Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What (Some) Married People Need To Know About Being Single

"What's wrong? How come you're not married yet?"

"You should be married by now with the way you cook."

"Why can't you [do this]? It's not like you have a husband or family waiting for you."

"You have too much time on your hands. We should pray for a husband for you."

A long distant friend and I were sharing "singleness war stories" yesterday evening. Above are just a few of the better comments that I've been subjected to most recently in regards to my singleness. She totally topped me though. My friend was a radio DJ at the time when she received a 10 page letter from a man who listened to her station in a max security prison. He was in there for murdering his wife. The prisoner wanted to make sure she would get married, so he drew a flow chart for her, showing her the areas in her life where she needed to lower her standards in order to get a date. What really upset her were the married people who defended this guy. I don't blame her for being upset. The flow chart is something new and rather I told her I'd give the guy points for that ;-)!

We both came to the conclusion that we needed to write a book called, "What (Some) Married People Need To Know About Being Single." I truly believe most comments from married people stem from a desire to do good. I hear the same phrase from them over and over, "I just want you to be happy." Unfortunately, they're making an assumption that because they're happy and married, then we must be unhappy in our singleness.

I threw this question out on Facebook, "What do you wish married people would get about your singleness?" Most of the responses mirrored my own thoughts.

I wish (some) married people would understand that singleness isn't a problem that needs fixing.
Sure, I have a desire to be married and have children.

Sure, I feel quite a lot of pressure because I'm one of the last of my friends to get married.

Sure, I struggle with the fact that I'm the same age my mother was when she had my little brother.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:11-14

I don't recall expressing to others that I'm unhappy with my singleness, so I'm not sure why people feel the need to take it upon themselves to fix something that isn't broken. I appreciate my married friends' concern, but their desire to see me "happy" often has the opposite effect. It leads me to discontentment because they're reminding me of something that I don't have and would love to have. It also conveys to me that I'm not good enough or I'm not complete because I don't have a spouse. I'd much rather let God take care of matching me with a mate. God's already said he's got my life planned out...and it may not include a spouse...I'd rather stick with His plan.

I wish (some) married people would understand that God has kept me single for a purpose.
God is giving me unbelievable opportunities to do something my married friends can't do: devote myself entirely and completely to Him.

An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:34-35

I have the rare opportunity to talk to thousands upon thousands of people every day. Why God allows me to do this, I don't know...but I'm grateful. The life I'm currently living was never on my radar screen. But God has taken this homeschooled Arbutus girl who loves her hairspray and never went to school for radio and has placed her at one of the most incredible Christian radio stations. I never know each day who I'll have the opportunity to talk to, what I might say that will offer encouragement to someone, or even share someone else's story to encourage others. God has a will and a purpose for each of our lives. God uses each of us where we are - single or married. Right now, His purpose for me is to be doing what I'm doing. He's done a great job with my life so far; I don't think He needs any additional help from me or anyone else.

I wish (some) married people would understand that they can still associate with single people.
It's nice to be included in activities. It's even nicer when the single people are invited to participate and not be called upon as the babysitter. We appreciate married people being concerned that we might be uncomfortable, but why not let us decide that for ourselves? If singles are uncomfortable, then maybe there's a little work that needs to be done in our hearts. One of the hardest things for a single person is to "lose" a friend to marriage. Singles understand the new responsibilities their former single friend now has, but the addition of a wedding ring shouldn't preclude friends from getting together and spending time with one another.

So how about you? What do YOU wish married people would get about being single? Being single has been an unexpected blessing to me. In my own desire to be married God has reminded me of something: marriage isn't promised to any of us. It's not a reward for attaining a special level of Christianity. At the end of our life, our reward isn't a husband (or wife) or having children. Our reward is eternity with Jesus. If I'm not happy as a single person, then there's no way marriage will solve that. True contentment - single or married - lies in Christ.


(P.S. I know not every single/married person will agree, so feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!)


  1. Sometimes, I would like to feel included. Most of the time however, I don't.

  2. A-men.

    Everyone has a time of single-servant hood *every last one of us* the question is how are we going to use that time to serve the Lord, and one another?

    Marriage is an earthly echo of our relationship with Christ, it's all through Scripture that way, so yes it is beautiful and yes it is blessed and yes it is part of God's plan.

    For some of us.

