Singleness Is Not A Gift

Singleness Is Not A Gift

I really do not believe that singleness is a gift.

I think if God actually grants someone with that so-called “gift,” then that individual will not be bothered in the least not to be married. (Edit: I no longer even believe the Bible teaches the concept “gift of singleness.” See links below for more, under “Related posts this blog”)

However, I am in my late thirties, never married, and it bothers me very much. I always wanted to be married, and I would still like to be married, so I seriously doubt that I have the “gift of singleness.”

I am so tired of hearing cliches and oft-worn phrases directed at singles such as “singleness is a gift.”

I can most assuredly tell you that no, it is not a gift. It’s a curse. It’s lonely. It’s terrible. It’s embarrassing.

Prolonged singleness is especially difficult in a culture where most people do get married, and where people, especially Christians, assume everyone over age 35 is married (or has been at least at one time).

I did not “choose” to be single, by the way. I am not a man-hating feminist. I was never obsessed with my career.

While doing a web search for the phrase “singleness is not a gift” I did find a few blog pages or comments I could relate to, a few of which I will paste in below.

Unfortunately, while doing this internet search, I did come across one of those horrid “marriage mandate” type blogs run by someone calling herself (or himself?) “Captain Sensible,” and none other than Ms. Debbie Maken (queen of “singleness is a sin”) herself posts there.

My problem with such marriage mandate people is that they blame – yes blame– people for being single.

Blaming Christian women who desire marriage for still being single is a lot like the “Word of Faith” advocates who tend to blame sick people for being sick…

You know, if you have cancer it’s your fault, because if you only had enough faith, the Word of Faith proponents declare, God would’ve healed you by now.

It’s the same principle: blame the victim, and it’s a disgusting attitude, whether we’re talking about Word of Faith advocates who blame the sick for not being healed, or the “marriage mandaters” who blame the never- married, perpetually single people for not being able to find Mr. (or Ms.) Right.

I do agree with the marriage mandaters on some points. For example, I agree with marriage mandaters that there is something wrong and distasteful with those voices in Christendom who tell singles to remain single, who say that wanting marriage is akin to idolatry, and who discourage marriage.

However, I cannot stand beside any group of people, such as the marriage mandaters, who also tell me I’m at fault for not having a husband.

In my search for the phrase “singlessness is not a gift,” I did find a few comments I agreed with such as the ones on the page Wings for the Single Person, and I will paste in some of those comments farther below.

Unfortunately, the page “Wings for the Single Person” is a book review for a book by Christine Colón called “Singled Out.”

Why do I say “unfortunately?”

Because based upon the book review, the book itself appears to be filled with arguments that try to intellectualize Christian singleness, and hence, make prolonged singleness seem more palatable, acceptable or attractive to those who are afflicted with it. (January 2014 Edit: I later read a copy of the book months after writing this post, and the book does have its good points, but is also chock full of shaming older single people who still want marriage, which is not a good thing.)

In other words, it’s one of those nauseating works that tries to convince the Christian man or woman that if you’re never married and / or are still a virgin past the age of 35 that is wonderful and peachy keen because you’re such an asset for the Kingdom of God.

It’s one of those Christian books that tries to sugar coat how horrible it is to never be married. It’s one of those works that tries to get you to see the sliver lining or bright side in being without a partner.

Here are some comments by people who read the book review, and I agree with these remarks:

by gortexgrrl:

My sentiments exactly, Joe and Marie. Platitudes and churchy blather to singles has gone beyond ridiculous. I wrote a scathing review of this book on Amazon titled “An Unchosen Single Does Not a Celibate Make”. Exhortations to the involuntarily single to be not only sexually abstinent but “celibate” are psychologically vexing. Celibate service is for those who are passionately inclined toward it (as per Matthew 19:11-12) — not a consolation prize or default for the circumstantially single.

by marie:

Posted: August 11, 2009 11:22 PM

I’m 39 and still a virgin. I don’t need any more lectures on sexual purity. I either need a husband or a rooftop and an AK-47. It’s getting ridiculous when I hear the same platitudes over and over again. Singleness is not a gift. The ability to stand celibacy is and I was in the bathroom when that gift was handed out.

by Joe Chip:

Eh, this whole obsession with “living as a Godly single” always rubs me the wrong way… there is nothing wrong with being single.

