What I love most about the gorgeous Bianca Olthoff is that she tells it like it is. Her words, whether spoken or penned on paper, are authentic; real. She doesn’t mess around. She just gets to the point and digs deep into an issue while gently holding the hand of the one listening.
Honestly, I don’t know how she does it – serve as a key part of The A21 Campaign, keynote on platforms across the country, faithfully contribute blogs and articles that edify and encourage, and serve as a catalyst for future leaders in the church. She does it all.
And by all. . . I do mean all.
Which is why I’m so honored that she’d take time to write a post that every girl who has ever been single and a bit unsatisfied can relate to.
Read. Enjoy. Respond.
For six and a half years I was President of the Lonely Hearts Club. Yes, I was the self-professed Six Year Single. I joked about it, but inside I struggled with doing life alone. I did everything by myself; shopping, eating out, studying, driving to holiday functions, hanging with groups of friends.
I’ve been that girl. You know, thee single friend who’s attending every friend’s wedding sans a date, RSVPing for one, and praying to God no one asks her why she’s still single. The one who during the ceremony hears vows of for better or worse, until death do we part and prays for the cocktail hour to start just so I can swallow my jealousy in tooth-picked hors d’oeuvres and watery punch.
There were times where I didn’t mind; other times weren’t as successful. Many nights after serving in youth ministry I would chill with my two friends, Ben&Jerry, while watching You’ve Got Mail as I never received any mail. Pathetic? Yes. Honest? Oh, yeah!
Okay, okay, I may not be single anymore. But for 30 years I survived sans a wedding ring or a life partner. After my dysfunctional three-year dating relationship with a man I affectionately refer to as Satan ended, I realized I need to make some healthy changes moving forward. I could get bitter or I could get better.
Around the age of 25 when most Hispanic women are married with children, I was in graduate school. I was serving in full-time ministry in an unpaid position in youth ministry when most people were encouraging me to find a singles group. And I was consciously aware that I could end up a BitterBetty because most single women I spoke to complained incessantly about the lack of spiritual leaders [aka: single men to ask them out] in the church.
I had to decision to make.
1. I could sit on my spiritual laurels and wish, hope, and pray for Prince Charming to read me Songs of Solomon and refer to me as bone of my bone.
2. I could put my head down, do some work, and keep my eyes open for a Godly man who is doing the same.
Some of the best memories and moments in life were not on the arm of a man, but reaching for the hand of the One hand who knew me far greater than anyone else. Of course looking back on my singleness is easier than being in it, but I will say perspective changed my attitude.
Contrary to popular belief, there are worse things than not being married. Like being married to the wrong person. Or having a sixth toe. Both are tragic.
For those who are married or in dating relationships, here are some things you can do to be supportive in all seasons:
• If someone tells you they just broke up or are single, don’t wince, sigh, and say, I’ll pray for you. They don’t have a terminal disease, for crying out loud?! Instead, open your house or your calendar to make time to spend with them.
• ThreeDogNight said it best, One is the loneliness number that you’ll ever hear. If you have a single friend, be available. I know, I know, it’s hard to make time. But do it.
• If you’re single, mingle. Don’t be a hermit or spend another night watching FRIENDS with Ben and Jerry. Get out! Meet people! Have fun! Use exclamation marks!
• If you’re single, maybe it’s for a reason. Are your expectations too high? Are you mean? Are you bitter? Do you smell? Ask a married friend to be honest with you and trust them to tell you where you need to change. [Yes, ask a married person. If you ask your single friend if your expectations are too high and she says no, maybe that’s why you’re both single.]
That’s my two cents for what it’s worth. If you’re single, what’s you reason? If you’re married, what advice can you give to those in a party of one?