Archive | Singleness RSS feed for this section

Who Should I Disappoint Today?

6 Mar

I’m pretty sure I disappointed my best friend today.

She asked for a status update on my relationship. I told her I had decided I was single at heart and needed to tell him that. She asked, “What happened?” I told her honestly that nothing had happened, I had just realized I don’t like romantic relationships.

Cue radio silence.

Now this is just speculation, but I think she was staring at her phone with a complete lack of response. Lost for words, unable to think of how to respond to me. Of course, she might have been sitting there cussing me out in her head, or throwing her hands up in the air. I strongly suspect she decided today that I’m a lost cause.

My best friend is married, and happily so, for which I thank God. I adore her husband, and I adore them together. They’re approaching their 10th anniversary, if I’m doing the math right, and I am constantly grateful that he came into her life. A couple of years ago she told me that marriage is “the most amazing thing in the world”.

I’m happy that she is happy. But her brand of happiness is not my brand of happiness, and I worry that when we get together in person next, I’m going to be subjected to a long lecture (or possibly a rant) about how my standards are too high, or I need to get over this fear of relationships, or that I am going to end up an old maid. As much as I love my best friend, I don’t think she understands what it means to be single at heart.

Of course, I do test her patience from time to time. I tried that dating thing a few years ago for about three days, which was when she told me how amazing marriage is. Then I did it again this year. I’m going to promise this was the last time, unless he literally shows up with a string of thirsty camels and a nose ring, but I’m not sure even that will convince her that I’m not just holding out for something better.

I call myself a writer. I claim I can put into words what other people can’t. And yet I haven’t figured out a way to explain my lifelong singleness to someone who has known me for more than half my life.

I don’t know who I’m more disappointed in right now, me or her. She didn’t respond to my statement that I don’t want romance, which makes me think she doesn’t understand my desire to be single. But I can’t make myself understood, which makes me think I’m worse at this writing thing than I thought.

I’m a huge fan of the show Chicago Fire. A few episodes back, a character facing a possibly life-changing decision was talking to his father. This character, Severide, was thinking about leaving Rescue Squad, and he was worried about what the other people in his life would think. His father gave him a piece of advice that has been resounding in my head ever since. He told Severide to disappoint his girlfriend, to disappoint the other firefighters, even to disappoint his father–but never to disappoint himself.

I’m not saying that a single person has no responsibilities except to herself. As a single person, I have responsibilities to my friends. I have responsibilities to my coworkers. I have responsibilities to my parents. I have responsibilities to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have responsibilities to the rest of society, to a certain degree. But as a single person, I have only one person to live with–me.

Today, I think I disappointed my best friend. And her opinion means a lot to me. But in the end, it’s about living with myself.

And I can do that.

Having Your Heart In It

22 Feb

I have a confession to make. I’ve been seeing someone.

It feels weird. I reconnected with an old friend recently, and he happened to be unattached. We used to have a Thing, way back when, which we never acted on. He suggested we give it a go, and I said sure.

Thing is…I’m not the same person I was back then. He isn’t, either, but I’ve changed in one significant way that he hasn’t–I no longer feel the need or, generally, the desire for romantic companionship.

This doesn’t bode well for the relationship.

I’ve said before that singleness isn’t a gift, at least not in the way so many Christians assume. But through this most recent experience, I’ve come to realize that God does call certain people to be single, insofar as He grants certain people the particular grace and strength to face life without a helpmeet. And I’m pretty sure I’m one of those people.

I’m not saying it’s a good or a bad thing. It’s just a thing. I don’t want to imply that people who need romantic partners are weak, needy, or less spiritual. People who need romantic partners are just different from people who don’t need them. And I certainly don’t mean I don’t need anyone in my life. I do. I have my family of parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have my single-style family (we need an official term for that) of my close friends, sisters of my heart. And there’s definitely a place in my life for this old friend/would-be-boyfriend, if he wants it. But that place, I regret to say, isn’t as my partner or spouse.

