I do think there needs to be a DISCLAIMER before I start - or at least a few definitions.
1. Single - a status you come to realize once you become comfortable in your own skin and place in life. Before that you "just aren't married". I think this is why churches really struggle with what to call their post college pre-divorced group of adults that aren't married. I think its a very personal decision to finally place yourself in the "single" category. If you aren't single or weren't single for a long time, don't try to understand this definition. Just support your friend!
2. I do not see this challenge as an opportunity to lament or dish my insides or gripe. I want to be honest
3. I do think its healthy to talk through these things...otherwise the ugly stays in your head and just gets uglier.
Today's topic - How do you respond to the question "why are you still single?"
Let me just start by saying I had to write on this topic after a conversation I had with a fellow single gal yesterday. Timing really is everything!
So, I personally think this is the most offensive question you can ask next to something related to weight.
But, after recently being asked this and then having an hour conversation afterwards where I felt like I had to justify my status in life, I began to realize the answer to this question is very much related to how men and women view singleness.
(prepare for my opinion)
I think for men, being single, is something they choose. Maybe this stems from the fact that I'm a total old school girl when it comes to men pursuing. I think it's their place in the role of creating relationships. So, I think not being in that place is a choice they make. Many guys spend their 20s preparing for the rest of their life. They play, further their education, pursue life experiences, and begin the track to climbing their career. They choose to pursue these things and in doing so, often choose to stay single.
I think girls in the process are sitting around waiting for the dudes in their life to take the plunge and ask them out. Most women don't just "choose" to be single. There is something about the way we are created that makes us want and need relationships. So, to choose to be single can happen, but is rare.
And, I think men have a hard time understanding that women who are single are probably single for 1 reason and 1 reason only....no one has asked them out or tried to move forward in a relationship. In girl land, there really doesn't have to be a "reason". In guy land, something is or it isn't because of a certain reason. (I probably just totally confused you, but men are from Mars and women are from Venus...remember?)
So, where do I get fired up with this question? Asking the question "why are you still single?" implies that I have an answer to that. It implies that its a choice. For me, its not something I've chosen, its the way life has worked out.
For those reading this who are married, the only thing I can think to compare this to is someone divorced or unhappy asking "why are you married?" Would that not offend you?
But, none-the-less, the question comes...and how do I answer?
- me? why am I still single? To which they usually reply, no the woman sitting behind you **if hey are not a friend, this is where I kick them in the knee and run away**
- Don't you think if I knew the answer to that I'd do something about it?
- Its not my choice...it takes two to tango
- The right guy just hasn't come along
Then I start in on trying to figure out what's wrong with me (if they are asking this question, then I need to justify and answer). Because honestly, that's what this question implies. To have a reason why for me implies that 1. there is something wrong with being single and 2. the problem must be me. (because it could have nothing to do with the fact that men have a hard time getting the gumption up to do what needs to be done and are working through the fear or rejection - I think part of this process is our job to make it easier on them, seem more available, start a conversation, tell them we want them to pursue...but seriously, man up!) So my next set of answers include:
- well, I have a very strong personality and many guys are intimidated by that -compliment yourself if no one else will!
- I'm picky and frankly I'm interested in a very specific handful of things - many have fallen by the wayside, but I want a man who loves Jesus first, me second and can support my habits!( and then we can figure out the rest of life!)
- I work a lot and honestly from the outside there doesn't really look like there is room for a man. Its not true, but I need the guy who will fight for me...make me rest and take care of myself and can see through the full calendar. I don't do "rest" very well or being alone. My mind plays some crazy tricks on me so I just keep my calendar full to avoid idle time.
- God knows I'm not really into playing games and He knows I don't want to date to just date. Not that I have to get married to the first guy who comes along. But, I don't really want to drag something out that's not going to work. So, I guess until the right one comes along then I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.
- I guess there is something that I still need to learn. I do really believe this one. I look back at my lifetime dream of being a wife (actually my dream job is to be a domestic goddess). I think about who I was at 22 when I thought I would be married. I cannot begin to imagine that girl being a wife. I can't imagine the hard lessons I would have had to learn through a marriage at that age. I think about all that I went through at age 25. I think about the 5 years that followed my "all clear". And, I think about the last year. Yes, there are clearly some lessons I need to learn-obedience and contentment in the journey are 2 of them.
So now you know I HATE this question...please avoid it not just with me...but the single people in your life. Do them a favor. Help them embrace this place. Help them to embrace the gift it can be. Offer support and for the love hang out with them and give them something fun to do and not have to think about going alone.
Single is an interesting place.
I promise not to rant all month...please don't cut me out of your "reader". I do think its like anything - when its not part of your world, its fascinating. We all have moment where we covet the life we see in others. I'm learning to covet the life I have and the life God wants for me!