Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless
My comments about this news story, before I get to the excerpts:
The way I first saw this story presented online, the woman’s suicide was due to her wanting to be married and a mother, but found herself still unmarried and childless at age 30.
She did, however, have a steady boyfriend at the time she took her life. The article also mentions that around 2011 her mother died.
I have no idea if this woman was a Christian or what her beliefs were.
I do wish that Christian church – conservatives, Reformed, evangelical, fundamentalist and Baptists – would do far more to minister to never married, childless adults in their churches and communities.
As it is, Christians in many nations have made getting married and being a parent the pinnacle of one’s life and regard marriage/parenthood as the only avenues to being a “grown up” and treat singles as though they are children – even 40 and 50 year old adults who have never married.
Women are constantly told by conservative Christians – who have an unhealthy obsession with and paranoid fear of secular feminism – that marriage and motherhood are their only choices in life, that they are the only God-ordained, God-approved roles for women (even though the Bible does not teach this).
Or, it is strongly implied by conservative Christians that marriage and motherhood are VASTLY SUPERIOR to singlehood and childlessness, and that God secretly prefers it if women marry and crank out children.
Yes, conservative Christians on occasion will pay “lip service” to respecting singleness, but they never-the-less usually strongly imply that singleness (and being childless) is “second best,” or in some way inferior, when compared to marriage and parenting, and that being single is not God’s preferred plan or intent for humanity.
For more on that flawed thinking, please see:
- (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 the exceptions the few with the gift of Marriage
Never married, childless (and divorced, child free, widowed women) are either consistently ignored by most of Christian culture, or else, if they are spoken to or about, are treated like freaks, losers, and failures.
Sometimes, we single, childless women are treated with disdain by Christians and with suspicion. Married Christians frequently advise men, especially married ones, to stay away from single, Christian women.
Christians regularly teach that single women, even the Christian ones, are thought to be “easy,” slutty, and harlots. Never mind I am over 40, a woman, a complete Christian until two years ago (I am now partially agnostic), and still a virgin.
I am more sexually pure than most married Christian men these days – you know, married Christian men who like to rape women, view porn, and hire prostitutes (see this link).
If Christians would stop using marriage and motherhood as a ramming rod to push women into some kind of mould to fight their issues with secular feminism, they could be welcoming and provide community to women who find themselves still single past 29.
Not all women who are single past 29 deliberately chose to remain single and childless; many had hoped to marry and maybe have a baby, but they never met “Mr. Right.” Many Christians do not grasp this point at all.
Southern Baptists, Reformed, and other types of Christians, make many assumptions about single women; they shame, blame, and scold such women and say things like,
- “I bet you had thousands of suitors pursue you when you were 25 but turned them all down, so it’s your fault you are single past 30,”
- “That’s what happens when you put career over marriage!”
Such Christians wrongly assume single women did not seek marriage, or that they put career first.
The Bible, by the way, does not require anyone to marry at all, and if one does marry, the Bible has no definitive, clear-cut command that someone must marry by thus- and- so an age (see this link: Article by J. Watts: The Scandal of Singleness ).
The God of the Bible does not shame and stigmatize women for never marrying, or for never producing off-spring, but the Christian church sure as hell does.
If Christians would spend equal time, attention, and honor on being a celibate, single, childless (or child free) adult as they do on holding wife-hood and motherhood up as the only proper, or noble, pursuits for women, maybe the woman in this story would have felt she had other reasons to live.
Christians also should stop using getting married and having a kid as litmus tests for “arriving at adulthood.”
There is NOTHING intrinsic about being a parent or spouse that automatically makes a person more mature, responsible, godly, or loving. My blog is filled to the brim with news headlines every week of married parents who abuse, rape, starve, or kill their own children or who abuse their spouses (see (Link): this page for examples of what I am referring to).
The Bible says it is the Holy Spirit that makes someone sanctified, NOT a SPOUSE or a son or daughter.
Of course, secular society can be plenty bad with the messages they send in TV shows, movies, and the like: that to be truly happy and fulfilled in life you, MUST have a romantic partner. This is false, of course, but it remains a recurrent theme in a lot of television shows and movies.
