By Rhonda Watts, Crosswalk.com
In our modern culture, and especially within mainstream Christian or Church culture, there seems to be a very distinct divide between Married and Single, and this separation seems to be especially marked among women. Our marital status is often a defining element of our identity, and it sometimes seems that we are placed into separate boxes or categories even within our faith communities, solely based on whether or not we’re married. But I don’t think it should be this way. I believe that to have unity in the Body of Christ, we should recognize and appreciate that though we are all in different seasons of life, we have a lot in common, and our differences don’t have to inhibit our understanding of each other.
While I fall on the “single” side of this divide, some of my dearest friends are women who are married with children. It’s my hope that we can always have an open dialog about our individual life experiences, but also about our shared faith and experiences. So, in the interest of opening this dialog, here are seven things we single women would like our married friends to know.
1. We don't live fabulous lives (at least, not all the time).
I’m sure you don’t really believe that all single women are like those girls in romantic comedies with perfect outfits and hair, or the ladies on Sex and the City, always going to cocktail parties and chic brunch places and dating a new guy every week. But maybe you secretly wonder if single women do “live it up” more.
I’ll tell you: we don’t. At least, not much. Sure, there are things we’re able to do that just aren’t practical for women who have husbands and kids at home, like spontaneously going to the movies with a friend or occasionally staying out until four in the morning. But honestly, most nights I would rather be home in pajamas Netflix-ing it up with a cup of Earl Grey than hitting the dance clubs.
2. We admire your marriages…
For single women, at least those of us who have never been married, seeing a strong, successful marriage in real life is an almost-mystical thing to behold. Our culture is increasingly devaluing marriage, so to see that loving and God-honoring marriage is still possible gives me, at least, hope and encouragement. Don’t take that for granted!
3. ...But that doesn't necessarily mean that's what we want now (or possibly ever).
I personally don’t have any single friends who don’t ever want to get married, but I understand that there are women who just don’t see marriage and kids as part of their life plan. Even for Christian women, marriage isn’t necessarily the ultimate goal. As Paul noted in 1st Corinthians, “An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” There are things I’ve had the opportunity to do as a single woman that wouldn’t have been as practical (or even possible) if I were married with kids, like going back to school for my master’s or serving in the mission field halfway around the world for several months. While we appreciate the thought behind wanting to set us up with your single male co-worker, unless we ask you to set us up with someone, we’re often pretty happy with our singleness at this stage of life.
4. Our lives can be just as busy as yours.
While I’ve never had to feed and dress three kids in twenty minutes, wrangle them into their car seats and get them to school on time, I’ve had my fair share of hectic life moments. Though we single women do have fewer and less time-consuming family obligations than our married sisters, that doesn’t mean we’re just swimming in free time. We may have jobs that require a lot of time and attention, or be heavily involved in our community or church, or be taking care of an aging or disabled relative. Because we don’t have husbands and children to take care of, we are able to focus our attention on these other worthwhile pursuits, and they can make our lives very busy. (Kudos to you ladies who have one of those big commitments in addition to being married with kids. I don’t know how you do it!)
5. We're not lonely all the time...
Really, we’re not. Being single allows us to focus on having rich, fulfilling friendships with other women (which isn’t to say that that’s not possible for married women, but your female friends probably shouldn’t be your best friend if you have a husband). We can also be closer to our parents and siblings than would probably be possible if we were married. And though at the end of the day I don’t go home to a husband’s embrace, I can always find comfort in the embrace of my Heavenly Father. And my cats. (Just kidding, I don’t have cats.)
6. ...But we are lonely sometimes, just like you.
I hope to be married someday, but I understand that it won’t guarantee that I’ll never be lonely. We all have times when we just don’t feel very emotionally connected to those we love. There have been times in my life when I’ve felt that even God was far away. It’s during these times that we rely not on our emotions, but on the knowledge that, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
We may sometimes feel that there is no one on earth who sees or understands or cares about us, but we can always count on the fact that the One who created us and loves us deeply is always there, whether we’re married or single.
7. We want to be friends with you!
As I mentioned before, some of my closest friends are married with kids. It can be difficult sometimes to find time to spend together when they have to get babysitters or coordinate with their husbands’ schedules, but what I’ve found with one friend is that it’s just as fun to go over to her house and hang out with her and her kids there as to go to dinner or a movie. It helps that her daughters are the coolest girls on the planet and are like nieces to me! Whether we’re married or single, part of being unified in Christ is sharing our lives with one another, even the seemingly mundane or unimportant events. If you’re married, why not invite a single woman you know over for dinner or coffee sometime? Don’t worry about making your house spotless or cooking a fancy meal. We just want to get to know you, the real you!
What do you think, single girls? Do you agree? What else would you add? And what are the things that married ladies want us single ladies to know?
Rhonda Watts works with an education nonprofit in Tacoma, Washington. In the past, she has worked for a library, a history museum, and her home church, as well as serving in mission fields on three different continents. She is a graduate of Central Washington University and frequent blogger at RhondaBlogsAboutBooks.wordpress.com, and can often be found in the nearest coffee shop pretending to work on her first book.
Publication date: June 15, 2015