There is nothing wrong with being married. But there is everything wrong with pretending that sad, depressed and lonely Christian singles can buy books and intellectualize the pain away.

It’s a real issue and the answer may just be found in a mate. “It is not good for man to be alone.”

If I come across any more good quotes about singlessness not being a gift, I will come back and add them to this post at a later time.

—Update, May 2013.—

I think I’ve posted about this guy’s blog before. If he’s the guy I’m thinking of, most of his blog is okay, but he encourages single males to over-think how to get dates, which is bad for single males.

Sadly, in the three whatever years since I first wrote this post, not much else has appeared refuting the stupid cliche’ that “Singleness is a gift.”

Christian singles need to be writing tons of pages exploring and exposing the cliches and crap they put up with in churches and from Christian groups.

Singles, don’t just sit back and read this blog – get off your butts and start blogging too. Maybe the more of us that start speaking out, the church will start paying attention.

Anyway:

(List): Singleness Is Not A Spiritual Gift

-Forget the qualifier of “spiritual,” it’s not a gift at all, period, except those times when you see married people throwing vases at each other in the heat of argument and think to yourself, “Thank God I’m not married.”
———————-
Related posts this blog:

(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy

(Link): The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

(Link): Gift of Singleness Gift of Celibacy Unbiblical – Those Terms and Teachings Contribute to Fornication / Editorial About Sex Surrogates

(Link): New-ish Christian Cliche’ About Singlehood: Don’t Waste Your Singleness -or- Make the Most of Your Singleness

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

(Link): Oh geeze. Another married Christian condescendingly patting single Christians on the head, reassuring them they are dandy as-is, and to remember they have the fictional Gift of Singleness

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): Preacher Mark Driscoll Basically Says No, Single Christian Males Cannot or Should Not Serve as Preachers / in Leadership Positions – Attempts to Justify Unbiblical, Anti Singleness Christian Bias

(Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview).

(Link): Sick of Being Single / I Am So Sick and Tired of Being Single Alone Unmarried Lonely

(Link): The Types of Christian Singles Who Annoy Me

(Link): The Cloying Annoying Nauseating Too Nice G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles – Christian Material For Singles is LAME

11 thoughts on “Singleness Is Not A Gift”

  1. Singlness will NEVER BE A Gift to me !!! It’s a circumstance I’ve had to endure my entire life and im 38 but what has really angered me are Christians telling me that God called me to be single to serve instead and that I need to focus more on him . I also had I cor 7 used against me – but the worst is being told Jesus is my husband . I’m definitely not his wife !!! Why are some Christians trying to convince singles to remain single but telling that is what God wants ? Bs ! Is what I think

    1. I’m sorry. I know. I wanted to be married but am still single.

      The thing that makes the situation worse if you are an adult single Christian who wants marriage is that you’re either totally ignored (there are not many books, blogs, or sermons that talk about the situation),
      or,
      if protracted, unwanted singleness is mentioned in Christian culture, preachers and lay persons insult adult singles:

      They assume we adult singles are intentionally avoiding marriage,
      they insulting assume we are condemned to being single because it was God’s choice for us to be single (vis a vis the Gift of Singleness blather – i.e., they hyper-spiritualize singleness), or,

      they assume we must be ugly, fat, socially backwards (and hence cannot attract anyone), or,

      they assume we are homosexual.

      If not that, they dish out unsolicited advice for the single ladies, by telling us to wear more make up and grow our hair long (as if this will magically deliver us husbands).

