Stop the Unintentional Single-Shaming

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Is there a topic that you’re a little wary of? Or a subject that’s completely off limits? For me, it used to be (and sometimes still is), family. For others, it might be finances or time-management, or health. For many women I know, singleness is that topic.

I was recently talking with a friend who is, for the most part, content with her singleness, but she has to work for that contentment. Over the course of the week, a coworker kept bringing up my friend’s future husband. Her relentless mentioning of the topic began to wear on my friend after a while, causing her to wonder if there was something wrong with her. Over the course of the week, I was able to see shame creep in and begin whispering in her ear that she wasn’t enough.

These well-intentioned remarks ended up causing more harm than good. And I wonder how often this pattern takes place in our lives.

Statistics show that, on the whole, millennials are marrying later than previous generations. “…the median age of marriage has risen to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women in 2017, up from 23 for men and 20.8 for women in 1970.” New York Times

And, honestly, I don’t know that that’s a bad thing.

There are many different reasons that explain this trend, some of which I think are healthy and others that I think are unhealthy, but it all reveals something about where we are as a culture and a generation.

The truth is that I have a lot of single friends who are in their late twenties and early thirties. We’re all at different places in our careers, our walks with the Lord, and our own personal growth, and, for the most part, we’re right where we need to be. Some of us are learning to be content in our singleness and are actively practicing finding comfort in the Lord. Others are learning how to trust again after being hurt and healing from past mistakes and trauma. Others are learning how to steward ourselves, our finances, responsibilities, and dreams well. And we’re right where we need to be.

Some people needed to get married young and grow together with their spouse. That is an incredible thing to me that I can’t possibly fathom! That act of jumping in with both feet and figuring out life with another human is a level of trust that I struggle to understand. And that’s not the path for everyone.

Some people need to have a prolonged season of singleness to heal and grow and live a life of productive beauty. They need the time to learn who they are in Christ before learning how to be intimate with another human being. It’s learning to trust God and themselves as the foundation for growth for the rest of their lives. And that’s not a path for everyone.

What I’m trying to get at here is the fact that we’re all on a unique and beautiful journey with the Lord and no one’s process or path looks the same. And that’s okay.

Friends, let’s be intentional with how we communicate with others today because we have no idea what they might be going through. Let’s share thoughts, ask questions, and pray for one another from a place of empathy and understanding.

What’s your off-limits topic? And how can you bring someone into that vulnerable space today?

What do you think about millennials getting married later in life? And how do you think that influences your communication with them?

To go Deeper: Read Can We Get Real For a Moment?

 

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