I want to introduce this topic by saying, this is one of the hardest topics for me to write about and if a certain somebody didn’t convict my spirit about diving into this topic I wouldn’t be speaking of it, let alone typing it.
The dictionary defines it a few different ways, depending on the part of speech. As an adjective it means: “not married; of or relating to celibacy”. As a noun it means: “an unmarried person & especially one young and socially active”.
Wait. “One young and socially active.” Seriously? Yeah, you can tell that the dictionary hasn’t updated that word in a while, but to be fair, consistent singleness didn’t start to sky rocket until Women’s Rights started to really take off. I mean, to be single meant you didn’t have an heir to keep the family name going if you were a male and you didn’t have financial stability if you were a woman.
So with all the history of this topic I hold many emotions about it. Heck, I feel like I am about to divulge all my deepest fears, wants, and secrets when it comes to the idea of singleness. You probably want to know why I am talking about this topic then if I don’t like it. Just give the history lesson and don’t get personal, but I have to. Why? It is because I am a single female in her 30s whose biggest challenge in my personal and work life is the fact that I am still single.
And I know I am not the only one.
You do need to know I am not coming from the viewpoint of “single but consistently dating.” No. I am coming from the viewpoint of “my longest relationship was 9 months my freshman/sophomore year of high school and altogether I have been in ‘official’ relationships for a total of 12 months in my life.” 3% of my life.
Yeah, I just don’t date.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have tried at certain stages of my life. I have gone on first dates…mostly just first dates and tried to put myself out there to find “the one,” but you want to know the truth about all this? It’s hard! Being single and trying to date in this time and age is HARD! Now add strong morals, beliefs, and boundaries on top of that and it is down right almost impossible to date in our century.
Well, think about our culture. Sex is everywhere. In what we watch, what we wear, and what we hear. You can’t even watch a kid’s show without some sort of sexual innuendo they sneak in. (I watch a lot of Disney Channel…they are there.) Date culture tells you it is okay to partake in all sorts of sexual acts at a young age and beyond, but if you are walking into date culture with the stance of ‘waiting until marriage’, you are normally chewed up and spit out.
I have been chewed up and spat out.
I have been ignored, ghosted on dating apps, broken up with, and challenged by men because I won’t give into the “norms” of date culture. You need to know though I am not a perfect, innocent angel, who hasn’t made a mistake here and there, but there have been lines in my romantic life that I just won’t cross and I haven’t. I cannot count the times I have fallen into sadness, then anger, and cried over men who don’t respect my decisions, so I just stopped. You would think then all of the negativity would go away if I walked away from dating, right?
There is this connotation that if you are single then something is wrong with you, especially in Church Culture. Nowadays in our worldly culture, it is an empowering place to be single, but that hasn’t translated to the Church Culture. It seems the older you get, the more and more older couples in the church ask you why you are still single or try to set you up with somebody. Add in single and WORKING in ministry, you might as well have an arranged marriage to get everyone off your back!
Anybody else get this? Am I the only one?
I know they are just trying to be caring for you, but I truly believe that instead of trying to put singles where you want them, you should support them where they are. Churchs have a hard time with this. From the pulpit you hear more about families and marriage than you do about being single. It is not the pastors fault. They use their experiences and 99.999% of them are married with families. But as a single we feel like the red-haired stepchild of the church.
I know youth likes to take that title, but let’s be honest youth pastors/directors (and I am one), you at least have a ministry. How many churches really have a solid singles ministry? Keyword: SOLID. Probably less than 5% (I am making up my own number to get my point across, but I am probably very close to accurate). Because of this culture in our churches, I feel (and I probably speak for most singles out there) that as soon as a new person of the opposite gender from myself walks into service I need to make my presence known.
Please tell me others have done this – recon? You check their ring finger to see if they are married, then search around to see who they are there with. Then if everything looks clear you casually welcome them or insert yourself into the conversation so you can get a name and possibly job, so you can go home in secret and social media stalk them to make sure they aren’t taken or, well, crazy. I know I am not the only one.
We need to change this culture. We need to accept singles and empower them in their stage of life. Because as they get into their 30s and hear a clock ticking, they need to know they have a church body around them, supporting them – NOT trying to fix their singleness.
Did you know that singleness can actually be a calling? Come back next week to hear how singleness is viewed in the bible. And to hear me talk about this and more in my first episode, go to the 139FOURTEEN Podcast (click the name) page to hear my thoughts on singleness.