So I recently had a conversation with one of my close friends about living single as an African woman, and I figured it was worth it to republish this post from last year. I’ve been meaning to delve deeper into this conversation since last year because the questions I’ve heard and stories I’ve heard from other singles, women especially, is out of this world! And after having a conversation about how a woman downplayed my friend’s accomplishments simply because she wasn’t married, I just KNEW there needed to be a second part to this blog because folks are wilding out here. Trust me, a blog post is brewing on this matter…in it I’ll share some of the creative ways I’ve heard “elders” ask about my love life and how I’ve also gotten more creative with my responses.
Until then…Sip your tea and coffee and catch this read. When you’re finished, share and let’s chat!
Happy New Year RADsters!!!
Happy 2017! 2017 has been a great year thus far; there’s a certain aura of enthusiasm that washes over the universe at the beginning of a new year. I’ve had my share of it this year, and I hope and pray that this enthusiasm lasts throughout the year.
Even though it tried to end on a bad note (click here to read about it), 2016 was such a great year for me and those around me- filled with laughter, hurdles, testimonies, and so much celebration. My Bestie/Roomie/Ozzband, Awele, got engaged to the love of her life, the Adam to her Eve a day before the year ended. Awele is an iyawo!!😱 We were all ecstatic!! We still are!!!; It’s just amazing how God works. I remain in awe of the beautiful masterpiece her life has become in God’s hands.
So the way social media is set up, it only took less than 30 minutes for word to get out like hot news fresh off the press. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Phone calls, texts, comments, DMs all flooded in with congratulatory messages- some studded with well wishes, surprise and amazement, others with unwarranted analyses…but I digress.
Congratulations on your friend’s engagement! Yours will come soon.” Scrrrr!! Pump the brakes
She said she was on cloud 9 million, I think we were at least on cloud 7 million as we screeched and grinned on in excitement with her.
In that mode of awe, excitement, and relief (because I kept the secret for so long) I went on with my New Year prep. Of course I expected people to congratulate me on Awele’s behalf because she’s my best friend, but what happened in the process got me wondering how other single women feel out there.
“Congratulations on your friend’s engagement! Yours will come soon.” Scrrrr!! Pump the brakes🤔. Now I know that great news and wonderful achievements are usually accompanied by prayer and well wishes, so I don’t dispute the possibility that this may be a genuine prayer to speak life into my future, “AMEN!.” However, another part of me erred on the side of caution and made sure I appropriated the statement correctly. Often times, in my culture, I hear this comment tossed around at celebratory occasions. I’ve also heard people say “Don’t worry yours is coming too,” as if there was ever a comparison. TUH!
As well-intentioned is it may be, it sometimes comes across as consolation rather than a prayer. Almost like a pacification offered in case, for whatever reason, someone felt inadequate or inferior for not yet having that certain “good thing” (be it a degree, a job, a car, marriage, a child, etc), in this case, marriage.
The statement made to me didn’t rub me the wrong way because I understood its purpose, but I couldn’t help but churn that statement and wonder why people actually say that. Do they say it because they genuinely and honestly believe and are standing in faith with you? Do they say it because they feel a slight sense of pity for your “supposed” inability to achieve that “goal”? Or Do they say it because they’re projecting their impatience on you? “we’re waiting for yours.”
…we gain more control over the words we speak when we have a better understanding of how they impact the receivers.
Someone may be reading this post thinking “well you can’t really control what people intend by what they say.” That’s very true, but let’s also consider how many people have actually been hurt or felt defeated by those words. Words are powerful!: they make implications and can build up or tear down. I believe that we gain more control over the words we speak when we have a better understanding of how they impact the receivers.
Not every Single is strong enough to pick the good and discard the bad; some people take every word they hear to heart. Some may hear that comment and think “I guess I’m taking too long,” “Yet another thing I’ve failed at,” or “what’s wrong with me. Why can’t I find a wife or a husband?” That subconsciously places pressure on people, and they later make decisions hastily and suffer the consequences.
The Bible calls us to speak life and speak in love to one another, to encourage one another, and it also informs us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. I’d like to call us to always consider our words before they catch a breath and are released into the atmosphere.
Trust me, it’s natural to be worried or concerned for a loved one when it seems like they’re not getting what we strongly believe they deserve, especially as it relates to marriage and those who are single. In most cases, our intentions for loved ones are…well…loving, but the frustration takes a peek and creates concern in our spirits; however, in our concern we must always consider this “is what I’m doing or saying helping or hurting the situation?,” “What are my intentions in what I’m about to say?,” “Have I prayed on their behalf?”
Society has created a timeline for Singles that all too well only comprises of finding the “right one,” getting into a relationship, getting engaged, getting married, and having babies. DONE that’s it…. That’s it?! That can’t be it! And it’s not.
You see, each person blessed to be on this earth is here for kingdom business; he/she is here because God has a specific assignment that must be completed. Call me crazy, but I strongly believe that an infinite God has the capacity to create infinite plans for each of our lives. Plans that go far beyond that walk down the aisle, a ring on the finger, or that party to which everyone wants to be invited (“I want to eat jollof o and tie gele!”) We should be able to encourage singles, Godly singles, to do life God’s way; push them to desire a clear and concise direction from God concerning their purpose, ask them if they need help with creating that visual and working it out, help them see and prepare for life beyond marriage…*Yup there’s more life after it.*
We believe God’s timing is the best right, “He makes all things beautiful in His time.” In expressing this faith, let’s continue to speak as though we believe it. As I’ve heard “Marriage isn’t the end of struggles o!” It comes with its own challenges and victories. It’s better to enter into it with the one who God created us to do life with.
I say all that to say this, when we love people, we desire to carry their burdens with them in support. Moving forward let’s not be people who place pressure on our loved ones, let’s be the people who alleviate it; especially for the singles. Keep praying for us and encouraging us in the Word! We need it.
Love and blessings,