      (When an unmarried woman cries on your shoulder she wants a spouse and can’t even get a date, she is looking for support and empathy NOT suggestions. Don’t tell her things like, “try a dating site!,” “Lose ten pounds!,” “Try serving in the local church, I’m sure you will meet a man that way.”)

      I actually don’t mind 1 Corinthians 7 that much, depending on who is saying it and why, in that it explodes the Christian myth that God prefers marriage or married people.

      Most American Christians have turned marriage into an idol, but they tend to forget that Paul said it is better to stay single.

      Having said that, I do NOT think 1 Cor 7 should be used as a blunt weapon to clobber an unmarried adult over the head with, one who wants marriage. It’s very rude to tell a single who wants marriage that “well, you know, Paul said it’s better to stay single!”

      But I do find 1 Cor 7 handy in that it makes the married Christians, who usually treat singleness like a disease, that they are worshipping marriage, but the Bible treats singleness with respect.

      I edited the original post to include some new comments and these related links:

      (Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy

      (Link): The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

      (Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

      (Link): Gift of Singleness Gift of Celibacy Unbiblical – Those Terms and Teachings Contribute to Fornication / Editorial About Sex Surrogates

      (Link): New-ish Christian Cliche’ About Singlehood: Don’t Waste Your Singleness -or- Make the Most of Your Singleness

      (Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

      (Link): Oh geeze. Another married Christian condescendingly patting single Christians on the head, reassuring them they are dandy as-is, and to remember they have the fictional Gift of Singleness

      (Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

      (Link): Preacher Mark Driscoll Basically Says No, Single Christian Males Cannot or Should Not Serve as Preachers / in Leadership Positions – Attempts to Justify Unbiblical, Anti Singleness Christian Bias

      (Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview).

      (Link): Sick of Being Single / I Am So Sick and Tired of Being Single Alone Unmarried Lonely

      (Link): The Types of Christian Singles Who Annoy Me

      1. @ furiousferrett

        You seem to be into strict gender roles?

        You said,

        Basically you’re not attracted to any of the feminized Christian men and have basically dropped out.

        No, that’s not it.

        That sounds like a very PUA, men’s rights, Mark Driscoll frat boy type of attitude, and if you’ve seen the other posts on my blog, you would realize I’m not into strict gender roles, where Christians teach that all men must be studly, manly he-men in the mould of Hollywood action hero characters.

        I actually think some of these views about gender roles are hindering Christian singles from getting married.

        I used to live up to the Christian-enshrined ideal of “biblical womanhood,” the June Cleaver, submissive 1950s sweet thing, and that did not land me a husband, and it was not entirely true to who I am.

        And yet, your bitter single Christian dudes who can’t get dates complain that they have looked high and low for such as woman as that, they blame feminism for the lack of such women, etc, and it’s a bunch of bunk.

        I was that sort of woman for years and never got married. Christian men claim to want the sweet, June Cleaver wife, but they will not ask such women out on dates.

        You might want to see these other pages on my blog:
        (Link): Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target

        (Link): Christian Gender and Sex Stereotypes Act as Obstacles to Christian Singles Who Want to Get Married (Not All Men Are Obsessed with Sex)

        (Link): Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)

        (Link): C.B.M.W. Tells Christian Singles Not To Talk To Each Other – aka, How Christian (specifically gender complementarian / biblical womanhood and manhood) Teaching on Dating and the Genders Contributes to Protracted, Unwanted Singleness Among Christians

        (Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview).

        Thank you for visiting and thank you for the link. If the link is any good, I might refer to it in a new post.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement and the advice. It means a lot. I want you to know I’m not kidding when I said I’d pray for you to meet a good man, I have been and will continue to do so. I have no doubt that you’ll update when you do. 🙂

  3. Hello christianpundit, I just wanted to let you know that everything you’ve said above absolutely hits home with me. I’m a 29 year single male, still a virgin, and am also frustrated with how the church treats singles.

