I had the privilege of speaking at a church last Mother's Day. I felt privileged because any time I'm able to talk about Jesus is a treat. But I also felt uncomfortable because I'm over 40, single, and childless. Mother's Day is a celebration earmarked for minivan–driving women with a gaggle of children—not women like me. The day's meant for women who woke up to a lovely breakfast prepared by a doting husband—not women who woke up alone at the Fairfield Inn. The holiday's for women whose adorable children made clay handprints engraved with "I love you, Mom," in Sunday school—not women whose only Creative Memories' subjects are pets. To say I felt a little out of place is an understatement.
Although being single in America no longer is atypical (the latest U.S. census reveals more single/ divorced/widowed women than married ones), in the Christian subculture, singleness often seems an anomaly. I can't count how many times church people have awkwardly asked me, "Do you have any children?" or "Where's your husband?" My favorite answer is, "My future husband's lost and won't stop to ask for directions." The quip usually prompts giggles and diverts attention from my lackluster dating life.
Sometimes I wonder if myths about Christians and singleness contribute to making women without a diamond ring on their left hand feel like misfits. Let's look at some of the faulty theology surrounding singleness, and get the Bible's actual take on the subject.1