The Truth About Why You're Not Married


Unhappy bridesmaids sit outside a church
A Christian writer's response to Tracy McMillan's article about why many women are still single.

You want to get married.

If you've grown up in a Christian environment that places marriage on a massive pedestal, this desire is neither surprising nor shameful. It's merely something you've always assumed would be part of your future. Yes, you are aware of the high rate of divorce in America. You're also realistic enough to recognize that in spite of what you learned from Jerry Maguire, a romantic partner is not going to "complete you." But, you want to have babies at some point, and you still vaguely believe in love and think it's possible that you might find it—yet your thirtieth birthday is looming on the horizon, and in the world of Christian dating, you are decidedly past your prime.


One morning, you turn on your computer and find Tracy McMillan's Huffington Post article, Why You're Not Married. Much to your chagrin, this article strikes a chord because it plays on your underlying fear: perhaps your single status is entirely your own fault. Granted, you may not be as slutty, or as bitchy, or even as shallow as McMillan accuses you of being. But in her article, you hear echoes of your friends, relatives, church members, hairdressers, dental hygienists—all those inquiring minds who have taken an active interest in your dating life, and who insist you need to "put yourself out there more; try internet dating; stop looking so he will magically appear; let him pursue you" or every Christian female's favorite anecdote: "Make a list of what you want in a husband and then pray over it." 

You've tried many, if not all, of the above strategies. Maybe you need to try them again? Perhaps in reverse order this time? You take a second glance at McMillan's article and conclude that you could be guilty of offense number five: "You're Selfish." Yes, that one bears a ring of truth. Are You What's Holding You Back from Finding Love?

Note to self: Work on being less selfish in order to obtain boyfriend/future husband.

You jot it down on a yellow Post-It and hang it above your desk. As you stare at this little square of paper, its sheer absurdity hits you over the head. You realize that, ironically enough, you have friends who could rival Mother Theresa in their selflessness and yet they are still single. You then recall a few other women you know who could technically be described as shallow or selfish or moody. Guess what? They've been married for years now. As you consider it all, you slowly recognize that there is a difference between wanting to improve yourself for the sake of being a better girlfriend—or a better person, for that matter—and wanting to improve yourself because you think it is the only way you will ever find love.

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