    The frustration, the loneliness, the embarrassment, it all resonates with me. I think what I find most frustrating of all is being told that God is wisely choosing not to give me a wife. I want to bang my head against a wall when I hear that, especially when it comes from a married person, even my pastor. Personally I don’t believe that at all. I believe my singleness is circumstantial because of a lack of women in our church and that I’ve always had a fear of rejection which makes it hard to initiate conversations which will hopefully spark interest and a date. I know you don’t care for Mark Driscoll so all I’ll say is that I think he makes a good point when he tells single men to be the initiators when it comes to dating. The reason being that when I was told to be patient, to wait on God, or the dreaded “be content”, my mind translated that into “sit on your hands an do nothing”. It put into my head that if God wants me to stay single then any effort on my part to overcome shyness and my fear of approaching women will be fruitless. Driscoll telling single men to get up and pursue gives me hope.

    I also wanted to tell you that I completely understand when you talk about considering dating non-christians. Its definitely something I’ve considered especially when non-christian women seem to be the only ones that show interest in me.

    Lastly I was talking to my pastor about how I would like it if he and other men in our church wouldn’t talk about how great it is that they get to have sex with their wives, when I’m around anyway. That it really hurts my feelings. He told me that that’s God sharpening me. That its like fasting from food and being around people who are eating. Too bad fasts are voluntary. But he did say that he and others would try to be more sensitive towards me. That said I do love my church and my pastor. I’m just not as Calvinistic as they are.

    Thank you for posting the above blog. Its nice seeing I’m not the only one.

    P.S. Whenever I meet a fellow single I add them to my list of people for whom I’m praying to have a spouse. I hope that helps in some way.

    1. Godsviking, Thank you for visiting and leaving a remark.

      I’m so very sorry you’re going through a tough time and apparently there’s no one in your life (or at your church) who either understands or cares. I know how hard it can be to be single when you’d like to have a significant other.

      If you go to my “About” page (link at top of blog), while I’m still minimally a Christian (I still believe Christ is God, died for my sins, was raised from the dead), I am so fed up with Christianity at this stage (due to several factors, not just the singleness issue) that I am teetering on the brink of agnosticism.

      I do appreciate your offer to pray for me, and I think it’s very sweet of you to do that… I do still pray at times, and I will be glad to ask God to bring you peace and a “Ms.” Right who is suitable for you.

      I have days or weeks where I’m fine being single, but on other days, I may feel sad or frustrated by it.

      Regarding your comments about married people, including married preachers, giving you bogus, insensitive advice and comments – this sort of thing is very common. The bottom line is, nobody can tell you why you are still single, or why God hasn’t sent you a spouse. These guys, including your preacher, are just guessing.

      By the way, married Christians are typically very ignorant about what it’s like to be single past one’s mid-20s. Many of them got married straight out of high school at age 18, or in college – they have NO CLUE what it’s like to never have married (or had sex) when you are 29 (or my age, early 40s).

      A lot of married Christians remain blind to the pressures and prejudices singles face in the church, because they are the target audience: most sermons and so on are aimed at married people. (Rarely will you hear a sermon about singlehood and how great singles are.)

      I refer to this ignorance, obliviousness, and blindness as “married people privilege” and have blogged about it (Link): here (Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Marrieds Think Single Life = Easy / Marrieds and Parents Turn All Topics Into Them And Their Needs / Problems) (which falls under the blog label (Link): “MARRIED PEOPLE PRIVILEGE”, where I have related posts to that topic)

      (I think I used a vulgar term or two in that post, “Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Marrieds Think Single Life = Easy”, but I was pretty angry at the time. Maybe I should edit it to clean up the language. Anyway.)

      I hear you on the lack of suitable potential partners thing – my situation, the gender is reversed. I am a single woman, but anytime I have gone to a new church, while there are lots of un-married women, there are no, or next to no, single men my age.

      No, I can’t say as though I’m a Driscoll fan – he does occasionally get some topics right, though, but I think he can be rude, sexist, and crude on others.

