“She is a single woman, clothed in ivory, beautiful and purposeful but all they see is a single woman.”
Can you imagine a world where one’s marital status was not an issue? Where a single or married woman could live her life fully, without stereotypes or misconceptions?
This is not a riddle nor a contrived plan to ask trick questions but just a little wish and a prayer.
I know I would love such a world but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. Every day, we hear, see and probably experience some form of discrimination because we are single or married.
Many of these stereotypes cut deep and touch on our place as fully functional members of society.
This could be because of what has been perceived as our uncommon fixation with marriage. I mean the whole nine yards: dating, relationships, weddings, marriage, divorce, cheating, submission, amongst others.
Marriage or marriage?
When I’m amongst friends, colleagues or even people I don’t know, the discussions tend to be about relationships and more often than not, marriage.
I have also had many married people tell me that the only functions they seem to attend are other weddings. Basically, their social lives are now characterised by weddings.
How does this translate for the single woman, especially one in her thirties who thinks her biological clock is ticking loudly and the sands of time are not in her favour?
Well, she is constantly inundated with questions about her status, doubts as to her sexuality, her character and her commitment to this very act of marriage.
I used to think some of these experiences were limited to women in certain climes (basically, African women), but a quick study showed that this is a universal issue and one we need to bring to the fore.
The Essence of a Woman
Most of us, even though we know better, believe our essence as women is inextricably tied to our marital status. Do you feel this way?
Growing up, I felt this way. I noticed how my skills, virtues and character were subjected to endless scrutiny and thereafter used in discussing the type of wife I would be.
Back then, I didn’t really understand the impact of these seemingly harmless acts. I just wondered why I had to do certain things and my brother didn’t.
Now, at 31, it is sad to say that many of these nuances and characterizations remain. I often hear and see older and younger women being judged based on their suitableness in domesticity and their marital status.
The Single Woman’s Luck
Because of the pressure to get married, many of us inadvertently turn our lives and purpose to one of securing a marriage and having children.
In these scenarios, the single woman is constantly subjected to opinions and advice to settle down.
Many single women have shared with me that their biggest struggles are the lack of respect and support. It’s almost as if whatever we say or do wouldn’t mean much because of our “state”.
She could be going through difficult times but somehow, her lack of a mate trumps all of this.
Some churches don’t make it any easier with most events centred around families and couples, it almost seems like you have to attain a certain marital status to “belong”.
Even where there are events for single people, it’s usually focused on finding a mate and not really about living purposefully.
Yet, we know this shouldn’t be the case.
We know that there is more to life and a more meaningful purpose for every child of God.
More than that, we know that God has a path for each person and a time for this to come to fruition.
“For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
What is the evidence against the Single Woman?
In one of my first posts on the blog, I wrote about the stereotypes single women face and the fact that many of our interpretations of the place of marriage are not only faulty but not scriptural.
Could it be that we forget some of the notable prophets and disciples in the Bible who were not married? In defence to this, I have often been reminded that God commanded Adam to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).
I definitely agree with you. But, may I share a different perspective? Thank you.
Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, gave his life to redeem us and bring us back to God. He is sometimes referred to as the “2nd Adam”.
Though the 1st Adam was made in God’s image and likeness, the ability to choose right and wrong (free will) meant he could choose wrong, and he did.
He was a prototype, but was flawed and needed to be replaced. The 2nd Adam was the “perfect” replacement.
More importantly, this 2nd Adam went on to change the face of the world forever, he saved lives and brought so many to God. You could call him the most fruitful human being that ever lived and you wouldn’t be wrong.
There is also an important tidbit about Jesus Christ; he didn’t marry during his time on earth. This was the same for Apostle Paul who converted so many in New Testament times?
Would you then agree that the reference to fruitfulness was not just about the physical (procreation), but more about redemption and a second birth, which was more meaningful ?
A stand against Unfair Characterisations
My dear sister, I promise you that these are not my early morning ramblings but a few thoughts I wanted to share with you about the single woman.
One thing I ask is this. Let us not subject our interactions, discussions or opinions with the next woman we see based on her marital status. Notwithstanding her age, talents or attributes.
Let us avoid any looks of pity, no questions like “you’re so pretty, how come you’re not married?” or my favourite, “all those men must be blind“.
We really are not God and do not know his plans for each person. We can only hope and pray that his will is manifested in our lives.
I hope you will join me and take a stand against any form of unfair and unhealthy characterization of the single woman, in the church and in society.
Let us not stop her but rather encourage and support her in her quest to live right and for her God.