What is it like for a single woman over 50 at church? “Rejection is a deep wound.”

Single women, church, rejection, alone, SINK

 

A comment from “Love” came in on an older post and I didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle. This woman’s voice probably represents many women who are experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.

6096758500_465ceaa962 single women in church

I wonder if I am the only Christian single, childless, 50-something, woman in the whole world who is not really focused on finding a man to marry. I can relate to other single women who have been made to feel like they have no place of significance in the church. I’ve even being asked not to attend a church that I poured my heart and soul into because the pastor thought “single women are a scourge on the church.”

I am involved in a much more loving church now, but I still feel somewhat isolated not only for being a SINK, but also for being older. Many contemporary churches don’t seem to have a place for older people, especially the very old. There are only a handful of people my age or older (all married), in a large church of 20-30 year olds. I do love the worship services, and take part in women’s bible studies and service projects (because they pretty much have to talk to me then 🙂, but any of the church social activities are just too emotionally painful.  Rejection is a deep wound.


Love’s words show incredible pain: “no place of significance,” isolated, rejection.

She also described spiritual abuse by a pastor who labeled single women as a “scourge on the church.” This makes me sick. That certainly was not a healthy place for anyone!

How can the church do better in this area? Are there any singles over 50 who have some thoughts or ideas to share?

161 comments on “What is it like for a single woman over 50 at church? “Rejection is a deep wound.”

  1. (Part 3 – Re: Post by Rachel Nichols )

    Rachel N said,

    And not “proactive” enough in seeking a husband. WTH does this bozo mean? It’s not like a job interview. We were always told not to chase guys because that would scare them away

    I think you were quoting a secular conservative source there, but…
    Christians give contradictory advice and commentary to singles as well.

    The women are told to be independent to get a man, but not TOO independent. We’re told to be sexy but not TOO sexy, etc…

    Group 1.
    There is one group of Christians I’ve seen (usually gender complementarian) who write long essays or lists with characteristics they tell single Christian women to hold out for when mate hunting.

    Their lists are impossibly long, and the standards they tell single women to hold out for are so high, no man alive, apart from Jesus of Nazareth Himself, could meet them.

    Such lists or advice will only keep a single woman single indefinitely if she abides by them.

    Group 2
    But, I’ve noticed a sort of new trend in the last few years, which I’ll get to in a moment.

    Because a small portion of Christians have noted that singles now comprise a large percentage of society and marriage is on the decline, they are worried and in a tizzy.

    Christians cannot accept singles as single – they worship marriage. Many Christians do not respect singleness, so they pressure singles into getting married, no matter the cost.

    This group swings the advice and commentary to singles too far in the other direction, from being too high and strict to being too lenient, and they write articles and blog posts advising single Christian women to drop most or all of their expectations, standards, and criteria when husband- hunting.

    For example….
    Reports from the last few years in the news reveal that looking at dirty web sites and dirty movies is just as high, or almost as high, among Christian men as among Non-Christian men.

    Men looking at dirty photos or movies is a deal-breaker for a lot of Christian single women.

    However, a Christian sociologist wrote an article a year or two ago kind of scolding Christian women for holding a man viewing nudie photo viewing as a wedding deal breaker.

    He told them to reject that criteria and go ahead and marry a Christian man, even if that man looks at nudie photos all day long.

    Then, there is the Christian preacher who stated that since so many Christian preachers are looking at nudie photos, he redefined “fornication” to exclude nudie pictures as a category, so he ends his article by arguing that a man viewing nudie pics is NOT a biblical grounds for a woman to divorce.

    Because so many Christian men are failing in the area of sexual purity, Christian men are telling women to just put up with it, go ahead and marry a guy with a sexual sin problem (or stay married to him if already married).

    So, one group of Christians makes dating criteria so high it will be next to impossible for a single women to marry, should she follow their advice.

    The other group goes the opposite, equally depressing and problematic route and encourages single women to reject about any and all criteria, or their deeply held personal convictions, and to go ahead and marry any guy who comes along, no matter how deviant and gross he is.

