*** Guest Post ***
God has recently been turning my attention toward an issue that I didn’t even know existed– viewing singleness as inferior to marriage.
This summer, while attending a wedding with a single friend, I watched her get prodded and pushed toward every bachelor in the room. While people asked me intentional questions about my life and career, she was mostly asked questions like “have you tried match.com?“, “have you met my cousin’s brother?” and “did you know that groomsman is single?!” I mourned for her, and for the the pain I could tell she was in. Was her career not important? Her life not worthy to be discussed? Her singleness was pointed out as a problem to be solved. I’m sure those asking the questions weren’t intending to be hurtful — and I KNOW I have asked all those questions too– but as I watched from the outside, I realized there is a problem in how we approach singleness, especially in the church.
I have been wanting to write a post on this for some time, but instead, God opened the door for a more credible source, a dear single friend of mine, to share her heart on the issue. She wrote her thoughts in the form of a letter to her married friends…
My Dear Friend,
I would like to start by saying thank you. Thank you for wanting me to be a part of your life, and providing a place for me to experience community. Thank you for loving on me and pouring wisdom into my life. But in order for any relationship to have a future, the relationship needs to be intertwined with honesty. It is because I value our friendship so much that I write you this letter. I hope this letter helps you better understand who I am at the core, and the emotions I sometimes feel, but am scared to express. I need to be bold and take this step. I need to stop hiding these truths about myself and allow you the space to understand and question my fears and emotions. With this in mind, I would like to ask you a few questions.
I intentionally chose you to be a part of my community and family. But am I a part of yours?
I don’t know how long I will be single, and I don’t want to wait to start building my community and family. I need people around me who I can pour into and who can be there for me when I need them. Please realize that I get it–you have a family, whom you love, and they will take up most of your time. Just don’t forget about me, ok. Every once in a while I need you to make an effort to fight for me, making quality time available. I am not saying you can’t bring your kids, but I don’t want to feel as if grabbing coffee with you is a burden or just another thing on your day’s to-do list.
Do I fit into your life?
There are days I feel you don’t know what to do with me….and that is ok. But please don’t use this as an excuse to not include me. There will always be the question of, “Should we invite her; there will be mostly couples?” I will not always make sense in your life, and no one understands that struggle more than me. Give me the option of being present. I don’t always want to spend time with all married couples, however, it can be pretty great too! Don’t decide my feelings toward a situation for me. One single friend may be very uncomfortable in certain situations, but others may have a great time– let us make that decision.
Do you think I am waiting around for my life to begin?
Not every single person is in a waiting room for marriage. Many of us will one day be married and have children of our own. However, there is no set timeline, and promising marriage to a single adult can be very cruel. What would happen if people began looking at singleness, not as a phase to complete and level up to marriage, but as a season of possibilities and thriving? I am excited about my season of life and I honestly don’t see family and children as a better season, but simply different than my current one. I would love your help to thrive and grow. Be intentional with me right where I am, not where I may be in 5 years.
Do my priorities and passions matter to you?
Many of my friends are happily married. They love their families, and I am truly grateful they have found a place to be cherished and loved. I get it. You are happy– but this does not mean that I am unhappy as a single. In fact, I love being single, and am actively enjoying the life I have created. I have put a lot of work into the person I am, at this moment in time. Personally, I think I am pretty great. This is why it is really hard when all you want to talk about is setting me up with someone. See me for me, and not as my Facebook relationship status. I have dreams, hopes, desires, and passions. I would like to share them with you instead of always talking about a possible blind date. Please recognize me as a person, not a project.
Do you think there is something wrong with me?
You may not mean to give off this impression, however, I am constantly being encouraged to change in order to work toward marriage. Asking me, “Have you tried growing closer to God?” can hurt and make me think I am at fault for being single. Or saying, “You should be focus on running after God. Then you can look over and see who is running beside you. That is when you know he is the one.” implies God will drop a husband in my path when I am fully pursuing after Him.
On the surface, these are well meaning remarks. Instead of rushing in with an encouraging Christian cliche, try seeing where I am at first. Sometimes, I will need to talk about how I am longing for companionship. Other days, I simply want my pain heard just like everyone else. Please don’t try to fix a concern I may not be feeling. All single people have their own strengths and struggles. Depending on the day, I will need encouragement, wisdom, advice, or simply a sounding board. See me for the complex individual who has their good days and bad days. I will strive to be honest and open about my feelings.
I hope that made sense. I love having friends in different life stages, and believe we are better together. Please try to love me as I am, where I am.
I love you,
Your single friend, Rachel Kosakowski