In one of my previous posts (The Waiting Game: Don’t Ask Why), I mentioned how some married people say dumb things to me about my singleness. They may have good intentions, but because they’ve never been an older single, they just don’t understand that what they are saying really isn’t helpful. I know I’m not alone in this experience, because I’ve had many conversations with other single friends who say the same things.
So, in this series of posts, I’d like to bust a few myths and bring a better understanding of singleness to both singles and marrieds alike. For the truth is, singleness can be both one of life’s greatest joys and biggest challenges.
Myth #1: Marriage trumps singleness.
If you’re single and not 21 anymore, then you’ve no doubt had at least a billion people (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) make comments to you along the lines that your life hasn’t really started yet… or that you really need someone to take care of you… or even that you will make a really great wife/husband one day (and they just can’t understand why someone hasn’t ‘snapped you up already’). All these comments seem to send a pretty clear message – that marriage is better than singleness, and you’re somehow lacking because you’re not there yet.
Well, here’s the reality: Jesus, the only perfect man to have ever walked on this earth, was single. Enough said…
Still wanting more… the only time in the Bible when marriage and singleness are ‘ranked’ (that is, compared to one another), is when Paul speaks, and he talks of how he feels it can be better to be single! And even then, he doesn’t say that one is actually better than the other, he just notes that you have different roles and opportunities in each of these different seasons of life (1 Corinthians 7). Every other mention of marriage and singleness in the Word is simply instructional – ‘If you’re single/married, here’s how to live life well’… God created us as whole, complete singles, and He also designed marriage, so clearly both are great options and one is not better than the other!
Singles: You are amazing… just the way you are! (Yes, 1D are on to something there). So, grab hold of the amazing opportunities and freedoms that Paul talks about, and make the most of where you are at right now…
make peace with your past and don’t hold grudges, forgive, stop worrying and comparing, pray, spend time with family and friends, hug someone and tell them how special they are, laugh, choose to be happy and to appreciate all the good things in life, enjoy each day (take time to ‘smell the roses’ and use the fancy plates, like that ad on t.v. told us to), travel and enjoy the great outdoors, go to the gym or out for a run, read good books, volunteer, invest yourself and your money in things that matter, create good work-life balance, take care of yourself and have some ‘me’ time, say ‘no’ sometimes, put aside how you feel and pursue your passions and dreams, take risks, be real and honest, live in the moment and for the future, trust the plan God has for your life, and remember that the best is yet to come…
Married people: Do you believe, as Christine Caine says that, ‘Singleness is not a disease’? When was the last time you encouraged a single friend that they were in a great stage of life? (And really meant it? No, I’m not talking about a whinge, ‘Well, my lazy husband wouldn’t even take out the garbage today. You’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with that’. ‘Oh yes, I get to do ALL the jobs myself, all the time. I’m SO lucky [Insert rolling of the eyes from all the singles in the world who’ve ever been subjected to one of these frustrating conversations]).
What’s one thing you could start to say or do differently to be more accepting and encouraging of the single people in your world, and the life God’s called them to live right now? (Up for a challenge? Write a sticky note for yourself of your ‘one thing’ and pop it on your mirror or someplace where you’ll see it often, do it, and let me know how it goes – I’d love to hear from you!).
If you want to delve into this a little more, I’d really encourage you to download the Elevation Church app on your phone, iPad or tablet, and have a listen to one of Pastor Steven Furtick’s podcast series, ‘Meant to Be’ which goes through 1 Corinthians 7 in lots of detail for both singles and marrieds.