That Is Okay, But.. (On Being Single)

In the article below, Hannah talks about singleness and the myth of waiting to get married.  This post includes links to other articles that you won’t want to miss! 

Do you have a boyfriend yet?  She asks.  I answer no, and brace for the question that I know comes next- Why?  I reply with something along the lines of that now is not the right time for me to be in a relationship, and I haven’t met the right guy.  It’s so much more than that, but it’s hard to sum it up quickly.  That is okay, but.. have you thought about serving God by staying single, or would you rather marry?  She then lists some of the merits of devoting one’s life to working in the church instead of marrying as a vocation.  Though I appreciate her sincerity, I wonder at the implications here.. if I am not in a relationship at twenty years of age, will I miss marital bliss forever?

Internally, I freeze.

I want to tell my well-meaning acquaintance that it’s not either/or- it is not a choice between serving God by staying single the rest of my life or serving God by getting married in the near future.  That this emphasis on one’s relational state is something that I feel has been burdening some young women, including me.  Yet because of my unpreparedness, the words don’t come out quite like I would have hoped.

Many young women at college and elsewhere are consumed with their relational state.  There are fears about finding “Mr. Right”, or spending too much or too little time with someone who could be Mr. Right, or getting married before one turns 30 (after which a woman will presumably become undesirable without marital companionship), and fears about whether to pursue a degree, or to be a stay-at-home, or..  the list goes on.

I’m not saying these fears are entirely invalid.  And it is important to be somewhat concerned about the future in a conscientious, and not obsessive fashion.  For example, it is often beneficial to make decisions about boundaries, know some of the qualities that would be complementary in a future mate, and investigate one’s personal beliefs about dating/courting, marriage, and so on.  I feel like I have read every major Christian dating/courting/relationship book on the market, out of curiosity and the process of looking into my own convictions on such topics (though it’s doubtful this level of thoroughness is necessary).  However, as I started to approach my twenties, I noticed that as a result of the Christian culture’s renewed interest in topics like purity, sex and marriage, something weird happened.  For some, the focus has become waiting to get married, instead of enjoying living alongside God in (temporary) singleness.  There is pressure to end up with “the one”, instead of realizing the callings that God gives to each of us right now, in our present states.

To clarify, there is a difference between deciding not to enter into any relationships until a later date or a change of circumstances, and putting your life on hold in hopes of getting married.  The first focuses on actively living out God’s calling in your life until He chooses to change it, while the latter focuses on.. well, marriage.  It is a future calling, perhaps, that you can prepare for in some ways, but is just that: for the future.

Realizing that this is a myth- that single women don’t have to live life in “waiting” mode – is a freeing concept.  I didn’t always understand the pervasiveness of the myth, even in my own mindset.

I do want to get married someday. I have confidence that I will: but not yet. This isn’t something that is easy to explain in abrupt conversations.  Or even in long ones.  But it’s something that I know.  What is important right now, though, is not that somewhere out there is a great guy I hope to one day wed, but that there is a great God I am in love with and live daily with right now, every waking moment.  He has great things planned for every single young woman, as she actively lives alongside Him: not as she waits in desperation, but as she is already desperately in love with the God who created love in the first place.

Promise me, O women of Jerusalem,
not to awaken love until the time is right.

Song of Solomon 8:4

More commentary on singleness, and the roles of women:

Singularity by Sonja

Response to Anonymous at Ask Lauren,etc. by Lauren

The Double Standard and Being Single by Charity

Why I’m Not Saving My Heart for My Husband by Emily Hipps (a provocative title, but worth reading 😉 )

Do you know of any other articles that are encouraging commentary on singleness and the roles of women/guys that you would like to see added to this list?  If so, please leave a comment with the link(s), and I will add them (subject to my discretion) for everyone’s benefit.

To find out more about Hannah K., visit our writer’s page

Art Credit: Source Code

2 comments

  1. Good post.

    I think when dealing with this issue, many are tempted to fall into either ditch — to think that the choice to marry or not to marry must be decided now, or to be obsessed with getting married and put your life on hold. My philosophy is in all things serve God, but if you DO think you may be getting married one day, do everything you ever want to do now, while you can and aren’t busy with kids and home responsibilities. Enjoy being single. It’s not a punishment; it’s a chance to do amazing things for God.

    1. Thank you, Charity! 🙂
      I agree that many tend to fall into either camp, and I also think you hit on a great distinction.
      Singleness is definitely not a punishment, but an opportunity. 🙂

      ~ Hannah

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