So You Heard Me Say Marriage Is Bad

It’s pretty common for readers to hear “marriage is bad” when I say “single is good.” Here’s something to clarify.

I think I know what happened because it's pretty common around here.

I SAID/WROTE something about singleness.  I said it is good or I love it or more people should consider it or it's amazing for my relationship with God.

But YOU HEARD/READ I hate marriage or I hate men or I think everyone should stay single or some other terrible thing.

So let's get this out here for the record, and for me to link toward for future misunderstandings.

I DON'T HATE MARRIAGE

Marriage was God's idea and I am super into God.  If it's His idea, then I don't hate it.  All of my closest friends are married and they have great marriages - marriages I would do anything to support.  Not wanting something is not the same as thinking it is bad.

For example, I visited a pool the other day with my son.  I did not feel like swimming, so I did not swim.  He swam, I didn't, and it was good. See? Not wanting something is not the same as thinking it is bad.

I DON'T HATE MEN

Quite the opposite actually.  I love men.  (Also, I am attracted to men - because some of you were wondering.) And as much as I love and cherish my female friendships, I prefer the company and conversation of men, generally speaking. 

I know and care about many great men.  I just don't want to be married to one.

I HAVE NOT SWORN OFF MARRIAGE

I prefer singleness right now.  The benefits are not something with which I'm willing to part.  But I won't speak for 40 year old me, or 50 year old me - how rude and presumptuous!  Plus, who knows what God has planned, and I certainly won't speak for him.  

Glad we got this cleared up.  

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to send a message or comment.  I want to hear All. Of. The. Thoughts. on this topic because I am compiling my scribbles on singleness into a fun little book.  Your engagement is fodder for my scribbles, so I appreciate every comment (even, and maybe ESPECIALLY the negative ones.)  

*This is an old picture. It's from just before I took a year to be intentionally single.  I've made some crap decisions in this life, but I look at this picture and I want to give this girl a slow clap because she's about to wise up and let God make the decisions. She's about to do something  a little differently. People are going to misunderstand her and think she's nuts and wonder what is wrong with her, but she's going to smile and lean into God and love this life He's leading. I love her.*

I Used To Hate Valentine's Day

I Used To Hate Valentine’s Day

February 14th was a cursed day for me.  For nearly a decade, unfortunate events befell me on this day. Every. Single. Year.  So when I volunteered for a trip from Mosul to Baghdad during my deployment to Iraq and later realized we would be flying on February 14th, I was fully convinced it would be the day of my death.  

Call me melodramatic, but I was going to be in a helicopter, in a war zone, on the day where terrible circumstances unfolded nearly every year of my adult life.  You would have been unnerved too.  Don't lie.  

Clearly I survived, but the curse was nowhere near broken.  I spent the evening of February 14th, 2008 alternating between being frozen by the winter winds of the desert whipping through the Chinook, and standing outside during multiple landings waiting to re-board the flying freezer.  We didn't make it to Baghdad either - we ended up stranded for 14 days in Taji (which actually wasn't all bad, but more stories for another time).  The point is - the day sucked - the curse survived.  

Red quote_V day.JPG

Until it didn't.

I don't know when it happened (which is unfortunate because I'm trying to craft an essay here and I could use a better segue), it just happened.  The day of hearts came and went, came and went, came and went without a single unlucky event.

And when I realized the day of love embraced me, I embraced it back.  

After all, I'm pretty into love.  Love saved me.  Love sustains me.  Love knows me wholly and embraces me fully.  Love lifts me up where I belong (sorry not sorry.) So this day I once thought would be the day I died is now a day to celebrate the reason I live.  Love is awesome, and I'm cool with a day set aside to celebrate awesome things.  I'm also cool with an excuse to eat cupcakes.    


 

 

Q & A: Answering Questions About Christian Singleness

Answering Questions About Christian Singleness

IF: GATHERING was this weekend and I participate every year, alone from my couch in my pajamas, which is basically the only way to participate.  There was a segment of the conference where a panel of single, Christian women answered three questions about being single.  

It was a good segment, with a group of ladies who gave great answers.  BUT, I would have answered differently.  

1 What are the highs and lows of being single?

HIGHS

Most of the panel talked along the lines of freedom being the best part of singleness.  I tend to agree on this one. I love sleeping alone (until The B crawls in with me). I am thankful for my evenings when I am alone and can doodle and watch Netflix, or stare at a wall in silence, or sing to myself until a song comes out - pretty much whatever I want to do.  I get a big chunk of alone time almost every single night and it's awesome - this is probably my highest high.  

A close second is a lack of drama.  When you share your life with a person, you are going to clash.  There are going to be bunches of little conflicts, days where emotions run high, days where you're a jerk, days where he's a jerk, and days where you have to work through the days where one or both of you were jerks.  I enjoy this little lack in my life.

LOWS

I think for me, the low is the lack of male friendship.  Most of my adult life I have had men around me who felt like brothers.  My actual brothers are adults now, so that's fun.  And I keep in loose, over-the-internet, contact with some of my old friends, but not having brothers in my close circle of friends is a pretty big bummer for me.  

Christian Singleness Quote

In our culture, and I would say especially in the American church culture, there is an assumption that everyone wants to be married.  I have found this leads to a lot of misunderstanding in an opposite-sex friendship, even when intentions of singleness are explicitly stated.  It's something I decided wasn't worth the potential drama. But it does make me sad on occasion, so I'd call it a low.

2. What would you say to other single women who have put themselves in neutral, waiting to be married?

The panelists were so kind and full of grace as they answered this question.  I love how they gently pointed out a couple of key truths:  You might not ever get married and your current problems and insecurities are coming with you if you do.

My answer is a bit more blunt:

1. Stop it.  Take marriage off the to-do list.  Take marriage off of your list of goals.  If you hold, in any measure, the false idea of the purpose of woman being to mate and reproduce - stop it.  

Your purpose is to serve God. Period.  There is a message, as subtle as it is destructive, in our culture and it tells us marriage is what we do, marriage is for everyone but weirdos and shut-ins, marriage is where everyone is bound, you are incomplete without a mate, you won't fit in anywhere without a mate, blah blah blah - none of this is truth. Marriage is good AND singleness is good.

(A little caveat for the person who doesn't know me very well, or at all, and thinks I am being negative about marriage here - this is not what is happening.  Marriage is good, but there is a difference between "good" and "required," and a difference between "good" and "necessary.")

2. Set aside an entire year where you will not even entertain the idea of dating.  Don't flirt, don't fantasize, don't pray for a husband.  

Be committed to a solid year of being single.  Intentionally take time to study what God says about marriage.  Read books about marriage, listen to sermons about marriage, and be friends with married couples who will be real and vulnerable around you about how stupid hard it is to be married.  

At the very least, you will learn contentedness as a single and, if marriage is in your future, you will be ready to enter it with more realistic expectations.

 

3. What can the church do better?

The American church, while it may throw the occasional bone in recognition of the value and acceptableness of a life of singleness, has (in general) perpetuated beliefs about marriage which are more cultural than scriptural.

"You need a mate"  is not something most people would outright affirm as truth, but they WOULD and DO affirm this as truth through a multitude of other words and actions.  

So what can the church do better for me as a single person? Pray and read the scriptures.  Ask for and seek an understanding of singleness based not on culture, tradition, or your own experience.  Find and read the stories of single Christ followers, historically and in the scriptures. I believe this is the appropriate and necessary place to start, so this is what I would ask of the church (if they were asking :) )