Lame Advice from Christian Publication “Relevant” on What To Do When You Are Single
First of all, the sub heading of this article from Relevant is something like, “A bucket list of things to do before you marry.” Who says everyone is going to get married? I’m in my early 40s, heading into my mid 40s, and I may never marry.
Christians: stop assuming everyone will marry, even the Christian women who desire marriage and pray for a husband daily – some Christians go to the grave never having married because God never sent them a spouse.
Shut up with the “Things to do until you are married,” or “tips on how to live life while you are single,” type editorials, since they have the underlying assumption that everyone will get married, or married by age 30. Some people never, ever marry, even including the women who seek marriage, go on dating sites, and pray for a spouse.
Here is an excerpt from that page on Relevant:
- 4. Get Involved With Church
Along with the time with friends, connecting at church is much easier to commit to when you’re single. I’m currently helping out with my church’s children’s ministry and love that I can dedicate as much time to it as I do. I’m usually free for the extracurricular events outside of Sunday mornings, too, so I try to help out with those as often as possible.
It can be easy to feel down about how open your schedule may seem without weekly romantic dates to go on, but it’s so fulfilling to use this season of life to invest in others.
Gee, fellow adult single (who must only be about, what, 22 years old, see me again when you’re 40 years old), thanks for upholding a stereotype that all singles have loads of free time – we don’t.
If anything, we adult singles have less free time than the marrieds do because we don’t have a partner to split up chores with.
As to this writer’s suggestion to go work in the church’s kid ministry?
I do not like being around babies, kids, and teens, but churches won’t let me, a single childless woman, to serve in any other area.
Church members often incorrectly assume that ALL women are CRAZY FOR and WILD ABOUT and CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF babies and children.
Churches almost always “shoe horn” single, childless ladies into baby ministry. I am a single, childless woman, and I emphatically do not want to work around or for babies, toddlers, kids or teens, or college aged kids.
One clear proof that marriage and motherhood are NOT God’s “only” or “best” role for women is the fact that some women totally lack an interest in either or both!
I have never been “kid crazy.” I never really cared strongly if I had a kid or not (if I did, it would have to be after marriage and by age 35.)
I just do not care about kids, in that, I see baby photos, and 99% of the time, I don’t feel anything about the kid or the photo of the kid.
Most women will look at a baby photo and the maternal side kicks in: ‘Awww, what a cutie!’
-Me? Nope. Nothing. There are some child free women who are even less interested in children and babies than I am.
If it were true that God’s “best” role for women was to be mothers, I would guess that he would have clearly instilled a huge maternal instinct and longing into every woman ever born, but that’s not the case.
Go hang out on forums, Twitter accounts, and blogs for Child Free women, and you will see many women (and men too) who are just not the least interested in children, and some down right loathe and despise babies and kids.
I tagged this post with the word “infertile” because a lot of these same churches that assume all women are wild for babies forget that some women desperately longed to have a baby of their own, but are infertile, continually had miscarriages, married a guy who didn’t want kids, or did not marry until much later in life and their fertile years had passed. Even these women get brow beat into serving in the kid’s section at church, which has to feel like a knife to the gut to them.
Reader reaction to the lame Christian advice for singles, from the Facebook group SCCL:
Re: Relevant Magazine, “9 Things to Do While You’re Still Single, A Bucket List For Before You Tie The Knot”
as a single 24 year old woman, i honestly found this article/list super lame. or maybe i’m just already “good enough” at being single. but either way, i try to be open minded when reading this kind of stuff but nope. this was useless
Get involved with the church because you are single. Single people tend to have more time ??? Boo, this is one is one of the reasons I left the church
Sounds good in theory, till you get there and all the married people treat you like you have the plague. At least the single women. Any other single women visit a church and as soon as you spoke to a man, his wife would appear at his elbow and white-knuckle his biceps?
[see meme at bottom of this post]
Or the pastor/”elders”/whoever TOTALLY had the PERFECT son/nephew/cousin/neighbor, nevermind all of the ways y’all aren’t compatible. He’s SINGLE and a CHRISTIAN, what more could you want???
As far as I’m concerned, my church did nothing for singles. Besides, whenever they did do anything for the singles, mainly single women showed up and the single men that showed up were very few and weren’t very attractive.
It’s interesting how these ideas are definitely for middle income and up. Seriously, as a 49 year old woman, my money isn’t going for travel, it’s going to pay for medications, etc. No one to share the expenses means you have to pay all the bills yourself.
So, see? You don’t have to feel bad when your life doesn’t match the heteronormative dream we’ve conflated with faithfulness!
Single men don’t have it any easier. I remember being told that I had the ‘spiritual gift’ of singleness while simultaneously being treated as a second-class citizen who needed to ‘mature in his walk’. Cognitive dissonance ensued. And that was one of the kinder comments! For a lot of churches ‘never-married man over 30’ = ‘gay’ and is treated accordingly. Thankfully I met a wonderful woman who took me away from all that and has made my life great!
Many churches I attended pushed marriage So Hard that people in the 20-30s age were literally obsessed with it (probably because sex was a ‘no-no’ too). At the same time, church promotes all this fake performance behavior, which is the antithesis of having genuine relationships with people. It’s no wonder why ‘Relevant’s list tastes as dry as a Saltine in the Sahara.
This writer put this together after polling/asking her married friends? Makes me wonder what kinda marriages her friends are in……
Blessing Bailey Fuller
Really young, probably first “serious” relationship entered into while at Christian college, and probably partially prompted by the “no sex til marriage” rule.
Under those circumstances, her list makes perfect sense.
They raise you to place all your worth on whether or not you are wife material, and then repeat over and over again how boring marriage is. Ahh, the logic of fundies.
Blessing Bailey Fuller
They really are all over the place on this. On the one hand many of the youngish, hippish, Mars Hill-ish type places are obsessed with marriage as a sort of outlet for their young male leadership’s repressed sexuality, and those guys market it to mostly other young men as a sort of amazing sexfest of awesomeness that makes life complete and perfect.
On the other hand, there is still this narrative in evangelicalism of anything pleasurable, fun or good inherently requiring some intense level of personal sacrifice for it to really “work” and count as such. I’ve had marriage described to me by evangelicals as a “form of slavery” within an overall context of assuming marriage is wonderful and what most of us should aspire to. It is all very bizarre indeed.
Single bashing is okay, but christians who shack up ?
Not a peep from the churches on shacking up christians. #doublestandard
People in the church with gift on singleness
= 21st century version of lepers in the church
The biggest problem I have with Christian Culture’s perspective on marriage is…If you’re over 25 and unmarried, people start to wonder WHY, and you become less and less “eligible” every year. Or they start throwing “Good Christian Men” at you regardless of compatibility.
(Link): More Virgin and Celibate Shaming in Article: How the New Abstinence Movement is Trying to Reshape Our Views on Sex (from Relevant Magazine) Another Christian Anti Virginity Hit Piece – Fornicators Need To Repent of Their Pride in their Fornication Testimonies Maybe?