I love the time we spend together. I enjoy talking to him and bouncing ideas off him. I enjoy listening to his perspective on things (which is often, but not always, a lot different from mine). I like just hanging out and being around him. But I don’t want to take it any further than this. I don’t want hugs or kisses, hand-holding or flowers, and I definitely don’t want to go home with him every night.

Not that I’m not attracted to him. I am. But…

Well, I just don’t have my heart in it.

I’m not looking forward to having this conversation with him. The line, “It’s not you, it’s me,” is so trite and over-used no one believes it anymore. But it’s true in this case. Telling him, “I believe God has called me to singleness,” sounds too holier-than-thou and, frankly, like a cop-out. The one good thing about this is how open I was with him from the beginning. I told him I hadn’t dated in a long time and hadn’t had any desire to date. I told him I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be in a relationship of this type. I told him I need a lot of me time and my own space. And he was good enough to listen, and he took me at my word. But I suspect he got his hopes up a little more than he should have.

For now, I’ll keep praying about it and see what guidance God grants me the next time we’re together.

Any thoughts, friends? What would you do in my situation? What would you want to hear in his place?

Reclaiming Friendship Love

13 Jan

Meerkat09 left a great comment on my last post–in fact, Single People Are Not the Enemy received a LOT of thoughtful comments; it’s obviously a hot topic! But I want to talk about Meerkat’s comment today.

Meerkat pointed out that married Christians might not realize what they’re doing when they deny us friendship, because “Singles don’t get to be friends with Christians of the opposite gender.”

It’s a sad but true phenomenon in many Christian circles that friendship between a man and a woman is seen as something dangerous. I don’t know if it’s just a case of too many Christians having seen When Harry Met Sally a few too many times or what, but right up there with belief in the triune nature of God and the resurrection of Jesus seems to be the “fact” that women and men can’t be friends without sex getting in the way.

What drives me crazy about this idea is that it isn’t an honest reflection of the Bible. Men and women in the Bible are friends and counselors to each other in many situations without sex getting in the way. Let’s look at a few:

Deborah and Barak (Judges 4 & 5)

Deborah was a prophetess, one of Israel’s judges. She passed along God’s order for Barak son of Abinoam to wage war on Sisera. What was Barak’s response? “If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” Incidentally, this has always been one of my favorite stories in the First Testament, not only because a woman was judge, but also because of the gruesomely awesome way in which Sisera was defeated: while he was running from Barak, a woman gave him shelter in her tent. Sisera fell asleep, and the woman drove a tent stake through his head. Pretty badass.

In any event, Barak thought highly enough of Deborah that he wouldn’t go to war without her advice. When they won, they sang a long victory song together. Then Deborah went back to her husband Lappidoth and Israel “had rest for forty years.”

Paul and Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:1-3, Romans 16:3-5)

Paul met Priscilla and her husband Aquila in Corinth. They were tentmakers like Paul, so he stayed at their home and they worked together. Priscilla and Aquila were such good friends and helpers to Paul that when he left Corinth for Syria, they went with him. Later, when Paul is sending his greetings to them in Romans, he writes, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life…” That’s a pretty strong friendship!

Paul and Lydia (Acts 14: 14-15, 40)

Lydia was probably a wealthy woman, because she was a dealer of purple cloth, and purple was the color of royalty in those days, a very expensive dye. When Paul’s little band of missionaries got to Philippi, Lydia heard Paul’s preaching and was baptized. She invited Paul’s group to come and stay at her home. While they were there, Paul (that rabble-rouser) drove a demon out of a slave girl and got himself arrested. Lydia could have turned away from these dangerous missionaries, but she was a true friend to them. When Paul was released from prison, he went back to Lydia’s home to encourage them before he left town.

Jesus and Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-45)

Let’s not leave out our Savior when talking about friendships between men and women! Jesus was incredibly liberal when it came to attitudes towards women at that time. He allowed Mary to sit at his feet and learn, which was a role usually reserved for men. We know Jesus was also friends with Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus, but look at how Luke 10:38 puts it: “he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.” It doesn’t say Jesus stayed with Lazarus, but with Martha. Maybe Lazarus lived with Martha, but that isn’t indicated.

