Thursday, November 22, 2007

Single In a Married World

For the single person the question most dreaded is, "Why aren’t you married?"

I’ve wracked my brain, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what kind of answer people expect. Are they hoping to hear some inner secret? "I have hideous personality flaws." Are they looking for gossip? Or a sad story, perhaps? "Gee, I can’t figure it out myself. Do you think it’s my hair?"

I’ve never heard anyone ask a married person, "So, why aren’t you single?" If she were asked, she’d probably slap the person and say, "Because I fell in love and got married, you idiot!" But when we say, "Because I didn’t fall in love with anyone I thought I should marry," we’re obviously too picky. Apparently, if we’re not married by thirty, it’s time to settle.

I know that the family is the basis of society, and that a good marriage is a wonderful and holy thing. I may marry someday, myself. But there are certain advantages to being single; advantages that one might imagine God would use among those who trust Him.

Many single Catholics are getting involved in youth ministry. They’re taking care of their aging parents. They’re making a difference in their communities.

Do you think maybe God has something to do with that?

Single people always ask me, "Whose fault is it that I’m single — mine or God’s?" In most cases, I have no clue. The point is, that God writes straight with crooked lines. Maybe there are more single adult Catholics these days because there’s a crisis in faith; maybe that makes it harder for holy people to find each other. Maybe it’s because the family is falling apart, and Catholics are scared like everybody else. Maybe it’s because there are less priests, so God needs more people with free time to help out. I don’t know.

All I know is that God is still God, and He’s Lord of the single as well as the married. We’re all put here to share His love, and that’s where we’ll find fulfillment. Single people may do that in a different way but, if it’s done right, it’s no less fulfilling and no less important.

Attention, single people: Stop obsessing over what you don’t have, and start concentrating on what you do have, and all of the good you can do with it.And, married people: stop asking the single people why they’re not married. You may not mean to, but you’re giving them the impression that you consider their lives somehow inferior to yours.

Mary Beth Bonacci (edited version)