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The Single Life

The Single Life

Five women sound off on sex, dating, and the church

At the end of each day, after the bustle of working or parenting or even dating, a single woman is usually alone. In that vulnerable moment, what flickers of longing and temptation arise? What assurances of peace and love overwhelm? Five women—Karen Beattie, Deborah Nicodem Carsten, Dawn Eden, Connally Gilliam, and Valencia Wiggins—give their singular take on the single life.

Do you struggle with being content in your singleness?

Valencia: While I believe God wants me to serve him faithfully in this season, I've also cried out for him to change this area of my life. I often discussed the "gift" of singleness with my roommates in college, laughing about who did or didn't have it. One roommate thought she had this gift—and she's now married with three children. I never thought I did, and I'm still single.

Connally: We're all called to discover and appreciate the "gift" aspects of singleness. I liken myself to someone living in a war zone. I'm not necessarily "called" to live there as an end in itself. Instead, I'm called to make the most of my situation, confident God's at work in all circumstances.

Karen: Even though I made the most of my singleness, traveling to Puerto Vallarta with girlfriends and decorating my home according to my tastes, I often felt cheated out of a husband and family. Before I married at age 40, I vacillated between being content and blaming God for my singleness.

Deborah: I strive to embrace my life and be content with who I am today, not who I might be in the future. A while ago I posted this quote on my refrigerator: "You have more to learn from what's in front of you than from whatever it is you seek."

Dawn: If I live my entire life waiting in hope of marriage, I wouldn't see that as a tragedy, as long as, while I wait, I fix my eyes on Jesus, not on a fantasy of my future husband.

What do you see as your role in finding a husband?

Karen: One of my friends says we're "coauthors" with God. We take the first step, and he brings someone into our life. Initially, I wanted God to be matchmaker. I went years without a date. Then, as I got older, I tried being more pro-active. Eventually, I met my husband online—so, while I believe God was involved, I ultimately took some initiative.

Connally: I don't think I'm fundamentally responsible to find a mate. Rather, I'm responsible to be open to the men God brings into my life. I can freely decide whether or not to try Internet dating or accept friends' setups. In a metaphoric sense, my duty is to be a good dancer. I like to dance, so I put myself into the dance hall. But I can neither force a man to dance with me nor make us a good pair.

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