Later, when Lazarus was sick, John says, “though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”, which I find telling–it lists Martha first. Maybe Martha was the head of that family, or perhaps her friendship with Jesus was stronger than the others. Martha’s faith in Jesus was so strong that, even when Jesus let Lazarus die, she knew said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Then she went on to confess she believed Jesus was the Messiah.

So often all we remember about Martha is that she was too busy to sit and listen to Jesus during one of his visits. But I think the evidence is there that she had a strong relationship with Jesus, both as a friend and as her Savior.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:1-3, John 20:11-18)

If we listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber or Dan Brown, Mary Magdalene was in love with Jesus. But what the Bible shows us is a relationship far more complicated and inspiring. Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary, and she believed in him and followed him. Mary is one of several women who are referenced multiple times in the Gospels as being active in Jesus’ ministry. In fact, her friendship with Jesus was so important that she was one of the first to see him after his resurrection.

Okay, this is getting long, so I’ll stop here, but I think my point is made. The Bible provides models of friendships between the sexes, and the church is remiss in ignoring this important type of relationship. The fact is, men and women think in different ways, and both perspectives are important when you’re trying to achieve wisdom. After all, God created humankind in His image–“male and female He created them”–so both perspectives are necessary.

As Meerkat said, “I really think that Christians need to reclaim friendship love. Love does not always equal romance/sex. Friendship love exists.”

I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to this topic in future posts, but for now, what do you think? Can men and women be friends? How do we reclaim friendship love?

Single People Are Not the Enemy

4 Jan

'dislike button' photo (c) 2011, Sean MacEntee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

One of my friends lost someone he’d grown up with. They’d gone to the same church since childhood. They’d attended school together. They read the same kinds of books and watched the same kinds of movies, and even double-dated at times. Sure, he’d had a crush on her at one point, and at a totally different point she’d had a crush on him. But that was a decade in the past, and their friendship had never had a basis in romantic or sexual attraction.

It came to a tragic end when his lifelong friend said I do…to some other man. A man who felt threatened by my buddy’s presence in his wife’s life. Suddenly my friend found himself not only reduced to a brief smile in passing at church, but someone whose occasional phone calls or emails didn’t get answered. Shortly after the wedding, he learned she had de-friended him on Facebook.

This story is tragic.

Listen up, married people: Single people are not the enemy.

We’re not out to steal your spouse. We’re not trying to wreck your marriage. And if you’re too insecure to cope with the fact that your spouse wants to be friends with someone of the opposite sex, that isn’t my problem. It’s yours. And you need to deal with it, because I don’t deserve to have a friendship ripped away from me because you have a problem.

Your Insecurity =/= My Fault

Why did Mr. Insecure feel the need to end his wife’s friendship? I can think of a lot of reasons, none of which are my buddy’s fault:

– Mr. Insecure thinks his wife likes Friendly Guy better.

– Mr. Insecure is afraid his wife will leave him for Friendly Guy.

– Mr. Insecure resents the time his wife spends with Friendly Guy.

But is ending the friendship a good response? I say no, and the number one reason is this: ending the wife’s friendship with Friendly Guy is not going to address the obvious issues with her marriage to Mr. Insecure.

Instead of ending the friendship, why didn’t Mr. Insecure confront the reasons he felt threatened by the friendship? Why didn’t he spend more time strengthening his marriage instead of destroying the friendship? Why didn’t he attempt to cultivate a friendship with Friendly Guy, which would not only strengthen Mr. Insecure’s marriage, but also possibly bless him and Friendly Guy both?

Sure, it’s easy to blame the single friend. But it isn’t honest, and it isn’t effective.

Facebook and eHarmony Aren’t Killing Your Marriage

Sure, there are wives who reconnect with old flames on Facebook and divorce their husbands to pursue some fantasy. There are guys who set up secret eHarmony profiles to meet one-night-stands despite being married. Guess what? That sort of thing happened before the internet existed. It’s just the methods that have changed.

