Last week I posted a link on my Facebook page to a blog post titled “What Single People Wish Married People Knew.” The author offers that there’s a kind of un-vocalized formula prevalent in the evangelical church: that when we singles “let go” of finding our spouses and give the burden of it to the Lord, then we will meet our match. She says that it’s a formula that hurts single people because it makes us feel like the reason we don’t have a life partner is because of something we’ve done, or rather because of something we haven’t done: we haven’t “let go.” So then, she wishes married people knew that this was a formula that was being put out there, and that it’s damaging, and that there are better things to say to single people.
I like this blog post. I think she’s right, and I think she says good things, and that’s exactly why I shared the link on my Facebook page. Lord knows I could tell my story of singleness with the same language.
I “let go” of the “burden” of being single a long time ago. I won’t say it’s true of every day, but most days being single is my joy, actually. I get a lot out of being single. I have time to read and write and I don’t have to share the remote control with anyone. If I want to watch a Law & Order:SVU marathon, I can do that. I don’t have to watch football. And I have time to go out to dinner with my friends, and meet my youth girls for coffee, and I can pick up the check for these outings if I want because I’m spending my own money. I have time and energy to invest in a lot of relationships, because I’m not solely focused on one person most of the time. And instead of dropping thousands of dollars on a wedding, I spent it on my education. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Not in a million years. Not for a million dollars.
Like Kate says in her blog post, though, married people are not the enemy. In fact, married people are my very best friends. For the last two years, I’ve had Tuesday dinners at Matt and Jesse’s house. It started because I was interning in Philadelphia, working crazy hours, commuting three hours almost every day, and very rarely eating meals that I couldn’t pick up at a drive-thru window. On Tuesdays, I had an hour between rolling back into town and having to be at my friend Liz’s for our small group Bible study, of which Jesse was also a part. So, we stared having dinner before Bible study because my married best friends wanted to take care of me and offering me a weekly meal became important to them, simply because they love me and feeding me was a tactile way for them to show that love to me. Because of this and the thousands of other ways they and my other married friends have loved me, I wouldn’t trade my married friends for a million single friends. Not in a million years. Not for a million dollars.
I love that my BFFs and I get to be a picture of something different in the Church; we’re the variables that make the formula fall flat. Because we operate in unity, not allowing division to creep in because they’re married and I’m single. We talk about my bad dates and their broken refrigerator, and the latest reasons we’ve had to take our dogs to the vet, and we talk about how we can all plug into our church better. We share the struggles we’re facing because they’re the issues on the table and we want to help each other through them. We talk about my book, and their coming baby, and we talk about how we love Jesus a little bit more every day. We celebrate with each other in life’s joys because we’re family to each other, and that’s just what family does. Which is all to say that we cry with each other, and we laugh with each other, and we do this simply because we love each other.
One of my greatest hopes is that the Church becomes a place that feels like sitting at my friends’ kitchen island, where it doesn’t matter that someone’s single and others are married, because we’re laughing and crying and loving each other. Because that’s just what family does.