Being single - Dwelling Spaces

Monday, 26 February 2018

Being single

I knew before I came out here that my being single was likely to be a talking point. Today as we got deeper into conversations with people, more challenging questions began to emerge. It seems to be virtually unheard of that a woman would choose to be single. It would leave her very vulnerable both financially and in later life when care would normally happen via children. Every conversation partner has asked when I’m going to get married. 

It is interesting to reflect on the cultural difference with the UK. Here the priority is to have children and the only way to (acceptably) to do that is to be married. When I mentioned that Paul says in the Bible that it is better to remain single than have your attention distracted from God by a husband/wife/children, then they understood more conceptually but I’m not sure in reality that the status of being single and being married would be considered equally acceptable. I found out more about the cultural background, and there is a strong tradition that by choosing to be single you are a ‘world destroyer’ because being married and having children destroys death by allowing your family line to continue. If you choose not to marry and have children you give death the upper hand... More to explore as the week goes on.

In the UK, in some ways the church is not that much better at valuing singleness as a status. And this quite probably roots back to not dissimilar reasons. But I’m hoping to explore here some of what the Bible has to say about the way Jesus redefined the meaning of family. Jesus was a single man with no children and yet the Bible talks about him delighting in his offspring. The Bible is also full of language about those who follow Jesus being children of God and brothers and sisters together. Most importantly perhaps in a culture that values the continuity of names, God promises to remember people’s names, a promise also given to eunuchs (men who couldn’t have children). For me, all this is important in feeling valued as a single person, knowing how God sees and values me in a different way to the culture(s) that surround me. God is interested in my relationship status, but it is the relationship I have with God that is the key one. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this Jo - really interesting side to our partnership - learning about different cultural expectations.