If you are single, I have fantastic news for you.
You aren’t “single.”
No one is “single.”
It’s not really an actual thing.
I know, it probably sounds kind of weird, but it’s true.
Are you ready to change your perspective?
When did you first consider yourself “single?” After your friends started dating? When someone asked you if you were seeing anyone and used that phrase to label you? When facebook intrusively asked you to fill out that box? Think about that for a minute and stay with me until the end.
Christian culture has a lot to say about “singleness,” and it is usually in regards to singleness as a burden and a struggle. And don’t get me wrong, it’s hard not being in a romantic relationship. God physically made us to be sexual beings, and not fulfilling that role is quite the conundrum. When you pair that with emotional loneliness, insecurity, and the deficit of love for and from others because of a fallen world, it does become a genuine burden.
But maybe, as Christians, we make it into more of a burden than it ought to be.
In Christian circles, there is always a lot of talk about “saving yourself for marriage” (emotionally, mentally, and physically). Marriage is often also upheld because of its reflection of Christ and The Church, which is both true and awesome.
But, I think something has gone awry if there is an epidemic of Christians struggling with singleness, and I think it has a lot to do with how we put relationships on a pedestal.
I think the idea of “you should save yourself for marriage” can be an extremely effective tool for keeping Christians celibate if they are unmarried, but it’s also both misguided and misguiding. I heard a popular Christian mp3 lecture by Jason and Crystalina Evert when I was 16 that really impacted the way I see sex outside of marriage. They give very compelling arguments on why it’s important to “wait”, and I recommend young folks give it a good listen for the sake of hearing it (you can find it anywhere online; it comes in both a Christian and reduced-fat secular version).
However, what made their lecture so compelling was the part about “think about what your future spouse would think if you fell into sexual sin before you met them…”
It’s a persuasive idea, but part of me screams “that’s not ok” now that I’m an adult and still unmarried.
It feels very manipulative. Sure, it was helpful for guarding my own heart when I heard it, but I’ve come to realize eight years later that the idea of “be pure for your husband” implies that obedience with our bodies will inevitably be met with a specific reward from God. Even using the phrase “sex before marriage” implies that there will eventually be a marriage that will take place. There is potential seeded in that phrase, and it’s a lie because God does not promise us a spouse.
Ideally, the only thing that should keep us abstinent and pure is the knowledge that we are called to be obedient because of our love of God, and the knowledge that our bodies are not our own. Our bodies were bought at a very expensive price, and that should be our motivation to treat them well (1 Corinthians 6:20). Our devotion and obedience should not be given under false pretenses or with expectation.
God knows our hearts better than that.
With that in mind, let me get rid of the myth of “singleness” for you…
If you are not married or dating, you are not “single.”
From a relationship standpoint, you are exactly where you were when you were born into this world. No one looks at a child and says “yeah, they’re single” because that’s ridiculous and kind of creepy.
You are still just simply yourself and who you are.
You are connected to God, you are connected to your parents, your family members, your friends, and your acquaintances in complex webs of relation. You are simply yourself, and you are not by yourself.
And when you enter into a romantic relationship? You are still yourself, just yoked in a romantic relationship.
“Singleness” is not an affliction, it is simply a label put on people who have an absence of a specific type of relationship. It does not have any bearing on who you are.
The lack of other interpersonal relationships does not define who you are, why should this one?
You are also not really struggling with “singleness.” you are struggling with sexual frustration, emotional loneliness, spiritual deficiency, insecurity, and a slew of other possible problems. Those things are real and OK to admit. Say you are struggling with those things, divide and conquer them with prayer, but don’t say you are struggling with “singleness” and turn it all into a monster you can’t fight.
It isn’t “singleness” because “singleness” is just a label society created for you.
Go ahead, rid yourself of the word “singleness.”
Do you feel a bit better now?
Look at yourself as just being who you are, and you can change how you address the struggle.
And if you live the rest of your life unyoked to another person, you are still exactly who you are and as God wants you to be, which is a fantastic and absolutely beautiful place to be.
Now go buy yourself some cats like Taylor Swift.