I’m Single, But I’m Still a Whole Person
I just found this page, published in May 2013 – have writers from Crosswalk been to my blog and cribbing my material?
Aspects of this woman’s editorial sound quite similar to trends I’ve been pointing to on my blog for a few months now, how over the past year or so, more and more pastors are like, “single people are only one-half, it takes 1 + 1 married to equal a whole.”
There are parts of this editorial I agree with, and parts I do not. I explain below it why I’m not totally on board with her piece.
As a side note, I am not 100% happy all the time being single, and these “Rah rah! I’m so awesomely thrilled to be single, just as I am, you should feel the way I do, yippee, just me and Jesus is all I need” type pep talks piss me off, and this editorial is sort of one of those “rah rah, I’ve found total satisfaction at being a single gal, so you should be that way too” type of op/eds.
(Link): “I’m Single, But I’m Still a Whole Person”
Emily Maynard, Emily Is Speaking
UpTuesday, May 14, 2013
- When some people write about singleness, it sounds like they’re codependent on an imaginary person. I read stories of longing and waiting and tears and I just don’t relate. I hear tales of emptiness though hope holds steady, or resolution despite hope-on-the-rocks, and I raise my eyebrows. I don’t doubt that these words matter and are true, true, true for people.
But I don’t get it. Maybe I am a sociopath, but I just don’t get it.
I don’t feel like half a person because I’m single. I only feel like that when my society, my Church, or groups of people who cannot see beyond their own coupled lives, push that half-hearted position on me. I only experience that when I read another Christian book about marriage that talks it up in glorious grandeur for two hundred pages, then adds “but being single is better because, as the Apostle Paul says, you can do more ministry as a single person!” I only feel like a footnote when people make my life a theological footnote.
When I wake up in the morning, stretch luxuriously, rummage through the open and still unpacked suitcase on my floor from my trip last week, and put on the clothes I find there, I’m not doing anything differently than I would if I were married. I wouldn’t stop doing those things if I were partnered up. I wouldn’t be anyone different. I’d be Emily, through and through. I would still spend hours planning outfits for a trip and when I came home, I would leave my suitcase out, open, as a monument to my adventures. Okay, and my laziness.
More than people asking me why I’m not married yet, I am tired of the assumption that I am not a whole person. I’m tired of people saying, “Oh, it will happen to you someday, and you will meet your other half and you’ll understand.” I don’t believe in magical solutions to anything or from anyone. Not even from God. Not even Jesus shows up to fix everything about my life; He sent me the odd, mysterious, whispering Spirit. I have to do the so-much-work of listening to Spirit. I have to practice at it. That Spirit invites me into my life, this wild mysterious wonder, where things grow out of other things breaking down into dirt.
I would love to meet a match. That sounds like fun, in the same way that having deep, ridiculous inside jokes with my best friends are fun. It sounds good and hard in the right ways, like a run that exhausts but stretches your muscles so you can run a little longer next time. I like the idea of being partnered. But my best dating has happened at times when I am most sure that a spouse would not fix my life.
And not because when I got it together, finally, my life happened, so don’t even start down that train. It’s like that because relating to myself and other people in healthier ways leads me to relate to myself and other people in healthier ways.
I didn’t meet a magical man once I did X or Y. I enjoyed all people more when I started being more fully me.
I’m not counting on a marriage to fix all the aches I already have. Those are mine. I’m not betting on any one person to be all the balm I need after my reckless tearing around this world. That’s why we have the whole Church to rise up together and proclaim that God is King and we live out this shocking new Kingdom.
So, when I read stories of men and women who are living in a state of pining, I have a hard time relating. I believe them and I think it’s perfectly fine that other people are different than me. But like, let’s be real. Having a boyfriend has never made my life that drastically different or better.
I still have to get up and put on pants (ugh) and go to work and learn how to be a decent human and write out my healing. I still have doubts and victories, frustrations and blessings. I am still a whole human, even when I am in love.
I am still a whole human, even though I am currently single. I would still be a whole human if I were married.
WHERE I DISAGREE WITH THIS WOMAN’S OP ED ON SINGLEHOOD or HAVE CONCERNS:
Other than the “rah rah, I’ve found total contentment at all times with singleness, so should all women” attitude which pisses me off, here are a few other areas of concern I have…
As I’ve noted before on this blog, there are some very kook, fringe elements in Christianity that seriously teach that single women are not “full” or “complete” humans. They are Reconstructionists. They believe only married females and married males are 100% human, complete and in the image of God. Click here to read more about them and other nuts that teach that singles are not “real” people, not 100% in God’s image. See also this link and this link.
The woman who wrote this editorial doesn’t seem to realize there are honest to God religious kooks out there who claim to believe in Jesus and the Bible who seriously and truly teach that single people are only “one half” and not made in the image of God. It’s not just that singles are feeling this way, it’s that some idiots are actually, literally teaching this bullshit.
One of my other quibbles:
The author needs to be chastizing Christian culture and secular culture for making singles feel as though they are only “one half” a person. She doesn’t do that nearly enough; she lays most blame on singles for feeling incomplete.
If Christian singles feel like a half, not a whole, I’d wager it’s because there are branches of Christianity who teach this, if not directly, than indirectly.
Women are repeatedly told by preachers and Christians writers that their highest, or only calling, in life is so be a wife and mother. So don’t keep sitting there saying, “I don’t get it, why do so many women sit around pining for a spouse, feeling like they are half a person.” -Why? Because they are being pressured by churches and secular culture that both teach you aren’t someone ’til someone (ie, romantic partner) loves you.
Related links, this blog: