A recent Triple J radio interview struck a chord with me.
Yesterday, on the 8th of July 2021, Triple J’s Hack podcast talked about how singles often get the short straw in social situations, with their dating life on public display and even used as a source of entertainment by their coupled friends. (Listen here: interview starts at 19:11.)
This interview certainly hit a raw nerve. Callers rang into Triple J to share their perspectives on singledom and their comments were dominated by the ‘left-out-of-everything’ stories. And they are right.
Second-class citizens. Third-wheeling. Paying more than your fair share.
Singles certainly seem to get the raw deal compared to couples. It’s not helped by the general idolisation of romance, sex and marriage in our contemporary society. And, unfortunately, the church is not immune to these sociological influences.
Singles can feel just as left out in church, the one place where our differences are not supposed to matter.
Singles can feel left out in church, the one place where our differences are not supposed to matter.
So what’s the takeaway? Are singles doomed to eternal inferiority and exclusion?
I don’t think so.
Sure, singledom is hard. Really hard. I found, in my twenties, the loneliness and social-leper syndrome got harder rather than easier as time wore on. And I met my husband at the age of twenty-nine; plenty of singles have to endure the horrors of singledom well beyond that age.
I can only imagine what that is like.
But singledom doesn’t define us. Society might try to define us in that way; friends might jump on that bandwagon; even churches might echo that refrain. But—and this is the countercultural message—our relationship status does not define us.
Our relationship status does not define us.
How then do we define ourselves? By who we are, instead of who we aren’t. By the good we are doing in this world. By the legacies we are endeavouring to leave behind. And by the relationships we do have, even if they are not romantic or sexual in any way.
For those of us who belong to Christ, our identity is found in him, not in our social standing. We are secure in the knowledge that we are children of God, and that we belong to him regardless of where our relationships land.
For those who belong to Christ, our identity is found in him.
So if your friends ridicule you for being single, or if you feel left out around couples, or if you question your own worth and value because of prolonged singledom, let me remind you once more that you are more than your relationship status. You are whole. You are worthy. You are enough.
And you are loved by the Creator of the universe. Just for today, that may be enough.
Do you get left out, questioned or mocked because you are single? Does your church exclude you or treat you as lesser-than because you are not currently married? How do you respond to that treatment? How would you like things to change? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.