Tag Archives: being single

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.

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.

We’re All More Than We First Appear

19 Nov

My blog name makes me uncomfortable. It didn’t start out that way, but in the time since Passover, when I started this blog, I’ve had various people comment on the name. I’ve had someone ask me if I’m a racist because of my blog name. I’ve had someone else tell me the “white” part seemed weird. And I find myself, more and more often, talking about SWC instead of Single White Christian.

So why Single White Christian?

I was trying to accomplish two things with my blog name. I wanted to be 1) funny and 2) honest.

Funny, because it’s like a personal ad, right? SWF seeking SWM, GWM seeking GWM, SWM seeking SWF for FWB LOL. Except, of course, it isn’t funny if I have to explain it.

Honest, because I need to acknowledge upfront that, while I feel my life has known hardship, I am still speaking from a place of privilege. I can’t pretend to speak from any other point of view than a single, white, Christian woman. I can’t speak for gay people or black people. I can’t speak for men. I can’t speak for Asians or Frenchmen or Australians, for that matter, but I thought Single White Straight Lower-Middle-Class USian Christian might be too hard to remember.

I want to open a dialogue with people of other backgrounds and worldviews. I want to ask questions and learn from people, and maybe find something I can teach others. And if I start off by using language that is off-putting to others, I’ve already put myself at a disadvantage.

After my last conversation about the name of this blog, I started thinking about renaming the blog. I talked it over with a good friend who’s been super supportive of this effort…and who finally admitted that she felt a little weird about the white part. Rather than renaming, though, she suggested a redefining.

SWC means Single White Christian, yes. But what else can SWC mean?

  • Seeking Welcoming Church
  • Saved With Christ
  • Sharing Wonderful Companions
  • Shoulda Woulda Coulda
  • Sleep/Wake Cycle
  • Single Without Children
  • Snarky While Charming?

What do you guys think? Did the name confuse you? Make you angry? Make you ask questions? Would it be better if I found something else to call this blog? (And if you say yes to that, you’d better have some clever suggestions!)

Or do I own this name? Do I inhabit this name? Do I say, “Yes, I called it this. Yes, I realize now that it makes people uncomfortable. Yes, I know better now. But no, I’m not covering up this mistake?”

Or do you think it wasn’t a mistake at all? Do you actually (gasp) like the name? Did you see the blog name and think, “Yeah, I can identify with this chick?”

Let me know!

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.

[100 Things] No Full-Service

4 Oct

The other day I was talking to a friend who was worried she didn’t have enough gas to get home from a meeting. No problem, I said, you have enough to get to the gas station two blocks from here. Her response?

“Oh, I don’t know how to pump gas. My husband always does that.”

Guys, my jaw dropped. After I picked it up, I started laughing. I’m sure I acted like a jerk, but I was seriously floored that anyone could live to be over twenty (or over forty) and not have any clue how to pump her own gas. As a single girl, I would be screwed if I waited for some man to pump gas for me.

I pump my own gas, check my own oil, add windshield fluid and engine coolant when needed. I take my car for oil changes and tire rotations. I even know how to change a tire myself, for those times I don’t feel like waiting on AAA.

This woman has a good career that involves regional travel all the time, most of it via automobile. How does she manage? Are there any full-service gas stations left in the Midwest? I know a couple of states in the Union actually require full-service (Oregon comes to mind) but here in Middle America, we pump our own gas. And maybe if we lived in New York City or Chicago she could do all her travel by public transport, but that isn’t the case. So how does she get by?

It’s one thing if her husband pumps the gas out of consideration. But if he only does it because she doesn’t know how? I know not every married woman as as helpless when it comes to car-related things, but I think it’s pretty pathetic if a woman can’t manage in life by herself. What is she going to do if something happens and she is suddenly a widow or divorcee? And if she can’t do something as simple as pumping gas, what other vital life skills is she missing?

I made her follow me to the gas station, where I taught her how to pump gas and pay for it with her check card. I told her, “You don’t have to tell your hubby you know how to do this, but by gosh, you’re going to learn.”

But I confess, weeks later, I wonder if she remembers how.

Single-and-Not-Dating…With Caveats (Part 3)

27 Sep

Last Monday I started answering a question Edarnut asked me: There seem to be 3 kinds of Christian singles: Single and looking for a spouse, single and dating but not really spouse hunting, and single and not dating. Which are you? And how is the “singles ministry” dynamic between the 3 types?

Then on Thursday I continued my response and talked about how I came to realize I was content with singledom.

Today I want to explain the caveat I added to her category–that is, that I’m not opposed to marriage.

First I need to clarify that I’m not talking about marriage across the board. I’m not opposed to that, either, but I mean specifically that I’m not opposed to my own marriage. I don’t dislike men. I believe in the institution of marriage. (I also believe the government shouldn’t be defining it, but let’s not get into politics today, huh?)