I read an interesting article today on the Atlantic website. Apparently some guy blames online dating sites for the way he can’t get a woman to settle down…ignoring the fact that he doesn’t put her happiness ahead of his own, doesn’t seem to care about his credit score or career, and wants to spend all his time watching sports and drinking beer.  Thankfully, someone who obviously has a much clearer idea of how adult relationships work wrote a response, pointing out the flaws in the argument. Maybe it’s not online dating that’s the problem, buddy. Maybe, just maybe, the problem is you.

Jesus put it another way: “Look to the plank in your own eye before removing the speck in your brother’s eye.”

Single People Aren’t Predators Looking for Marriages to Break Up.

No, I’m not actively looking for a spouse. But when I’m attracted to a guy who seems interesting, the first thing I do is check that left hand. If he’s wearing a ring, he’s automatically off-limits. That’s just how it works. Sure, there are people out there who don’t care. But I’m sick and tired of married people assuming the worst about me because of their own fears.

Think about this logically. If I’m looking for love, which is easier–to find someone who’s available and try to catch his interest, or to find someone who has already made an emotional and expensive commitment to someone else, which I must first sabotage and dissolve in order for me to experience my own version of marital bliss? Frankly, I’m just too damn lazy to try to break up someone’s marriage. Besides, who wants all that drama? Divorce is ugly. Especially if there are kids involved.

Your man may be great, but no one is worth me going to all that effort.

Not to mention…and I know this may be hard to believe, but…single people with ethics do actually exist.

The Real Question

So here’s my question: Why do people think married folks and single folks can’t be friends?

Jesus was a single guy, and he hung out with people like Peter, who had a mother-in-law, so obviously had a wife. Paul was a single guy, and he named Priscilla and Aquila as some of his closest friends. Yet people in the church seem to think a friendship between a single person and a married person is an infidelity just waiting to happen.

I think this is hypocritical, and I think it’s frankly dangerous. If you don’t address the real threats to marriage–things like married partners not putting each other first, married partners not talking honestly with each other, married partners not honoring Christ in their marriage–you’re not just hurting a single person who has lost a friend. You might just be giving up on that marriage before it really gets started.

*

As a postscript, I’m going to fast forward my buddy’s story ten years. After a decade of ups and downs, including a lengthy separation period and marital counseling and lots of heartache, Mr. Insecure and his wife divorced…even though Friendly Guy hadn’t been involved in the woman’s life since she said “I do.”

Pretty telling, isn’t it?

Doesn’t take a mindreader if you’ve experienced it…

27 Dec

Dear single friends and married ones,

Run, do not walk, to read this article on HuffPost: Single and Childless: I Know What You’re Thinking.

Some of the comments are killing me. People are telling this happy, confident single woman to “get over yourself” or telling her no one assumes she is defective because she’s still single.

Give me a break, people. Just because you married at 20 and never had anyone assume you were defective doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Just because you’ve never been asked, “So when are you going to settle down and get married?” doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Just because no one has ever told you you’re too picky or too self-sufficient or too shy doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

I’ve had people say such things to me and assume such things about me. It gets tiresome. It can also be hurtful. No matter how happy and confident you are, no matter how much you generally enjoy being single, you can still have your feelings hurt when so many people assume something’s wrong with you.

You tell it, Melanie Notkin.

7 Ways to Make Holidays Easier for Singles

24 Nov

Like I said last week, Thanksgiving is a great holiday that isn’t always single-friendly. For that matter, a lot of holidays seem to emphasize relationships that don’t exist for single people. We’ve all seen commercials where diamond retailers suggest every woman needs a diamond for Christmas. New Year’s Day isn’t seen as complete unless you have someone to kiss at midnight. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day don’t apply to a lot of single people (although they do apply to a lot of singles, and I would imagine they might even be more painful for single parents than they are for single people without kids). And of course there’s also Singles Awareness Day Valentine’s Day.

What is it about these holidays that requires coupledom? Is it just societal expectation? Is it the commercialization of our holidays? Is it our inclination as a species to pair up?

