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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Follow-up Two on Being Single


Many people have responded to the "being single post". I am sorry, but I posted a few days ago that I shall not published anonymous comments anymore. My reasons were given.

As to the post, I must remind all that the statistics for single households reflects an unnatural trend. If one reads carefully the posts, on sees the numbers from a census-type study in Great Britain a few years ago which found one/third of the households led by singles. This is not normal for a society and will not lead to replacement of the population. This and similar trends in America indicate dysfunction in a culture.

I am always writing primarily for those who are discerning, and for many young people. If one is older and has had circumstances in one's life, as I have, which have led one to the single life, I think a person can sort out the difference. I am single and have been living singly since my son left home. However, I do not think this is normal, either, and consider myself one of those who have not been allowed to follow a vocation for several reasons.

In these times, there is a lack of objectivity among writers and readers which is a sad commentary on their inability to think and reflect. This is a result of our education system which has not trained people in logic and critical thinking. If one reacts subjectively and painfully to comments, this may reveal a need for healing and discernment. Those are good and lofty goals, which must be pursued through spiritual directors, confessors, and good, orthodox psychologists. I thank God when He shows me such.

I pray for all but I encourage, especially Gen X and the Millennials, to make commitments to something. Holiness demands relationships. Our own Mother Mary, who gave Life to the world, was placed in a family, which is part of the plan of God and not merely a custom of the culture. She needed protection and so did the Child Christ. God bless all my readers and commentators, even the anonymous ones. Try and come up with post names, please.

22 comments:

Nescio Quid said...

Stm, I think you misunderstand my comments. I agree that an unwillingness to make a commitment is a very sad state of affairs. And yes I have encountered quite a few of such people.

My point was really that there are a number of people , men and women alike who are single because they simply haven't met an appropriate life partner. The numbers who use internet dating sites are testimony to this. The decline of old ways of contracting marriages in preference for falling in love is part off the reason, but also the breakdown of older communal ties and networks.

But your points about those who choose to lead a single life also hold true.

All the same among those who seek but cannot find a life partner, I do see a destabilising desperation too. I think that God can translate a person's single life into an act of service also outside marriage, if marriage is not God's will. Should we therefore view being single as a cross in such circumstances?

DebG. said...

Just thinking about a saying I came up with awhile back upon reflecting on my own life - indecision IS a decision...

All in all, a really thought-provoking series of blog posts. Thank you.

Supertradmum said...

DebG., Bless you, as not making decisions is a process of non-commitment. May God bless you in your search for your vocation. Go visit an orthodox convent for a few days, if you are under 45 and pray. Look and see.

Supertradmum said...

NQ, As a man,you do not understand that God never intended for women to be alone in this world. If a woman is a widow, her family should look after her. If a woman is single, she is vulnerable.

Last week, just on the streets of London, I was harrassed by two men. Now, I am a strong, old bird and replied by being meek and peaceful. This should not happen at all

If you think this is normal, I do not understand. And, again, I am talking about the West, where the vast majority of my readership is from. However, I know my some women in the East, that this type of abandonment is common.

The Church has led the way in the protection and equality of women more than any other institution. But, singleness, I maintain, is not normal and should not be condoned by clergymen who do not want to challenge their single parishioners. Men need to step up to the plate. Even Thomas More married a widow with children whom he did not love at first, because this was his duty. That he came to love her is true.

Also, there are few ways a woman can serve as a single person. A friend of mine was recently attacked coming home from a prayer meeting at night.

Also, many people are prejudiced. Think on these things.

Supertradmum said...

NQ, May I add that the lady attacked was not the first one I know attacked coming from a Church function. Men have forgotten that it is their duty to protect women in our cultures. Now, there may some wealthy ladies who can buy protection, but the vast majority of Catholic women I know would love to be married. Why haven't men found the appropriate partners? Because they are looking for Barbie-dolls instead of real women. I agree with you about the old ways about which I wrote in the first post. I cannot believe that men cannot find someone. They are not, then, in the trad communities.

Supertradmum said...

NQ PPS, may I add that many men do not like to be challenged in their own faith. Indeed, look at the words of St. Paul on marriage on the sacrifice demanded of men, "to love their wives as their own body". Wow. How many really want to do that?

