Thursday, January 26, 2012

Single Sister Satisfaction


I love this article. (See link after this paragraph.) I know there are things in it that might offend my Christian friends- a couple of bits of profanity, and passing references to alcohol and sex. But that’s not the theme at all. The theme is women and friendship.
http://therumpus.net/2012/01/transformation-and-transcendence-the-power-of-female-friendship/

Beyond that, it’s a picture of unmarried women, who are good with that. Super good with that. And this is something that is near and dear to my heart. And a theme I want to present to my fellow unmarried Christian sisters.

We need to do better.

There is such a tendency in the church to assume that eventually all women will get married. Or remarried. That it is wonderful to be content to be single, but, (knowing look), “I wasn’t planning on getting married (or married again) either dear, wasn’t looking at all, didn’t even want to get married, and then God brought this wonderful man into my life and he was exactly what I really needed all along.” Amazing testimony follows. And there is an implication that it is noble to be content with singleness, and yet the ultimate reward for that noble contentment and “not looking for someone” will ultimately be…someone.

Not necessarily. Whether or not you are secretly hoping you will eventually meet that special someone, it doesn’t always happen. And that’s okay. No really. You have to believe me. You can have an emotionally satisfied life without being married.

I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m a misandrist, gals, but I promise you, you can lead a complete and well rounded life by surrounding yourself with healthy platonic female relationships. I may be biased, but I’ll stand by my opinion ‘til the day I die: Women make the best friends.
Particularly if you are one.

Some may think that I feel this way because I had a difficult marriage. I don’t think so. I think my perspective is pretty well rounded. I was single until I was 26. And enjoyed it very much. And now that I’m 43 and have gotten over the shock and pain of losing the marriage I gave my heart to, I enjoy being single all over again.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate that I got divorced. But I love being single. (It’s my own personal dichotomy.)

And at my age, almost 43 with much less to prove, being single is really fantastic. I wish I could impart that to my younger single sisters, when I see them struggling.

Consider this quote from the article linked above describing the author’s older single friends: “They weren’t spinsters or old maids and they were not ‘failures’ in any way. They were free. It was I who failed to see them, until later, for who they really were: educated, hugely intelligent, fascinating, financially independent. Women who led rich lives full of meaningful work, deep and lasting friendships… time with the beloved children of their family and friends, conversations about politics and art and literature, culture, travel to remarkable destinations where they did not journey as unconscious tourists but as guests in people’s homes and hearts. Despite these full lives they owned their own time, they owned their days. I did not. I was too busy trying to find someone who would spend the days with me, as if this would validate my presence in the world.”

Even my single Christian female friends who aren’t “trying to find someone” often live as if they are still waiting for that big moment. And while they may be confident and busy, deep in their eyes there is an underlying longing. Or depending on their age, regret.

Don’t.

Don’t wait. Don’t long. Don’t regret. Live. Live fully. Embrace life.

I hate to play the religious card, but, honestly, if we have God’s Spirit and His love inside of us like we claim too, we should be able to pull this off at least as well as the women in this article.
Maybe it's easier for me to write my own article because I’ve been blessed with more than an average number of loyal and fantastic girl friends. But I hold it is a general truth: Life-long friendships with other women are an essential part of a female single life worth living.

And not just worth it.
Wonderfully, deliciously, good to the last drop worth it.

Philippians 4:11- Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

10 comments:

  1. Good post, i agree with just about everything. And, as a single Christian gal, I can relate to most of it. I think you have been blessed to have so many fantastic relationships. I live by the rule that was engrained in me by my grandparents: in order to have a friend, you need to be a friend. At 29, i have seen a lot of friendships fizzle out. And I put a lot of effort into my relationships. But it seems even friendships are as rare as finding "the one". I would settle at this point for one girlfriend to be my bousum buddy. I have given up on the idea that everyone will meet someone, someday. I don't believe it to be true.

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  2. You are right, Tiffany, great relationships don't just happen. I have made a lifestyle of putting a very high priority on them, and I think that makes a huge difference. Like your grandparents said, you have to be a friend first. My initial opportunities to be a friend have often sprung from being a midwife, which means "with woman". Many of my former clients and sister midwives have become lifelong friends.

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  3. And to follow up, Tiffany, just want to affirm you for sharing your feelings. I know it isn't always easy. I've had some pretty lonely times too. Paradoxically, I think I actually did better making friends when I stopped looking for the one best girlfriend, and started enjoying the bits and pieces of company of whoever I was with. Eventually, some of them got deeper and more meaningful.

    And you are also right: Everyone will not meet someone and get married someday. The big question is, how do we respond to this truth? With bitterness or acceptance?

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  4. Love your perspective and experience. Love the model you are setting! What a legacy you're entrusting to your girls and for younger singles to see contentedness like this. I admire YOU. I'd like to put a word in there for those in the married category too: "Listen to her advice. Invest in friendships. Especially if you are a woman, have other women friends to share things with. A husband can be an awesome man of God, but he was never meant to play the part of a girl friend in your life. You can share everything with him, but realize that it's OK if he's not hanging on your every word like a woman friend would do. A good husband is still a very good thing but your life may still have loney moments and you will feel incomplete sometimes unless you step up and fill in the gap by investing in others - in other women. There is something to be said for female friends. I could not live without them either." Thanks for being my friend, Roxanne. I love you!

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  5. Thanks Laura! Good to have your perspective that having girl friends is important whether we are married or single. As for me, I love having both single and married women friends to hang out with. :-) Love you- and glad WE are friends!

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  6. Roxanne you are such a beautiful woman inside and out and this blog is exactly why I love you so much. You are not looking for your "better half" because you have allowed your loving God to make you whole, complete and lacking nothing :o)
    - Kristi Sawyer

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  7. Thanks Kristi! I'm blessed with your friendship too - it has been faithful through many life changes. We've come a long way since your first mission trip to Nepal!

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  8. I feel that in our modern western culture we are taught as women to judge, compare, belittle and compete with one another to find our place in the world. Self-love and deep belonging and the awesome power of our sisterhood is scorned. It's even considered a threat to the patriarchy who are invested in keeping us divided and will even deliberately try to prevent women getting together and will feel threatened if we get too close. If they are using exhaustion to keep a woman under control, they won't like anyone supporting her or easing her burdens. That lovely woman Kathy loved and accepted me when my support systems were cut off, at a time when I most needed female friendships. Now as I age, I find I am surrounded by such a beautiful circle of grace-filled, hilarious and wise women, and through them, such beautiful, humble men in my life. Friendships with women are like good wine and cheese, they just get better and richer as they age. So poo poo to the patriarchy and thank God for gracious, non-sexist men and for wise, sassy, sentient women.

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    Replies
    1. Kathy loved and accepted us all during our hard times. I'm so glad you are in a better, healthier
      place now too. :-)

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  9. Yes good on Kathy, the first to identify that doctrine was BOGUS! She really was a lighthouse to many and obviously hasn't changed. Got to meet see her again in Europe once.

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