At about 3am at The Diner in Adam’s Morgan this year my slightly intoxicated friend confesses his theory that I am a-sexual. (What does a-sexual mean?) Last year driving home with the Bride to Be after her rehearsal dinner she tells me “Katie, I really want this for you. I want you to get married, to get to have your own rehearsal dinner and wedding.” (You’re getting married tomorrow and you’re thinking about ME when it’s YOUR day?! What a great friend! But girl-we all don’t have the same desires in our hearts.) Twice this year I’m asked if I’m attracted to women. (No-thankfully I don’t struggle with same sex attraction. I’m not really sure how people deal who do.) To volunteer at church last Spring I have to list my “spiritual gifts” on the volunteer application. Naturally I google “spiritual gifts quiz”, take it, and am awarded with the spiritual gift of “Celibacy”. (WTF random website–you didn’t ask me one question about sex or relationships. Also, that is SO NOT a spiritual gift.) Before leaving Columbia to farm, several folks immediately make the comment “How are you ever going to meet someone if you keep moving around? Maybe you’ll meet a man on the farm!” (Maybe. Maybe not. Why is that what we’re talking about right now?)
I used to subconsciously think that people got married because they were insecure and had kids whenever they got bored. Ha-I no longer think that’s truth. Just like how some married and single people can’t imagine life without marriage, most of the time I can’t imagine life with it.
This year I’ve been learning to get rid of selfishness, to be more vulnerable, and to be open to life’s interruptions…aka people. My church back home did a session this Spring called “Singleness: Navigating a Culture that Doesn’t Know Which Way is Up”. (I mainly loved it because we talked about Culture!) It taught me that my consistently stating “I’m not going to be in a relationship because I’m not ready to not be selfish” is actually just….selfish. If I’m not open-handed with whatever God may or may not have for me, potentially good things like Marriage and Singleness can easily become idols and I’m not allowing myself to be shaped and molded.
Part of me still doesn’t really “get” marriage, but I’m beyond the point of seeing it as a sign of weakness. Thankfully I’m slowly being rid of my tendency to put independence on a pedestal and see that God created both marriage and singleness as ways to display and live out the Gospel. Maybe I’ll forever friendzone. Maybe I’ll elope in September 2015. Having so few strings attached opens you up to serve in ways you otherwise couldn’t! It’s so great. On the other hand, being single at Christmastime around age 46 sounds depressing. Either way–Not going to worry about it.
I have no real advice for single ladies who really want to be married. But as someone who has absolutely idolized singleness, Midtown Columbia’s latest series and some of the notes posted below from “Singleness: Navigating a Culture That Doesn’t Know Which Way is Up” have taught me to not view marriage as a negative and to be a little more open-handed with life plans in general. Maybe you’ll find it personally helpful or at least better understand your single friends who aren’t currently on a manhunt.
Midtown’s Marriage Series (Do not fear–Listening to this series will most likely not bite you with the ‘I want to get married’ bug.): www.midtowncolumbia.com/marriage
The ‘Singleness’ Notes:
1. When you are Single…..1) People may think you’re incomplete. 2) Everyone is trying to set you up. 3) You may think there is something wrong with you.
2. Sex is the first thing you’ll often jump to to fulfill the loneliness. It doesn’t work. To what extent do you just want a “warm body” next to you to tell you you are lovable/respectable? (1st Corinthians 6:12-20)
3. Expectations can cloud our picture and keep us from thinking clearly about singleness/marriage. If as a Christian, I find myself disappointed, it means that I have misplaced my hope. I can only be disillusioned if I was illusioned in the first place.
4. Loneliness is really, in a way, a sense of homelessness…which is there to remind us of the pilgrim condition of life.
5. The destiny of all of us is sanctification. It happens from yieldedness to the spirit, not due to the constant presence of just one person.
6. Examine yourself and choose the way of life in which you can best live to serve. (1st Corinthians 7:17-28)
7. Marriage existed before culture. Culture is soaked with sin. Part of the reason to not want to be single is to be culturally “normal”, to be a “fully-fledged adult”. As Christians, we are not bound by culture. To what extent do I truly desire to be “normal”? How “normal” was Jesus? As Christians, we are in the minority. If we don’t feel like it, we’re doing something wrong and not tapping into the heart of Christ. Our current culture’s beliefs about things like greed, material possessions, and strangers are SO OFF. So why do we go along with our culture’s lie about marriage?
8. The Christian subculture over-values marriage. However–singles can be over-sensitive to this.
9. America is pretty cool. Single women here have a voice!
10. It is possible to live a healthy single life with intentional and counter-cultural choices to live in community, to make a constant choice to stop being introspective, and to use your time and energy to pour into others. Use singleness and marriage well, as capital to be invested. God doesn’t give us our gifts, abilities, positions in life on accident. He desires us to faithfully use them for His kingdom.
Random Fact: In Scandinavia, less than 1/2 of the people expect to get married.