Nescio Quid said...

Hey STM, it's interesting that you thought I was a man. Actually, I'm a woman! :-)

I also know quite a few elderly widowed women whose children live in other countries or far away. They get on with their lives, but they are just as vulnerable as other single women. Being married does not guarantee not being alone later in life. I think there are many ways a single person can serve their community. I myself have looked after a few elderly women through different acts of service because their children weren't around. I don't get what you mean when you say there are few ways - I say this respectfully. Perhaps you have a very narrow definition of what being of service means...

But in any case, I am certainly not advocating a single life as a preference to the married life. I am merely saying that one shouldn't act desperately about being unmarried, because it might just be God's will. (One shouldn't be fatalistic of course, but forcing the issue if the time isn't right, does no one any good.) And if so, God in all His mercy will certainly provide opportunities and the grace to be of service to others.

Supertradmum said...

NQ apologies. But that was my fault. As to service, I do think that is a broad and poor term. If you are older and an American, even if you have degrees, you will be passed up by younger people for jobs. If you are in a parish, a single woman or a widow can be invisible to the rest of the community. I hear many sad stories of isolated women, many. And, they are not protected. By the way, marriage is not the only choice here for women. I am stating that one should choose-religious life is an option and should an must be considered.

We could have more great discussions on this. But, bye for now.

Nescio Quid said...

"If you are in a parish, a single woman or a widow can be invisible to the rest of the community. I hear many sad stories of isolated women, many.By the way, marriage is not the only choice here for women. I am stating that one should choose-religious life is an option and should an must be considered."

STM we can agree to differ, as you said earlier. The question of visibility has more to do with other factors rather than a woman's marital status. And again there are many ways to serve. Have a good day.

Supertradmum said...

NQ, unmarried women do not get invited to dinner to married people's houses. They do not get invited out at all to gatherings. If they are old, they are invisible. I do not know what kind of parish you come from but this is a very common problem in many places, as I talk to women all the time who are never taken in as part of a community. They can work on coffee mornings for years and be part of the liturgy and never be included.

I have several dear friends in their sixties and seventies who have lived singly, either as single women or divorced and annulled women who have never been invited into the houses in their parishes. Some have lived in those communities for over 15 years. One has lived in the same town for over thirty years and since her divorce has never been asked over to any married person's house, and she is a lector, in the choir, does the coffee mornings, and organizes a prayer group.

I stand firmly on my ground. If your community is different, I am glad to hear of it.

Mary Kay said...

I am a single woman (divorced, annulled, ex is dead many years). I raised my 2 sons & cared many years for my parents until their deaths. I have an active social life & attend dinners & parties with the parishioners at my SSPX chapel. A former pastor once said in a sermon, 'Not everyone is meant to be married. You can look at some families & see this.'. Perhaps if I didn't have my sons & their families so close I would feel differently. But I have some dear single girlfriend who are active in their chapels & schools & also enjoy vibrant social lives.

Supertradmum said...

Mary Kay, that says a lot about the goodness of your community. I assume you do not live in England.

Mary Kay said...

The friends I mentioned are scattered across the US. One cannot sit back & wait for a social life. Sometimes it starts by arranging a get-together at the church hall or asking a few people out for coffee or tea, or starting a book club. The single and married men with whom I and my friends socialize will walk me to my car, etc, of needed. Like any relationship, friendship requires some effort.

Supertradmum said...

Mary Kay, of course, that is a given. Look at the list of things my one friend has been in and others as well.

God bless you. Do not be so judgmental. Many women are never given the chance for friendship as so many married women are insecure.

Bill Tooke said...

So you're asking men to marry someone they don't love because that's preferable to be single?

I'm a happily married man, and I found my soulmate. But I'm lucky. The pressure to get married is enormous, and not just for women, but for men as well.

There is a reason why divorce is so rampant. Now sure, a lot of it is because of contraception and cohabitation, and also the overarching cultural disdain of traditionalism. But part of it is because if you don't get married here in the US, you're a loser. So men and women rush into marriage without any compatability. Some just quit because the seed is scattered on rocks and not fertile soil. But others really try, really make a go of it come hell or high water, and still get divorced. Now you can say that's because of weakness, but I'd argue it's circumstance.

