Like how I prepare you right in the title that this blog post won’t change your life? All about monitoring expectations. Ha!
Singleness is amazing sometimes. Sometimes it blows.
Sometimes being single lets you accomplish things you couldn’t do otherwise– say, write a book. Sometimes maybe you couldn’t accomplish something without the encouragement of a significant other. How do we know? I suppose we don’t. Faith.
One way I can tell I’m maturing is when I find myself thrilled for my friends in new relationships … instead of envious.
I get pissed if anyone even insinuates that I am “lesser than” because I’m single. I should probably give people the benefit of the doubt … instead I give them a lesson. #sorrynotsorry (Dating and married people, please take note of all the tiny things you do that say or insinuate this. It happens more often than you’d guess. I could give you four examples just off the top of my head.)
People who found their partner when they were young need to be especially careful about the feelings of someone who is, oh, let’s just say 34. People who got married at 20 have zero idea what it’s like to be 34 and single. It’s better just to acknowledge that than to pretend.
Being 34 and single is totally different for me than being 30 and single was.
Writing love stories is weird sometimes. But still fun.
Intimacy with friends is so important.
Intimacy with God is even more important.
Sometimes I think how Jesus was single his whole life. Sometimes I think how Paul said singleness is preferable to marriage.
I’ve observed enough friends to confidently say that it’s better to be lonely and/or discontented outside a marriage than lonely and/or discontented within one.
I’ve observed enough college students rushing to the altar to confidently say, Slow down. Your brain isn’t even fully developed until age 25. Heck, I didn’t even settle into my identity until I was about 28. I’ve seen many marriages dissolve when couples married very young. I also admit that, as a single 34-year-old, I’m not an expert on marriage.
Singleness allowed me to mentor many young people and really invest in their lives. Singleness allowed me to write a book. I try to be grateful for singleness’s gifts.
[Interlude in which I have a long online conversation with my bestie about all these things … and now it’s my bedtime and I decide to end this post with a conclusion that I call an interlude.]
Please know that all of my thoughts are shared with humility, and that some of them probably lean into stereotypes.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, just please don’t be mean.
I married right out of college, and I knew a lot of other people who did as well or in the years not too long after. That to say, I haven’t actually had many friends be single well into their twenties or beyond. I’ve read articles and such about the things people say to single people, and it blows my mind the things people say. Kind of like it blows my mind anytime someone who barely knows me feels they have a right to ask about when I’m going to birth a child.
Marriage and children are wonderful gifts, but you aren’t less of a person without them. And they don’t happen at the same time for everyone. I really hope I’ve never accidentally said something stupid or hurtful to a single friend, because there’s nothing wrong with singleness.
And I’d by lying if I said I never envied the idea of being a single adult. My husband and I married young because we started dating in high school and it had been five years, so we were ready. I don’t regret it one bit. But I never had that “freedom” of adult singleness, and sometimes I kind of wonder what that would have been like. But God writes everyone’s story differently, which is awesome. I think we all struggle at times to appreciate our own story.
One fun thing about being a write is getting to explore those different possibilities and stories with our characters. 🙂
Great thoughts, Jackie. It’s great to be in a place where the “gift of singleness” isn’t of the return/exchange variety – it’s actually a gift you (and I) can recognize and be thankful for. That’s countered, in part, by a familiar hope for eventual marriage. Oh, tension! I love reading what you’re up to, and I’m rooting for you from afar!
This is such a good reminder to people who might say inconsiderate things out of ignorance (it could be applied to LOTS of situations, I’m sure). I’m one of those people who married young. I started dating my husband in high school and we got married seven years later when he graduated college. I know that this affects my perspectives in a lot of ways – in fact, I wrote a whole post about how our life experiences drastically affect how we read and interpret the things we read. No one viewpoint is better than any other – my life experiences might give me a completely different POV than someone else’s and we always have to keep that in mind!
Thoughts: -I wonder if saying insensitive things to singles is something that happens to women more than men; I have only had one person say they were surprised I was single. Or maybe that’s just because everybody else has figured out why and doesn’t need to ask.
-I am not sure that developed brain thing really matters that much, or at least it hasn’t until more recently. People have been making the life altering decision that is marriage before the age of 25 for a very long time, and sticking with it. I think that some people use the whole brain development thing as a cop-out for not making decisions. While you may not have a complete picture of who you are at 22 or 23, I don’t think that means you can’t commit to someone and become who you’re supposed to be alongside them.
-I have known a lot of people that got married at age 22 or younger; some of those people are not married anymore, but I don’t blame their age. Some of those couples were more than likely motivated by sex and didn’t have a solid relationship to begin with, and houses that lack foundation always stand forever.
-Nobody has ever tried to set me up on a date with someone, and I am both relieved and offended.
-People seem more likely to assume that a single woman is lonely and miserable than they do a single man.
-A married couple I know said that they had a conversation about how, if either one of them found themselves single again, they could probably remain single for the rest of their lives. 1)How did this topic come up? 2)I wanted to scream obscenities at there stupidity.