"So why aren't you married?" a friend said to me, recounting an interview she'd had recently with a potential church in her denomination.
I sighed. She agreed. We both liked to say that our respective denominations would be beyond that, be beyond seeing the lack of a wedding ring as something of concern. As if being "never married" is akin to having a criminal record or a full-face tattoo of a spider web.
"So what'd you say?" I asked.
"What you said your response is: it just hasn't happened."
After being asked the question far too many times during my various encounters with the church, I finally wondered why it mattered, this never being married thing. Obviously, some people wonder if we never-marrieds are really gay (most times not, in case that matters) or have some trauma that keeps us from said relationship (perhaps, but I've also seen lots of married folk with deep trauma who fled to a relationship for a "fix"). Maybe it matters because we never-marrieds are fine with who we are and aren't looking for someone to make our lives better or, in that ridiculous Jerry Macguire parlance, complete. Or we just remind people that marriage is not a reward, but simply something that happens to some and not others. God kind of works that way, slipping life in your path as you have other ideas and notions about what you should be doing. God knows exactly what we need in our lives to do the job and live the life we offer God.
Don't get me wrong. Some days I wonder what having a permanent fixture of a man in my life would look like, what coming home to that someone special would feel like after a long day. And, one evening on my back porch as I said this to a married friend, she sat for a long time in silence before speaking.
"Well, here's a secret we marrieds don't like to say. Sometimes we wonder what life would look like single."
Hmmm. So that grass being greener works on several levels. I'm not against marriage or long-term relationships or dating or even keeping company with a man or woman who meets one's needs. I am against assuming that a lack of a wedding in one's history matters in a way that is significant. I know fabulous, joyful people who are married, never-married, divorced, widowed, and partnered, and I strive to accept them just as they are, because isn't that the real question from God?
Can you see the value of people without trying to smush them into categories so you can think you know something about them without actually having to get to know something about them? Will we seek and serve Christ in all people, accepting them as they are and creating a full community?
So, all the single ladies (and men), know this: you are amazing, just as you are. Use the good china, take up the whole bed, and fill your life with all the people you need, because God needs you, just as you are.