Supertradmum said...

Bill, where I come from and where I have lived, there is no pressure to get married. And, my comments deal with choosing the religious life or priesthood as well. One should choose something.

Of course, one should not get married for the heck of it. I personally do not know anyone who has done this in the past 20 years.

Maybe European and other societies I have been in do not pressure enough, which is my point. One must choose a vocation and not merely fall back into singleness out of all the reasons given.

I still have not heard any good arguments why people are not choosing the religious life or the priesthood either. Remember, St. John Bosco believed that one out of every four men had a vocation to the priesthood. Well, we have not seen that statistic in vocations for 40 years.

Nescio Quid said...

I do agree with Bill and Mary Kay here. As far as my own experiences go, I have plenty of good friends, and certainly don't feel invisible or socially on the fringes. I do get invited to married couple's homes and other family celebrations. I'm sorry you have had such poor experiences. I am quite happy and content and also have a rich extended family life. Maybe that is the key...

I think the issue of whether one is invited mayalso have something to do with culture. English people are more reserved than Americans. Americans came across as.much more friendly and hospitable when I lived in the US. English people take time to open their homes....

Supertradmum said...

NQ none of these stories have anything to do with me personally. I have many, many single female friends in America and in England who are marginalized in their parishes. In two cases, the women are very active and have lived in their communities for 30 and 17 years respectively. I have talked to men who are single or divorced, some of whom have stopped going to Church as they were so marginalized. I do not know where you live, but I am under the impression that this is not uncommon at all.

As to me, I do not use my own self as an example unless I say so outright, which I did not do. Please read what is there and do not imagine or extrapolate. Many of the women I know are not wealthy and cannot move around from place to place easily. Some do not have cars, which is not unusual even in rural England. That the Catholics allow marginalization is a fact.

As to be pressured into marriage, I repeat that is not true in the society or cultures where I have lived and moved for over 30 years. Again, I repeat the statistic of 33% of English households being led by singles. 48% of the adult women in America are single.

Nescio Quid said...

STM When I expressed my regret at your poor experiences, I meant with reference to the experiences others have shared with you. I assure you I read your blogs very closely. I don't know why you keep telling me I do not. I am used to reading things (particularly arguments) closely for a living. If I respond to things, I am responding to original posts, not subsequent qualifications which you have a tendency to add (many of which make sense even if I don't agree with all). This being said, I find your posts interesting and relevant or I wouldn't bother commenting at all.

Supertradmum said...

NQ, what you call qualifications, I call clarifications, as sometimes I assume my readers know more than they do. God bless you and good night.

Ez said...

STM, I find your comments very valid as they hilight very real experiences faced by yourself and your friends.
I'm married with two children and one on the way. I feel I have lost all contact with my friends (mostly single), because I am married, and feel a deep sense of resentment and bitterness at this. This is my experience, and just another side of the coin (grass isn't always greener).
Nevertheless, I must relay an anecdote, that hilights your point;
I have an absolutely devout catholic brother in law who is 35yrs, living with his mum, locks himself in his room reading spiritual books and won't make any move to either find out if his calling is to spiritual life or married.
In fact, he dated a good friend of mine who believes he is for her, and is willing to wait for him (goodness knows why), but he is afraid to commit to anything except his religious books and his narcissistic mother. I worry he is becoming like her (she happens to be my MIL).
I believe this failure to commit to a vocation is very unhealthy on so many levels and causes all sorts of self inflicted struggles and long term harm that is only reversible through a miracle.
On the other hand I know that married couples can marginalize single or widowed people, sometimes with an heir of superiority, and I say to myself, what if the shoe was on the other foot and that married couple split up or became widowed. One should not ever think one to be safe and secure, but rather grateful. Maybe this change in attitude will solve this loneliness of so many single (not by choice), and help them commit to their calling, by being accepted. God bless

Supertradmum said...

EZ, Your comments are excellent and very honest. Thank you for sharing. You make many good points. You seem to be a mature Catholic. God bless you and your family. Thanks.