Posts Tagged ‘singleness’

Over the summer, some big news hit the Christian world. Vicky Beeching announced that she is gay. She is a broadcaster, commentator, singer-songwriter who spent many years living and working in the US, and her music is sung all over. Shock waves reverberated all over Twitter and the trolls came out for breakfast.

The first comment I want to make is that in no way am I anti-gay. I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that it is only in that context that sex should take place but I believe that God loves everyone gay, straight and all variations in between. And for those who have missed the mark there, there can be complete forgiveness, because God loves us and wipes the slate clean. Cleaner than Daz.

But at the same time, when I heard the news, something inside me was really disappointed. Disappointed because Vicky is a good looking young woman who had as yet remained unmarried. Disappointed, because someone else in a similar situation had been outed “accidentally” on TV by a careless interviewer. Because these two had been some sort of proof that normal people didn’t have to marry young.

Because, as I’ve been getting older, gradually, the single friends have been getting fewer. Now it seems that everyone has somewhere to go, someone else to share with, and a new set of concerns and cares. Families are started, new lives begin.

And when you’re in that situation, it becomes easy to question whether there is something wrong. Whether there is a reason that no eligible bachelor has shown up in my life and whether that means that I’m just not particularly fanciable, or lovable, or even especially likeable. Or whether people might be looking at me, asking the question, “is she gay?”

But I had been at peace with my own singleness. People in my church are keen to match me with someone, seeing it as a waste that I am not married. I had rejected that, and tried to model attractive singleness. That I don’t need to be paired with someone else to be a complete human. That life has not passed me by simply because I don’t have kids by the time I’m 30.

It seems that gradually just as one by one friends have started to meet the love of the life, those role models for being single and living and enjoying life have also gradually started to be picked off, one by one. It feels as if I might be soon the only one left.

I refuse to believe that it is only through relationship with other humans that we are made complete – actually, it is only through being in relationship with God that we can be whole and healed and free. I dream of the day when I might have a husband and a family, but I know then that life will never be perfect and I’ll probably want the single dream after the 4am sick episodes and the smelly nappies and the unwashed socks.

Right now, I can go where I like when I like (as long as my job allows). I can stay up late or go to bed early and it is only me who has to deal with it. I can even use all the hot water. It is great being single. And it is also fairly normal – we no longer live in the world where unmarried women of twenty would be declared spinsters. But we need not to be a church which rejects those who are single and tells them that they are incomplete or unfulfilled. We need not to concentrate on families at the expense of single people.

Together, we can be God’s family on earth. Young and old, single, married, male, female, and everyone. Sexual relationships are not the be all and end all of life, even if they can be rather nice. And most of all, my identity is that of a child of God, not in my gender, sexual orientation or my marital status.hearts

So, yes. I’m single. I don’t have a boyfriend or partner or husband. I don’t have the 3 children that I dream for, in the lovely house in the country where I will have time to bake and do all the fun things that perfect people do (like in the adverts). Have two and a half years to go before I’m thirty (scary times) and no, I’m not on the shelf.

I’m losing count of the times when people have said “I don’t know why you’re still single – there’s nothing wrong with you” or, “You’re not exactly ugly, are you”, or even (a personal favourite) “You’re off to a wedding…do you know that 80% of people meet their other half at a wedding?”

I’m not worried though. I mean, I am only 27. I do still have a few years in which I can work to achieve my dream, as long as I find someone right. Mr Right. Preferably tall, dark and handsome. Funny would be good too. And someone who doesn’t mind helping around the house and all those sorts of things.

But then I think, well, maybe there is something wrong. Maybe there is some sort of arrow pointing down onto my head that I can’t see, but that marks me out as “ooh, I wouldn’t go there…” Maybe the only sort of person who is ever going to fall in love with me will be the person that I could never return the love for. Maybe I’m boring. Maybe I’m fat and ugly and just not interesting at all. Maybe my hair gets too greasy, or I have bad breath and need better deodrant (and I really hope that someone would tell me if that was the case), or maybe…..

And then I have to remind myself to STOP. Because it isn’t really about me is it? Surely it is about falling in love with another person so much that these things don’t matter any more. Its about a relationship that mirrors God’s love with his people – and I think, quite honestly, I’m just not there yet.

I’m sure we have all heard the cheesy statement from someone newly in a relationship that God had been waiting for them to be happy being single and content with life before he provided their Mr Perfect. Just popping out to throw up for a minute.

In my imagination, somehow a husband and the 3 perfect children will solve everything. I will know that I’m loved. I will have a real family again. I won’t need to worry about where I will spend Christmas. Somehow everything will be allright.

Surely I should know these things already? I should know that I am loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe, who cared so much that he sent Jesus to die on my behalf. Surely I know that I do have a family. My biological family may be a bit broken, but I do have a family of other Christians who are there (mostly) instead. And there are people who gladly invite me to spend special times with them.

Let’s face it, no husband is really going to measure up to God, are they? However perfect, however right they might be. But I don’t want to let go of those dreams just yet. Maybe I need to grasp the fact that I don’t need someone else to make me complete. Another person is not going to take away all of my problems.

Clearly, I need to trust in God. I need to remember his goodness and his faithfulness, and let him change me and challenge me, transforming me day by day into being more like Jesus. But I probably need to stop beating myself up about it along the way.

So I don’t really have any answers. Hopefully there is nothing drastically wrong with me, and being single is actually good fun. But I do still dream of Mr Right.