      As a female, I got that “wait and pray” advice all the time. It didn’t work for me, still single in my 40s.

      I had a long back and forth exchange with an older Christian single guy who has his own blog on singleness (I have linked to his blog in one of my posts somewhere).

      Single Christian Advice Guy tries to give guys like you, who are shy about approaching women, advice on his blog – but I disagreed with him, on his blog.

      He was giving single guys lots of tips on how to approach women, what lines to use, etc.

      I don’t think you need a style, technique, lines, or whatever. I told this guy advice like his was part of the problem – he (or single guys in general) way over-think it.

      Maybe it comes with age, but you learn to deal with rejection a lot easier as time goes by.

      Most women are socialized to be very, very sweet and nice, especially with men. Very few women are brassy, outspoken, bitchy or catty, even to guys who they aren’t interested in dating.

      This means if you ask a woman for a date and she is not interersted in you romantically, she is NOT likely to scream at you, slap you, or insult you.

      She will probably just say “No thank you,” or give you a white lie, such as, “Oh golly I would love to, but I’m so busy that Saturday night.”

      So you should just take a chance and ask a lady out. Ask her if she’d like to go out for a cup of coffee sometime (or to a movie of her choice, or dinner, or to an art museum). “Hey, I was just wondering, if you are free this Friday, would you like to go out to dinner with me (or to a movie)?”

      The woman you ask on a date might say no, that is true (if she does say “no” at that stage, you can then ask her, “If Friday is a bad time for you, would you be free another time?”, she may still say, “No thank you, I’m not interested.” You can then say, “Well let me know if you ever change your mind, just let me know, and we can grab coffee or a movie or whatever.”

      And it hurts to get a ‘No’ and can feel humiliating or disappointing. But you won’t know if the lady will date you unless you ask her. (Christian women in particular are taught not to pursue a man, we are told for you guys to ask us out. So if you want a date, you are going to have to risk those butterflies in your stomach and ask a lady out!)

      If a woman you’ve just asked out says ‘no,’ it doesn’t mean you’re a failure or no other woman will never, ever want to date you. You just keep trying with other women. Don’t take the “no’s” you get personally.

      Since there aren’t many single Christian men my age (early 40ish), yep, I am totally open now to dating Non-Christian men.

      I think the church has really messed up single Christians with unbiblical or weird teachings about singleness and gender; men are taught some weird things about women and vice versa, which makes singles getting together ten times more difficult (some of which I’ve blogged about before, under the (Link): “How Christians Are Keeping Christian Singles Single” tag, I also blog about that under a related tag at times, “Christian material about singleness” – one sample post, (Link): Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married))

      Your pastor sounds like an insensitive jackass – he at least did say he’ll try to be more thoughtful in the future, I’ll give him that.

      I will say, thought, there is a tiny bit of truth to the “fasting” comment he made – you can go without sex or romantic companionship.

      Often, a lot of secular and Christian material makes it sound like nobody can ever resist sex past their mid 20s. I have (I’m in my 40s).

      There is a Christian gentleman who visits this blog every so often, and he’s in his 50s, has not had sex, and has not married (you can read some of his posts on this page; his name is John). I’ve run into other, older Christian never married people online. There are more of out there than you might realize.

      Not that it is easy to be single when you want a relationship or to go without sex when you get sexual urges, but it can be done (I’ve blogged about that before too, some examples – and related topics):

      (Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy

      (Link): Why So Much Fornication – Because Christians Have No Expectation of Sexual Purity

      (Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity

      Churches need to start being more supportive of singles who are past their mid- or late 20s. I don’t mean to bum you out, but as you get even older, it gets worse in some ways.

      It gets worse in that Churches and Christian culture devote even less time, energy and money to singles who are in their 30s and older, and they begin piling on even more stereotypes, like if you are a guy and still not married by 35 or 40, they assume you’re a homosexual.

