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:
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.
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.
-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): 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): 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