'I am 32 and single. I would like a partner, but the tricky part is that my environment keeps reminding me of that. They ask if it is not even time. Or when I finally find someone. It must be compassionate, but how do I stop this? '
Certainly in a Christian environment, being married seems to score higher in the polls than being single. Why? Jesus was single. Paul was, as far as we know, single. All kinds of prophets were single. Was there something wrong with them? Are there complaints about Jesus' lack of commitment, Paul's fear of commitment, or Martha's pickiness? I do not think so.
Now that the days are shorter again and the drizzles and grayness increase, the desire for a partner can grow stronger again. Ultimately, the vast majority of singles would rather be married. Not because this is better, but because it is cozier when things go well.
But let's not confuse cozier with better. It's no better to be married, it's just different. And only if you are both willing to constantly invest in your relationship is the potential better.
A lonely marriage is ultimately much worse than being lonely single.
So what will you say at Christmas to nagging family members or friends when you go back to the holidays alone? Or if you are without a partner because you got divorced this year? It depends a bit on who asks and how it is asked. To the nagging busybody you say: "Go work on your own relationship." Because nine times out of ten, that's where the real problem is. People focus on your lack of a partner, because they prefer to focus on other people's problems than their own. So calmly hold up a mirror to them.
If you want to do it a little more subtle, ask, "How is love in your marriage?" The question for a partner is a very intimate question. You can make people feel that this is a question that raises a lot for you and is not so easy to answer.
It is different for the people who really love you and want to think along with you. Invite them this Christmas to help you in this area for the coming year. You may need some feedback on your relationship skills. Or do you need help meeting new people. Maybe you just need some courage to go for it for the umpteenth time. Be that as it may, invite them. Specific and targeted what they can do for you to help you spend Christmas with someone next year. Feel free to make it concrete. And let them pray for you anyway. Because most of the time the "nagging" question stems from genuine interest and compassion, but just comes off a little clumsy. Think of it as a variation on "I love you and I give you someone to share your life with." Sounds good, right?
Aukelien Van Abbema is a singles and couples counsellor, public speaker, and successful author, including the title Dare to Date.
Helping people with Christian dating, relationships, singleness in church, dating in church, loneliness, connectedness, christian connection, healthy relationships.