Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Musings - On Singleness and Selfishness

That most evil of days for a single, Valentine's Day, has now safely passed us by. This is always a good thing for a number of reasons:

-There are now Cadbury Mini Eggs in stores instead of nasty Sweethearts
-I can move on with my life as a single Christian woman

The latter is what I want to talk about today. In case you are curious, there are not many perks to being a single, female, Christian twenty-something. I came up with a list of fourteen of them on Facebook, but almost all of them can be turned around. Yes, I can choose the music in a long car drive--but if I was married, I could have a nice conversation instead. True, I don't have to clean up after anyone--but nobody helps me clean up the mess either.

But the underlying issue I have found with singleness is the lack of respect. I am very, very tired of being told about how selfish I am because I am single. I've heard all the reasons why--I am selfish because I am not willing to give up myself for a husband and children, I am selfish because I do not have to share with a spouse, I am selfish because I only think about myself. I try to make a list of all of the reasons why I am blessed by being single, and am apparently labeled as "a Smug Single, obnoxiously over-compensating for singleness". (Of course, the people who are listing all of the wonderful things their significant other did? They are just loving spouses; nothing smug or obnoxious about them.)

Meanwhile, the only advice you are ever given about being single is that you should wait for God's timing and enjoy the gifts of singleness. To me, that is a contradiction with the selfishness argument. If I am waiting for God's timing, then how am I selfishly not sharing with a spouse? I've acknowledged I am waiting for God's time for me to start sharing. If I am trying to be content with the gifts of singleness, then how am I selfish for only thinking about myself? Never mind that I use my free time to volunteer in ministries or babysit for my married friends. This gets further exacerbated by being a woman. I get the impression that outside the Bay Area, I have somehow been selfish by getting a career instead of getting married. Although how am I supposed to live in Silicon Valley without a career? The average age of marriage in the Bay Area is 31; am I supposed to just volunteer in the church office for thirteen years and live off my father? It strikes me that a career is the wise thing to do here, but somehow I am selfish.

I would instead like to present a different argument: I am a single woman in my mid-twenties, which requires a different skill set from a married woman. I need to learn how to live by myself: pay my own bills, earn my own living, and take care of myself. Where a social life or entertainment may be split when you are married (either by your spouse entertaining you or your spouse's group of friends now including you), I am 100% responsible for my social life and entertainment. I have to live in a society that revolves around marriage and families, and find a place in a church that clearly values marriage and families more than singleness. So yes, I am going to think about myself in order to fulfill these needs, because nobody else is going to do it. I am going to have for dinner what I want for dinner and do what I want in the evening otherwise I wouldn't be cooking or doing anything at all. You can call them perks, but they are also necessities. And yes, taking a husband into consideration if/when I get married may cause some friction, but that is not selfishness; that is adapting to a new situation where the skill set you need is different. Some friction is to be expected in that case.

I am sure that marriage can be difficult. But there has to be a reason why people get married, and divorcees remarry--clearly, marriage is better than the alternative. I just wish I would not have to be a pariah before I join their ranks.


1.  The toilet seat is always down!!
2.  The bed is MINE!!! ALL MINE!! I can toss and turn and hog the entire mattress and blanket! Woot!!
3.  I felt like seeing a movie. So what did I do? I went and saw a movie. No need to ask permission, no need to check-up or check-in on anybody--I just bought my ticket and went on whim! FREEDOM!!!
4.  I'm currently wearing a pair of sweatpants under a dress. Stylish? No. Comfy? Yes. And who cares, since I don't need to impress anyone?
5.  I get to hang out at Church after Wednesday nights. Nobody waiting for me to come home! No need for me to go home! I can stay and enjoy the conversation.
6.  Long car drives are all by myself (like the ones I did this past weekend). It's awesome. I can just blast 80s music or Broadway tunes and sing my heart out the whole drive!
7.  I do not have to clean up after anyone! Also, it means I can be messy and it doesn't bother anybody. Woo hoo!
8.  I got to spend my evening with Jesus!
9.  I get to spend my free time being silly and having fun with some amazing Junior Highers! It is awesome!
10.  I wanted to watch Veronica Mars tonight. So what did I do? I watched Veronica Mars tonight. I have waaay more free time by not being in a relationship, and I get to choose what I want to do with it. Whee!
11.  I spent two hours folding laundry tonight. I am so grateful it was not four! Laundry for one is enough.
12.  I never have to cook something I don't feel like eating when I don't feel like eating! No need to worry about someone else's allergies or preferences.
13.  I am an independent woman! My life doesn't have to change because my partner has a job offer or wants to go back to school. My life is just that—mine!
14.  No stress on February 14! No buying presents or having to figure out something interesting...I just get to have a pleasant evening to myself!

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