Following up on my Ask the Pastors article on sex and the single person, I’d like to tackle the issue of singleness in general. One of the greatest challenges of being single has been knowing how I should view this season of my life. What sort of attitude should I hold toward being unmarried? There are a lot of conflicting ideas out there, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to separate truth from error.
I’d like to begin a series of posts setting out a few “lenses” through which we can view the single life. At this point, I’m going to limit the discussion to people like myself who have never been married, since that’s been my only experience and also the life situation which I’ve considered the most carefully. Perhaps some of the discussion will apply to those who are divorced or widowed as well.
Now, for starters, I really would rather use a word other than single. Whenever I come across that word, my mind immediately turns to Kraft Singles, that famous and undelicious source of pasteurized prepared cheese product. For example, I remember once perusing a booklet on the subject of single life entitled “Being God’s Man as a Satisfied Single.” The front cover featured a mountain biker tearing down a steep slope, his arms and legs thrust out in front of him in a surge of adrenaline.
Unfortunately, when I think of the phrase satisfied single, I imagine some poor slob draped across his living room couch at three in the morning, sating himself on dozens of individually wrapped Kraft Singles slices. Surrounded by discarded wrappers, with fragments of cheese-product squares dangling from his twitching lips, he thrusts his arms into the half-empty package for more in a surge of gluttony. It’s a marvelously distasteful image—and that’s what I associate with the word single. Regrettably, that’s the word everyone else seems to like, so I’m stuck with it.
Moving on from these unnecessary and disturbing thoughts, I would like to lay out my understanding of the single life as it has coalesced in my mind over the last few weeks. I’ll be writing three posts which dwell on these three perspectives or “lenses”:
- The single life as a season of suffering
- The single life as a season of opportunity
- The single life as a season for trust
This is a challenging (and rather personal) subject to discuss, so I’d appreciate your prayers as I write these posts—that I would express my thoughts clearly and candidly, and that they would be honoring to God and his truth, pointing to Jesus Christ as all-sufficient and supreme.
As always, I would love to read your own thoughts in the comments of each post. I’m still in the process of forming my worldview, and always will be, so I like to hear others’ perspectives. (I especially like to hear others’ perspectives when they can demonstrate a biblical basis for their views.)