It never ceases to amaze me how society pressures single people to ‘just’ get married.
I hear it anecdotally in the stories told by single people who get called ‘fussy’ or ‘picky’. I hear it in singles asking aloud why they’re still single. I read it in social media complaints about the lack of eligible single men in the church.
If that wasn’t enough, singles are often subjected to the unsolicited relationship inquisitions of the elitist-marrieds.
‘When are you gonna get married?’
‘Still on the shelf? We’ve gotta find you a man/woman!’
‘Did you forget to date?’
‘What are you doing wrong?’
Singles are often subjected to the unsolicited relationship inquisitions of the elitist-marrieds.
There are many reasons why people are single, and it seldom has anything to do with them ‘forgetting’ about marriage or not accepting one of several eligible candidates hurling proposals their way. If they ever get proposed to, that is.
I don’t know about you, but as a teenager and young adult, I suffered from a deplorable lack of attention from the male species. I watched in disbelief as other girls in my youth group got asked out again and again, while I waited with all the patience of a hungry cat.
‘Am I invisible?’ I would wonder.
I had not forgotten about dating, nor was I neglecting to put myself ‘out there’. When friends asked if I was too picky, I would reply, ‘Oh yes, I’m looking for a non-criminal, non-drug-using man who is actually a Christian’. Terribly high standards.
Some of us simply do not get romantic attention. I had crushes, like most girls, but it was never requited. I didn’t even have my first boyfriend until I was twenty-three. And people assumed I was doing something wrong or missing some vital man-attracting ingredient.
People assumed I was doing something wrong.
It’s all too easy to jump to conclusions about single people, but many factors contribute to dating success, and only some of those are about what they are doing—or not doing.
In my experience, single Christians often do not having much choice in available partners, especially when everyone else in church is already married. Or a generation older than you.
There might be other factors at play. They may have been unable to find someone compatible, personality-wise or spiritually.
They may have problems getting first, second, or third dates.
They may be great online but shy in person.
They may be unpopular. (I know I was.)
They may not have the energy to pursue relationships, given the hours single people often have to work to make ends meet.
They may have baggage. (Like all of us. Can I get an amen?)
Their circumstances might not be favourable.
They may have been turned off the world of dating altogether. (It’s not for the fainthearted.)
Some actually choose singledom for vocational or religious reasons. And some are genuinely content with their single life. They are happily ‘flying solo’. They are not pining after a partner. And no, they are not any less complete than anyone else.
Some are genuinely content with their single life.
Stories of singledom are varied and complex. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for relationships or for human beings, for that matter. I view that as a good thing. I am not like anyone else, nor do I have to be. This life is what I make it.
And I am glad.
Are you a happily single person, or know single people who are? How have your circumstances led to singledom? If you could say one thing to married people, what would it be? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.