The Language of Singleness.

I remember the first time I had to watch a man I liked fall for someone else. He was kind and intelligent and she was confident and beautiful, and I was the friend who saw it unfold like a hesitant story written on fragile pages I couldn’t touch. I was happy and devastated all at once, and the heart of a 19 year old woman is not easily mended. So I waited for my turn, my chance at falling head over heels for a hero of my own.

I spent much of my life waiting for a man to find me, too much. Singleness was never something I wore comfortably, and I think that it is because singleness isn’t really something we’re comfortable with. In a culture of romantic comedies and happy ever afters, not being in a relationship is seen as an undiagnosed disease that must be treated. In a religion that seems to express the idea that I’m not complete without a man to make me whole—one flesh—I’m occupying some sort of grey area. People don’t know what to do with me.

Being an unattached, satisfied, happy, content, ambitious, independent woman (or man) is an ubiquitous anomaly. I make people uncomfortable. It’s kind of entertaining. Until people start talking about ChristianMingle…

The way the Church talks about singleness can hurt, leaving scars and brokenness in its wake. And I can say that as a young woman who spent years believing her worth as a person was dependent on having a man by her side. Who thought her singleness was something to be undone or embarrassed of. Who thought being single meant being deficient and unloved.

We don’t talk about being content or happy or delighting in ourselves and the love of our Father. We don’t talk about loving ourselves. We talk about waiting for our other half. We use the wrong words, and they only make us feel smaller and smaller in a world of couples.

The language we use perpetuates a false belief. We are bad at discussing singleness and relationships. Being single is seen as a stepping stone to something else, a state of flux. We talk about needing a boyfriend/girlfriend or wanting a spouse. Language does us a disservice here in the same way there just aren’t enough words and nuances and shadings to describe love. Single people don’t know how to talk about a future relationship without sounding desperate or greedy. The words that are left to us don’t do our dreams justice; they leave much unsaid and overlooked. They imply things that aren’t true.

“Need” implies I’m missing something without one. That I’m less of a woman without a man at my side and in my life. Without a man, I’m not complete or finished. I’m not enough. I need a man to be whole, to be not single, to be what I’m meant to be.

“Want” implies a feeling of entitlement. Of unwarranted deserving. Like a man is a toy I can summon with the right word because I am owed one. I want a man in the way I want nice clothes, a fancy car, a good credit score, a house on the beach. Like he’s a thing on my shopping list or letter to Santa. An object. A thing I throw a tantrum over.

Neither are true. Honestly, I don’t “need” a man and I don’t “want” a man. I don’t require a relationship and I am not insufficient without a boyfriend. A spouse is not essential or necessary to my life.

We’ve let being single become the absence of something. Like dark is the absence of light or cold is the absence of heat. A negative space of nothingness. But there is no emptiness in me waiting to be filled; a void that means I’m less.

Because if my worth rests in a God who loves me unconditionally and a man can’t fix my issues, why is being single seen as something to be tolerated and done away with rather than enjoyed?

We all have seasons in our life, different chapters in our story. And if I believe that where I am in this moment of my life is exactly where God intends for me to be, then I believe my singleness has a purpose. There is a reason, even if I don’t fully understand it, for me being unattached. Perhaps I’m not ready, perhaps he’s not ready, or perhaps we’re both ready but we aren’t in the same city because life is complicated and baffling and sometimes there is no real explanation for being single for 25 years other than it is God’s plan and I need to trust Him. This is the story I’ve been given, and it is wonderful and lovely and my very own.

But I could go farther and suggest that singleness—mine or yours—doesn’t even need to have a purpose; it doesn’t need to be justified or explained. I am single because I’m single. It doesn’t define who I am or determine my worth or hold me back from living the incredible life I’ve been given.

So I’m trying to use different words when I talk about my someday love. Words that don’t disregard the life I have now, the amazing story I’m living in this moment. Words that aren’t tinged with feelings of empty desperation. Words that encourage happiness in the present while also looking forward with hopeful eyes.

