I don’t like to say I’m a petty person, but I do have my peeves.
- Breathy singing
- Books falling down as I shelve them
- People without spatial awareness
- People touching me
- People staring at me
- Writing something and having it completely misunderstood
Boy that last one. That’s one that really gets on my nerves.
I don’t have an exceptional sense of humor, I’m aware of that. I have a mediocre sense of humor which means 50% of the time when I try to be funny either no one gets it, no one likes it, they’re annoyed, or they’re offended. And then like 2% of the time I make someone angry.
The other 50% of the time is a lot of eye rolling with a good humored smile or the popular “lol” with no change in facial expression. All fine by me, because for whatever reason people still like to listen to what I have to say.
And sometimes they like listening to what I have to say because it’s so easily contradicted. Like I said, my humor misses at least 50% of the time.
So here is my letter, and one of the few blog posts that I’m going to direct to married people.
Dear lovely misunderstood married person,
I don’t know the struggles you have. I don’t know what it’s like to be married, I don’t know how hard it is to live with the love of your life, and I don’t know the burdens that come with being devoted to another person. I don’t know what it’s like to feel trapped or isolated or abused in your relationships. I can’t speak to these troubles, and it would be a disservice to you if I tried.
I also don’t know the particulars of your life. Your personal problems, your health problems, your relational issues, financial worries, physical discomforts. I know they are different from mine, and I know that your struggles and challenges are no greater or less than mine.
I do know two things though:
- We all struggle. It’s the nature of life — from birth to death. I don’t need to say anything more here. I thought this was a given, but I’m fine reiterating it for those who feel I don’t perfectly comprehend that all people have difficulties.
- When you grow up in the church you learn that singleness is perceived as a curse, as a tragedy, as a pity, as an unfortunate and disagreeable situation.
Marriage is always the ideal, if not in secular society, than most definitely in the religious communities where I have spent my entire life.
Somehow, in spite of all this, I have managed to remain happily single. I can’t say I’ve been happy every single year for the past 30, but the years I’ve been unhappy have generally speaking not been related to lack of marital prospects.
There are so many many of my sisters and brothers in Christ that this does not hold true for.
There are so many men and women who want to be married. They long for the intimacy of marriage. For the security they see in marriage.
I know. I know. Not every marriage has that.
But what they’re also longing for is to be accepted in their social situations. They are longing to no longer be the odd man out. They are longing to be part of a pair. They are longing to be part of the conversation they have been on the outside of for so many years.
This blog is an aid to those who are longing.
I’m not sunny on a lot of topics. But on the topic of singleness of this I am convinced: it is a joy, it is a blessing, and it is not the unfortunate or sad alternative to marriage. But for those that feel this way, for those that need some encouragement, or a lift, for those that need a reminder that even in the midst of their longing and their sadness there is still a spark of delight, I write.
I am not writing for you.
I encourage you to seek out writers that do give you that acceptance, that understanding. But please, please, dear married reader, please respect that when I write, I am writing to the frustrations of my single sisters and brothers. Hopefully my posts are not bitter or cynical. Hopefully I am not exaggerating to seek sympathy, or to gain pity. This is definitely not the goal.
I am writing to those men and women who are tired, worn out, and hopeless.
Please let me address their hurts, speak to their loneliness without vocalizing about “the other side of the coin”. We all crave understanding and acceptance. When you are single, believe me, you are perpetually familiar with the concept — How many sermons have I listened to on the married life or the family life? How many dinners have I gone to where my opinions and thoughts are not weighted (rightly or wrongly so) because I have no marital experience? How often have I received the condescension of married people because I am not married? Single people are familiar with the notion of not having their needs represented in all conversations.
You would be wrong to suppose that I have spent 30 years tuning out these conversations, sermons, Bible studies on the married life. On the contrary, I listen eagerly. For married life is a heightened relationship that sheds light on all relationships — even my own poor reflected friendships. In listening I am better equipped to support my married friends, better equipped to pray for my married friends. Better equipped to love them as best as I am able.
I am not asking you leave off reading. (In fact, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that you read this at all. Let me take this moment to thank you again, with a look of undisguised shock on my face. Seriously, thank you!) I am not asking that you leave off correcting me when I’m wrong (I’ll try to take it as best as I can), but please respect that the men and women who take the most delight in this blog are the men and women who crave a voice that speaks for them and to them in their place of hurt.
This is one conversation, dear married friend, that could benefit much from your listening and compassionate ear.
With sincere love, and heartfelt gratitude that you actually read this whole damn thing, Katrina