The one thing I wish we’d stop doing with singleness

woman-no handI keep saying I’m going to stop writing about about singleness and truthfully, this probably will be my last article on the topic. Because after I get to the point of this very short post, I don’t think there is more say on the topic.

I’ve seen so many  articles that are meant to be encouragement to Christian singles. It goes something like this. You struggle in singleness, here’s how not to struggle. Typically these articles offer good points about contentment, eternal perspective and so forth. But where so many of these articles lose me rests on this one point – you’re not supposed to struggle in singleness.

The formulas offered are pretty common so that single people can remove the ache their singleness causes;

The problem is you’re not busy enough for the Lord

Marriage is idolatry

If the church valued singleness, then singles would be content

All these formulas have one thing in common in that they treat pangs in singleness like some kind of disease that needs to be cured. Implicit in theses prescriptions is the idea that if you suffer from any kind of discontentment, the problem is you and your lack of spirituality. Or the church is not enough to value singles. These common formulas emphasize that if you are discontent in singleness and a longing for partnership, there’s some kind of magic bullet that if you can just get it, you will no longer struggle. The implication of course, is that you really aren’t supposed to struggle.

I wonder what that says the God who made woman from man and said “it is not good for man to be alone.” Since the creation of time, God created an intimate union to be shared between a man and a woman. And let’s be completely honest, that union involves a level of intimacy that cannot be shared with friends or members of the body of Christ. God created marriage. Why do we try to undermine and dismiss these longings?

And this gets to my point about the one thing I wish we’d stop doing in singleness – stop acting like there’s something wrong with the struggle. I hate to say but that’s what the lion share of Christian articles and encouragement  imply about singleness. But what if we just acknowledge that the ache is there for a reason and it’s perfectly normal.

Truthfully, I admire those for whom this isn’t an issue. I appreciate the ones who can honestly say they love their singleness. But let’s be real, that’s not the majority of folks who desire marriage. And one thing I’ve discovered, that we can spend a significant amount of energy to rid ourselves of these pesky desires.

But here’s a thought. Instead of making singles feel like there is something wrong with them or that they are deficient Christians for having aches of singleness, how about we acknowledge it for what it is. Instead of dismissing it as some kind of deficient spirituality as if Jesus is not enough, how about we encourage those who long for singleness to place their ache at the feet of Christ. It’s where we acknowledge that singleness can be a thorn in our side but there is a sufficient grace that is greater. And one thing I’ve learned in my own Christian life, it relieves the burden of trying to get rid of something that won’t go away but instead, perpetually drives me to the Savior.

Sorry, but I’ve grown so weary of the endless trope of sanitized singleness where we pretend like it’s not supposed to  bother us. For many it does and for good reason. Where the desire is unfulfilled, certainly the Lord uses that for the purposes of sanctification and encouragement to the body of Christ. He has his reasons and those reasons are good, even though it doesn’t always feel like it.

But let’s just be honest about it. Shall we?

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About Lisa Robinson

Servant of Christ, DTS Grad, member of Town North Presbyterian Church (PCA), non-profit professional, anti-poverty advocate, writer, thinker, explorer of ethnic food, lover of good coffee and a good laugh.
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2 Responses to The one thing I wish we’d stop doing with singleness

  1. Summer says:

    So grateful for this! You really have no idea! Just the other morning I was talking to God as I was driving to work just venting to Him. I asked Him if something’s wrong with me because I continue to have this longing for a mate? Am I not completely satisfied with Him because I don’t have this feeling of being completely satisfied if I never get married? I seriously told Him “I can not make this feeling go away on my own so can you please do it for me?” Ive read blog after blog hoping to get a different insight or perspective and this is the first time I’ve read one that didn’t make me feel inadequate.

    I have days where it barely crosses my mind and other days where I can’t stay off Pinterest planning my wedding lmbo! Daily I’m learning that however I’m feeling just tell God about, I mean He already knows how I feel anyways right? No need in pretending!

    • Thanks Summer. I’ve actually found quite freeing to acknowledge that this is the desire and it’s there for a reason instead of all the gyrations we go through to pretend this unmet desire doesn’t impact us. It has really helped me focus more on Christ because that’s where I go when the thorn presses in rather than focus on how can I get rid of this desire, which really leads me to focus on myself.

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