You mean well. I know it in my soul. But in my less than holier parts, I am mostly just screaming, “Whyyyyy?” Or “Stahhhhp!” It alternates really.
So here are some things you should never say to an unattached loved one. Because he/she is likely thinking or feeling some variation of my crazy, sarcastic and irritated inward responses shown below.
1. “Oh it happens when you least expect it.”
- Fantastic. So deciding to love and marry someone is like having a heart attack or being struck by a vehicle. Also, if it happens when I LEAST expect it, I will constantly heighten my expectations when they are low, therefore never truly experiencing a “least” scenario. I CAN’T WIN.
2. “Oh, I felt the same way before I met my spouse. Don’t worry! You’ll meet someone.”
- I’m sorry, loved one, but there is absolutely NO WAY you can 100 percent say that statement truthfully. Unless you are God. Which you are not. Sure, 90 percent of people get married. BUT I COULD BE IN THE 10 PERCENT. So when you find yourself ready to spit those words out, just remember, there is a 10 percent chance you are a liar. You don’t know my future, and that’s OK. Instead of assuring me of the “inevitability” of marriage, tell me to stop what is likely a pity party and continue pursuing God!
3. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
- AHHH OUT OF CONTEXT-NESS (which is my response to many one-liner Scriptures that are overused)! Nobody seems to remember the first verse of Psalm 37: “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” Surprisingly, I don’t think the “evil” referred to is singleness. In fact, it seems to me this was a very particular case of David desiring to triumph over his enemies, which God had already promised to do — which is vastly different from singleness, since God has no where in Scripture (at least that I’ve found) promised us each a spouse.
- So the only reason that I am single is because I am not delighting myself in the Lord? Now I am still single, and I feel like a terrible Christian. AWESOME. But OK. I’ll decide to delight myself in the Lord — and I’ll also start to believe that He’ll give me the ability to eat anything I want forever and still be healthy. Because I most certainly desire that in my fickle ol’ heart!
4. “You’d be such a great girlfriend, spouse, parent, etc.”
- Well that’s delightful you think that! But I’m none of those things currently. I am a single person. Am I great single person or am I a crazy, psychotic, desperate woman? That’s what I want to know.
5. “God is using this time to perfect you.”
- Geez, and here I thought God was perfecting all of us. But I stand corrected. Clearly, I as a single person need more perfecting than you or any other married person. I only hope that one day I will be so perfect that I can find my soulmate. And then we can live amid rainbows, kittens and rainless days in absolute and irritating perfection for the rest of our days.
6. “Marriage is hard.”
This falls into the category of many “not-helpful-because-I-can-never-fully-understand-that-concept-outside-of-it” concepts.
And frankly, I think godly singleness is far harder than married people often understand. Yes, I have more free time and can be more selfish. But there are also a lot of places I can’t go, and there are even more extremely strict boundaries I have to maintain. THERE IS NO OUTLET for the godly single person; ruminate on that tidbit. In some ways, yes, it is easier. But I am certain there are some ways it’s harder than we single people get credit for.
SUMMARY: It may seem incomprehensible, but singleness does not need the cure of a spouse or trite answers or empty encouragements. Single people simply need to live in the truth that all of us need to live in: Life is not about us. It is about glorifying God — whatever circumstances you or I may inhabit — and recognizing that He is Lord and knows what is best.
So FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD, can you become my hero and stop saying things like this? Yes? Yes.