Single people are really misunderstood. I mean really misunderstood. For one thing, it seems like everyone is trying to get us hooked up or married ASAP. When people find out that I’m single and that I haven’t been in a serious relationship for 6 years they look at me full of pity in their eyes. On top of all of that, culture definitely doesn’t help much either. Between the movies with unrealistic situations and endings, mentalities of “well hey if you’re not dating someone that doesn’t mean you can sleep with that person!”, it’s a constant bombardment of sex, romance, and finding “the one”. When you throw the Church in the mix, it almost in some ways gets worse. Because all I hear from church folks (who mean well) is “just be content in God”. What does that even mean?!
In being single it means two things. 1. I have absolute freedom and can do whatever I want and it’s great. 2. I have many moments where I’m freaking lonely and would greatly appreciate companionship. I’m like a walking contradiction in that regard. I love my freedom, I love being on my time, yet I’m willing to give that up in the right situation. But that I can deal with. I can also deal with hollywood shoving false romance down my throat, and I can even deal with well intentioned people trying to get me married tomorrow. It’s the church’s response that drives me up a wall. Because it doesn’t work! How do I know this? Because even though my relationship with Jesus is deeper than it’s ever been, I still have this part of me that desires to be with someone. I stil have a part of me that is empty. It’s almost like God designed me for companionship with a woman that He purposely won’t fill because that’s not his role. Maybe that’s why He told Adam it is not good for Adam to be alone?
The typical church response is usually something like this. “You just need to be content in God, He is ALL you need”. Ironically this usually comes from a married person, or a person in a serious relationshop. I have never had a single person tell me that. Why? Because we single people know it’s just not true. We know we were created to be with someone, and God made it that way, and in a sense he designed us to need to companionship. It’s a God given thing! It’s like saying “You don’t need to eat, God is ALL you need”. Anyone who says that is looked at as crazy because we were designed to eat food, it’s the way God made us. Well the same logic applies here.
So single people what’s the response then? I mean let’s face it, our bodies weren’t exactly made to be married at 28, it’s clear that we were designed to be paired off a lot earlier (just look at history), and to top it all off we live in a sex saturated culture that is constantly bombarding us with access to porn, (for women you get to deal with great movies like the notebook and the vow, my friend calls it emotional porn), a sex crazed media, and a culture with the mentality of “if it feels good do it”. The odds are stacked against us.
The response must be….patience! Which I am terrible at. So many times I’ve short circuited God’s plan for immediate gratification only to realize how empty it is to begin with. I think it’s ok to admit that we are lonely even though our relationship with God is flourishing. It’s ok to be in a place of need, and I believe that God desires to fill that need but in His time and not ours. I can think of a few times where if I had my way it would of been a terrible idea, and it probably would of crashed burned faster then I can say the notebook. God knows me best, and therefore knows when I’m ready and who I’m ready for, not me.
Make no mistakte single people, it’s not always the easiest thing to be single, but don’t think that because you’re not 100% “content in God” that something is wrong. You were designed for relationship (just read Genesis) and it makes sense that there is a longing burning in our souls for that to happen. But if we start (or continue) to short circuit God’s plan, and His will, then we only end up hurting ourselves in the long term.
If you’re a married person, then don’t tell a single person that all they to be is content with God. Clearly you don’t even believe that. And can we please stop oversimplifying a relationship? I’ve literally heard pastor’s from the pulpit say “if you’re single, just go find someone who loves God!” Are you kidding? That’s all it takes? Just two people who love God? Let’s be real, clearly those pastors have been married for a very long time because they forget how complicated, risky, and intense relationships can be (especially in the dating phase). You know what single people need? Encouragement, community, discipleship from married people about marriage and what to look for in a spouse. We already know we’re single, so either meet us in our place, or prep us for marriage over dinner at your house.