Christians also peddle this nonsense and crank it up several notches higher by telling women God demands them to be married with kids, and that they need a “male covering,” which is unbiblical as the Bible teaches women need only ONE mediator between themselves and God, and that is Jesus Christ – NOT a preacher, not a father, not a brother, and not a husband.
I have mixed feelings now as to whether or not single Christian women should or can expect to meet a spouse at a church.
While I am no longer fully on board with the “be equally yoked” teaching, and while I am a bit leery of single women using churches to meet a mate (I used to fully support the idea), I do think churches need to get off their behinds and take concrete steps to help any single adult over the age of 30, 40, or older who wants a mate, to assist in pairing them up.
Church members can also pray weekly that God send mates to all adult singles who want one.
If you belong to a church, put on social programs or what not at your church, or the home of a church member, or sponsor an event somewhere (for instance, hire out a restaurant for the evening, or what ever) to get the singles from various churches in your community to mingle in one location.
Don’t leave singles on their own; don’t expect them to shuffle off to join dating sites and hit local bars to find a husband. Help adult singles get hitched.
Churches need to be pro-active in helping single adults get married. (But always ask first, because some adult singles are fine being single, some singles do not want marriage, or some singles do not feel comfortable with church people acting as match-makers).
It’s very important that churches help those OVER AGE 30 and OLDER to get married. Do NOT focus on the 20-somethings.
The majority of 20-somethings do NOT need your help meeting other singles their age. They are constantly bumping into people their own age. It’s the older singles who need your help.
I wrote more about this issue here (if or when should a church help singles get married – as I said, I have both positive and negative feelings about it):
I have additional thoughts below these excerpts from the article about the single women who committed suicide because she was single:
- Inquest hears Rachel Gow, 29, from Haslingden, Lancashire, felt other members of her family were ‘doing better than her’
2:43PM GMT 11 Feb 2015
A broody young woman killed herself after she struggled with the fact she was unmarried and had no children by the age of 30.
Hospital administrator Rachel Gow, 29, had wanted to walk up the aisle and have a family of her own but became “troubled” that she achieved neither.
As her 30th birthday approached the self confessed “dizzy blonde” she said felt other members of her family were “doing better than her.”
Fearing her boyfriend Anton Tsvarev, 30 would leave her, Miss Gow sent him a test message wishing him “all the best for the future” before poisoning herself at her home. Mr Tsvarev who had been visiting a friend later found Miss Gow but she died despite attempts by him to revive her.
…. The statement added: “She had three breakups before her relationship with Anton. Her greatest wish was to settle down and get married.”
But Miss Gow’s problems began in 2011 after her mother Connie a primary school teacher died from cancer aged 66 in 2011.
She took the death “very hard” but later Miss Gow’s family and friends thought she was improving and she met Mr Tsvarev in May 2012 and he moved in with her during 2013. She also got her job at the hospital.
…The statement said: “Following the death of her mother Rachel had a period of independence. She met Anton and they were both extremely happy. He moved in. They had lots in common.
“She did have three breakups before her relationship with Anton and her greatest wish was to settle down, start a relationship and get married.
“But she could not overcome her previous sadness and felt Anton would leave her. She was looking forward to turning 30, planning trips to Italy with Anton and going to go Vegas for her birthday, she was saving money every month. But the relationship became unstable and they tried to make it work.
…”These were all things that troubled her. She felt she was not where she should be in life.”
He said she felt that she should be married with children and that her siblings were doing better than her and said: “This was something she struggled with.
“Rachel had spoken to me about the fact she had researched suicide techniques. ‘I was not sure how serious she was about it because she always said things in the heat of the moment.”
….He (boyfriend) said: “I went into the lounge. The lights were off but the fire was on. I could see her lying on the floor.”
The inquest was told that Anton performed CPR on Rachel until emergency services arrived just before 9pm, but Miss Gow was pronounced dead.
Tests showed Miss Gow had died from hypoxia as a result of helium inhalation.
