I am not here to complain.
I consider myself to be more of a truth-talker than anything.
I will tell it like it is. I don’t sugar-coat it.
Married people are insufferable.
Some of the married population never really knew what it was like to be single in the first place. I mean, come on. If you married your high school sweetheart, you have no idea what it’s like to be single because you have never had to do any part of what the kids these days call #adulting without someone else by your side. If you’ve never “#adulted independently of a romantic partner, you have never been single.
If you got married in college or before you had to start being responsible for your own finances, you probably don’t truly know what it’s like to be single either. College, for many people, is an extension of childhood during which a student still enjoys being on their parents’ insurance, Mom and Dad help figure out the finances and the car and some parents even do their college student’s laundry. I’m not saying this is bad or wrong. But if you fit in this category, you haven’t #adulted today. If you got married while you still had this level of support from your family, you don’t know what it’s like to be single.
People tend to forget what singleness is like the instant the engagement ring goes on the finger.
Some forget what it’s like to be single as soon as the relationship is defined as a bona fide relationship.
If the selective amnesia doesn’t kick in instantly, it does come eventually, most often by the time the wedding band slips into place. In some cases it lies dormant until the first big fight or until the monotony of having the same person waking up next to you morning after morning begins to set in.
It doesn’t much matter how long it takes. It comes eventually.
And it is insufferable.
They complain about how horrible it is to be married.
Or they sit with a single person and they chide said single person because they don’t love the “freedom” of being single.
A married person might listen to a single person, feigning great interest in their circumstances and when the single person stops talking, offer a condescending remark about how they need to get right with Jesus because they have a “horrible attitude” about their lives.
The previous example happened to me recently. Today, in fact.
Someone made the statement that the book Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers) is a wonderful book.
I contributed to the conversation by saying that it is a brilliantly written and excellent book, but it is extremely frustrating for single people who don’t love being single.
They told me that I didn’t understand the story.
I understand it completely. I have a degree in reading (in the words of my brother) and in the many, many literature classes I’ve taken, I learned to recognize symbolism and find meaning in places the average person wouldn’t find symbolism and meaning. I also know the Bible. I know it quite well. I am very familiar with the story of Hosea and how his life was a foretelling of the redeeming love of Jesus. I understand that both Hosea was and Jesus is a man who loves people regardless of what they have done. It is beautiful and I love the concept of redeeming love very, very much.
But the book is frustrating. It brings that story into a slightly more modern-day time period and presents the “love story” between a man who marries a prostitute because “God told him to” with the intention of having his love change her into a woman of grace and beauty.
It’s a lovely idea.
I’m going to let my inner cynical old hag out, for just a moment, and make the comment that in the time period and geographical area in which this story took place, there were many more men than women. If this were a true story, it wouldn’t have been so much about a man proving a point as it would have been about a man who desperately wanted to have legitimate sex and operated under the delusion that marrying a prostitute would both provide him with legitimate sex and with a godly wife who had no interest in other men, simply because he picked her. If I remember the details of the biblical story correctly, it didn’t work out that way for Hosea. It didn’t work out that way for Jesus. It probably wouldn’t work out that way for anyone else either.
The book frustrates me because I’ve followed all the Good Girl Formulas. Things like:
Go to Church + Don’t Kiss Boys = Wedded Bliss
Pray + Dress Modestly = All the Men Want to Date You
Don’t Have Sex + Behave Demurely = Engaged by Age 22
Read the Bible + Don’t Talk to Men = It’ll Happen Before You Have Time to Wonder What’s Taking So Long
All the formulas. All of them.
I’ve learned that they are all lies. There is no such thing as quid pro quo when it comes to these things. God doesn’t do “If you do this, then I’ll do that” when someone else’ free will is involved.
I’ve had Christian men refuse to date me because I was too innocent. Or too godly. Literally, if I had been a prostitute, I would have gotten somewhere with those (Christian) men.
As I read Redeeming Love, I thought to myself, “The formula is to become a prostitute. Being chaste doesn’t work. Being godly doesn’t work. No matter what I do, I’m not good enough. So I might as well try being a prostitute. It worked for Hosea’s wife. It worked for the prostitute in this book. Why wouldn’t it work for me?”
Of course, that’s not the kind of person I am and I’m not actually going to become a prostitute — which makes it even more frustrating because the only thing I haven’t tried is something that I wouldn’t try. It really makes me feel like a victim of my circumstances. A girl can’t win no matter what she does because there are limits.
The other person responded by chiding me for making the story about sex trafficking (um…. the story is about sex trafficking) and told me I was being disrespectful to women who are trafficked (???) and the cherry on top was when she asked for permission to add me to her prayer list because she didn’t want to argue about it with me anymore.
For the record, I wasn’t arguing. But you want to not argue? Just patronize me. Talk to me with a condescending tone. I wasn’t arguing. But now that you mention it…. Now I feel like arguing.
* * * * *
My response to the person’s preposterous statement was promptly deleted.
Further proof that married people are completely clueless about how truly difficult it is to be single, especially among married church people.
One might ask what my point is. Why make a ruckus about it?
I don’t talk about singleness every day. I don’t even think about it every day.
But having people shut me down as soon as I start talking about it gets old.
It says that my experience is not relevant or important. It says that my feelings don’t matter. It says that I don’t matter.
I’m sorry my experience is hard for you to hear about and watch. I’m truly sorry. But if you think it’s hard to listen to or watch and you feel the need to shut it down because it just doesn’t fit with your expectations as a Christian person…. you should really try living it.
You should try doing everything alone.
You should try coming home to an empty house day in and day out.
You should try having people pat you on the head and tell you you’re cute when you talk about it.
You should try listening to people tell you to get over it.
You should try talking about your places of woundedness and having people shut you down and tell you it doesn’t matter.
You should try having people getting in your business all the time because you’re just a little (single) girl and they don’t think you can do life without their input.
You should try to be an adult woman in a community that doesn’t recognize women as adults unless a man comes along and validates their existence by choosing to marry them.
You should try to function as a minister as a single person. Let me tell you — that does not go over very well in many circles.
You should try to live in a way that you understand to be godly and also try to date. (Hint: They either don’t want a godly woman or you’re not godly enough. There’s no winning on this one.)
You should try being not good enough and too good, both at the same time, depending on who you’re talking to, and rejected by everyone because of things that you can’t begin to comprehend.
You should try talking to people who have no concept of your circumstances and try to get them to understand.
They won’t understand. It is a truly frustrating situation to be in. You feel very isolated and alone and the harder you try to help people to understand, the more alone you feel because they don’t get it and they don’t care enough to try to understand.