As I entered my most recent dating season, I realized there seems to be a lot of shame around being single. As kids we used to sing, “Mary and Joseph sitting in the tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” I think subconsciously I may have believed this is actually how it all unfolds.
Yeah so….it’s TOTALLY not! First, you meet a person. Then you date/court them. If it doesn’t work, you’re back to square one. If it does work, you guys date a little longer to determine if it’s really a good fit, and take it from there. There’s this whole vetting out process we must undergo in order to get to the marriage part, but we seem to be embarrassed about this process.
I see the occasional joke from people on social media about being single, but otherwise crickets. Then when there’s a budding relationship we get the onslaught of hashtags: #us #bae #relationshipgoals #What’sUnderstoodDon’tHaveToBeExplained (this one wears me out) #blessed #baebelike #doinUs etc. And if the relationship ends…fade to black.
I get it! It does feel good to be chosen and to have someone you’re building with, but we’re certainly not chopped liver prior this happening. I know I know, it can feel like it though. Especially since our relationship status seems to be of primary concern to others (family, friends, co-workers). Everyone wants to know “WHY” we’re not in a relationship.
While this concern is well meaning, it can leave you feeling like, “Surely I’m defective since everyone feels like I should be in a relationship, but I’m not.” So then, we wince at even being asked the question because each time it forces us to sit with the negative perceptions of being single. I have had to teach people to ask me different questions with regard to my relationship status. Those closest to me tend to focus more now on how I’m doing in the midst of my season of singleness.
They ask something like, “How are you doing? You still feeling at peace or have things changed?” This opens up meaningful dialogue with regard to how I’m actually feeling. Sometimes I’m struggling, and other times, I’m enjoying the process.
We have to recognize the fact that just as singleness is challenging at times, so is being in a relationship. In essence, being in a relationship is not the cure all. There are plenty of miserable people in relationships because they’re in them just for the sake of being able to say they’re in a relationship.
The idea is not to pretend we’re content in being single. Rather, get to a place where we are appreciative of this season and choose to release ourselves to live life abundantly. I challenge you to stop allowing people to #singleshame you. May you instead experience peace and joy that surpasses all understanding with regard to your single status. And remember, I’m in this with you 🙂