Whatever the reasons, holidays can be difficult for singles. So what can we do to make them easier?

  1. Invite your single friends to your holiday events. I know, this seems obvious, but a married friend pointed out recently that as soon as she got married, her single friends stopped inviting her to things. She also admitted she wondered if her single friends would feel uncomfortable hanging out with her and her husband. I can’t speak for her friends, but personally, I would rather be included and given the option of feeling uncomfortable than to just be excluded all the time.
  2. If you’re single, think about getting other single friends together to provide emotional support for holiday-related tasks. Maybe everyone could get together and write out their Christmas cards together. Maybe you have a gift-wrapping party with eggnog and carols. Maybe on New Year’s Eve you host a no-pressure game night or movie night.
  3. Let your single friends vent. A lot of singles are happy to be unfettered by romantic entanglements. A lot of singles aren’t. Either way, everyone experiences loneliness, and everyone needs a safe place to express sadness, frustration, and fear. Sometimes what your single friend needs is simply for you to listen while she expresses her feelings. Not your advice, not your judgment, not your suggestions…just your sympathy.
  4. Include your single friend in some of your family traditions. Maybe your single friend doesn’t bother putting up a Christmas tree in his apartment, but that doesn’t mean he hates decorating. Invite him over to help decorate the Christmas tree (or at least to climb on the roof with you to put up the lights). Maybe your single friend loves to bake but can’t eat all those cookies by herself. Invite her over to help you and your kids make gingerbread men (or even better, NINJAbread men). She’ll have a blast, your kids will benefit from having another loving adult in their lives, and who knows–she might even go home with her biological clock silenced by how horribly your little devils have behaved. (Kidding!) (mostly)
  5. Exchange gifts. Okay, this is kinda tricky, since it involves finances. But a single adult might have few people (or even no one) to give him presents. They don’t have to be expensive presents. It can be just one present. For that matter, get creative and offer your jet-setting friend a set of coupons for home-cooked meals with your family. Make a scrapbook for your friend who loves to travel but hasn’t had a chance to do something with her last set of vacation photos. Give your friend who bakes a copy of your great-grandmother’s super secret devil’s food cake recipe. You don’t have to spend money. Just make sure your single friend knows he isn’t forgotten.
  6. Offer to baby-sit. Or pet-sit. Or plant-sit. Whatever. If your single friend has kids, she might need time to get out and do some Christmas shopping without the kids in tow. Maybe the kids need someone to take them out and help them pick out presents for their mom. Maybe she just desperately needs to escape and drink a Peppermint Mocha Latte all by herself. If he doesn’t have kids, maybe your single friend has family out of town or across the world; he might need someone to feed his cat, watch his dog, or pick up the mail once or twice. Maybe his plants will need to be watered once or twice. Maybe he just wants a light turned on so no one will break in while he’s gone. I think a lot of times, people overlook the most practical ways to help someone. You don’t have to be good with words or a huge fan of Hallmark to provide emotional support to someone through a rocky time.
  7. Above all, care. I promise you, caring goes a long way. As 1 Peter 4 says, love covers a multitude of sins. You may feel awkward and unsure of what to do or say to a friend who is celebrating his first Christmas after the death of his wife. You may be uncomfortable approaching a friend whose husband has divorced her right before Thanksgiving. You may think Valentine’s Day is a horrible time to hang out with your single friend. But I promise you, just showing your friend that you care will do a lot to make his or her holiday better.

What do you guys think? Have I forgotten something? Is there something you’ve done for a single friend? Are you a single who wishes your married friends would do something specific? Let me know!

Thanksgiving as a Single Adult

21 Nov
English: Photo showing some of the aspects of ...

English: Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditional US Thanksgiving day dinner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate the holidays.

Not the meaning behind them, because I think it’s great to take time to ponder all the blessings in our lives. And not the food, because my mom’s butterhorn rolls and pumpkin pies are possibly the best foods in the world.

But the social pressure? Yeah, I hate that.