I’m just not actively seeking marriage. I’m not actively seeking a spouse.

Christian readers of my blog are probably familiar with the story of Isaac and Rebekah, how the servant set out to find a wife for Isaac, prayed to God for a sign, and was granted that sign. The servant asked Rebekah for water at the well, and she offered to draw water for his camels too, whereupon he decked her out in jewelry and proclaimed her the bride God had chosen for his master.

Well, I like to joke that if God sends a dude with camels and bracelets to ask me for water, that’s about the only way I’ll end up married. That might sound flippant, but what it boils down to is that if God wants me to get married, He’ll place the right man in my path at the right time and cause me to know His will.

At which point I hope to heaven I’m wise enough to recognize it!

But I’m not anticipating that day. I’m not holding my breath waiting for a Prince Charming. I’m not praying every day for my future husband. Frankly, I don’t know if he even exists, and I’m not fussed either way. Why should I pray for some dude who may not even be real, especially if I’m not even staying awake nights hoping he is?

What I want to focus on is the here and now. The missions God has placed in my life. The passions God has given me regarding how to serve Him. The conditions in which I currently serve God.

So I’m not opposed to marriage. I’m just not out there looking for it.

Single and Not Dating. That’s me. With caveats. 🙂

Single-and-Not-Dating…With Caveats (Part 2)

20 Sep

On Monday I started answering a question Edarnut asked me: There seem to be 3 kinds of Christian singles: Single and looking for a spouse, single and dating but not really spouse hunting, and single and not dating. Which are you? And how is the “singles ministry” dynamic between the 3 types?

As I said Monday, I’m Single-and-Not-Dating-or-Actively-Seeking-a-Spouse-(Though-Not-Opposed-to-Marriage). I paused in my Singledom Narrative at the ripe old age of a broken-hearted twenty-five. My first serious, long-term relationship had just ended.

It took me about a year to really get over that. In the meantime, I was happy to flirt and go on occasional, casual dates, but there were no real connections. Then about nine years ago, through a coworker, I met a really nice guy who was, intellectually, academically, a Christian, but who had no true emotional or passionate faith in Christ. He professed Christianity, I liked him, he liked me, we started dating.

It didn’t work out. I’d gone back to grad school that summer, I was diagnosed with chronic depression that summer, and the relationship was just one thing too many for me to put energy into. The fact that I chose to let the relationship go probably speaks volumes about how well it wasn’t working.

I changed jobs a couple of times, including a career change. I left the church I’d grown up in for a more Biblical, dynamic, growing church. I hit thirty, still single. I began to think it was impossible to meet single, Christian guys.

Then…

…slowly…

…I started wondering if I still wanted to meet single, Christian guys. At least in a romantic capacity.

I’m an only child with a close relationship with my parents. I grew up able to entertain myself for hours by reading, thinking, or telling stories in my head. Eventually I started writing–a fairly solitary hobby. I come from a family where bachelor uncles and unmarried aunts are perfectly normal.

I experience loneliness, but I had learned by then that relationships are no guarantee against loneliness.

I had become accustomed to making decisions without having to consider other people. I had grown used to being able to take all the closet and dresser space for myself. I have never wanted children, so I felt no biological clock nagging at me to marry and reproduce.

In short, I was content in my singledom.

And in a couple of days, I’ll explain my caveat. Until then, anyone else want to weigh in on this?

Single-and-Not-Dating…With Caveats (Part 1)

17 Sep

A while back…uh, okay, a long time ago now…I invited questions from people here. Then I neglected to answer those questions, and it’s too bad, because there were some really great ones.

Today I want to try to answer one of Edarnut’s questions: There seem to be 3 kinds of Christian singles: Single and looking for a spouse, single and dating but not really spouse hunting, and single and not dating. Which are you? And how is the “singles ministry” dynamic between the 3 types?

First of all, as of right now, a few weeks from my thirty-sixth birthday, I’m definitely in the Single-and-Not-Dating category of Christian singles. And to sub-categorize myself a bit, I’m Single-and-Not-Dating-or-Actively-Seeking-a-Spouse-(Though-Not-Opposed-to-Marriage). But that hasn’t always been the case.

Just a few days ago I was going through some old papers and I found some of my abysmally depressing journal entries from college. When I was eighteen, I was certain I wanted to get married. When I was nineteen I even thought I was madly in love with someone who might make me agree to have children. When I was twenty and newly disillusioned with my corner of the Christian subculture of my big State U, I started looking at men I met outside of church. When I was twenty-one, I was desperately and secretly in love with a man who I imagined–no, not getting married to–but meeting again in ten years and having a passionate affair.

Please keep in mind, if you will, that I had all of these feelings and beliefs and odd ideas all before I received my first kiss.

