What Not to Say to Single Women in the Church by L. Anderson

What Not to Say to Single Women in the Church by L. Anderson

There were maybe one or two points I don’t see eye to eye on in this, but I agree far more than I disagree with this page.

I really like pages like this page. The author so gets it. But then, it was composed by a 38 year old never married woman. Never married adults past 35 GET IT.

(Link): What Not to Say to Single Women in the Church by L. Anderson

Excerpts:

    • by L Anderson
    • 1. “Stop Thinking About Marriage, and When You Least Expect It, It’ll Happen.”

    • …Not really. If I desire to be married someday, telling me to stop thinking about marriage is like telling me to stop thinking about cream-filled donuts.

    • The more I will myself to forget them, the more they pop into my mind. And the more they pop into my mind, the more I want to eat one (or seven). It’s just going to happen.

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Related Posts:

(Link):  Five Things Single Women Hate to Hear

(Link): List of Christian Singlehood Annoyances, Part 1

(Link): List of Christian Singlehood Annoyances, Part 2

(Link): Topics Preachers Should or Shouldn’t Mention When Discussing Singlehood

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line

(Link): Annoyances of Being a Christian Single

(Link):  Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link):   The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

(Link):   Seven Reasons Why It’s Hard To Be Single In The Church by Sarah The Barge

(Link):  Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

5 thoughts on “What Not to Say to Single Women in the Church by L. Anderson”

  1. Christian Pundit — I’m glad you enjoyed our TCW article by Lisa Anderson and desire to share it with your audience. However, the article is copyrighted and TCW/CT holds the exclusive right to publish the article online. I’m going to have to ask you to remove this post from your site or limit it to a 100 word excerpt with a link to the complete article on our site. Thanks, in advance, to honoring this copyright policy.

    1. @ Kelli Trujillo.
      I edited the post to remove most of the content. That is one odd policy you guys have. The nature of the web is to share. I did not reproduce the entire piece, a link was provided to the original source location, and I cited the author’s name.

  2. Oops, I realize I made a typo – “Singles do not need to be told that being married will NOT make life magical but there is obviously great happiness derived from it….”

  3. Oh…how I resonate with everything she wrote.

    I know some people are fine with being single for the rest of their lives or deliberately choose to stay single but when someone wants to be married, that unfulfilled desire becomes a painful longing in the heart that cannot be willed away or wished away. And I’ve prayed and prayed that God would remove this desire if it wouldn’t be fulfilled (and soon) but nope, that longing is still there.

    I’ve been listening to an online radio show by Karolyn Merriman and she always has a co-host. In one show, Lori Jo was her co-host and the topic turned to her talking about her sadness that she had never really experienced the love of a man but that God had communicated with her that that desire was just an inkling of what He would fulfill in heaven, if not on earth. Not exactly comforting when we want to experience the love of a spouse in our earthly life, and not just trying to cope with it day to day, reminding ourselves that we have eternity to look forward to. That assurance doesn’t ease the intense loneliness when one is at home alone or out with friends, when they really want to be out enjoying a date with their spouses on a weekend night.

    One of my pet peeves is when I hear married couples brag-complain about how their weekends or life is boring, saying something like how all they did was do laundry and stay home or had to cater to their kids. How do they think singles feel, having to endure boredom, all alone? Or when they say insulting things like “Just because you’re married doesn’t mean your spouse will make you happy or that all your problems in life will disappear. You are responsible for your own happiness,” as if to indirectly accuse of us looking to marriage to fulfill all our needs and that we don’t know any better but that they do. Singles do not need to be told that being married will make life magical but there is obviously great happiness derived from it, despite the hardships that will come with it as well. I doubt most married couples went in with the “I’m going to be a martyr and endure all the difficulties of marriage.” mentality so it’s incredibly offensive when they make it try to sound like marriage is only for mature people not living in a fantasy world. If marriage is such a drag, as they make it sound, they would not have gotten married in the first place.

    I fully expect there to be challenges, conflicts, hard times and whatever life throws our way when I get married but I also know there is great joy in sharing a life with someone by your side. Like you were saying, CP, it’s a spouse-shaped hole. Some Christians tell you to distract yourself or try to be content with church work, school, friends, animals, ect, but all of those are futile attempts to fill a void that only a spouse can. I have not found it to be true that I (the lonely) was placed in a family so singles who really don’t want to be single are really on their own. I know you have written about your experience of trying to reach out to a few church people and I would not be surprised if most singles have had the same experience. I’m sorry you had to go through such a letdown when we’ve constantly been told (those of us raised in church) to fellowship and encourage one another but i guess married people really only care about themselves. I have to really force myself to go to church because going alone is really difficult and it’s like a stab in the gut when I have to be reminded of couples and families when i see them coming together, and leaving together. I have had to force a smile when I passed one of those welcoming greeters outside the entrance and I hated the feeling of faking cheeriness when I felt so heavy inside.

    CP, I know you feel prayer is useless but I still want to pray not only for myself, but for you as well. Your blog has been a source of comfort as I struggle with feelings of confusion and frustration.

