Element Church Blog

The Dreaded Category

Before I share my thoughts regarding singleness I would like to state the views and opinions expressed are based on my experiences and interpretation of Christ living in my life.  
 
This past Sunday Aaron gave a sermon on singleness and my first thought was, “If I have to listen to another sermon on singleness I’m going…”  My second thought was, “this is probably the last time I will listen to a sermon on singleness as a single woman.”  My wedding is scheduled for later this year!  Since my engagement I have been thinking about the 20 years I have been an adult single (I’m 36).  Twenty years seems a bit dramatic because I probably would not have been married at 16, but this is the age I was allowed to date, the year my dad gave me a promise ring, and the year I really started thinking about being in a dating relationship with the hopes of marriage.  I desired to be married at a very young girl, but at the age of 16 it seemed like the start into the chapter of relationships.  I read books about dating, I listened intently in youth group, and I prayed asking Jesus to protect my future husband.  This is all great, but the journey which lay ahead was filled with much disillusionment and disappointment.
 
The summer of 2011 Aaron did a sermon series titled “The Summer of Love.”  I officially called it “The Summer of Pain” because I was still raw from a year long relationship ending because I would not compromise myself or rather “because of my rules” the relationship was not going to work. Although, I am glad this relationship did not end in marriage, it was still a loss which I was grieving.  The sermon series seemed to put salt in the broken wound and remind me that I was not married and not even close to being married.  
 
I share this story because the church can be one of the loneliest places for a single person. Being in a room full of married individuals of all ages and seeing their children can be very difficult when you do not fit into this category. Aaron stated on Sunday that our society does not promote healthy singleness, but from my experience, neither does the church.  I am not stating this specifically about Element, although at times I have experienced it at Element, I am speaking about it as the Christian Church and Christian culture.  Yes, majority of the population seems to get married or at least cohabitate, but a single woman in her late 20’s or early 30’s who is questioned as to why she is not dating someone as to insist something is wrong with them is unacceptable. Although I have energy around being verbally questioned or patronized I believe Christ calls us to live day in and day out in the different seasons of life He allows us to go through. At the age of 36 I have had many years in the season of singleness and as my wedding is fast approaching I have found myself actually grieving the loss of my singleness. 
 
I do not want this to sound like I am not excited about my singleness coming to an end...Mark (my fiancée), I love you.  I am excited to become a wife and commit my body and soul to one man, but I also know marriage, just like singleness is going to bring a new set of challenges. I have not wasted my singleness and took advantage of the freedom and flexibility to follow my dreams.  And although I have been single for all of my adult life I have had the companionship of close family and my few kindred spirits.  Mark asked me last week what I was looking forward to the most about getting married and I said, “knowing who I am going to marry and not living in the tension anymore.” 
 
I could write an entire blog about living in the tension as a Christian woman who is dating, but what I found myself thinking about even as I write this blog is the concern I had over what society thought of me because I was “of a certain age and not married.”  How much more could I have enjoyed my life if I focused on the season I was living instead of the new season I wanted to be in?  I wanted to be classified into a different category, a category I felt had more respect and less judgement than a single woman. 
 
My prayer would be for the Church and society to view singleness, not as a category nor as a state which is inferior to the happiness of being married. My prayer is for single women and men to strive to live a life of integrity.  I have witnessed, if you cannot be trusted in the small things it is impossible to find contentment or happiness in a relationship where the goal is marriage.  Having integrity is such a better category to be put into than being placed into the category of a single woman.