      Older, never- married women like me get subjected to other negative assumptions by Christians. Being single in your late 20s is not viewed as being as dysfunctional or weird by Christians as it is if you are still single at 40 or older.

      If you are still single when you get to your mid and late 30s, you will start noticing the bias against singles and in favor of married couples in Christian circles. I don’t think it’s as noticeable when you’re 28, 29, but when you get to 35 or so, the horrible treatment of singles by Christian culture/ churches will really start to stand out more and more.

      Thank you again for visiting the blog. I hope you find your Ms. Right very soon, and I’ll pray that God will send you someone. Feel free to drop by again and post.

  4. ChristianPundit – I’m one of those who has written about the gift of celibacy and singleness. I think one of the main problems may be that the English language is insufficient in explaining these issues. For instance, even though the word “gift” does appear in the bible related to the nonmarried state, a better word today is probably “calling.” I think for most people today, “gift” implies something special bestowed upon somebody for something they have done, something they have earned. That is not how I’m using the word. Like you, I dated for many years. But I reached a point around my 40s where I felt called to remain as I was. It’s something I don’t completely understand. I freely chose this lifestyle though. I’m not a supernatural saint or anything. And I’m not under religious vows (Protestant). I don’t think of myself as a coldhearted unlovable recluse who doesn’t appreciate feminine beauty. I’ve been involved with the art world all my life and see beauty in just about everything I look at in nature. I’m 51 now and have never had sex of any kind. The hardest part for me is that there are so few people I relate to. Like you, I’ve read most of the books out there on celibacy. I like some of them. But a lot miss the mark completely. And as you know, there are a lot of self-proclaimed experts writing on this subject on the internet who have no idea what they’re talking about. I certainly do not blame you for being single past a certain age. You can imagine what I’ve heard during my lifetime. I put a lot of the blame on the sex-worshipping society we live in today, lack of character building in schools, churches for not talking about these issues, and a culture that has reached the point where “purity balls” do not include young men too. I can relate to loneliness, cliches, embarrassment, marriage mandaters, etc. Don’t give up hope. I certainly understand what you’re saying and I know words can’t describe it. johnhughmorgan3

    1. Reply by Christian Pundit:

      I don’t consider singleness a gift, no.

      There is an unmarried woman who goes around various blogs and sites about this issue, I see her pop up on them all the time (she has not been to mine yet), and I can’t reconstruct her arguments, because I don’t remember how her arguments go specifically, but she takes very strong exception to the phrase GOS (“gift of singleness”).

      One of the reasons she does so is that she argues (based on books by various authors that discuss the topic) is that many Bible versions have not accurately translated from the koine Greek on this topic.

      I don’t remember how she says the experts feel that verse should be translated, but they are not in favor of the “it’s a gift” translation. Her argument was pretty convincing.

      If you wanted marriage, but never got married, you’re not going to regard singleness as a gift – a lot of people use the term “GOS” to mean you are going to be content with it and love it, if you have not married by age X.

      I see what you mean about the terminology, but I can’t even say I feel as though I was “called” to singleness, any more than I see it as being a gift.

      I have come across some Christian males on the internet who are over the age of 40, a few into their 50s, who have not had sex. So it is kind of rare, but not totally unheard of.

      I think both genders get stigmatized for never having married / had sex (by secular and Christian culture), but males usually also have to deal with accusations or suspicions of being homosexual (which some have said they found very insulting or painful), where-as females don’t come up against this as much (but we females do get hit with our own stereotypes).

      I think finding someone compatible to marry is tremendously difficult, a lot more difficult than most people admit. A lot of Christians act like it’s very easy to get married.

      I sometimes wonder if the people who marry 2, 3, or more times do so because they either
      (1) have no standards at all, or
      (2) they don’t take marriage seriously and consider divorce an instant option.

      I guess if you adhere to either or both points 1 and 2, maybe getting a spouse is fairly easy.

