The “Single” Stigma

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Despite the fact that statistics show we are waiting longer to get married and the age of first marriage for both women and men in America is older than it has historically  been, there is a certain stigma that continues to surround the word “single,” “singleness,” and all other variations of the word. To have to check the box on a legal form that admits that you’re single or to RSVP without a plus one on an invitation somehow implies that you are only half a person. You are less desirable, abandoned, forgotten. You’re somehow incomplete. It implies that, rather than something being wrong with society and our broken, fallen world, there is something inherently wrong with you as a human being.

At least, that’s what I used to think. On a pretty regular basis, now that I think about it. 

It took a long time of studying, reading, and humbling myself in prayer for me to realize that everyone else was very wrong on this topic and God is the one who holds the ultimate truth. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll continue to repeat myself until the message really sets in. You ready? Here it is… Singleness is not a disease. Singleness does not make you a second class citizen. Singleness does not mean that you’ve been forgotten or abandoned by God and it certainly does not mean that you are unlovable. Singleness is one of the greatest, blessed gifts that we receive from our heavenly Father. 

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to singleness, specifically in the church community is the frequent quoting of Genesis 2:18

“It is not good for man to be alone…”

People recite that constantly to defend why they can’t be single and seem to imply that it’s God’s will for everyone to be in a marriage. When you really look at that verse, however, it says nothing about romance, dating, life partners, or marriage. The rest of that verse (and yes it depends on the translation, although I looked up several different translations and the majority of them use this wording) states

It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper.

None of the translations that I looked at said anything about God seeking to make Adam a wife, because Adam’s singleness (as in not having a wife) was in someway against God’s design. He wanted to make Adam a helper. We often assume that God meant for the helper to be a wife, because He does eventually make Eve and she and Adam are the first man and wife described in the Bible. In my opinion, the important part of this verse is that not that Adam eventually got a wife out of the deal, but that God gave him someone else to do life with.  Someone to help him figure things out when life got complicated, and in Adam’s case, life got really complicated.

God made PEOPLE and we are each other’s “helpers,” especially when we don’t have a spouse in our lives. God does say that it is not good for man to be alone, however, He does not explicitly say that the only way to not be alone is to be married.

 In fact, in the New Testament, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8

“I wish that everyone were like me, but each person has his own gift from God. One has one gift, another has another gift. Now for those who are not married and for the widows I say this: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.”

I can see how this could be confusing. God says it’s not good for man to be alone, but then He also says it is good to stay unmarried. But that’s just the thing. God says it’s good to be EITHER ONE! Marriage is not inherently more valuable to God than singleness. You can be married or you can be single and either way God loves you and has created a way for you to just be … YOU.

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