The Single Hidden Discrimination
I recently heard a brief talk. During the talk, the speaker said a few sentences that irked me, despite receiving no complaints from the crowd.
“Someone who is single is incomplete.”
“Someone who is unmarried can never really accomplish anything in life.”
“Life cannot be properly fulfilled without a spouse.”
Listeners nodded in agreement. And I stood there, nauseated at yet another example of the permitted discrimination.
Replace any of these statements with a race, religion, or sex, and you are vehemently shunned, and disgraced for your lack of values and your crude insensitivity.
Someone who hails from an Arab nation is incomplete. A woman can never accomplish anything in life. Life can never be fulfilled as a black person. Say any of these statements, and the world over is outraged. Replace them with “single” and no one really cares.
Singlists, the Permitted Discrimination
Many members of my community, and in particular in Jerusalem, are rampant singlists. Yes, the word is ridiculous. I didn’t even know it was a real thing until I Googled it. 135,000 hits, by the way. (And WordPress, for the record, puts a red line under “singlist” but not under “Googled”) I was actually hoping to either coin the term, or come up with something more creative that sounds a lot nicer.
But I digress.
I want to address this phenomenon from multiple angles.
First of all, all of those earlier statements are absolute crap. And the only reason someone can publicly state them is because this is a culture where people have been blindly accepting them as true for ages.
A person who is single can most certainly be complete. And a married person can be outrageously incomplete. I was married for 13 years and felt broken throughout those years. I feel more complete at the moment than I have ever felt before. We’ve arrived at a point in history where we cannot continue to perpetuate this lie that life can only be fulfilling if one is married. In the worst case scenario, you are pressuring your listeners into rushing into this promised fulfillment, only to find out in the worst way possible that the promise was nothing more than a manipulative, gargantuan falsehood.
How long will we allow people to perpetuate this lie, to rush people into situations that will ultimately harm them, in order to substantiate a narrative that is continuously disproven?
Single By Choice
I am in an odd category in this city. Everyone here, it seems, is either married or working tirelessly to become so. And me, I’m SBC (Single By Choice). (I hoped to coin that one too. No such luck–see here). Yeah, I suppose there’s a small part of me that would like to get married again. Or at least that wants to want to get married again. But life is good, life is fulfilling. And it comes from within, not from trying to please another.
And this really is the heart of the matter.
When I was young, I was miserable as a single person. Then I got married… and I was miserable as a married person. Now I’m single and happy, which I believe to be a prerequisite to being able to be married and fulfilled. That is not to say one needs to be complete and entirely fulfilled in order to marry successfully. If so, no one would ever get married! This is an ideal we should strive for our entire lives, and we should never be fully satisfied, and always growing.
However, there is a certain level one must get to.
If you don’t know who you are, you end up identifying too much with who you believe your spouse wants you to be. If you are unfulfilled and believe marriage is the answer, you leave yourself vulnerable to rushing into situations that are inappropriate.
The best solution to both of those is to learn how to lead a happy and fulfilling life on your own, thus preventing you from desperately leaping into a bad marriage or opening yourself to hopelessly being changed by another person. Only a complete person can successfully allow someone else into their lives.
And when the society constantly pushes its members to make important decisions before they’re good and ready, they’re doing everyone a disservice.
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