Is the church to blame for my being unmarried in my 40s?
I am a 40-year-old single woman and very lonely. I have grown up in church as a born again Christian. I grew up upholding Christian values of chastity and sexual purity until today. All my friends in youth class hooked up and married each other, but I was left all alone. I have suffered intense loneliness and have to put up with insensitive statements such as, “When is the wedding?” “Stop being so selective” and “What kind of man are you looking for?” I hate it especially when it comes from those same brothers whom I fellowshipped with.
I am well educated - I’m pursuing my PhD, I have a good job and some investments, but I’m so lonely. I have never been in a serious relationship, however, I have been approached by men who are not born again, divorcees and widowers, but due to fear of being out of the will of God, I have never been able to love any and so I am still waiting on God.
I have desired to adopt a baby or babies, but the church has discouraged me, the argument being, “What shall you tell people? That you waited on God and He didn't come through? My question is, shouldn’t the church relax some of its teachings for the sake of the many single people in today's world?
Thank you for keeping the faith in spite of ridicule from friends just because you are not yet married. Other kinds of singles who face this kind of stigma include widows, widowers, single parents and divorcees.
Most senior singles struggle with identity crisis, but why should you feel incomplete just because you are not married? As I have said before, just as there are many unhappy singles who wished they were married, there are many married people who are in loveless marriages and wished they never married.
It is important to learn how to manage the pressure that is imposed by the society, including family and church. We don’t marry for our parents, siblings, or friends, but even though this may be the case, the stigmatisation, discrimination and stereotyping of those considered to have been long married is never ending. Note that even when you do get married, you will still be criticised, and when you don’t get children or have them, the criticism will still be there. If you were to live to please people therefore, you will be constantly exhausted since you can do no right in their eyes.
With this in mind, choose rest, not anxiety. While at it, do not be afraid of socialising as long as you guard your values, and also make some good friendships at work and in church. Being driven by hate or resentment will only make you bitter. Aim to build strong friendships at church and work.
Most singles I have talked to say that their biggest comfort is friendship. That said, I have seen older women than you get married and lead happy lives, so don’t be discouraged by the rules and regulations of men. The God in whom you believe has a plan that will continue to unfold if you keep trusting in Him.
Meanwhile, take charge of your status. Self-control is key to one’s ability to manage every stage in life, being single does not mean that you’re inferior to those who’re married. Every stage in life has its own joys and responsibilities. Being a Christian, I know you are aware of what apostle Paul said, that singleness is a gift.
I acknowledge that the battle of managing sexual desire is a challenge singles face. This calls for self-discipline and self-control, noting that getting married does not protect one from sexual desire outside marriage. Values-based living goes against the common culture and expectations in today’s world at a time when people advocate for personal freedoms of self-indulgence without accountability and self-control.
Don’t give up, get out there and make some friends, get involved in social activities and join social groups you enjoy, volunteer your skills, and as you go about enjoying your life and meeting new people, your chances of meeting someone compatible will increase.
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