I loved this article on how blaming women for their singleness isn't really helping. I had to share.
What I hated during my single days (and I don't mean that to sound like I am so far past my single days because I am not!) is the constant shame and blame you got as a single. I've spoken of this before.
Whether its Christian authors, speakers of well-meaning friends and family (or not so well meaning friends and family), there is constantly a desire to explain why so many people in my generation are still single....and usually the blame is placed on us. (forgetting to face the fact that many many 20somethings grew up in divorced homes or witnessing divorced homes).
There is a lot of blame or explination of why men are still single (the video game culture, extended childhoods, etc) but there always seems to be a critique on women (or maybe I felt this the most since I am a woman)....particularly on working women (although I still beg the question: what are women supposed to do while waiting for a spouse? Even those that want to be SAHM's have to support themselves until that point!)
Sometimes I read or was told that because I am a lawyer, I didn't value marriage enough and gave off the impression that I was too independent and career oriented. Sometimes I was told the opposite: I wanted marriage too much which must be chasing men away. Some views were that certainly I was too unfriendly and unwelcoming to men. Sometimes the impression was that I must be too forward, not letting men be men. My standards must be too high, passing on all eligible men. My standards must be too low, settling for men who don't have my values and beliefs and it will certainly fail and then I'll be single again and wondering why my dating relationships don't work!
Not only was I blamed, I was blamed either way I turned! No matter what I did, I was at fault.
Additionally, I need to lose weight, dress differently, always be done up, be gorgeous....all while lowering my expectations of how I want the man to look. Men's attraction is based on appearance after all, and we women shouldn't be too picky because we don't value appearance at all and need not hold men to the same physical standards they hold us to. (note: I agree on not placing too much value on appearance, but I find it unfair that men are allowed to yet women shouldn't!)
Additionally, I must have a difficult personality or be bitter. Maybe I'm a little strange....possibly I'm not very feminine and warm. There's always a reason....and in some ways, I get it, we want to explain away the situation. Certainly so many women must be single for a reason!
Also, many times, this blaming comes from those who are married, implying: get your act together lady so you can be mariable like me. There's a level of false prosperity gospel being taught with these messages on singleness and a level of pride in being one of the ones who were marriable.
This approach of blaming leaves women struggling with singleness (which they already were struggling!) and on top of that, hating and blaming themselves. But finally I came to the realization that I had some things I could change about my personality, appearance and approach, but as a whole, there was nothing that made me unmarriable...just circumstances.
That's why I loved this article. The truth is that with the ratio of Christian men to Christian women (3:2), there are a lot of single women. Likely, thats not changing any time soon and sadly, we will continue to see older singles. Is the best thing the church and Christians can do? Make women feel horrible about themselves? If some women face many years single, then perhaps the church can encourage dating and marriage, help train Godly men and at the very least, be a shelter and place of community for singles, particularly single women.
I'm actually not opposed to dating advice and self help books and I truly do think that if you have weight to lose, lose it (single or married) and it might help you date more. You probably have things you can do to improve your personality and I sure hope you do. And I sure plan on continuing to work on myself, even with a ring on my hand. I didn't suddenly become good enough. And had I never gotten married, I'd still have a whole list of wonderful personality traits (and some not so good one).
Do I know some women who its understandable why they aren't married? sure....but I know a lot more women that I am left scratching my head and wondering how she is not taken yet....and I know a few women who are difficult that are married!!There are mean women who are married and mean women who are single, so the sweet kind women aren't those who get to get married.
So do yourself a favor. If you are single, quit listening to everyone come up with reasons why you are single: independence, shyness, law degree, etc Trust the counsel of a few close people and work on your flaws, but know that providence and circumstances may have more to do with your singlness than anything else. If you aren't single, don't associate marital status with success or favor or being qualified. Love your single sisters and include them. Offer encouragement, love and even the occasional advice (no, carhart overalls aren't a good first date clothing choice, etc) -- but don't offer blame. You aren't any better....It could just as easilly be you that was single.