Talking About Singleness

One thing I have come to learn in recent weeks is that the things that people talk about most are the things they care about the most. I’ve eavesdropped on all sorts of conversations – from family to fishing, from shows to sports, from church to cooking. In Christianity, the conversation is usually centered on marriage and family. In this way, Christianity is sort of like the grandparent who is up-to-date about all the news and brags about it’s married children and their kids, but is hard-pressed to come up with very much to brag about when it comes to it’s unmarried and childless relatives.

When the church doesn’t talk about singleness it’s also minimizing the importance of those who are single. When the church doesn’t set up it’s schedule around the needs of it’s singles, then it’s saying that singles just don’t matter as much as married parents do. The time of single people isn’t as precious as the time of married people. And let’s face it – this is a changing world; one in which Sundays aren’t the same as they used to be. For some it’s a day of rest, for others it’s a day to work.

It’s important to talk about singleness, but it’s even more important to send the right messages. There are things that should be said and things that should not be said about singleness. Singles often hear the same messages that they’re immature because they aren’t married yet or they’re selfish for not wanting to share their lives or for putting their own wishes and dreams above that of the not so glorious aspects of raising infants and toddlers. The thing is that most Christian singles do dream of marriage and parenthood, but for some inexplicable reason it just hasn’t happened yet. They’ve read books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye and attended True Love Waits conferences as teenagers and have promised themselves to not be worldly about dating but to let God write their love story.

Singleness represents more than one station in life, it includes divorce, widow/widower-hood, single parenting, and never-married/child-free. Each has it’s own challenges and needs that need to be spoken to. Each group needs it’s own encouragement and support that differs from the others. When we watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” we need somebody to stand up for Mary the old maid / spinster and say that it’s okay that she never got married. It’s not the worst thing that can happen. It’s not better to be married – it’s just different.

Marriage shouldn’t be the focus of singleness, as if it were the cure to the selfsame disease or the solution to the selfsame problem. It’s time to stop centering our conversations on marriage, but to open up some serious dialogue on singleness.

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3 thoughts on “Talking About Singleness

  1. Such an enlightening post! Personally, I’ve never been aware of such things (do you think it could be that I was married at 20??) and find the thought tragically insensitive, especially when you consider that Paul, one of the greatest biblical writers, was single!

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    1. It’s probably not unlike being left-handed in a right-handed world. Right-handed students might not notice that right-handed desks are awkward for lefties until they break their right arm and are temporarily left-handed. When the world is made to fit you, to suit your needs, and to take care of your interests, it’s hard to complain. But when you’re outside of that, it’s hard to feel like you’re being included.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “It’s probably not unlike being left-handed in a right-handed world.” I have tried to figure out a way to put this into words for a long time. That fit perfectly! In my LifeGroup, everyone is married.. well, one couple isn’t married, but they will be before long. I am the only single one in my group. We all have kids, so there’s that.. but aside from that, and other various life events, it’s hard to identify with the members of the group. It just seems like there’s such a different dynamic between those who are married and the small number of people my age or close to it who aren’t married. It’s weird because I fit, but at the same time, I don’t fit. Most of the people in my church who are my age are already married or are not at the same place…. behavior/maturity wise (I’m not sure how else to word it) that I am. So I don’t exactly fit there, either.
    Great post! I really enjoyed it!!

    Liked by 1 person

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