On Being Single in My 40’s

This was an email I sent to my friend, Carolyn McCulley.  She has published two books, one of them even quotes me.  (Yeah, no idea how THAT happened. :D)  Carolyn runs Citygate Films.  Why does she do this?  She’s awesome.  Otherwise I totally don’t get the faith that steps away from a salary and begins a start up documentary film company in the middle of a recession.  Chalk that one up to God.

Last week she posted on “Living Without Physical Intimacy“.  Which, included this quote, “There is pain as I sit, feeling as though I am starving to death, and listen to my married friends try to explain to me that eating is overrated.”  That quote, and the post actually, inspired my rant below.  Carolyn is kind enough to enjoy my rants.  I was tangentially discussing this very subject with another friend earlier today, I thought it pertinent.  A convergence of sorts.  So, here it is, in all of it’s raw rantiness.
Dearest Carolyn,
This reminds me of so many conversations.  So many.
Kind of the way I would never ever tell a person suffering with cancer that health comes with it’s struggles also.  How ridiculous.  Not that they are the same thing, but…
I honestly think that a lot of the missed opportunity to encourage people suffering is a lack of understanding of suffering.  Like in a conversation I had recently with a friend from Colorado.  Both of us have FM, she has an understanding husband who often runs defense for her and helps to protect the little strength she has.  I commented that would be nice to have.  I promptly got a lecture about how marriage isn’t all that.  blahblahblah.  I’ve taken to responding with “Yeah, I know.  As a single, my life is my own and I answer to God and God alone.  It’s pretty awesome to get to do whatever I want, when ever I want!”  Even as I mean that literally – I LIKE that my life is my own, I also MEAN that.  It’s honestly the meanest thing I can say to a married woman.  How awful am I?  Yeah, you get sex regularly and all sorts of help and crap, but when I want to take a cruise to Nova Scotia I go to Nova Scotia, I don’t have to wait three years for the kids to grow or for the fishing trip, or whatever.  Of course, I go alone, but there’s trade offs.  Just one dang time I would like for a married woman to say, “Yes, it is really nice to have that.  I’ll pray for you that God would bring you a husband.”  And I could just say “Thank you.”  See?
Sometimes I feel like these stupid conversations devolve into “I’m not as blessed as you”.  Another moment in human redonkulousness.
I had another friend who would down play all the advantages to marriage even as she so very obviously enjoyed an excessively happy and fulfilling marriage, just so I would be “grateful for what God gave me.”  At one point she took to saying, “Marriage and my husband is what God uses to convict me of my sin, so I needed to be married!” or some equivalent nonsense.  Which is when I took to saying, “Cool!  I must be less sinful than you because God saw I didn’t need a husband to get convicted of my sin!”  She stopped saying that pretty quickly.
At least once I would like a happily married woman who gets great sex (I know they are out there) to say “Yeah, marriage is AWESOME!  I’m so grateful!” instead of the standard pablum “blahblahblahhardshipblahblahblahrelationship!”  Like singles don’t actually already understand that relationships are hard!  Like we are unaware that they require work and that people have fights.  HELLO!!!  Come meet my family.  Relationships require effort.  Check! Got it.  But, you know, they are RELATIONSHIPS.  Exactly the thing we crave, miss, long for, dream about, pray for.
We aren’t blind.  It’s not like we don’t read all the studies that show that even not super duper happy marriages have actual physical/health benefits.  We see it every day.  I can’t tell you how many times single women I know who are having reproductive tract issues of all kinds get told some variation of “Well, if you only had sex regularly/got pregnant” your “insert vaginal/uterine issue here” would go away.  I’ve been told that so often that I just stop the doctor.  The doctors aren’t wrong, we are silly to ignore that.  Our bodies were created to have sex regularly.  To not have sex regularly means that parts that were meant for use stand idle and those parts don’t respond well to idle.  Is there a solution that doesn’t involve sin?  I dunno.  I’d like to think there is, maybe.  I gotta figure out how to get seratonin from somewhere other than sex and chocolate.
It’s not like God DOESN’T often require his children to walk paths that are not overall healthy for their physical bodies.  He does that all the dang time.  Heck, our bodies begin to rot from the moment we are born.  Joni Erickson Tada has breast cancer, I have FM, other people have all manner of other stuff.  It’s ridiculous not to note that God’s path for us may have a deleterious effect on our physcial beings.  cough~The Cross~cough.  Being single is included in that in a much lesser but still deleterious kind of way.  Just saying.
Also, it hurts our feelings to not be loved that way.
It’s also not like most of us haven’t gone to bed still horney and have no non-sinful relief in sight.  I used to have sex, it was pretty dang fun, I’d like to try it when I’m in my own dang bed with someone who will be there tomorrow to try it a different way.  Or next week.  Or next year.
Just saying.
Love you, thanks for posting that.  The quote at the top is made of awesome.
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2 Responses to On Being Single in My 40’s

  1. Nancy says:

    I can’t speak about what God wants for us or doesn’t want. I can say that I’m happily married and hope that you’ll be too one day. Now, I can’t say that to my my single sister in her 40s because she’d take offense at my presumption that she’s not happy, or not happy enough or that she can’t be happy without marriage, none of which I believe to be necessarily true. OTOH, she’s not religious like you are, so … I dunno. It’s a sensitive topic.

    So my husband’s away this week and life this week is a very odd mixture of pleasantries that have come via the relief of his absence and a deep sort of loneliness. The kids are at grandma’s and the distant memories of singledom from more than 11 years ago are resurfacing. What did I do with myself then without a husband and children to bounce off of, respond to, work with? Was there as much cheese involved back then as there has been this weekend? And it’s only Saturday morning! Good grief.

  2. Emm says:

    I am married, as you know, to an awesome man, and yes I like it. Anyone who tries to decide that they know how your life is- or that theirs is either better or worse should have to eat my arttempts at gourmet cooking!
    I just we could all locve each other as much as God does, and that kindness was considered a virtue and something to aspire to, instead of a whack old lady thing to do.
    I love you, and really if I was totally honest wish I was more like you in so many more ways than I can count, but yes being married is a good thing and I hope that you get to be married to someone who totally gets your awesomeness!!

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