    1. @ kyungheelim
      Thank you for your willingness to think of me and pray for me. That is very sweet of you and means a lot to me.

      I’m sorry that this reply will be so long, but I hardly ever get the chance to talk to other people who totally relate to or understand the sort of things I discuss on this blog! It’s nice to come across other people who totally get it.

      I still sometimes pray.

      I’ve been praying for a lady I met on Twitter (she sometimes posts here on this blog – she is older than me, unmarried, and is also fed up with how churches marginalize adult singles), though like I told her, I get the feeling God doesn’t listen to my prayers.

      But I’ve been praying for her, per her request.

      I’m just not sure if God, if he is there, listens anymore, or if he cares.

      When I started going back to church in my mid 30s (I’m in my 40s now), it was then I began noticing how couples-centric churches are.

      And yes, you feel like an odd duck walking in alone.

      Nobody invites you to sit with them. Nobody asks if they can meet you for coffee after the service, or later in the week for lunch or what have you. (And most of the people I see when I do go into churches are married couples.)

      And it’s hard to sit there and see all the married couples around you, holding hands in the pews.

      I also detest showing up alone to new churches, one reason of several, because they always assume I am divorced with children.

      I have never married, nor have I ever had kids, and it hurts / annoys / offends me when they just ASSUME I’ve been married or a mother.

      You said,

      Not exactly comforting when we want to experience the love of a spouse in our earthly life, and not just trying to cope with it day to day, reminding ourselves that we have eternity to look forward to. That assurance doesn’t ease the intense loneliness when one is at home alone or out with friends, when they really want to be out enjoying a date with their spouses on a weekend night.

      Oh yes, I get this. I understand and agree.

      I’ve mentioned it in much older posts.

      I get tired of the spiritualizing Christians do on this, or the “pie in the sky” assurances, that, ‘well, you may feel lonely and have it rough as a single now, but in the Great Here-After, I’m sure God will reward you ten times over for what you’re going through now.’

      The older I get, this isn’t terribly comforting.

      Which feeds into my other pet peeve, Christians who say God doesn’t care about your happiness in this lifetime, and/or the Christians who scold you for having “worldly” needs and wants…

      They act like if you’re not totally content and happy with your lot in life in the here and now, if you’re not totally groovy with being single at all times, you’re a failure as a Christian, or you’re selfish.

      I find the spiritualizing of singleness, which diminishes the heartache and other problems we face, when it’s done by other Christian adult singles (I have blogged about that (Link): in this post, “The Types of Christian Singles Who Annoy Me”) ten times more insulting, hurtful, and offensive.

      I have seen Christian adult singles (usually, never married and over the age of 35) who write blogs and books scolding other singles for wanting marriage.

      Those types of Christian singles have come to terms with being single and so then lecture the rest of us who still desire marriage to suck it up and get over it, etc. That attitude hacks me off.

      (There are some though, like the lady who wrote this blog page here I excerpted, who do understand it, though. We need more singles like her writing more articles.)

      I myself go back and forth on this. Sometimes, I’m okay with being single, sometimes it still makes me sad or upset. I do find that the older I get, it’s not as bad. You do get more accustomed, to a point, with it – at least that’s been my situation.

      You said,

      I doubt most married couples went in with the “I’m going to be a martyr and endure all the difficulties of marriage.” mentality so it’s incredibly offensive when they make it try to sound like marriage is only for mature people not living in a fantasy world. If marriage is such a drag, as they make it sound, they would not have gotten married in the first place.

      I agree. Yeah.

      Related to that are the married Christians who scold singles for being single, but if or when we tell them,
      “Well no, I’d like to marry, I am not staying single on purpose, I’ve just not met the right person yet,”
      then they jump on you FOR THAT and tell you to “be content where you are” or “Jesus is all you need.”

      I want to smack those types of Christians so bad. According to them, we singles are supposed to want marriage and not want it at the same time!

      And with a lot of those types, you’re supposed to want marriage but not take actual steps to make it happen, like don’t join a dating site, your church isn’t supposed to hold social functions where singles can meet and greet, etc.

      Marriage is just supposed to magically come to pass, I guess.

      Well, I tried that for years – praying for a spouse, went to churches hoping to bump into someone, etc, and God never sent me a spouse. So the older I get, I do have my doubts and reservations about that approach.

      You said,

      Some Christians tell you to distract yourself or try to be content with church work, school, friends, animals, ect, but all of those are futile attempts to fill a void that only a spouse can.

      Yep. I again, completely agree with you here, and I’ve seen this sort of advice handed out in numerous Christian magazines, TV shows, etc, since I’ve been a teen.

      I’ve gotten these comments in face to face meetings with Christians, too.

      And not just in regards to being single and wanting to get married. They also apply it other things.

      I used to have depression, for example. I had Christians (if I went to them for help with depression) to tell me to go volunteer at a soup kitchen, to stop thinking about myself, to just pray more, read my Bible more.

