Our culture is weirdly obsessed with romance and couples and being part of a matched set.
Some of the best people I encounter are single—either because they haven’t yet found their person, or because their marriage has ended. Honestly, I’ve reached that age when I hear more marriage breakup announcements – due to affairs, boredom or money issues and sex problems – than wedding bells. And sometimes I wonder if there would be fewer of the former if we aren’t so hung up on marriage as a status symbol or accomplishment.
I’ll say this at the risk of being tagged as an antagonist simply because I am single (at least for now) – being married doesn’t mean the life of a single person is any less valuable or important or significant than the lives of married people.
To all my single and single again friends – it’s completely okay to be single! You matter whether you have a partner or you don’t. Please do not feel like you’re less or half just because you’re single. Real life starts here and now, no matter what your status. Anyone who tells you that real life doesn’t start until you’re married is trash talking. That’s garbage.
You matter whether you have a partner or you don’t have one. Yes, marriage can be fun (and challenging), affirming (sometimes dispiriting). But it doesn’t make married people more special. Friends, being married is not a status symbol.
Here’s the truth: some of the worst people I know are married. I don’t know how it happens. And some of the truly best people I know are single. I don’t know how that happens, either.
But what I do know is it’s not about the fundamental value of the person in question. Your value is not up for grabs, and certainly your value is not riding on a cultural obsession with romance.
You matter whether you have a partner or you don’t.
If you’re single, or single again here’s a few things I’d like us to always, always remember so that we do not get sidetracked:
- Don’t wait for marriage to start your life. Start living it now.
- Live well and with a great sense of adventure and purpose.
Start a non-profit if you can, travel the world starting in your country and the places you haven’t visited yet, make your single apartment-home with great style and creativity, contribute to your community with so much love and honesty, volunteer in church with so much passion and depth. Live adventurously.
One of the very worst things about the whole wedding tradition is that we help people set up homes and households when they get married. It’s like communicating to the world that homes and nice things are for married people. Why should you be married to own a set of fine dinnerwares? Shouldn’t every person, married or not, have a decent coffee pot?
Dear sister, grown-ups should have apartment-homes that have been created with love and attentiveness. You don’t have to wait for a spouse to invest in your space, in yourself, in your life.
- Being single is an opportunity, even if it’s not one you choose. Spend it. Singleness gives you a little more flexibility, unless you’re single parenting, which is a whole different deal, and which means I think you’re absolutely amazing.
- Own your freedom. You might not want to be single right now. I get it. But it affords you some freedom, and you should take them, every single one of them.
Travel like mad. Visit interesting places. Train for super-time-consuming marathons and some other races. Get a fascinating graduate degree, or go back to school.
Not every season affords this flexibility, and if you have it, grab it. Take it. Use it up. Please don’t wish away this season just because it doesn’t look the way you thought it would. What does singleness afford you? Time to write that book? Space to learn that skill? Flexibility to spend the summer in that dreamy place? Even if it’s not what you wanted, or not what you planned, how can you spend the opportunity you’ve been given in this season?
And while there are moments when you don’t want to be single, please do know that there are those moments when married people don’t want to be married. There are those moments when parents don’t want to be parents. It’s how life is, for all of us.
- Don’t miss out on a mix of friendships. Don’t assume that because your single, your married friends do not want to hang out with you. Some of the sweetest connections and some of the most necessary and loving conversations you can have is in the mix of having single and married friends. We all lose when we spend too much time with people right in the very same demographic. Life gets too small.
Dear single, and single again friends: if I could reach through the screen, I’d put my hands on your shoulders, look you in the eye and I’d remind you as often as you need to hear it: you matter whether you have a partner or you don’t.
Being in a dating relationship or a marriage relationship doesn’t validate you or make you more worthy.
You are worthy not because of your civil status but because of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on your behalf so you can live with Him forever. This alone is enough to make you matter! And whoever told you that for you to matter, you have to be married?
If someone or a few did tell you that, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing or saying.
You matter whether you have a partner or you don’t.