is that married people insinuate in actions/small groups and such that you cannot be an asset to their lives by not including you unless for some reason other singles are involved. I don’t mind that people try and set me up even though at times it can be a little annoying it all depends on ones heart.”
“Honestly, the worst thing is when people treat you like your broken or with pity (as a second thought) rather than just being treated like any other friend. I don’t want pity I just need friends like anyone else….its easy for a single to spot fake charity vs real attempts at friendship.”
Is there anything you wish married people wouldn’t ask you?
–Why is such a nice/pretty girl like you still single?
–Are you dating anyone? (you will be told when they want to tell you)
–Are you sure you aren’t being too picky?
–Questions that always involve marriage or dating or a significant other. .
–Have you meant (enter a guy who they would never have considered for themselves)?(I may be single, but do you really think that I am that desperate?)
Is there anything you wish your married friends would ask you?
Ask me about what God is doing in my life and my ministry, or work.
Ask questions that make me know that you see me as a significant person with or without a significant other in my life.
Question # 9
Do you ever wish you were married, or are you at a point in your life that you are pretty content with where you are at?
–For the most part this question was answered with a, “Yes, I would like to get married some day, but am trying to be content with where God has me in life right now.”
I want to end this blog with an almost exact quote from one of my single friends who is who I consider a “Hero of the Faith”. I took some of it out as to not reveal her identity. She has been serving God in various ministries for years. As I did not get permission to give her name. I will give her quote as anonymous, but I thought she said so beautifully what I wish to communicate through these blogs.
“At one point I did struggle with others not understanding me…, but then came to the conclusion that it’s better to seek to understand than to be understood. And maybe that could be said no matter what station we find ourselves in. There’s always something beautiful He’s working out in and through us…and it seems that moving us beyond ourselves plays a big part in that.”–anonymous
So true, and may we all seek to understand!
P.S. Singles if you think of anything more feel free to add in the comments.