Someday, I would love to share my life with a man. I hope that I can know love; that I can feel it to my bones and in his kiss on my skin, hear it in our soft sighs that echo through my soul, see it in how our hands fit together. I dream of adventures we’ll take. I wonder what fights we will have and mistakes we will make. I pray that I will slowly, beautifully, and irrevocably fall in love with my best friend, with the man with whom I am my complete self.

Because being single doesn’t mean you are missing a piece of yourself. God doesn’t create half people or half souls or hearts that will never know love. He creates masterpieces. You are His masterpiece, wholly complete in Christ, and He loves and adores you.

So today I dare you to hope for a someday love, but I also dare you to be happy in this moment. I dare you to live and experience everything around you. I dare you to be single: to let go of “need” and “want” and to love yourself.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

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18 thoughts on “The Language of Singleness.

  1. Thank you, thank you for writing this. So many well meaning people in my life see my singleness as a problem to be fixed, and it’s hard not to believe them. It’s quite wonderful to be reassured that it’s more than ok to be single.

    • Same for me! But being single isn’t a problem, just the chapter of life you’re in. When the time is right, you’ll meet someone. But in this moment, you are perfectly okay to be single :)

      Cassi

  2. Being single and having a wonderful life allows me the wealth of peace. I don’t want to share this wonder with the wrong person. I’d rather remain single than loose my peace due to pressures from society. WELL WRITTEN CASSI!!!!

  3. Very well thought out and well said! And so much there there that I’ll probably have to reread it.

    There is a Spanish saying you might appreciate: “Mejor solo que mal acompañado.” (or, for women, “Mejor sola que mal acompañada.”) “It’s better to be alone than to be in poor company.” This saying doesn’t have to be about love relationships, necessarily, but most of the time it’s quoted it is to make the same point you make here.

    In the previous post (being efficient here), I especially enjoyed this: “My words, while my own, are meant for something greater than myself. Being a writer means letting go of selfishness and embracing humility or even silence.” You are definitely onto something there. You could even say “Being a [loving] person means letting go of selfishness.” The purpose of religions, generally, seems to be helping people achieve this. The challenge for us is that, even with religion, it is so difficult for us to achieve.

  4. This is totally great. One thing I’ve noticed recently is how I subconsciously assume people who are married and/or have kids are more mature than me, farther along in life than me- even if they’re my age. Probably because that’s the story the church tells- this is how life works: you grow up, get married, have kids. And if you’re single, well maybe you need to work on becoming the right person for someone else, maybe God is having you wait because you’re not ready.

    … right. Thanks for writing this!

    • Of course! And I agree. It gets weird when I know people who are younger than me who are getting married. Because being single doesn’t mean I’m less mature; I just happen to be single. We’ve let it mean too much, I think.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Cassi

  5. ‘Being an unattached, satisfied, happy, content, ambitious, independent woman (or man) is an ubiquitous anomaly. I make people uncomfortable. It’s kind of entertaining. Until people start talking about ChristianMingle…’

    It’s better to be all those things you quoted and single, than being in an unhappy relationship to make other people, except you, happy. I’m a lot older than you, and a bloke as well, but I have struggled all my life with rejection, non-starter relationships, being messed about by women and realising even as I went looking for love with my mates, that I did not want meaningless sexual encounters or one night stands but to meet someone to have a proper relationship with. Seeking that type of relationship in the British pub/club scene is just not that viable, as everyone is half drunk or trying to be super cool or having a laugh with their mates. In those situations few people are being real, it is all a kind of act. I left that behind years ago.

    Christian men and Christian woman are kept to higher standards than those who are not Christians; the world is one thing, Christianity is supposed to be something else. We live in a fallen and hurting world, and we are likely to meet people who have been hurt, used, rejected and otherwise jaded with the whole dating thing, both men and women. In short, if you want to meet nice people, it helps to be a nice person!

    And, ChristianMingle ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, believe me!

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