As a single person, I’m not divided about what family I spend Thanksgiving with, at least. My mom generally hosts Thanksgiving and invites her family and my dad’s family (neither side is very big). I try to show up early and help Mom in the kitchen. But honestly, there are times I wish I could skip Thanksgiving entirely.

I tried that exactly once, about ten years ago. I stayed at home by myself. I was lonely and miserable. Late in the day I ended up ditching everything and driving to my grandparents’ house, where everyone had gathered.

But the thing is, I spend hundreds of other days by myself without experiencing misery or loneliness. Sure, I get lonely, but not on a frequent basis, and often not just because I’m at home alone. I think the reason I felt lonely that day was because American society has this image of the perfect Thanksgiving, watching the Macy’s parade and carving up a turkey and laughing with your family over a candlelit dinner table.

It’s not exactly a cozy image for a single adult, is it? What about singles who live hundreds of miles away from their parents and don’t have the means or opportunity to travel there? What about the divorced man whose ex-wife has custody of the kids for the holiday? What about the woman whose husband of forty years has died, leaving her alone?

I have this dream that some day I will be able to celebrate in community with all of my dearest single friends. They are mostly women and mostly Christians, and I think we’re all within about ten years of each other in age. I think that would be an amazing way to spend Thanksgiving!

A series of posts at Rachel Marie Stone’s blog has had me thinking about how we celebrate Thanksgiving. Take a look at Plagues and Famine: Better Not to Know?, How Knowing Things Saves Lives, and Can I “Eat With Joy” While Others Can’t Eat At All?, and let me know what you think. (Let her know, too–these are great posts.)

I think next year for Thanksgiving, I will plan to spend my day in a homeless shelter or at one of the area food pantries or soup kitchens that are providing Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and underprivileged in America. I don’t think it will be possible to feel lonely in such surroundings, and it’ll have to be better than watching another Three Stooges marathon or watching my aunts bicker about how one is eating too much and the other not enough.

What about you guys? What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions? What sort of alternate ways do you have to celebrate the holiday?

Can I Get a Vaccine for the Season of Singleness?

15 Nov 'INFLIGHT' photo (c) 2011, Person of Interest - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Today I want to discuss a phrase that, to me, is like nails on a chalkboard. It’s one I see thrown around all the time on blogs about singleness, marriage, family, and loneliness. Yes, it’s the dreaded season of singleness.

I have a lot of problems with this phrase. For one thing, it implies something temporary. This too shall pass. April showers bring May bridal showers. That sort of thing.

For another thing, it sounds awfully close to something nasty and unwanted. Flu season. Fever season. Singleness season. Yech!

The thing about implying that singleness is temporary is…well, sometimes it’s not. Some people are going to be lifelong singles. Happy or sad, content or kicking-and-screaming, some people will not get married. Take me for instance: I know thirty-six isn’t old, and I know I may someday still get married if that’s what God wants for me, but trust me–my singleness hasn’t been a season, it’s been an epoch.

Another good reason to avoid implying singleness is temporary is the accompanying implication that everyone should desire to end their singleness. When I hear season of singleness, I hear, just a phase, she’ll grow out of it. It comes across as misunderstanding at best and condescending at worst.

Statistically, maybe a lot of people will end up marrying. But then again, we’re at an all-time high ratio of singles-to-marrieds. Almost half the population is single. Sure, some of them have been married before. Some of them are in long-term dating relationships, or have some sort of committed partnership that, for one reason or another, they haven’t formalized. But the fact is, people are waiting longer to marry, and more people are not marrying at all.

Implying that singleness is temporary, or a state to leave behind, is not necessarily honest and not necessarily helpful. If I view singleness as a transitory state, I’m more likely to:

  • put off embracing adulthood
  • be less responsible with my finances
  • spend all my time craving an end to this “season”
  • focus on my relationship with men instead of my relationship with God
  • require dating and/or marriage to validate my self-worth

This is where the real danger of viewing singleness as a season comes in. If I don’t view myself as a real person until I’ve survived my season of singleness, I’ve missed out on a huge opportunity.