      I was not wanting or needing more Bible reading or prayer or more time at church, I was wanting a concerned person, a friend who cared, to put their arm around me and love me and be a source of support through the times of pain.

      But no Christian I met (other than my mother, who died) was willing to do that.

      After my mother died, I got the same bogus, insensitive inconsideration from Christians: rather than the comfort and encouragement during my time of grief, I had Christians at churches, or my family, tell me to stop talking about it, go volunteer at a charity, etc.

      Other than my mother, I’ve not come across many Christians who are willing to take the time out of their lives and just be there to help through a time of trial and stress. They expect you to go it alone.

      And yet, some of the same ones who cop that with me will phone me up expecting me to act as a source of comfort to THEM.

      That hypocrisy infuriates me to no end.

      I wrote about a Christian internet friend of mine (we knew each other for eight or more years) who pulled that stuff on me (that post (Link): is here, if you want to read that).

      But she’s not the only one. I have other Christian friends/ family who have done the same, or similar, things to me, but I’ve not blogged about them.

      You said,

      CP, I know you feel prayer is useless but I still want to pray not only for myself, but for you as well. Your blog has been a source of comfort as I struggle with feelings of confusion and frustration.

      Thank you for all that, and the prayers.

      I’m glad you get something out of the blog. Thank you for letting me know you like the blog.

      Of course, not only do I blog about muddling through on the singles stuff, but I’ve been in a faith crisis the last few years. I sometimes talk about that too. And how other Christians can act like insensitive jerks at times.

      I sort of blog for myself, but I allowed the blog to be public, on the off chance that there might be even one other person out there going through something similar to me.

      At least with me, I’ve discovered if I come across someone who’s in a similar situation as mine, it makes me feel a little bit better about it and less alone.

      Even if it’s fictional – I just blogged a few days ago about a movie I saw about a woman who is undergoing a lot of the same stuff I have been ((Link): that post is here – “Movie I Related To” post).

      I think that secular Hollywood movie did a better job addressing these situations than most church literature I’ve seen for singles. That movie cheered me up a little bit, at least for awhile.

      I’ve had another single adult or two, (usually they say they are in their 20s), who complain that my blog is “too negative.”

      My blog bums them out or turns them off after awhile, and they cannot take it, they say.

      (The singles who are over their mid 30s or so seem to grasp this blog far more than the under 30s single set.
      There was one early 30s lady who totally got this blog who left a comment over a year ago, though, so I don’t mean to broad brush groups.)

      One unmarried lady said she started out enjoying this blog, but the negativity turned her off, so she didn’t think she’d be back to read more. (I think she was one of the 20 somethings.)

      I don’t know what to make of that. I wasn’t forcing her to visit this blog and read it.

      She can start her own blog and make it sugary, rainbows, and happy happy blog posts about being single, if she wants.

      That was over a year ago she left those comments, and I still remember it.

      But as I’ve discussed on older posts ((Link):like this one), the older I got, I was turned off by the totally G-rated happy happy blogs for Christian adult singles.

      If that lady wants a “happy happy” singles blog, there are already one billion such blogs by Christians out there, some by lay persons, and some by professional groups such as Focus on the Family’s “Boundless.”

      What’s far more difficult to find are sites like mine by Christians (or quasi-Christians), that put it all out there and acknowledge how bad it can suck at times to be single when you want to be married, and how terrible churches are at helping people such as us.

      And most of them, most of the Christian articles and blogs for singles, seem juvenile in tone and advice.

      Even when writing for never-married adults over the age of 30, they treat their readers as though we are 14 year old high school girls.

      Maybe I should do another blog post about one of my huge pet peeves, but I’m not sure how to describe it… and it would probably sound heretical to most Christians.

      I hate the Christians who spiritualize singleness and shame us for wanting marriage by telling us we should use our “season of singleness” (I hate that phrase) to “serve Jesus (or other people) more.”

      I just hate how they think my entire life is supposed to be about Jesus-y stuff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that doing Jesus-y stuff, or thinking sunny Jesus thoughts, or praying to Jesus, is supposed to paper over any heartache I have when feeling down about being single.

      I am so tired of Christians shaming and lecturing me that “it’s not about you.”

      I am tired of being shamed or guilt tripped about having hopes, dreams, sadness, problems, needs, desires, or whatever.

      I don’t want to use my singleness to serve God or other people. I used to be okay with that, but I’m worn out with it now

      I’m tired of meeting other people’s needs (which I did for many years) and mine going unfulfilled. Then I get lectured by Christians that this is wrong or selfish of me to feel or think this way.

      I don’t know how much longer I can keep blogging. I may or may not have some stuff coming up in the future that may keep me from blogging. I can’t really go into detail about that.

      This change may be a couple of months or more away, I’m not sure, and it may or may not happen. Until then, I will try to blog once in a while.

      Anyway, I am sorry to go on for so long. I just want you to know I so appreciate your comments, your prayers, and I hear you! I totally relate. 🙂

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