A reader recently commented on one of my blogs about singleness, saying they were told to just pick someone and marry them because “anyone will do”. They were told, unbelievingly, to stop being so fussy.
This story struck a chord with me. During my painfully single twenties, I was regularly asked if I was “picky”. My hesitant reply to this unsolicited line of questioning was that I did not think I was all that picky.
I was regularly asked if I was “picky”.
If I recall, my criteria for a partner were simple back then:
1. I wanted to marry a male.
2. I wanted to marry a Christian – not just someone who called themselves a Christian, but someone who really did love Jesus. (You’d think this would be easy to find, but. . . no.)
3. I wanted to marry someone who did not use drugs – including cigarettes.
4. I wanted to marry someone who did not have paranoid schizophrenia.
5. I wanted to marry someone who was not abusive.
You be the judge: was I too picky?
I think the accusation of pickiness flies in the face of enduring singleness far too often. Maybe people want an explanation for why their wonderful friend is still single when they want to be married. Maybe people want to “solve” the problem of their singleness.
Maybe people want to “solve” the problem of singleness.
It seems, particularly in Christian circles, that people get married at a very young age. (Source: Steph’s Bureau of Statistics.) I wonder if this leads people to make unhelpful assumptions about others.“I got married at the age of 19 and it was easy, so why isn’t everyone else married?”
This kind of assumption lends itself to singles-blaming:
“You are still single because you work too hard.”
“You are still single because you don’t get out enough.”
“You are still single because you try too hard.”
“You are still single because you’re not trying hard enough.”
“You are still single because you’re too picky.”
“You are still single because you haven’t prayed enough.”
“You are still single because. . . even though you are perfectly find the way you are, there is something that you must be doing wrong, or something that must be wrong with you, because if everything was going right you would be married.”
This is the subtext of the picky conversation, is it not?
It suggests the single person is at fault for being single. Because if you want to be married, it’s easy, you just pick someone and get on with it.
It suggests the single person is at fault.
Let’s be countercultural about this. Perhaps the single person is not always to blame for their singleness. Perhaps circumstances have not aligned for them. Perhaps they are content being single. Perhaps they are indeed picky, and perhaps being picky is not a felony.
For my single friends out there: it does not matter if people think you are too picky, or too much or too little of anything. Hold fast to your own integrity and keep doing what you think God wants you to do. He’ll take care of the rest.
Have you been told you are too picky? How did you respond? Share your story – let’s have a countercultural conversation.