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A Single Point of View

Written by Aveleen. Questions by me (Raquel)

I love being single.

I was told once that I should never say that. I should only say that I’m content to be single because to truly enjoy being single is like saying I don’t want to be married—and I should want to be married.

Pause to let that sink in.

Since I disagree, I’m going to say it again: I love being single. That’s why I agreed to answer Raquel’s questions. I hope that in sharing my thoughts and experiences I can inspire and encourage you in how you relate to others, yourself, and your Creator.

(Caveat: My experience isn’t representative of all single people. No one person can speak for everyone, and single people are often painted with the same brush as it is. I don’t want to perpetuate that.)

Photo by Keenan Constance - @keenangrams

What are some of your favourite things about being single?

I love living alone (and I’m thankful that being alone and being lonely are two very different things!). I love coming home to a quiet, empty house, knowing that I can rest and rejuvenate and just be, on my own.

I love having only my own schedule to accommodate. I love that I can make last-minute plans with friends or babysit for family. I can volunteer freely. I can have sleepovers with nieces and nephews, sometimes staying an extra night just because. I love being able to put those relationships first. I love the flexibility singleness affords me.

What are some challenges?

One challenge is having just one set of shoulders for household responsibilities. If I’m not feeling well, I can’t rely on my spouse to get groceries or take care of the house (or me). If something breaks down, I don’t have a second set of hands to help fix it. If there’s a major repair, there’s no second income to help cover the cost. I’m deeply thankful for family members who live nearby and are willing and able to help. I know many single people don’t have that kind of support system nearby, or at all.

How do you respond to well-meaning individuals who want to set you up?

It depends on the circumstances. Some people are kind and thoughtful and have genuinely thought through why you may be a good match with someone. Others simply enjoy the idea of being a matchmaker. If the former, I’ll kindly let them know I’m not interested (if I’m not). If I suspect it’s the latter, I’ll ask why they think we’d be a good match.

Just because two people are single does not mean they’re a good match. I once had three different people try to set me up with the same person, not because we would be good together but because we were the only two single people in that particular group. Guess what? It didn’t work out.

I’m not saying not to set up your single friends. Just be sure that they’re fully on board—as is the person you’re setting them up with—before you try. Otherwise, it can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. You may cause more harm than good.

Photo by Henny Kas

What are some misconceptions people have about singles?

We’re desperate. Many single people may be hoping to marry one day. But that doesn’t mean we are all in a constant state of angst or will throw ourselves at anyone who looks our way. Just like any people group, singles are not all in the same place. Some are hopeful for marriage but content to wait and see. Some are struggling or lonely. Some are perfectly happy on their own. Just like married couples, every single person is different.

We have a hidden flaw. “But you seem like such a nice person…”

“But you’re so talented/attractive/kind/etc.; I can’t believe no one’s snatched you up yet.”

“Don’t worry, you’re a great person. I’m sure it’ll happen for you one day.”

We all know wonderful people who are single. And I’m sure we’re all aware of less-than-wonderful people who are married. Comments like these, intended as encouragement, can come across as looking for a justification for being left behind. Friends, if someone tells you they’re single, it’s okay to not have a reassuring response. Just saying “okay” is enough.

We didn’t have a choice

It may be a shocking revelation, but people can choose to not marry. I’m not saying that’s the case for all single people. It probably isn’t. But like any other life choice, a person can choose to stay single and not pursue a relationship without having something “wrong” with them.

What do you wish married people knew about single people?

Since all married people were single at one point, it’s more about what married people should remember about single people. Here are just a few thoughts:

1. You were single once, too. Did you at times struggle with being single or with how you were treated as a single person? Don’t forget that.

2. Being single is a part of who I am. It is not who I am. In the same way, your marriage is a part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you. I am a sister, an aunt, a friend, a daughter, an artist, a photographer, a writer, a traveller, a volunteer, a child of God… and more! While choosing to remain single right now defines what I focus on, don’t make it the most important thing about me.

3. Married people can be friends with single people. Mind-blowing, I know. But a change in marital status doesn’t have to be the swan song for a friendship! Please don’t drop your single friends as soon as you’re in a relationship. It hurts.

What would you say to a single person who is struggling with being single?

You are enough.

You are enough, just as you are. You don’t have to give up on your dream of being married or your hope that you’ll find someone to spend your life with. But know that before you do, right now, you are enough.

Spend time with friends who love you as you are, not those who focus on “fixing” your singleness.

Spend time focusing not on what you want to be (married) but who you want to become, as a person.

Spend time with God. More time. He’s the only one who can truly complete you.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez - @priscilladupreez

How can the church do a better job at loving single people?

I think we as Christians often approach singleness from a very worldly perspective, even when we don’t think we do.

We preach on singleness and reference Bible passages that not only acknowledge but honour the role of single people in the Church… and the next moment we are publicly praying for a single person to find a spouse as though they have a disease that needs healing. If they’ve asked for prayer, go for it. If they haven’t… please don’t. (And yes, this has happened to me)

Singles are assured we have value and a voice… but are separated from our married peers and placed in singles-only small groups with those we “have something in common with.” As though our marital status is the only important factor. As though the 30-year-olds are, like fellow group-members fresh out of high school, not yet grown up. Single people have wisdom, insight and experience to share that everyone in a church community can learn and benefit from, not just other singles.

Singleness is not a problem that needs fixing.

When God created Adam, He said it wasn’t good for man to be alone, so He created Eve. But God didn’t say it wasn’t good for humans to be unmarried. Without another human to relate to, Adam was lonely. As the only human being on the planet, Adam didn’t have a peer, an equal, someone to connect with who had similar experiences.

The same rules still apply today: humans need relationship. But that doesn’t mean they need to be in a romantic relationship. We can experience love and connection through the other types of relationships God has filled our lives with. I am not minimizing the power of a married relationship—it’s a truly beautiful thing. But the void in our hearts, that missing piece? It can only be filled by a relationship with God. Marriage is meant to reflect that, not substitute it. Which means seeking marriage probably shouldn’t be a single person’s highest goal.

I’ve been blessed with so many beautiful people feeding into my life that at times I am overwhelmed by it (in a good way, of course). My life is so full. I’m very close with my parents and siblings. I adore and am adored by my nieces and nephews. I have rich, abiding friendships that I absolutely cherish. And most importantly, I know my Creator who assures me that I am deeply loved.

I am single. But I am enough.

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This is a very well written and wise article. And I love that it follows on the heels of the Valentine’s Day post on marriage. I love my single sisters so much – a few of my closest friends are single. Thank you for putting the single perspective out there, Aveleen and Raquel!

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