For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

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View December 2008 Issue >>
 

Silent Heartache of Single Women

Ask any single woman over the age of  40 what is the most difficult part of their life style and most will answer

“Considering that my current situation may be permanent”.  How sad to have to entertain those thoughts.  We know that it is everyone’s desire to be loved and appreciated and most importantly needed.  We also know that God did not expect for us to live a life of loneliness and singleness.   (SCRIPTURE ON MAN  SHOULD NOT BE ALONE)

Why then do single women over the age of 40, living in South Africa have to face this dilemma?  It seems  almost impossible to meet someone of the opposite sex who is suitable, someone who is emotionally stable, financially secure and most importantly who is born-again. So many prayers go out to God for comfort and help for one to find a partner.

JOY! set out to try find some practical solutions and to encourage all those ladies who are on their own.  We  bring you the stories of three ladies who fall into this category and hopefully you will be moved by compassion to  find or offer answers.  These ladies were very open with their feelings and I think that as we read their stories we will understand their pain.   Lets  all work together to exhort  and help the single ladies in our country.  There are always answers in Christ.

Scenario one: 
Divorcee – 52 years of age.  Active, slim, attractive, fun sense of humor. Self employed.

Jenny and her husband got divorced 10 years ago due to extreme financial and emotional pressures.  She has one son who lives with her and who spends many weekends with his dad.  She is on good terms with her ex-husband but there is little chance of them ever getting back together again.  Jenny lives in a small neat apartment and is self-employed.  Life is financially difficult for her and due to the nature of her type of work her income fluctuates.  She has to be extremely careful with her money and there is seldom  extra for luxuries.  “I have learnt to rely fully on the Lord to meet my needs as some months I just can’t see my way clear, yet every time the Lord makes a way.”

“The most difficult thing for me is that you seldom get invited out to social events and then on the odd occasion when you do get invited and go out alone, you feel like a wallflower with a fake smile, the feeling of being so alone is overwhelming.  I often cry all the way home.  I feel unwanted. I have married friends whom I visit but they have their own families to attend to so our visits are normally short and sweet.  I have had to learn to enjoy my own company I spend many hours and weekends alone.  I miss coming home to someone special, idle chatter, I miss the companionship of another human being, I miss not having someone to share my hurts and dreams with.  I have to face my fears on my own.  I don’t have someone to encourage me.  I have to accept the fact that I have to handle every problem on my own.  I long to have someone to ask advice from or to just  share a cup of coffee with.

Planning a holiday is horrible.  I also find it hard to accept that there is no man to give you a hug, bring you flowers, perfume, a gift for your birthday  or any other occasion.  Christmas time is very sad for me.  Even more daunting is knowing that this could go on forever till I die.

It is pretty obvious that men my age don’t want to marry anymore.  Most don’t fear God and really don’t see the moral need for marriage .  They have no desire to pro-create - so why settle down with one woman?  They are also often going through their own menopause and would rather have a “twenty something” on their arm.  They seem to treat women over 40 as if they have reached their “sell by date”.  This really erodes ones self-worth.

All this said and done I find that this is where one of the huge treasures as a Christian comes in, one is forced to find one’s true worth and identity in Christ.  No man can define who you are only Christ can do that.  

I know the Holy Spirit is my best friend and comforter and that really helps me get through each week.  I truly don’t understand how non-believers cope.  I know I couldn’t.

I believe victory is possible but it will take a momentous effort to get there.”

Scenario two: 
Divorcee 56 years of age, well groomed, slim, financially self sufficient, loyal.

Carol and her husband got divorced 14 years ago.  Her husband used to drink and became abusive and unreliable.  She says, “ I have learnt to accept my situation of singleness as I came out of a bad marriage.  I would rather be alone than have another bad relationship.   I have developed coping mechanisms like being careful what movies and shows I watch.  When I see people kiss, I normally look away.  I don’t fantasize about being in love again and when I feel I need a hug, I just ask my grown up son for one.  He understands how I feel.  This helps a lot as even though I have a wonderful relationship with God, I sometimes just need “God with a little skin on”.

I hate attending any function that requires a partner and generally decline.  To me it just seems so wrong to be all dressed up and not have a partner.  Invariably as a single woman, you get seated at a table with other single women or old ladies, all so boring! I also find it difficult just having female friends as I enjoy the company of men.  I also prefer being with married women rather than single ones.  Single ladies are often insecure, clingy and miserable.

