Being a Christian and single is an interesting exercise for many. In a church world that has been obsessed with matching up men and women for marriage, the reality of the modern age is that more and more Christians are living single lives.
Christians are not immune from the challenge of finding a life partner, and hence a new book has entered the market addressing this very issue. On Being Single is written by Bethany Bell, a Christian woman who had to address this very issue in her own life.
“As a young adult, I didn’t feel the pressure so much to marry, but I perceived judgement that if you were not in a relationship, there was something wrong with you,” she said.
“I attempted to live a life balancing this perceived judgement, the self-expectations that formed as a result, along with my contentment being single with my desire for a relationship whilst trusting God. This was a challenge. I looked around and observed that many others were also in the same boat, struggling to reconcile the many aspects of logic and emotions that can so easily arise.”
With the church having been focused on young people either dating or getting married, Bethany felt the need to discuss the topic of being single to bring some clarification.
“One thing I have noticed in church life is that singleness is rarely acknowledged as a ‘relational status,’” she continued. “Those on the platform often refer to people dating, engaged or married, completely neglecting those who are single. As a single person, there are relational, sexual and financial challenges, just like any person in a relationship.
“The challenges in each relational dynamic – single, dating, engaged, married, separated, divorced, widowed – look different, but are still present. These subtleties can leave single people feeling as though they have not yet arrived and do not face such challenges. I believe this perception needs to change.”
As society sees more and more people single, the church needs to change its thinking around being single and ensuring that singles feel valued for who they are, and understanding that relationship status does not determine adulthood, worth or maturity.
“Single people want to be acknowledged, not because we are single, but because we are people,” Bethany stated. “We need to shift our thinking and language not to make people feel single, but to make them feel valued.
“This change isn’t cultural, it’s personal. It involves each of us shifting our thinking, which will, in turn, change our language and behaviour as a whole. As single people, we are not living idle or still lives; we are living. We have a choice to join the ride of life, or let it pass us by.
On Being Single is definitely not a rule-book for maintaining a balance between being single and hoping and praying for a partner, however it does address realities that encourage both hope and contentment, stemmed in the knowledge of being deeply loved by God.
Readers of this bite-sized book will read chapters that are each the length of or a bit longer than a blog post. It is easy to read and is not a ‘how to’ book. The book is relevant for all people, single or in a relationship – an invitation to another person’s life that may shift perceptions, thinking and cause us to see our world and those in it with a fresh perspective.