In four days’ time, some of us will be sprinkling red rose petals and serenading the citizens of Paris with Celine Dion covers from atop the Eiffel Tower before dancing under the stars/kissing in the rain. Some of us. The rest of us might indeed have Valentines and choose to do a) nothing or b) something a little less extravagant; and then, some of us might be Valentine-less… which can be particularly hard on Valentine’s Day. If you fall into the latter category, you might be feeling apprehensive about the 14th. Listen in. I have some things to tell you.
- Being single is not your identity.
I’m sorry for using the word ‘singleton’ in my introduction. It really was just intended to grab your attention for a second. I will henceforth and forevermore refrain from referring to anyone as ‘singles’ or ‘singletons’. This is not who you are. Hello, your name is not Single. You are single, you are not Single. It is simply a relationship status. Right, out of the terminology discussion and into the fun stuff…
- Being single does not make you half a person.
We somehow have accepted the notion that single people are Tesco Value products and only become Tesco’s Finest when they are married. We, apparently, are caterpillars waiting for rings on our fingers to turn us into butterflies. We are lost souls, wandering the earth in search of the magical person – who ALWAYS seems to run across a beach in slow motion – to make us whole. Ah, our other half. Cute, but not accurate. Yes, of course marriage is good. Yes, of course you marry someone who complements you and with whom you ‘fit’. But no, sorry, as scientifically interesting as it would make you… you were not born half a person.
- Being single does not automatically = unhappy.
Growing up, I was a big fan of Rebecca St. James, a singer/songwriter whose journey of singleness was documented by the media. She got married a few years ago. The person who told me about it, recounting her story, said she waited, she got married and was now happy. Wait – only now? Getting married/being in a serious intimate relationship makes you happy? Sure it does. But you do not wait for marriage to make you happy. There are lots of other things to enjoy; and similarly, you will not always feel ‘happy’ when you are married (just have a conversation with a married friend).
- Being single does not make you sedate hidden treasure on a pirate’s map.
What I mean is this: single people, and especially females, are told: “He’s out there somewhere… he’ll find you when he’s ready.” You are then expected to freeze, try to maintain your youthful looks and prune your marriageability and always be on the look-out ‘just in case he’s there’… WHAT?! Get a life, literally. You will find each other while you live.
- Being single does not make you a slow-cooking chocolate cake.
I HATE hearing people tell single people they aren’t married ‘because God mustn’t think they are ready’. Single people are not single because there is something horribly wrong with them; and they must not be made to feel that they are less than others, less ready, less able, less fill-in-the-blank: we are all works in progress and different people’s lives are timed differently for many reasons.
- Being single does not make you useless.
Nor does it make you unimportant. Don’t assume you are second-rate because there is no one on your arm or no plus one next to your name on that invitation. You have something to say and something to contribute to the world. In fact, this stage of life is one in which we are blessed with time and energy and focus – you are very useful. You are not without a purpose, either: THAT doesn’t begin when you are married. You are in it, now.
- Being single does not make you not-wonderful.
A (married) friend recently told a (single) friend of mine that she hoped she knew she was amazing and that soon she’d find someone who’d tell her that. Hmmm. Single people of the world, remember this: in order to realise you’re amazing, you don’t have to wait for someone else to affirm it. Your amazing potential is not waiting to be awakened by this glorious future partner of yours. That is not truth. No… you are amazing because of who you are, right now.
PS: you may think it’s a little odd for someone who is married (but not Married) to be writing this. I actually wrote a version of this post when I was very much single and painting my toenails red despite hearing that it was pointless because no one saw them. I get that it can be really tough – I fought to believe these things when I was single, and I’m really glad I did. It’s made marriage much easier. But hey – that’s for another time!
If you like this… you may be interested in our event on Wednesday, 18 February.
Love thy single self… exploring singleness and romance (or lack of) and how the Church gets the whole thing wrong.