I turned 32 last month, and while celebrating a birthday is a joyous occasion it can often bring with it questions about all the things in life that we don’t have. As I have been for the past four years, I celebrated my birthday without any romantic interest present. And while this wouldn’t normally be such a big deal, a couple weeks prior to my birthday I found myself excluded from attending an event because I am single; which made me question the way we view singleness especially in the Church.
I can only speak for myself, but I am single by choice. While I want to be married and have children and I do long for companionship; I refuse to give up the peace that I have worked so hard to cultivate in my life just to say I have someone. I have yet to find a man whose company I enjoy more than the peace in my life. I research and plan almost every aspect of my life from the smallest decisions to the biggest, so why would I settle for less than what I truly want because I’m lonely? As I found myself thinking about why someone would exclude another person from attending an event because of their marital status, it made me realize that marriage especially among Christian women, and Black women is weaponized.
We’ve turned marriage into a status symbol and treat those that are single as though there is something wrong with them, that’s why God hasn’t blessed them with a husband. Singleness is not a curse, nor is it a consolation prize for a life that is not as blessed. It is a season, and it can also be a calling. Some people are called to be single, because in your singleness you have more time to focus on yourself and your dreams and aspirations and it allows you time to draw closer to God, if you so wish.
As a Christian woman, we are trained from a young age to aspire to be someone’s wife. We tell singles to wait until it is their turn, but I’ve hardly ever heard us tell a single Christian to live life to the fullest regardless of whether someone is on their arm or not. I realized this year, how many times I’ve said to myself that I want to do this when I get married, and I’ve created a life for myself where I’m not living I’m waiting. See, I had bought into the idea that my life is somehow not fulfilling because at this moment I’m living it alone. And while at times it can be lonely, it is beautiful. The peace I feel as a single person is scary, because I’m almost afraid of having to give it up to be with someone else. But I am believing that God knows who and what I need and the right one for me will match my peace.
As a Black woman, we are constantly told how educated Black women are the least likely to be married. Once you add our people’s history with broken homes and the inability to get married due to slavery, we turn marriage for Black women as a trophy that you can hold over people. That because a man chose to commit to you, somehow you are worthier of love. That’s why there’s so many Black men who have created whole careers around telling Black women how they can find love, instead of maybe teaching our men to become better lovers.
It pains me to see that instead of preparing singles for marriage we shun them. It’s as if we think that by telling them the truth about marriage we’ll scare them or entice them to have sex? I don’t truly know, but I do know that we are missing out on opportunities to build each other up and encourage one another. It’s true, I don’t know what it’s like to be married, but I also do know that I am a living, breathing human being that can still offer anyone advice. I’m in a book club and in the book, we’re reading now, the author states that marriage is meant to reflect the Church to the world. It’s meant to represent Christ’s love for his church. That’s why the Bible says a husband should love his wife as Christ loves the Church. Imagine the representation of the Church to the world, when we create barriers between singles and married couples? Your marriage is not meant to serve you, it’s meant to serve a greater purpose.
It’s true that in the vision I had for my life, I thought I would be married with a family at this age, but I also know that if I had gotten married in my twenties I would have been a terrible wife. What this time has given me is the opportunity to know myself on a deeper level, and my desires in a mate have changed. My desires for myself have changed. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply hurt by what I experienced and I could easily settle for a relationship if a relationship is all I wanted. But it’s not. I’ve seen in my life, how many times God has shown out for me, and I expect my love story to be no different. I believe that my marriage will break generational curses and start a legacy that I might never even see to completion. To all my married people, we’re not your enemy. In life, we’re stronger together than we are apart. To all my singles who find themselves in a place that they didn’t think they would be, live your life; don’t wait.