So I recently read an article about “enjoying your singleness”. It was basically a list of all the things you should do while you’re “still” single. Many articles have been written about this. “7 Things To Do While You’re Still Single.” “10 Great Things About Being Single” “6 Things To Do Until You Meet The One” “10 Ways Take Advantage Of Your Singleness” “What To Do In Your Season Of Singleness”. “Blah, Blah Blah.”
There is so much wrong with this mentality and we have to, HAVE TO, change it.
Where to begin? Staying in the spirit – here is a list.
1. These lists assume that your singleness is temporary. Usually very temporary. The idea is that you will for sure get married soon – so soak up all singleness has to offer now. Don’t worry, it will happen, but don’t miss all the great stuff you can have as a single. Yeah, I’d say about age 28-29 I was pretty ready to miss all that stuff.
2. Often times these list come off pretty self centered. Basically the message is go out there and be about you because once your married it’s not all about you. Here’s the deal, it’s not all about you now. It never was and never will be. This is not “your time”. It’s God’s – every time.
3. If it’s so great and there are all of these great ways to live single (and if marriage is so hard) then why in the world get married? And we wonder why people are waiting forever.
4. The funny part is that a lot of these list are made up of things that for the most part are not really about taking advantage of singleness. They are about engaging life.
Some things commonly on the list –
- Travel – see the world – yes this is much more fun alone than with a spouse. Um no
- Save money – long run this is not even remotely true – and to top it off, 50% of single people live alone – so they aren’t even saving on that.
- Do more ministry – yes because all the people who do ministry are single – oh wait. .
- Hang out with friends – yes because we all know that once you get married you are required to drop your friends. I mean all my friends that got married dropped me – oh wait, no they didn’t. Yikes.
- Spend more time with God – this is just terrible. Yes there is a calling to celibacy that some have in which they have a different sort of vow with God. But this is not true for the “not yet married” or the singleness that these authors are talking about. In fact I would say that wanting a spouse can be more distracting than having one. Let me promise you this – I have not prayed less since becoming married. If we are honest, no matter what our context we need to be in constant relation with God. If being married means being further from God then God would not have instituted it before sin.
Look – all of these things are good. But they aren’t good to do because you are single. They are good to do period. You should engage God, others, your friends, your job, and for sure if you’re married your wife, your kids. I get it, it looks different married than single. But you know what it looks different in all sorts of different seasons. There are always transitions and movements. Situations evolve and change – jobs, moves, kids, deaths. Not just single vs. married.
5. On another note, none of these list deal with why you are single (A better list might be – “10 Things To Help You Get Un-single”). They don’t deal with what you might be doing wrong, what might be holding you back, what fears you might need to face, what wounds you might need to seek healing for, what sin you might need to repent of, or even if you should consider if you might be called to celibacy.
It assumes that you don’t need to do anything. Just kick back and enjoy this “season” until God brings you The One. The whole this is where God has you right now mantra. Look, it may be where He has you. It may also be a combination of 100 other things.
Here is my encouragement to you friends. Single folks – don’t do any of the things on the list because you’re single. Do them because they are right and good. Don’t do them thinking this will help you when you get married. Don’t save money so that you’ll have more for marriage – save money because it’s smart – married or single. Don’t engage friends thinking you won’t get to later – engage them because it’s healthy to do so.
Whatever you do, don’t delay marriage just to do these things thinking that you’ll miss out on something you could do single. That will always be true. There will always be sacrifice. But you know what, staying single means missing out on stuff too. There could just as easily be a list “10 things you’ll miss if you get married after 30”.
It’s time to drop the handy dandy platitude lists attempting to soothe our hurt and justify our context. Dive into life from wherever you’re at. Jesus said He came to bring life to the full. Engage it – single or married.