Yep, you read that right. I’d never even had more than the most basic sort of Christian non-relationship*, but I had daydreamed about marrying at least a dozen different Christian guys, and having a torrid affair with a non-Christian guy.

Fast forward to the mid-twenties and I actually started dating, but I was a serial monogamist. I never really got the mindset behind playing the field. The summer I was twenty-four I met a younger guy and fell head over heels in love, and for once it seemed mutual. But he was still in college, and at the end of the summer, you can guess what happened. The relationship ended on my twenty-fifth birthday. It broke my heart, but I was in the middle of a quarter-life crisis anyway; I’d reached twenty-five without having a book or story published. The melodrama of having my romantic hopes dashed had to fight with the melodrama of career angst and self-doubt.

And that’s where I’m going to pause this story until the next blog post. (I promise, I’ll post the rest in a couple days, not a couple weeks!)

—–

*You know what I mean when I say “Christian non-relationship”, right? It’s that torturous state of hanging out with someone of the opposite sex in all kinds of group situations, where all the other members of the group know you like him, and a lot of the other members of the group think he likes you, and the people who know what’s really going on feel superior, and you end up with your heart broken.

What? Bitter? Me? Pssht.

Book Review: Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman

9 Jun

When I started this blog, I decided I need to read as many books written for or about singles as I could. Years ago I read a few books that I probably will refrain from commenting on, because my memory is short, and all I remember is that I hated them. (When God Writes Your Love Story, I am looking at you.)

Side note: I’ve been hampered in this effort by the local library’s poorly developed collection of books on single life; there are six books on singleness in the online catalog, and one of them is Jennifer Love Hewitt’s book about needing to be in love. Yeah, seriously.

Anyway, the first book I read on this topic was Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages for Singles. It was probably a good book to start with, because Dr. Chapman gets a lot of things right.

For one thing, he didn’t write a book that ought to be subtitled: Why You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You or How to Get a Spouse. In the introduction, Chapman writes,

Married or single, young or old, every human has the emotional need to feel loved. When this need is met, we move out to reach our potential for God and good in the world. However, when we feel unloved, we struggle simply to survive. I am deeply convinced that the truths in this book will enable single adults to learn the skills that lead to loving and being loved.

But he’s not talking just about finding a spouse. His book acknowledges all the relationships in a single person’s life, from family to friends to roommates to coworkers, and, yes, to romantic relationships. Though there is a slight emphasis on dating and marriage, he doesn’t sideline all the other important relationships in a single person’s life.

In fact, in the situations he writes about where a single person wants to find a mate, he actually teaches them about the five love languages, then instructs them to try learning the love languages of their parents. This would seem to imply that Dr. Chapman knows singles are whole people regardless of our marital status, and that a romantic relationship might not be the most important one in our lives.

If you’re not aware of the five love languages, Chapman defines them as Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. I believe I’m a Quality Time person myself, but my mom is an Acts of Service person, and my dad, I think, is Words of Affirmation. Mom and I have discussed this, though, and neither of us is sure about his language.

Something I really liked about this book was that I could immediately apply what I took away from it. I didn’t have to wait until I was dating someone. Learning to speak someone else’s love language is useful whether you’re trying to win over a stubborn coworker, get a messy roommate to be more considerate of your neat-freak habits, or just show your parents or friends how much you appreciate them. Since reading the book, I’ve tried to focus more on performing acts of service for my mom, whether it’s helping her with her yard work or designing a logo for her new market garden business. We’ve always had a great relationship (my mom is my best friend), but I can honestly say I think it’s better now that I’m speaking her language.

Something else I like about the book is the chapter for single parents. I’m not a single parent, and I hope never to be, but I’m glad Chapman doesn’t overlook the fact that a huge number of people are either having children without ever marrying, or becoming the sole provider and caregiver for their children after a divorce. I had a friend and coworker my age who had three children, none of whom shared a father. It gave her some unique challenges to face. Love languages can be applied to kids and teenagers as well as adults, and Chapman gives clear ideas on how to do this.

Chapman categorizes single adults in five ways, and admits there may be other categories they fit. He writes about singles who have never been married, who are divorced, who are separated but not divorced, who are widowed, and single parents. He acknowledges just how many single people there are in the world today, especially in the United States (as of the book’s publication in 2004 he cited 4 out of 10 adults as single. I think we’re closer to 49% of the U.S. population now). And he makes it clear that we single adults matter to him.

I confess, Chapman also got points for quoting my favorite Christian scholar and writer, C.S. Lewis:

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you love someone, you will presently come to love him. (Mere Christianity)

This has got me thinking, even more, about how I deal with some of those Christians I was talking about earlier this week. I need to remember, as Bird pointed out, that a gentle answer turns away wrath. And I need to act as if I love them, whether I’m angry at them or annoyed with them or not. And that will lead to me being a more loving person.

That can only be a good thing, right?

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