I’m totally married, so I don’t really need to take on this cause… but I really do though, because of what I’ve been through and in hopes of sharing some insight for those who are coming behind me in this journey.
So, the ‘professional side’ of our video chat had come to an end, we were just brainstorming around some life goals… and somehow the words “church and emotional health” echoed it’s way into our conversation.
“OMG!!! This girl gets it!!! A fellow saint who understands my eye rolls and knows that I haven’t simultaneously forsaken my love of Christ!”
I’m going to say this plainly…
…the church is a disservice to singles.
In all my single young adult life, I can only remember one sermon series intentionally for singles preached on a Sunday… and it wasn’t even my church. A friend shared the link to an Andy Stanley series he preached at his church, Northpoint, in Georgia, called “Love.Sex.Dating.” She had also shared a podcast deliberately created for Single Christian Young Adults that was my life saver… it literally gave me courage to be “guilt-free” in my active pursuit for marriage. I mean they’re latest podcast is entitled “How to Talk to Guys!” #yyyaaasss #ThatsWhatImTalkingBout
Now that I’m married,here’s where I feel the church failed me in my single life… These are my opinions and do not reflect the views of every Christian who desires marriage.
1.) Making me feel like I wasn’t spiritual enough when I struggled with feeling lonely. Shoving prayer and scripture in my face… as if to erase very normal emotions.
2.) Shutting me up with “be busy about God’s work” taglines when I expressed my desire for marriage.
3.) Convincing me that if I waited ‘patiently in the Lord’, my desire for marriage would be fulfilled. Totally Not True. Everyone who desires marriage will NOT get married, and that truth needs equal attention.
4.) Grouping ALL singles together… being single in college at 19 years old, single at 30-something, single with children and single ‘again’ because of divorce or death of a spouse are very different groups that need unique attention for the space they are in.
5.) …and my favorite… not inviting me into the marriage/couple meetings. Like, where else would I learn Biblical marriage if not in the church’s marriage ministry? I should’ve been invited into marriage conferences, meetings, fellowships or whatever…. because the best time to learn something is BEFORE YOU’RE IN IT!!! The learning curve is soooo different after you’re already committed. Don’t get me wrong, if it was a couples dance… I didn’t want to be there… but a marriage workshop, why not?
—- and some other practical things like … How to meet a man? How to screen him to see if he just wants sex? What to wear on a date? (like can I wear a form fitting dress without feeling like I”m tempting a brotha?) How to deal with disappointment from my last break up? Do I need to hear from God before I go on a date with him? How do I date a man with kids, divorced or widowed? Umm can I masturbate? Should I be cooking for bro and inviting him over for dinner? Can he be at my apartment past 7pm? If he didn’t pray over our lunch, is he disqualified from the race? — Vulnerabites, you get my point!
I’m not trying to bash the church, but I do think there needs to be more deliberate attention to singles beyond making them commit all their free time to filling in the church’s gaps of employment… rolling my eyes.
So, like every thing else in my life… I couldn’t make my desire for romantic relationship the church’s responsibility … I had to actively find places, people and opportunities that would help me pursue this desire.
What did I do?
- I shared my frustrations of loneliness with my ‘judgement free’ saints. My friends who would ‘get it’, not those who were ‘so contented’ in their own singleness that they’d look down on me like a used tampon at the bottom of their strawberry ice cream waffle cone — disgusting — I know, I don’t like strawberry ice cream either.
- Instead of just talking about wanting to get married, at the end of every Bible study, fellowship, prayer circle, altar call for special prayers, and new years basket prayers… I asked for prayer that my husband would enter my life sooner than later — what a genius way to ‘sanctify’ my desires for some good masculine romantic loving for the saints!
- Ignoring the ‘wait patiently’ crap and did my part to be ‘visible’ — I give some single tips here.
- Finding single friends who were my age and in my ‘space of life’ — #DreamTeamStandUp #EskeNouLa? — and doing life with them… traveling, dinners, camp outs, 10 hour long conversations and whatever else our little hearts desired. #ThankYouForYourVisionKay
- Making sure to build relationships with my married friends, asking them questions (because the church wasn’t answering questions that I had), visiting them and being available when they were ready for some ‘girl time’! Oh and tuning in to marriage sermons, conferences, workshops and discussions online! Because of the internet, we literally have no excuses for not knowing something.
I have to commend Cristal Clear for always sharing so candidly from her journey as a single 30-something and the pressures of it, she isn’t the only one in this space—- I’ve been there… and Golden Life Musings also shares from her singleness journey, like in her blog “Singleness is not a disease” as she turned 38! Wow. The guts of these women … I love it!
So, Vulnerabites… as a single (or formerly single) what are some of your frustrations with the church in how they handle singles? Any recommendations for us?
The Naked Writer