Single Struggles: Wanting to be accepted for being single

Christopher Hutton

I’ve been single for 20 years of my life. Yes, I was born single. Not that I thought about it that much throughout my life. It was just something I assumed. But as I approached 17-18, people began asking that question; “Are you dating someone? But I never was.

I am a single man, happy in my lifestyle, and ready to take on the world. It’s not that I dislike marriage. I think it’s a helpful social institution. But my current goals and the calling God seems to have for me don’t seem to include marriage (yet).

Emily Maynard once said it well; “I don’t feel like half a person because I’m single. I only feel like that when my society, my Church, or groups of people who cannot see beyond their own coupled lives, push that half-hearted position on me. I only experience that when I read another Christian book about marriage that talks it up in glorious grandeur for two hundred pages, then adds ‘but being single is better because, as the Apostle Paul says, you can do more ministry as a single person!’ I’m single for now, and plan on being single for a while. I’d love it if I could….just….be accepted for it.”

Now that I’m approaching a life on my own, away from parents, it feels like my general culture and my church culture are all pushing me to marry. But I haven’t found anyone to marry, or any reason to marry at this time. I struggle with finding my place in the church as a man who isn’t actively seeking out marriage.

Yes, I’ve read all the editorials about “marrying young” and “marrying to avoid immaturity.” I’m taught with one word that I’m sufficient, that I don’t need a wife to complete me, but with the next, I’m implored to seek out a mate, because marriage as soon as possible is the best human option for growing as a person. I’m getting mixed messages. Which is it? There are some legitimate points in there. Young Marriage is good; it provides opportunities for growth, fulfillment of unkempt sexual desires, and it helps focus and “mature” some. But it’s not necessarily good for all persons. Some should wait, for the sake of others. But the popularity of these arguments have caused the church to accept this idea that marriage is totally necessary to complete one’s identity. The result is I don’t feel as though I’m okay being single.

I love the Church, and I love my culture. I simply wish that singlehood is accepted as a longer-form lifestyle, supported by my community around me.

 

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