      I’ve read only a small number of Christian books about singleness and celibacy (but a lot of blogs about it, or about marriage), and what I find frustrating is that even in the material that claims to be in support of older Christian singles, is that they sort of shame you for wanting marriage, even authors who are in the same boat as you are.

      I read one book by two Christian women. The two authors are only a bit older than me, they never married, and they seem to have just accepted that they will never marry.

      They have come to terms with being single for life – which is fine for them, but I don’t know if I’m totally there yet myself.

      Their book starts out very well, explaining how the church neglects or abuses older singles, and in parts, their book defends singles and celibacy, but by the middle or end of the book, these lady authors shake their index finger in your face, so to speak, if you are over 40 and still desiring marriage.

      They sort of condescendingly scold you and keep saying to remember that eternity is more important than being happy or is more important than the “here and now.”

      Apparently, wanting any sort of earthly pleasure or happiness is so very wrong of selfish. We’re supposed to be consumed at all times with Jesus and with serving.

      The older I get, this sort of stuff (that ‘serve others, your happiness does not matter, wanting to get your needs met is so selfish’ views) is falling on deaf ears.

      Until my late 30s, I was what is called codependent: I was raised to believe by one of my parents (a Christian) that not only are other people’s needs and feelings more important than mine, but that mine don’t matter at all.

      I was taught by my Christian parent, and in sermons by other Christians, and in magazine articles, that good Christian girls must always serve other people; my needs and happiness don’t matter; only Jesus and serving others matters.

      So I sincerely lived those beliefs out, and they made me miserable – totally, completely miserable.

      In the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize it’s okay and not selfish for me to care about me and to go after what I want, and yes, it’s okay for me to want to be happy in this life. It’s okay for me to put me first every so often.

      So when I see book authors or pastors on TV tell me things like, “God doesn’t care about your happiness,” or “you should go to church to serve not be served,” I really bristle at these views and get angry.

      I was just really surprised that in a book that started out so sympathetic to never married, Christian adults, that the authors (themselves never married Christians over 35 years old) would lecture or shame any older single who still wants marriage.

      I already have 50 – 60 year old married pastors on TV and in blogs shame me for wanting marriage, telling me I’m idolizing marriage for wanting to be married, etc., the last thing I need are fellow unmarried Christians lecturing me on this too, but some of them do it.

      The church also worships sex, sad to say, it’s not just secular culture.

      I wrote about this in a blog page or two, but on the one hand, a lot of conservative Christianity says they believe in virginity until marriage for everyone, but I noticed if you are still single past age 25 or 30, most of these conservative Christians assume you are having sex outside of marriage.

      Further, I frequently hear them encourage their readers or listeners not to be upset, because God will forgive you of your sexual sin.

      The expectation by most Christians is that if you are single over 25 / 30, you are having sex.

      I find this a very frustrating, insulting assumption / expectation.

      So, here I am 40ish, not having sex (never had sex) – and I hear nada, nothing for people in my age range.

      Most Christians act like there is no such creature as a never-married, over- age- 30 virgin Christian. We are more rare or unheard of than unicorns.

      Some churches offer never-ending sermon series or gimmicks about ‘great sex in marriage and how to have it.’

      One cannot even escape the topic in church or on Christian blogs, book aisles, or in Christian magazines.

      There is no concept among 99% of Christians today of self-control. They all act like it’s impossible for a person to control his/her sexual urges. (I am not saying it’s a breeze, but it’s not an impossibility, either.)

      If look up information about pastor Mark Driscoll – I think he’s in Seattle, and his church is called “Mars Hill” – the man is obsessed with the topic of sex.

      Driscoll even wrote a blog page or book where he talked about marriage and sex, and (unless I’m confusing him with another pastor), he admonished wives that if they are sick or having their period (and hence not feeling well – most women feel very cruddy at that time of the month), their husband should still not go without sex, not even for five days in a row!

