Found the following great article on the topic of — what else? — singleness and identity. But first, a word from Hollywood:
We live in a cynical world. A cynical world… I love you. You complete me.
— Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire
There is a horrendous problem with the suggestion that we should spend our time as singles becoming the right person for someone else; it makes us believe that until we find that someone, there is something wrong with us. If we spend our time, energy and emotions preparing for some unknowable, unforeseeable future mate who will be the indication that we’ve finally bettered ourselves enough to deserve the love that goes hand in hand with marriage, and that mate doesn’t come, we receive a message that we are unworthy of marriage, unworthy of love, unlovable. We are less of a man or less of a woman because of our singleness. And that message is a complete and utter lie.
— Beth Parent, Relevant Magazine
Do you see the philosophies at odds here? On one side (and it’s indicative of both secular and Christian cultures), you have a decided dependence on other people for one’s sense of worth.
On the other side, you have an independent sense of self. And if you’re a Christian, ideally you draw that worth from your Creator, content with His foreknowledge of your creation.
In the absence of a mindful creator — a source of unfailing love and acceptance — our independence can look like cynicism. Deciding to live apart from the approval of others can appear as a denial of human community, as Jerry implies with his profession of love to Dorothy.
But living in deference to the Creator is anything by cynicism. It is choosing to assume our wholeness as people from His likeness. On the contrary, this consciousness should impact our human relationships. It should spur us on to cultivating human companionship, yet not drawing identity from it.
Ms. Parent goes on to conclude that “the only real reason I’m not married is because I’m single.” That’s so self-evident, but profound at the same time! Perhaps the most obvious of observations is actually the best indicator of God’s direction. I’m single right now, not because I’m in some sort of marriage boot camp, preparing for the marathon of my life. But instead, I’m single to more fully be the Rob God could want for me.