Dear Married People,
Single Christians don’t hate you. We don’t hate your children. We don’t hate your in-laws (in fact, we probably like them more than you do!).
We’re just tired of you thinking we ought to want to be just like you.
Okay, some single people want desperately to get married. But some of us are pretty happy flying solo. Please stop assuming that marriage is the perfect happy ending for everyone in the world.
If I had a dollar for every time my married best friend told me I needed to “get out there and date more”, I couldn’t quit my day job, but I could sure take a nice weekend holiday somewhere. Of course, if I added in a dollar for every time a well-meaning relative or family friend or church friend asked, “Are you dating anyone yet?” I probably could quit my day job.
Several of the things on this list have been said to me. Some of them are responses I got when I solicited two of my favorite single ladies for contributions.
Things Not to Say:
- “You just need to get out there more” – If your single friend likes being single, she probably doesn’t really want to get out there. If your single friend doesn’t like being single, don’t you think he’s already trying to get out there more?
- “The right one will show up when you’re ready” – How do you know that? And why is it your responsibility to decide I’m not ready? Are you saying I’m too immature for a spouse? Because there are plenty of immature people out there getting married every day.
- “Take this time to focus on your ministry” – …Right, because once you get married, you don’t have to minister any more. Forget about Priscilla and Aquila, Peter (who had a mother-in-law, so must have had a wife), or Ananais and Saphira (okay, bad example…) But seriously, there are churches out there who discriminate against hiring single pastors, so don’t tell me it’s easier to minister to people without a spouse.
- “I’m so glad I’m not out there dating any more” – Exactly. Dating sucks. So why do you tell me to ‘get out there more’ all the time? (See first point above.)
- “I’m so jealous of your freedom” – Yeah, my freedom to pay all my bills on my one income, never know who my plus one will be for an event, and never have someone in the house to scratch a really persistent itch on my back.
- “You’re not a mother/wife/father/husband”, so you just wouldn’t understand.” – Um…maybe that’s true, but could you please sound a little more patronizing? I don’t quite feel like I’m twelve yet.
- “You’re too picky and you need to stop looking for someone who is perfect.” – So you’re saying that marriage, which is supposedly such a great institution, is just about settling for someone you can tolerate? It’s not picky to want to fall in love.
- “A person doesn’t really mature until they get married.” – Um…what? No, really, what? So I guess Paul, one of the greatest heroes of the faith, was immature? Good to know.
- “Life doesn’t really begin until you’ve had children.” (Or worse yet, telling the single person’s parents “life doesn’t really begin until you’ve had grandchildren.”) – There are lots of married people who choose not to have children. There are lots more who are not blessed with children despite wanting them. You’re saying those people can’t fully live because they are unable to reproduce? Really?
- “Do you not want to have children?” – See above. Some people actually don’t want children, and there is nothing wrong with that (I am one of those people, and have known this about myself since I was a child). But there are also plenty of single people out there who do want to have children, but don’t believe a shotgun wedding is the way to go.
- “You act like you don’t need anyone, so no one is going to ask you out.” – I’ve never had this one thrown at me, but I’m definitely guilty of acting like I don’t need a spouse. And I would argue that walking around acting needy & lonely all the time would be more of a turn-off.
- “I remember what it was like to be single.” (When you were single for all of three years, in your early twenties.) – Right, okay, you’re one of those people who went to college to get your MRS degree. That’s lovely for you, but don’t pretend you understand what it’s like to spend a decade or better of your life as a single person.
Join me next time, when I post six things you SHOULD say to your single friends.