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
I really don’t feel as though I fit in anywhere, even among singles. I am single and have never been married but would like to be married. Then there are times I’m fine with being single.
A problem I have experienced is that most people fall into strictly one side or the other, or some married people handle singlness strictly one way or another; there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground, but I’m in the middle.
There are occasions I’d like to be married, but I resent being overlooked, hounded about, or mistreated by churches and society while I am single, or for being single.
I’d like to be married because it would be great to share life with someone. It would be nice to have companionship.
However, I don’t think I should fall into the codependent habit of thinking I require a man to be whole, happy, or to have an identity.
I also reject Christian sexism (which sneaks into churches under the guise of “gender complementarianism”) which teaches all manner of obnoxious garbage, such as, women need a “male priest” (a.k.a. a husband) to access God on their behalf (yes, they really do teach this crud), or, women need a “male covering.” No, we don’t need either one of those. Those ideas are foreign to the Bible.
Yes, I hope to marry eventually, but while I am single, I want to be treated with respect by secular and Christian culture. I want to be noticed and acknowledged while I am single.
Churches, preachers, and most married Christians typically ignore singles over the age of 30.
If they aren’t ignoring us, churches, pastors, and married Christians are treating us singles over 30 as though we are slaves meant to do nothing but church menial work. Or, they insultingly assuming we’re all fornicating, or, they assume we are still single because we are weird, fat, ugly, socially retarded. Or, they wrongly assume, we singles past 30 must be blazing homosexuals, or stalwart, liberals and feminists.
For singles such as myself who want marriage, it’s frustrating and insulting to hear from preachers and churches that I should just accept singleness, I should “be content,” or I should “make the most of my singleness” and to hear other platitudes.
I abhor the books and blogs by older Christian singles such as myself who have thrown in the towel on their own hopes of marriage to lecture singles like me to just give in too, and they write we should remember God doesn’t care about our earthly happiness (supposedly), and we should remember eternity, where we’ll all be single anyhow.
I want to be respected while I am single and have my needs met by churches as a single. I want to be met where I am. I don’t want my singleness brushed aside, overlooked, or treated like it’s a disease that needs to be cured.
At the same time, though, I want my goal and hope of getting married one day to be RESPECTED and ENCOURAGED, not as is the usual case: shamed, insulted, ignored, or put down, and don’t tell me it’s a sin to be single, or that I am at fault in any way for being single, or that I failed because I was supposed to be married by my mid-20s.
I also don’t want to be given guilt trips or have it implied I am being selfish or ungodly for wanting to be married.
I don’t want pastors, Christian dating and relationship advice authors, and older Christian singles telling me to lay down my hope of being married.
I don’t want or need any more stupid, condescending, rude advice or cliches such as “just grow your hair long,” “Jesus is all you need,” or, “try eHarmony.”
Singles who are happy being single, who don’t want marriage at all, should be respected for remaining single if they so choose.
Some first marriages today in the USA aren’t taking place until one or both partners are in their late 20s or older. I have started collecting news stories of people who don’t get married for the first time until age 35, 40, 50, or older.
I’m afraid a lot of older married couples (as in ones who have been married for decades now) haven’t caught on that culture has changed, and people are delaying marriage until they are older – and contrary to the Al Mohlers and Debbie Makens of the world (the few Christians who do bother to notice that people are marrying later in life), that is not necessarily bad, sinful, or wrong. You just might get married for the first time in your late 30s, age 45, age 55, or who knows when.
Nobody should be pressured into marriage. Singlehood needs to be accepted and respected as a valid life choice for Non Christians and Christians. But often, it’s not. Here’s an example from an “Ask Amy” column:
DEAR AMY: My daughter, 40, was married to a man who was mentally abusive. He estranged her from her brother and friends and tried to end her relationship with her father and me. When she divorced him about five years ago, we were very happy. Fortunately there were no children.
A few years after the divorce she went to therapy, but I don’t know how much progress was made. Now she has no desire to date or to have a committed relationship with a man (or woman, for that matter).
She just says she is not interested. Her brother, who is married, has tried multiple times to encourage her to have a relationship with someone. The way he approached the subject was somewhat harsh, and she is more adamant than ever about meeting or dating.
She is a beautiful and intelligent woman and a very successful lawyer with her own practice. She and I are close. We are able to speak openly with each other, but this is a delicate subject. We are a very small family, and my husband and I won’t be around forever. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.— Worried Mother
DEAR WORRIED: My advice is that you (and her brother, especially) should stop urging your daughter to believe that there is something wrong with her.
You don’t say that she is angry, depressed or friendless, only that she is a successful survivor and a very successful professional and a beautiful, intelligent and lovely daughter.
Marriage and intimate emotional partnerships are not the answer for everyone. If your daughter says she is not interested in having this sort of relationship in her life, I think it would be great (and honest, true and supportive) for her family members to believe her. And then stop bothering her about it.
Amy’s advice is good on this letter. People should not be pushed or hounded into getting married. Singleness should be respected. Singles should be respected.
At the same time, though, remember:
If you are an un-married person who is desiring marriage, that’s acceptable too, regardles of you age.
Don’t let anyone, not famous preachers or older Christian singles in books, blogs, or forums, make you feel ashamed, selfish, or guilty for wanting to get married or for actively pursuing marriage (if you are using dating sites, asking friends to fix you up on dates, using churches to meet other singles, etc).