    Marriage isn't a requirement to get into heaven, thankfully. It also isn't a requirement to be a Christian or to be loved by God. I have fantastic married friends, and in their hearts they don't want me to miss out on the joy that they have, and so they want me to wed. That, when I know they are motivated by love, that I can accept. It's when random people realize that I'm single and decide I need to be 'fixed' that my hackles come up.

    Lydia, the seller of Purple cloth wasn't married
    Paul, the Apostle wasn't married.
    Father Damian who ministered to the Lepers on Molokai wasn't married.
    Saint Patrick wasn't married.
    Mother Theresa wasn't married.

    You do not have to be married to be used by God, and you do not have to be married to be blessed, joyful, fulfilled, complete, and lost in Christ either.

    To my married friends, please love me, please spend time with me, please pray for me, and please be the touchable Christ here on earth to me. Please stop trying to 'fix' my singleness. If it needs mending, let my Father take care of it, in His time.

  3. They always try to set me up with someone they know...and it always ends up in a disaster because they don't know either one of us THAT well. I always tell them to stop playing God. God is my matchmaker and I know that He will bring the right one in HIS timing and HIS way.

    I wish they would not make me feel awkward with their significant other, like their life is complete and they can't make time for me anymore.

  4. Oh, I agree with the loosing a friend thing! It really hurts, but have come to expect it. :(
    I wish married people didn't think there was something wrong with me. I am not a looser. I do have a life, have done way more than most my age, and have great plans for the future.

  5. Unsolicited advice on appearance, etc.--what you need to do to snag a guy--usually comes across as pretty rude. The fact that I am not married at the age of __ (fill in the blank) does NOT mean I've never been asked out, thanks. Maybe I just haven't met the one. Save the glamorizing tips (usually) for when they are requested, and spare us the assumption that you were married young because you were/ are so much more attractive.

  6. This past weekend I gave a talk about living the single life to a group of young adults on a Christian retreat called Chrysalis. You pretty much just summed up my entire talk : ) I couldn't agree more.

    Yes I am single, but I don't want my being single to define who I am. After all, it's not about why you are single but about what you do while you are single.

  7. I agree with your article! People often act as if there is something missing in my life because I'm not married. They act as if I am not complete or have a deficiency. I have a family member who is desperate for me to be married. I'm always telling her that the purpose of life is not to one day get married. Our purpose is to glorify God. He gets to choose how that looks. If someone thinks I "need" someone to be happy, they must not think very highly of me. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of miserable married people. That proves that marriage isn't the answer. Finding satisfaction in Christ and finding my identity in Him is. Singleness isn't a problem. Discontentment is.

  8. Amen to put my thoughts into perfect wording....i never feel loser-ess or 'broken' until someone reminds me...bless their hearts. :-) -Mary

  9. At a singles retreat I heard "are you a Christian single, or a single Christian?" ...Your contentment level determines which is the adjective and which is the noun!

  10. I wish they would understand that I do want to be married, that I pray that God is preparing me and my mate for this, and that they don't need to keep "encouraging" me with their questions as to why I am not dating or not married. It is what I desire, and if it is what God desires, then it will come about in His time. But all their prayers are welcome.

  11. I was single for a long time. I lived alone for 10 years and LOVED it! I didn't think I was made to be married because I was so happy being single. The thought of having children terrified me. I couldn't imagine I was capable of being a mother. One day,7 years ago, my future husband walked into my office. We were married a year ago. Now I'm married with TWO awesome stepsons which I find very funny since I'm from a family of all girls. I had no experience relating to boys. God had a plan for me that I never would have come up with on my own. If you would have asked me a 10 years ago if I wanted what I have now I would have said , very enthusiastically, no way! But here I am, as happy married with children as I was being single. I can't imagine my life now without my husband and kids. I'm learning to trust where God is placing me.

  12. I agree with you Erin. I think its important that we understand that marriage does not complete us but Christ does. Going into marriage with the idea that we will find wholeness I think will be very disappointing. I think I have learned so much about being sold out to God as a single person and deriving joy from my relationship with him. I believe that this is the period when God refines us and makes us better people as we trust him to take care of the future. So I have decided to live life to the fullest as a single person with my eyes totally fixed on my first love (Jesus).
    Thanks for being a blessing.


Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts - we love it when you do!

~ Jack & Erin

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