Much like me, being a single woman in the Church can be awkward. I’ve been a Christian for my entire adult life and single for the past five years. And for those five years, I couldn’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve been hinted at or just straight-up told that I should be dating or married. Between well-meaning friends, Bible studies and sermons, I have more bruises on me from the not-so-subtle-nudges than I can count.
As someone who genuinely enjoys being single, it’s exhausting. And, for someone who doesn’t enjoy being single, I imagine it just adds insult to injury.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Bible, the will of God or, well, anything for that matter. But, from my experience as a single Christian woman, I do have some thoughts about what we, the Church, just need to stop.
Giving Women an Inferiority Complex
The Bible verse I often see used to point to women as being inferior is Genesis 2:18. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The rhetoric attached to this verse often leads to the idea that women are inferior to men. But, with the help of the ever-handy Blue Letter Bible, we can debunk that notion quicker than the zany guys from Mythbusters.
The biblical word for helper, when cross-referenced, is most often used to describe God as man’s helper. And since it is absurd to call God inferior, a helper cannot inherently be inferior, thus neither can woman be called inferior for being the helper. Boom sauce. (Yes, I did use “thus” and “boom sauce” in the same breath and I won’t apologize for it.)
You may think, “Hey, we aren’t talking about feminism here! We’re talking about single women!” That’s true, you old so-and-so, but a woman’s self-worth is important in the context of singleness. If we are teaching women that they are inferior—be it intentionally or unintentionally—we’re pushing them into the idea that their self-worth is tied to the thing they are inferior to. So, now you have a bunch of insecure women moping around trying to find worth in single men who probably don’t find insecurity very attractive. And they shouldn’t. Because from what I can glean, that wouldn’t be a union that serves God, that would be a union that serves you.
Don’t Be Cupid
Dear, sweet, well-meaning friends who love their single friends so much … just stop. We understand you are in a fulfilling relationship that honors God, and yes we want that someday. But when you are constantly trying to fix us up with someone, there’s a solid chance that the message you’re sending is “you’re not enough on your own.”
There’s a big difference between noticing compatible people and busting out the black book to start running down the list of single guys you know in a desperate attempt to pair us up with someone.
Everyone is different, obviously. But this is a sentiment I’ve shared with many of my single friends. Assuming that I need to be in a relationship to be happy or fulfilled, however well-intentioned it may be, is a little insulting. Your single friends aren’t charity cases and they don’t need fixing. Enjoy them for the people they are and celebrate them in that because “You deserve someone awesome” isn’t always a compliment.
Women’s Bible Studies
I could be in the minority here, but I’ve got to say, I’ve never been to a women’s Bible study or gathering that I’ve felt connected to or spiritually enriched by. Aside from the generality and stigma of women’s groups closely resembling bridal showers with bubbly fruit drinks and teeny tiny food (I’m not a Keebler elf, give me real food), every experience I’ve had with a women’s Bible study focused on how to be a good, Christian wife or how to date in a way that is holy and pleasing to God. By no means are those bad things. But they also aren’t the only things.
I don’t believe single women are called to twiddle their thumbs until a godly man finds you and makes you his wife and then you can finally serve God in the context of marriage. As followers of Christ, we are called to make disciples, not to sit on our hands and wait.
In fact, it’s insane to do that. If you believe the Gospel, it is crazy to not put that into action. Grow in the knowledge of the Word of God. Strengthen your mind as much as possible. Do not be satisfied with surface-level emotive devotionals. Get in the deep end of the pool. Don’t let your Bible studies be reduced to Christian wife training. Grow theologically.
Then share that growth, especially with other women. Women need to teach women to be godly women, not just godly wives.
Tiffanie is the Social Media Coordinator at RELEVANT. She enjoys assorted Italian meats, meaningful conversations, and long, romantic walks to the fridge. You can follower her life adventures on Twitter @tiffaniebrunson.