The other day someone prayed for me during my “season of singleness.” It was a very nice prayer, asking the Lord for help, wisdom, discernment and comfort – all things that I do need from the Lord.
What struck me was the phrase “season of singleness.” I have to say I internally cringed a bit upon hearing it.
Using the word “season” suggests that singleness is a temporary situation that will pass when we get married, almost as if we’re given a guarantee to “graduate” to the next level. No one prays for someone during a season of marriage or during season of parenthood, which technically are both seasons, as spouses unfortunately pass away or divorce happens and kids grow up.
Singleness is not always temporary
I know for many, singleness does pass when they get married and many singles do hope for marriage one day. And fortunately, after a period of singleness, many end up in a relationship that leads to marriage.
But for many others, this IS NOT TRUE. Being single can last for much of one’s lifetime or even an entire lifetime – whether intentionally or not. And to use the term “season of singleness” means that we and others around us are subconsciously constantly waiting for the next thing to happen, in this case a relationship or marriage. What an unhealthy way to live!
For those who never marry, it’s not a season of singleness; it’s a lifetime of singleness…but there’s no way of knowing that before it happens. To be constantly “waiting in a season of singleness” seems cruel, depressing and completely unnecessary when you could be living a rich, rewarding and fulfilling life as a single person.
Singleness is not a disease
Another reason the phrase irks me is that it suggests that singleness should be gotten rid of or “prayed away,” which I don’t think is right. I do want to get married, but I don’t want to think about relationships and marriage as being better than singleness. In fact, neither is better.
I don’t believe anyone truly has nefarious intentions when using the phrase “season of singleness,” but in effect, that’s how it comes off.
If I do get married, I don’t want my role as a wife to define me just as I don’t want my role a single person to define me. I just want to be me.
Recently, a number of friends have gotten married (it’s that decade in life!), and no one magically transformed from single Sarah to married Mary. No. They are still the same people, who now just happen to be married.
If you’re single and don’t want to get married, why refer to singleness as a season? If you’re single and do want to get married, why define yourself by what you don’t have right now?
There are many other seasons in life…
Also, going back to my earlier point, if singleness is a season, or a finite period in your life, so is marriage. I mean, it’s morbid to think about it, but spouses die or divorce happens. It’s very sad, but it’s part of life. According to the CDC, in the U.S. in 2012 the divorce rate was 3.4 per every 1,000 population while the marriage rate was 6.8 per every 1,000 population. So obviously some marriages do end in divorce! But no one thinks about marriage as a “season.” I have yet to hear someone define it that way, but it is a season. It may be a much longer one than singleness is, but it is a season nonetheless.
But moving past the single vs. married dichotomy, if you think about it, there are SO MANY other, more fulfilling ways to define your life! Why do we insist on defining ourselves by our romantic relationships?
What about defining it as a season of living in Dallas, a season at your first job, a season in your 20s, a season in your 30s, a season where you complete a triathalon?
I know the person praying for me meant well. And it was so sweet of her to think of me. This specific situation just happened to spark my curiosity about how we talk about singleness.
I don’t want to live my life constantly waiting for the next season to take place – a season which may never come. (FYI ladies and gents, nowhere in the Bible does God promise that you will get married, even if He does have an awesome plan for your life.)
So for now, I’ll be content living in my season of working at my job, writing this blog, biking, being in my 20s, being a daughter, sister, and a friend.
What season of life are you in?