Taking Flight, The Single Life

Singleness

What I’m about to say might sound very satirical and sarcastic. That’s what I was going for, but if that’s not your thing, if you have a hard time understanding sarcasm or taking it, then you might want to stop reading now.

What I’m about to say might sound like it comes from bitterness and resentment toward all things love and relationships, but I beg of you to keep reading because that is not my motivation at all.

So, allow me to paint a picture for you.

What if single people posted as much about being single as some dating, engaged, newlywed or married people posted about their relationships? No, if we did that, the sky might fall on top of us and humanity would cease to exist as we know it.

What if instead of Mancrush Monday and Womencrush Wednesday, we had Single’s Sunday? Or even Saturday…yeah, I think we would settle for Saturday.

Or better yet, what if one day out of the whole year, we had a day were singles could genuinely celebrate their singleness? They could post pictures of the single life and all the couples would just have to sit there thinking, “You know it’s cool you all have your day, but we couples still exist and we would like some recognition, too.”

All of this sounds ridiculous and obnoxious, right? At least that’s what I’m hoping you think.

A couple of times on Taking Flight I’ve talk about Christianity and the Christian community’s approach to singleness and dating, but this isn’t just a Christian problem, it’s a world problem. But the fact of the matter is relationships are celebrated while singleness is left high and dry.

So much is dedicated to and set aside for the dating/married community. Annual holidays; twice weekly social media days; one week, one month, six month and one year anniversaries; annual holidays for those who have taken their relationship to the next level and added a child to the mix. Congratulations. You can reproduce. What an accomplishment. Bacteria does that multiple times a day, but ya know…it’s cool.

Sarcasm aside…in the midst of all these special days we’re recognizing parents who really aren’t that great at being parents. We’re celebrating relationships that are on the rocks except in the perfectly posed, beautifully written captions of Instagram photos. We’re elevating husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, dads and moms who are so bad at it that all of us single people can’t even.

This isn’t to deny those who are great parents, spouses and significant others the credit due them. After all, if I were in that position, I think I would like to get a pat on the back every once in awhile if I were doing a decent job at it, but where are the flowers and chocolates for the single peeps? Or a plane ticket to some place really cool (because it’s really all the same)?

I mean we’d like to think we’re killin’ it at this whole single thing, but it’s kind of hard when the things being celebrated are not singleness and making the most of this season of life. There’s no special day for singles. There’s only sad sideways glances, pity and well meaning (but actually insulting) “it will come” comments.

So, as my call-to-action, in the moments when you’re celebrating your relationships and the blessings that come with them this Valentine’s season, also take a moment to celebrate the single in your life in whatever way you possibly can.


 

Join the Taking Flight community during the month of February for this month long series, Single Life!

Single Life

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Taking Flight

What Christianity Should Be Teaching About Marriage

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After multiple conversations with friends and after reading this article, there’s something I feel I really need to address that a lot of people associated with the Christian faith have yet to acknowledge.

Growing up, I heard so many lessons in bible class about how to be a good wife, and I went to so many Bible studies that focused on “the someday.” What people always seemed to fail to mention was that “someday” wasn’t a guarantee and that “someday” was not the purpose of our existence or our faith. Somewhere along the way, people seemed to forget to mention that our purpose was to glorify Christ. In short, modern Christianity has missed the mark as a whole when it comes to marriage and how we teach it to young people. Bible studies have gone from how we can imitate Christ to the “when you’re married”, from the “someday” where Christ returns to the “someday” with a white dress and diamond ring.

So super duper honesty time: how modern Christianity teaches marriage is backwards. If we simply taught people what it means to be a Christian, which is to serve and love others unconditionally, then the rest would follow. It would be a natural transition to go from a person whose mission was to be Jesus to others to being Christ at a more intimate level to a spouse. If greater Christendom emphasized what it means to love one another, people would already know how to be good spouses if and when the time came because they would be treating everyone else that way.

Instead, young, single people fall victim to single shaming and they freak out when they get to college and realize they don’t have a significant other in their lives and so many others do. They feel like those who are in relationships must have reached some higher level of righteousness and that God is rewarding them because they have been taught that marriage is the goal to strive for or that marriage is the ultimate way to live out and practice their faith. It becomes the fuel for many sleepless nights and personal crying sessions. It becomes the core of devotionals and the topic of Bible class series in an effort to undo the damage. It becomes the snarky comment in a conversation and the scary thing is when you hear high school girls start repeating these snarky comments. It becomes the fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from doing what we are meant to do and from following our dreams. It’s what inhibits us from dreaming wildly and living adventurously.

And then it gets to the point that young single people think that if they don’t graduate in a certain semester or if they don’t take a certain career path that they would some how royally mess up their life and ruin any chance of ever meeting “the one.” We think if we dare to dream too big and somehow find success in that dream then we would be thought of as intimidating, unapproachable or unattractive.

Essentially, young Christians come out of high school youth groups more prepared to be “good spouses” than they are prepared to live out the gospel and that’s not okay.

So, to teachers of Christianity, which is essentially everyone who calls him or herself a Christian, stop teaching marriage and teach Jesus. And to the singles (meaning anyone who isn’t married) dare to dream wildly, be ambitious and live adventurously! Don’t let fear stop you from climbing a mountain, writing a book, starting a business, or doing what you love to do.

(Photos courtesy of Kathryn Patterson)

Wild Women of the Wichitas

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