I recently left a singles-focused social media group. Or, to be more accurate, I was asked to leave and re-join, something I was not prepared to do (due to personal circumstances). So I left altogether.
In a way, I am glad. I have noticed this group seems particularly fond of positive singledom narratives. You know, this kind of thing:
‘Singledom is a gift from God.’
‘Singledom isn’t all bad.’
‘Singles are no less valuable than marrieds.’
‘It’s possible to be content in singledom!’
I am all for these messages. When there is an unhelpful view of singles (even in the church) that singles are a kind of social leper, inferior to marrieds, less spiritually mature, less worthy—we definitely need to counteract that. Because the idea that singles are lesser than anyone else is, of course, complete rubbish.
So I am glad people are writing uplifting blogs in favour of singledom. I think this is helpful and needed.
I am glad people are writing uplifting blogs in favour of singledom.
At the same time, I sometimes feel uncomfortable when reading these uber-positive articles. I think these articles speak truthfully about the blessings of singledom, and I fully endorse the benefits of gratitude and thankfulness in singledom. I am not against contentment.
But what bothers me about the all-hail-singledom posts is they seem to be missing a balanced view of singledom; namely, that some single people *really* struggle with it. And the ‘Count your blessings’ posts seem to miss that.
Some single people *really* struggle with it.
Take me, for example. I was single up until the age of twenty-nine. (Not very late in comparison with society at large, but very late compared to everyone else in my church.) And I was miserable. I was unhappy. I was the very opposite of content.
I hadn’t always been that way. For most of my twenties, I was happy to live by myself in introverted independence. But over time this contentment shifted. All my friends were married. I started feeling more and more lonely, especially at night. Life experience had taught me I had a lot of love to give, and I wanted to give that love to someone special. I wanted to share my life with someone.
Now, it could reasonably be argued that I was already sharing my life with my close friends, my family and my church. And I totally was. No argument there. But I felt like something was missing. And this feeling only grew with time. It didn’t go away and it didn’t get easier. In fact, it became agonising. (And yes, before you ask, I was praying about it. Nonstop.)
I felt like something was missing. And this feeling only grew with time.
That’s how I knew I needed to be married. As much as others tried to talk me out of it (with their ‘Marriage is really, really hard’ speeches), I was longing for a kind of intimacy that only marriage could provide. And I’m not just talking about sex. I’m talking all forms of intimacy.
So when I see articles about how great singledom is, I can appreciate their point of view. Truly I can. I also think we need to balance this with the honest difficulties of single life. Because some singles are having a hard time of it. Some singles don’t want to be single. Some singles are grieving. They have lost the life they wanted.
We need to balance the ‘how great singledom is’ message with the honest difficulties of single life.
Many singles need the uplifting atmosphere of a positive singledom group. And for some of us, we need permission to talk about the dark side. Both are valuable. Both have a place.
I pray you find what is helpful for you.
Do you sometimes struggle with the single life, or know someone who does? Are there people who support you? What do you need in order to survive singledom? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.