At work yesterday, I ended up on a bunch of different church websites. Many had Meet the Staff pages, some with interview-style questions and fun facts.
On one church’s site, ”How I met my spouse” was the second question on each staff bio. Not a bad question.
One of the staff had listed, “When I find her, I’ll let ya know .” A clever answer to what could be an awkward, painful question.
I don’t know any of these people, and I’ll likely never meet them. Maybe this guy is 100% content in his singleness, every single day, and was looking for a chance to use his clever answer.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into the placement, and am a little oversensitive about this because I went to a wedding recently, and wrote of how doing so brings up a lot of emotions.
But the “How I met my spouse” question being listed second seems to suggest something about how the church views marriage, and in turn, their single staff member. “How I met my spouse” appears above “Spiritual Gifts” or “How you got into ministry” or “Favorite Bible passage.”
But I think it points to a larger problem within Christian thought: Why is there often a subtle implication that we are incomplete until we can answer the question, “How did you meet your spouse?”
There are days I feel incomplete due to my singleness, but that does not make it true. Using the Bible as a guide, I find nothing that implies that I am somehow less, or my life has not yet begun because I am not married.
Paul writes of marriage and singleness in I Corinthians 7, ending the chapter with, “But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.”
He seems to be saying here that though the Spirit of God can be found in marriage, it can also be found in singleness. There is nothing in the chapter, or in the way that Paul lived his life, to imply he was somehow incomplete and less effective as a servant of God because he was not married. Paul also does not condemn the idea of marriage, nor do I intend to–if I could plan my life, I’d be married right now, or at least in a relationship that was strongly headed that way. In any of the versions of my life I have imagined, none of them have included being single for the rest of my life.
But just because I am not married yet does mean I am incomplete.
The church whose staff pages I mentioned is probably a wonderful church. When they created those pages on the website, they probably didn’t give much thought to the arrangement of the questions…which is kind of the problem. Having “How I met my spouse” as the second question, when one of the people does not have an answer to that question, seems to imply he is missing an element that is crucial to complete his profile. Even unconsciously, Christian circles often subtly imply that singleness implies incompleteness. I strongly disagree.
I’m not anti-marriage. From what I’ve seen, heard, read, and more, marriage is an incredible gift that will, I hope, someday teach me more about love, sacrifice, struggle, relationships, and God than I thought possible. In some ways, I imagine it may complete a part of me I didn’t know was possible–but I don’t think that means that right now, a piece of me is missing.
Maybe marriage brings about another level of completeness; a different kind of completeness for those who are supposed to get married, but not completeness in a sense that something is missing for those who are not. As Paul says, “I think that I too have the Spirit of God.”
I am single, not incomplete.
Til next time…
p.s. What do you think? If you’re single, do you ever feel that it’s implied you’re “incomplete”? If you’re married, am I completely missing something here?
Like this? Share it…use the buttons below.