The gender complementarian (also known as biblical womanhood) teachings that some conservative Christians like to espouse are largely irrelevant to never married (or divorced and widowed), childless or child free women.
Such Christians and churches have little to nothing to say to or for women who never marry or who find themselves widowed, who are infertile, or who choose to forgo children.
These types of churches and Christians totally ignore the single women among them who may be hurting and need some kind of help, because these types of Christians are so preoccupied in pushing marriage and shaming singles for being single, and for fighting against liberal culture, to spend any effort helping singles.
Entire swaths of the population (i.e. adult singles) are being neglected by conservative Christians because they would rather fight their stupid culture wars against things like secular feminism, pro-choicers, and the legalization of homosexual marriage.
This negligence of ministering to single adults is also significant because as of 2014, single adults now out number married couples, see this post:
Christians: stop holding marriage and baby-making up as a template you think all women should go after, and stop depicting marriage and motherhood up as God’s only or preferred design for women. Stop it.
(Besides that, the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians that it is better NOT to marry, that marriage brings many troubles in this life, so it’s best to avoid it. Paul thought singleness was awesome, but most conservative Christians today spit upon singleness.)
And, church people, make efforts to engage with and include single, childless women (and men), at your church, your personal life, and in your community.
Christians: stop teaching that men should avoid being alone with single women because it will end in sex.
This view is insulting to men and to single women, for a variety of factors, one of which I will discuss farther below.
The Bible does not teach one to avoid women in order to avoid falling into sexual sin (I have addressed that topic in older blog posts; go see those for biblical proof of my position). In a nutshell: the Bible calls you to practice self control, the Bible does not tell you to practice avoidance of things that might make you feel horny and randy.
A Bible verse which says in part, “Avoiding all appearance of evil” has been, like many other Bible verses, twisted by Christians to mean something it does not: that verse is not a whole-scale invitation for Christian men to treat all single Christian women as lepers to be avoided.
Jesus did not avoid women. Jesus even chatted up prostitutes and women adulterers.
Jesus is your role model, Christian men. Jesus is not the exception, so don’t feed me the, “But that’s Jesus, I’m not Jesus!!” line. Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit (and possibly his knowledge of the written scriptures), not his deity, to make it through earthly life and temptations.
I am a single woman.
I’ve yet to see a married or single Christian man so hunky, handsome, and sexy that I’d throw him down, rip his clothing off, and ravish him.
So, to you Christian men who teach other men the “avoid single women to avoid sexual sin” doctrine: stuff your ego down. Single women do not find you hot and sexy.
You can be all alone with me, and while wearing a pair of Speedo swim wear, and not a damn sexual thing will happen. You only HOPE I will come on to you because it gives your ego a boost.
How and when does your church publicly acknowledge its single adults and their milestones, accomplishments and contributions?
What are you doing to make single, childless people feel included?
Do not pressure women of any age to get married (many of them already want to get married – lack of desire is not always the issue). Let the choice be up to each individual as to whether they marry or when.
I think most people want to marry but it’s hard to get a spouse these days, especially when you are past your 20s.
The common knee jerk reaction I see to Christians who get upset by the fact that people are no longer marrying, is to start screaming at the current crop of teens, or early 20 somethings, to marry NOW NOW NOW!!!
This approach is incorrect, helps nobody, and still does nothing to minister to the current crop of 30, 40, and 50 (and older) somethings who are never married, divorced or widowed.
What is your church doing to help these older singles?
How are YOU personally reaching out and assisting singles who are over 30?
Screaming and complaining about how awful Democrats are, how awful feminists are, how terrible homosexual marriage is, or how sad it is that the divorce rates are so high this year, does nothing to help someone who is single and lonely at 40, or someone who is single at 52 and who could use your help or encouragement. Remember that.
(Link): No Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity – Nor Do They Support Adult Singleness – Christians Attack and Criticize Virginity Sexual Purity Celibacy / Virginity Sexual Purity Not An Idol
(Link): Singleness Is Not a Gift
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(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
You can find true love, marry, and still end up dead or alone: