I have asked my friend Lynn Ellis to write a guest blog this week on Singleness and how it looks in parenting. Her story of widowhood is heartbreaking and as she journeys along (for now!) without a spouse, she has provided a unique insider’s look at singleness. It is my pleasure to share this with you.
I miss being married. I know these days it’s uncool to admit that you’d rather be married than single, but it’s true for me. I miss being married. That doesn’t mean I want to marry the first guy to come along. I’m not willing to sacrifice my standards or my son’s safety and emotional needs just so I won’t be a single parent anymore or so I won’t grow old alone. I would rather be alone than marry the wrong man so I’m definitely waiting for the “right” man. But I’ll be honest with you; I’ve been waiting a long time and I’m starting to despair that God even wants me to get married again.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “you just have to stop looking and it will happen,” or, “it always happens when you least expect it.” Frankly, I don’t think they know what they’re talking about. The “right” man isn’t just going to fall into my lap while I’m in the produce section at the market. At my age and stage in life it doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. Our eyes won’t meet across a crowded room and suddenly we are in the throes of new love. Meeting someone at my age takes work.
- One of the biggest obstacles to meeting someone is that most men my age are already married. Or they have been married and divorced and not interested in getting serious; or they have been married and divorced several times (I refer to those guys as serial monogamists); or they’ve never been married and they live in their mother’s basement. I frequently ask friends if they know any suitable single men they can introduce me to. They often do know a single guy but unfortunately the only thing we have in common is that we’re both single. Talk about some awkward dates. I’ve recently begun asking those friends why they think their single guy friend and I would get along. Most often the response is, “well, he’s a nice guy and he’s single and you’re a nice girl and you’re single.” Uh-huh. That’s not really working out for me.
- Where do I find him? I’ve tried online dating sites, both secular and Christian, to no avail. Don’t misunderstand: I’m not trolling for men. But I do believe that if I really want to meet “someone,” I need to put myself in situations where I am more likely to meet “someone.” And I don’t think it’s the produce section at the market… but to be honest, I’m not sure where it is. I’ve been to numerous high-roller fundraisers in my city. I attend concerts and I go out for drinks (coffee or cocktails) with friends and I go to church and I try to just get OUT occasionally so the odds of meeting someone goes up. Statistically speaking, of course. It hasn’t played out in reality yet. I’ve dated a few guys since I was widowed five years ago but clearly none of them were the “right” guy and honestly I’m glad none of them were. But I can’t seem to attract the kind of man I like. I’ll give those guys who have responded to my online profile props, though… at least they are reaching out and trying to make contact. I just didn’t have a desire to reach back. They just weren’t my type. And yes, I can tell that from looking at their photos and reading their profiles and instant messages.
- Marriage perks. I miss sharing space with someone (even if we get on each other’s nerves). I miss verbal and physical affection (giving and receiving). I miss sharing big decisions and little choices (what house to buy and what to have for dinner). I miss having someone to hold me when I cry (and holding him when he cries). I miss having someone to laugh with (and at). I miss having someone to talk me down when I’m angry (even if I’m angry at him). I miss having backup as a parent (even if we disagree on how). I miss cooking for someone. I miss supporting someone as he reaches for his dreams, and someone supporting me as I reach for mine. Many people will say, “but you have the support of your friends, your family, your church.” That’s true, I do, and words cannot express how thankful I am for it, either. But there’s something different about having a special someone to share your life with, and it’s different when you have kids.
- Being the only parent is hard! Over the years I’ve opined on the subject of single parenting. This year I realized that as a single mom I’m missing a relationship that is inherent to parenting – a spouse. In my opinion, a mom should be a wife, and I am not. Ever since I was a little girl being a wife and a mother was my dream. Now I have half a dream. I’m not saying being a mother isn’t fulfilling. But again, it’s different when you have someone to partner with in the endeavor. Parenthood was designed for a man and woman. It takes a man and a woman to make a child; it takes a man and a woman to raise a child. Being a single mom means being mom AND dad, being “on” all the time, providing emotional and home life stability for your child(ren). It is taxing to manage a family alone. My son has a good life but he’s missing the joys of having a father, and frankly I think he’s missing the joys of having a fully available mother, too, even though he isn’t sharing me with anyone (siblings or father). But I know I’m a better mom when I have the emotional support of a husband/father. It’s kind of like having a safety net when you’re walking a tightrope. You know you’re not going to fall but it’s nice to know the net is there just in case. Husbands and wives can be each other’s safety nets in parenting. I feel like I am walking the tightrope of parenting without a net and it’s exhausting.
I miss being married. I know it’s not all butterflies and roses. I remember how heartbreaking marriage can be. But I also remember how fulfilling it can be as well, and I choose to believe that marriage can be that for me, and so much more. So I just keep waiting. I know God has a plan for me and I choose to believe His plan is better than anything I can imagine – and I can imagine a LOT! I’ve waited this long and I believe I am ready for His better plan. I’m not going to waste my waiting on the wrong guy. But the truth is waiting is HARD. I’ve had a lot of time to dream about it so God since you’re listening I just have to say you have a lot of work to do to exceed my dreams! Please don’t take too long.