This is what I posted on the FACEBOOK page of FOCUS ON THE FAMILY in response to a two-part program with a single woman in her 40s who is in charge of their publication BOUNDLESS about being a single woman who desires to be married and is actively seeking and waiting on the LORD for a husband. I am tired of people whining about being single and the implication that one's life is incomplete without a spouse. I might be a rare "unicorn", but I am very grateful and relieved that God has allowed me to have the privilege of remaining single. So my response to FOCUS ON THE FAMILY is as follows:
I listened to most of your two part series about singleness and, although I have a lot more to say I will begin with two words, "STOP WHINING!" I would add "STOP WASTING YOUR LIFE PINING FOR A SPOUSE--FIND YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE--GOD MIGHT VERY WELL BE CALLING YOU TO THE BLESSED PRIVILEGE OF THE SINGLE VOCATION." How about EMBRACING AND MAKING THE BEST USE OF YOUR TIME AND FREEDOM OF YOUR SINGLE STATE--it might be your vocation, or perhaps God WILL bring that special person into your life and you will marry, BUT MAKE THE BEST, MOST GODLY USE OF THE PRECIOUS TIME IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW!
Although I respect and admire people called to the vocation of marriage who are devoted to the LORD and their spouses and children and are serving God, their families and others well, as my parents have been doing for 63 years and counting, life does not revolve around whether the LORD gives you a spouse or not. Consider whether God has another purpose for you and don't waste your time!
Perhaps I am somewhat selfish or self-centered, and I am a 60 year old happily celibate single pro-life Catholic Christian feminist who decided even before the feminist movement came into vogue that my life was NOT going to revolve around a man and that my happiness was NOT to depend on having a man in my life, so my perspective is quite different and the LAST thing I would want would be for someone to look for a "match" for me. I am not anti-men (I respect both men and women and have both male and female friends) or anti-marriage; I believe that marriage between one man and one woman for a lifetime, faithful, committed sacramental union and the bearing, loving, and raising children has been ordained by God and is a SACRAMENT and a VOCATION and a challenging journey requiring a lot of love, commitment, effort, struggle and self-sacrifice. It is just not a vocation for everyone. God's will is for SOME to marry but for others to pursue other vocations, and in the Catholic Church we honor celibate priesthood, celibate consecrated religious life in community, marriage, and the celibate single vocation. YES, I dated somewhat during my life and tried to be open to making the sacrifice of getting married if this was the LORD's will, but in the end I am relieved that the LORD has allowed me to have the blessings and freedom of the celibate single vocation.
I personally hate housework and believe that if we collected all the time we spend doing it, this time could have been used writing the great American novel or doing something else more significant! So I can live in my "woman cave" with clutter that bothers no one and write my blog or post on FACEBOOK without being responsible for "keeping a nice home". I am very active in the Church--I am a lector (proclaiming some of the Scriptures at Mass), a Special Minister of Holy Communion (I help distribute Holy Communion at Mass and can bring Holy Communion to people who are unable to get to Mass--currently my 84 year old Mom and 90 year old Dad have had health issues that prevent them from getting there and I can bring them Holy Communion), a choir member and involved in other Catholic music ministries, a professed member of the Secular Franciscan order (the order St. Francis of Assisi founded for lay people), and I have been involved in various prayer groups as well. Church ministry and community are my LIFEBLOOD and this is where I find joy, fulfillment and purpose. I have been working with preschoolers with special needs for the past ten years, so I have the privilege of loving and making a positive difference in the lives of young children without the 24/7 responsibility and the mess--I get to go home and go out as I please at the end of the work day. When the Spirit inspires me I can sit down and write a poem, write a reflection, write a song in my own space, unencumbered and with few, if any, interruptions. I am also an only child, and now that my parents are aging and starting to need my help and I am doing itinerant speech therapy that allows me to have flexible hours I can be available to spend time with them, cherish them and the time I have left with them, and try to give them some joy and the best quality of life that I can, with God's help.
I know that the majority of people who are single are looking to marry and that I am an exception. I am rare in that I personally don't find marriage desirable. But singles need to realize that if we belong to the LORD we do not need a spouse to complete us--we are complete in CHRIST. And I believe that it was St. Augustine who said that God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. Of course, I am blessed that my parents are still alive and close to me and that I have the blessing of family, friends, Christian community and ministry. I have found my place and purpose in life primarily through the Church. I would encourage ALL single people--whether called to remain single or called to marry in God's time--to find happiness in the LORD, in the Church, and in cultivating and using your God-given gifts and talents to serve God and serve others. I believe that this is where ultimate happiness lives, whether it is in the context of the home, the workplace, or the Church. For me the single state provides me with the freedom to use my time and energy making use of my God-given gifts unencumbered by the challenges, conflicts, aggravation, mundane chores, and burdens of the vocation of marriage and demanding a lot less sacrifice. In whatever vocation God calls us, we are called to love and serve Him and love and serve people and to use our God-given gifts for His purpose and His glory. For many it is in the vocation of marriage, but it is not for everyone. For me singleness is a vocation to be embraced and not merely a "holding pattern" to be "endured".
Many of your programs about the single state have been about how to find a mate, perhaps "what to do in the meantime", but none, to the best of my knowledge, have been with people who feel blessed to embrace the single state. Perhaps you should consider this for your future programming.
(c) Copyright 2013 by Arlene B. Muller (Arlene Clare Muller, OSF)