Single people have to make a choice to fully inhabit our present lives. 

We can’t live our lives in a constant holding pattern. We have to seek out God’s will for our lives. We have to learn to build others up, regardless of whether those others are parents, significant others, or friends. We have to leave our future in God’s hands and concentrate on what He’s doing in our present.

Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35,

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs–how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world–how he can please his wife–and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Read that last sentence again. Do you get that? Singleness is not a restriction.

'INFLIGHT' photo (c) 2011, Person of Interest - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

INFLIGHT

Singleness is freedom. Freedom to be devoted to the Lord. Freedom to live in a right way. Freedom from the affairs of this world. Freedom from pleasing anyone but the Lord.

Paul reframes singleness in such an amazing way here. Rather than saying we’re worth less than those who have married and had children, he says we’re free! He says we should have fewer concerns than married people!

Isn’t that an amazing feeling?

So let’s stop looking at singleness as a season, as something to be escaped or inoculated against. Let’s stop acting as if singleness is temporary, something we’ll outgrow. Let’s take a look at where we are right now and vow to thrive here.

We are single adults, and we are free.

Married People, Help Me Out

12 Nov

Dear Married People,'Begin Two Way' photo (c) 2011, niXerKG - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

What do you get tired of hearing from singles? What misconceptions do we singles have about your married life? What would you like to tell us about yourselves? How can we, as single people, be encouraging to you? How can we better understand you? What should we learn from you? What can we teach you?

I do a lot of talking about what it’s like to be single and how you married folks can better relate to us and encourage us. But this shouldn’t be a one-way street. I’m interested in a dialogue.

Please chime in and address issues you want us to talk about. Better yet, if you’re interested in writing a guest post for Single White Christian, let me know! I would love to listen to what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Single White Christian

4 Things To Say to Parents of a Single Adult

8 Nov

On Monday I posted 7 Things Not to Say to Parents of a Single Adult. But I try to follow up my “negative” posts with something more positive and affirming. So today I’m going to present four suggestions of things you can and should say to parents of a single adult.

  1. You must be very proud of your son/daughter. Finding a mate and procreating is something that happens at almost every level of biology. It isn’t really something unique to homo sapiens. So let’s stop acting like marriage and parenthood are the only accomplishments in life. Every adult, single, married, or in-between, has done something to be proud of. Instead of focusing on marital status, look at the other things. Maybe she’s published a book. Maybe he just sealed a major business deal. Maybe she heads up a charity that impacts lives. Maybe he leads a Bible study in his home. Those are all things to be proud of. Celebrate those.
  2. It must be nice not having to share your child with inlaws during the holidays. Growing up, we rarely had this problem, because one set of my grandparents lived in Florida, while the other set lived fifteen miles away, so Dad didn’t see his folks for the holiday. But occasionally we spent the week of Christmas in Florida…and then my mom didn’t get to spend Christmas with her parents. As a single adult, I don’t have this problem. I celebrate Christmas with my parents the way we always have–we read the Christmas story, then open presents on Christmas Eve (it used to be at midnight, but as we all get older, this starts earlier and earlier in the evening). There are almost always bookish presents for everyone, so we stay up late reading our new books, and sleep in late Christmas morning. I don’t have to compromise on Christmas plans, and my parents don’t have to share me.
  3. (When a child moves back home) Aren’t you glad they aren’t married and bringing their spouse and children back home to live with you! Because yes, I actually know a couple of people who moved back in with their parents, with a husband, two kids, and a dog in tow. At least when I moved back, my parents were getting what amounted to an adult boarder in the upstairs. I contributed financially as much as I was able, and in labor, and I didn’t wake them up for midnight feedings or early morning walks.
  4. How has your relationship changed as your child has grown older? Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your friend with single adult offspring. Just don’t focus those questions on the marital or parental status of said offspring. If your friend wants to talk about her kid’s marital status, let her bring it up first.

Single readers, what do you wish people would say to your parents? Parents of singles, what do you wish people would say to you? Chime in!

%d bloggers like this: