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The Big, Unanswerable Question: "Why Am I Still Single?"

singleness

Human beings are driven with a need to control. We think, "If I can just understand something, then I can control it."

So what about the questions that don't have a single, easily digestible answer?

Humans long for understanding, especially in difficult or disappointing life circumstances — those times and places where life just isn't going according to our plan.

The Depth of a Question
Not having a clear answer to the question of one's own singleness can be troubling beyond just the difficulty of not having control or purpose. Finding a spouse requires someone to desire us, choose us, and commit to us.

In the absence of clear explanations, singles can feel that they have not been chosen because of some defect in who they are — that being single for no obvious reason means there is obviously something wrong with them. There is a temptation to think, "If only I were more attractive, funnier, more outgoing, earned more money, were a better Christian, etc., then someone would desire, choose, and commit to me."

The human desire to understand our situation is so strong that we'll believe bad things, even manifest lies, if it promises to help us to make sense of our lives. For many, the ambiguity surrounding singleness can even be enough to provoke identity pain.

The Complexity of An Answer
Unlike a simple mathematical problem, there is no one right answer to the question of, "Why am I single?" Nor should there be.

Just as humans are complex beings, so, too, are the reasons behind one's singleness. It's common to fall back on an all-encompassing answer such as, "God will give you the right person, when you/that person is ready."

But doing so not only minimizes that person's pain and experience; it's also just as ambiguous as the question, itself.

How to Respond to the Question of Singleness
Perhaps the right response is not in a simple answer to a complex question, but in the act of empathizing and seeking to understand the one asking it.

Recognize the complexity of why someone is single. Don't offer simple answers.

Do offer feedback if you have the relational capital. If you're single, treat yourself gently as you wrestle with why you're single.

Consider inviting feedback about why you might be single from those you know and trust. Remember the story of the blind man in John 9: undesired circumstances may not be the direct result of sin or failure, but allowed by God for His work to be evident in our lives.

As you minister to the single adults in your church, you both stand to win from the process of getting to process such deep, hard questions together.

And isn't that what community's all about?

Learn more about Singleness and helpful tools to discuss difficult topics with those you lead in our latest FREE eBook