      So, he says, the wife needs to find some alternate way of pleasing the husband in the bedroom.

      That this dolt cannot even comprehend of going for more than 5 days without sex, and here I am in my 40s, with no sex for decades, is amazing to me. He is so incredibly immature and selfish.

      But I see a lot of his attitude among Christian culture in general.

      You really can go for a lot longer than five days (or 20, 30+ years) without any sex at all, it can be done. There are people who have accomplished it, and some of us still have sex drives (we are not devoid of sexual desire). Most in the church seem very ignorant of these points.

      I haven’t come to a final decision for myself personally.

      I’ve made it this long without sex/marriage, that to a point, I’ve become used to it, so maybe I won’t bother chasing after either.

      On the other hand, I’m fed up with conservative Christian culture/ teaching on these issues, and whenever I get my personal life in order, I am considering dating Non-Christians and not limiting myself to dating only Christians.

      I know what the Bible says about ‘be not yoked,’ but I am so past caring about that teaching. All the years of trusting God and His timing and praying for a believing spouse got me no where.

      Some Christian men are just as rude or abusive as their Non-Christian counterparts, so as far as dating and marriage, I’m not seeing the advantage of sticking to Christian men. Christian single guys in my age range are extremely hard to find.

      I do appreciate the words of encouragement.

      I guess I’ve become jaded or cynical – all the stuff I was taught by my Christian parents and heard from pulpits and read in the Bible did not work for me.

      I am not seeing biblical principles working for me, and if they don’t work, I don’t see the point in following them any longer.

  5. You can blame the feminists and their war on the male gender for your lack of marital bliss. The last I heard of a poll being taken {which was a few years ago so the numbers may be higher now} 22% of men polled were actively avoiding marriage and had absolutely no intention of marrying in the future. Nor were these men losers as they had good paying jobs and owned their own homes.

    Thanks to the way men are treated in divorce and the average females penchant to divorce at the drop of a hat. The state of Marriage and fatherhood for men is best avoided at all costs. My own mother has been married 9 times, yep that’s right nine times, and she is still a member in good standing at the Baptist church she attends.

    As for myself having been married for twenty-eight years and counting. I can speak from personal experience that staying married to an individual who demands to be catered too is the hardest thing that a man will ever be called upon to do. Which is why I no longer recommend marriage as a viable solution to one’s loneliness.

    Indeed loneliness is, after all, a state of mind so change it.

    1. I’m not sure I want to “blame” anyone for my singleness, feminists or whomever.

      (If I were to pin responsibility for my singleness on anyone, it would most likely be upon God for not providing me with a spouse. The Scriptures say that God can do all things, regardless of what feminists have done to our culture.)

      I’m just stating I would like to be married but never have been.

      I do not care for authors or blogs who play out the gender wars: I see Christian females who are quite bitter against males, which I do not like.

      On various blogs around the internet, I see equally angry and embittered males (especially divorced ones whose prior, negative relationship issues soured them towards all Christian women) who blame females.

      I don’t think either gender is “to blame” for relationship problems, prolonged singleness, and so on.

      Neither gender is perfect, and both sides have their flaws and problems as well as their strengths and good points.

      I was in a long term relationship that was not always wonderful, so I am already well aware that a relationship is not a cake walk or a bed of roses.

      I don’t need married people telling me that relationships are not nirvana or guarantees of happiness, as those kinds of comments comes across as condescending. You’re telling me something I already know.

      You said, “Indeed loneliness is, after all, a state of mind so change it.”

      I don’t mean to sound rude, but that’s easy for you to say, since you do indeed have someone.

      (And I’ve tried all the usual Christian cliches to ease the loneliness, such as getting my mind off myself by volunteering at soup kitchens for the homeless and so forth, and it did not help, cheer me up, or take my mind off my situation, nor did it ease the loneliness or make me feel fulfilled.)

      And it’s funny you would mention your own mother has been married nine times. I have not been married even ONE time.

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