The worst thing for me is to attend a wedding, its not being there that’s so bad but rather it’s the sorrow I experienced that my own marriage didn’t work out.  I am very grateful for my relationship with God, I would not cope without Him.

I attend a large Charismatic church and have done so for many years but I find they focus mainly on marriage and families and sadly single women are neglected, not because they don’t care but I sense because they have no idea as to what to do with us.  I would love to see churches lead in a social program of some sort whereby we could meet other single, Godly men and women.  Maybe go on outings together, picnics, movies, walks and hikes.    What about a fun day called “ Household maintenance day” we single ladies always have odd jobs and things to be done around the house, paintings to be hung up, cupboard hooks and hinges to be fixed etc.   It would be nice for the single men to also feel needed and appreciated.  If they cant fix things then could just give advice or use the opportunity to  supervise or socialize or something like that.  It would be a fun yet practical way to meet others of the opposite sex.

I would love to be part of the solution to “singles” rather than be part of the problem.  I pray God will provide JOY! with the right answers.

Scenario three:
Widow 40, 2 young children. Attractive, slim, self-motivated, financially independent, fun loving, intelligent, entrepreneurial.

Susan’s life changed dramatically 3 years ago when her young husband was killed in a car accident.  They had been happily married for 8 years.

“Life has been very difficult, I have been battling with feelings of loneliness, sadness, frustration, rejection with having to be the sole caretaker of the children. My husband was a very physical and loving man and I long to be touched again. To have someone to tickle my back, play with my hair, hug me, massage my neck when I get tension headaches etc.  I really miss the physical side of our relationship. 

We also had similar business interests and I miss our chats. We were great friends and I really miss him.  He was a wonderful man of God and we attended church together and hosted a home group at our house.  We would pray together regularly and enjoyed the spiritual side of our relationship.  It has often been said that people who have had happy marriages, when widowed, get married pretty quickly again.  Not out of disrespect to ones late partner but actually out of respect to them. Well I know I really want to be married again, and pray regularly for a partner.  It has been 3 long years now and for the last 18 months, at least, I have been ready to become involved with someone else but whom??  There is not one single man at our church and I belong to a fairly large church, +- 450 adult members.  Whilst the Pastor has been very gracious to ask regularly how we as a family are doing, it never goes deeper than that.  They have never organized any meetings or outing or anything for the single people in our church. By single I mean people over the age of 22. Oh they do have a divorced peoples cell group but it is all women!  Where are the men?

We do  have coffee time after the service but then I am left standing on my own with all the other married couples making small talk and to be honest it is not pleasant.  I also sense that often the wives feel threatened by me as I do keep myself in shape.  I am not interested in their husbands, I am a child of God and will always honour Him but sometimes-Christian women can be so insecure. It is hurtful and I battle to accept this.  The result – I ‘d rather not stay and  chat and just go home with my precious children.   Our home group came to an abrupt end when my husband passed away and has not been resusucated. Even those friends don’t visit very often, suddenly everybody is very busy with their own families. Very seldom, the children and I get an invite to lunch or supper but the emphasis is on seldom.    I have met a few single men through my work but they are not Christians, so that doesn’t help much.   I find secular men very shallow and they seem turned off when I state that I am a born-again Christian.

I spoke to one of the counselors at our church and her advice was to join a sports club – well thanks but how is that going to help me meet a Christian?  I am not looking for a date; I want a man of God.  Can’t the Pastors find a way for us to meet other single Christians –  they must be out there but I don’t know how to go about finding them.  Maybe JOY! can host a column or something for up market genuine Christians to meet. It is all so awkward.  I once called a ‘ up market, secure Christian dating ‘ out of curiosity but oh my gosh… it was pathetic. The woman on the phone kept telling me how difficult it was to find Christian men to join.

In the meantime I know Jesus is my husband and He comforts me and fills my head with kind words and affirmations.  I am grateful for my relationship with HIM.

These three testimonies are just the tip of the iceberg, there are thousands of ladies out there in similar situations.  There must be an answer so why aren’t we finding it?

We have asked a Pastor for his advice and we also offer some ideas of our own but please readers feel free to write to us with your ideas.  Together let’s try bringing some solutions to this problem plaguing the beautiful women of God who find themselves alone.

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Tel: +27 (0)21 852 4061
Fax: +27 (0)21 852 5781
E-mail: info@joymag.co.za
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