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  2. (Part 4 – Re: Post by Rachel Nichols )

    By the way, this post is appearing on page 2 or 3 of this thread; my part 1 is Located Here, with a part 2 right under that.

    Anyway, yes, there’s a lot of insulting, derogatory material out there snarking at women who are single past age of 30, both from secular conservatives and by Christians.

    Many of these conservatives assume if you’re a woman still single past age X, it’s because you’re a raving feminist loon who hates family, men, marriage, kids and/or you worshipped your job too much.

    The truth of the matter is it’s freaking hard the older one gets to find eligible, compatible men to date.

    I did not deliberately set out to be a never-married women past the age of 40.

    I had been taught as a kid to pray and trust God to send me a spouse, but I was never sent a spouse. In the meantime, I would like to be respected as a single so long as I am single.

    I want my fellow conservatives to stop writing these arrogant, condemning essays where they tell me I’m still single because I’m too flabby, arrogant, bimbo-ish, career-focused, or whatever other negative quality. These people have never even met me or seen me in person or seen a photo of me, so they are writing from fantasy and ignorance.

    (You may be able to pick up some clues online as to why someone is still single at age X from their writing alone, case in point, the men who show up to complain they are “nice guys” who cannot get a girlfriend, yet their tone of their posts show a lot of entitlement or bitterness against women.)

    Other than a few cases like that, I cannot think of too many other scenarios where one person can tell another over the internet or in a magazine article what the cause is of their singleness.

    I am really sick and tired of secular and religious magazine articles, blogs, or books telling me I’m single past 40, and it’s all my fault I am still single, and/or I am still single because I am ugly, fat, stupid, a man-hating feminist, or insert other insulting or untrue assumptions here.

    It is just really difficult meeting single guys once you’re over 30. When you’re in college, you’re surrounded by lots of people in your age range. That is not so much true once you hit your mid 20s and older.

    Then, if you have a steady, full time job, you’re in a time crunch. Even if there were dudes you could date, how would you get the time to date them?

    The people who make negative assumptions about why older single women are single never factor these considerations in. It’s always just assumed older single ladies are single because it’s all their fault ,or they are so hideous no man would ever want them.

    ~The End~ 🙂

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  3. Yep. Matthew Cochran is the name of the A___H____ (I meant Air Head! Hee hee!) who wrote this article. Got married in college–probably in his teens or barely out of them. Wrote some nonsense about how we all fantasize about bad boy Brad Pitt clones and ignore the hordes of wonderful bachelors in our midst because we’re so shallow and picky. Does this moron live on Jupiter? He sure ain’t on planet Earth!

    As I recall, I was invisible to the guys I went to college with because I wore a size 14 dress. Too bookish and deep. And bad at flirting. Some liked me as a friend. But none of them saw me as marriage material cause I wasn’t a cute, perky blonde. I’m not the one who was picky!

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  4. Rachel Nichols said,

    As I recall, I was invisible to the guys I went to college with because I wore a size 14 dress. Too bookish and deep. And bad at flirting. Some liked me as a friend. But none of them saw me as marriage material cause I wasn’t a cute, perky blonde. I’m not the one who was picky!

    Yeah, male writers (and sometimes female sell-outs to the female gender) will sometimes assume we single ladies are single because we were holding out for a chiseled, multi-millionaire, Bruce Wayne with six pack abs.

    Nope on that. Women are generally more forgiving of looks than men are.

    I had several people take me aside while I was engaged to my ex to say they didn’t get why I was with my then-fiance’, as they felt he was ugly as lye soap and felt I was pretty. They felt I was out of his league (even my ex said he felt I was out of his league)

    I find a lot of men, even balding, toothless, dorky dweebs who are ages 35 and over, and who have no teeth, feel entitled to an air-brushed, 20-something “Sports Illustrated” magazine model, and further, such entitlement and unrealistic standards are even supported in or by churches and Christians.

    (Churches teach that men are designed to be more visual, and I, as a woman, constantly heard growing up that I should keep myself trim and pretty because dudes like the pretty, and men will not date or marry ugly fatties.

    Only once in my whole life have I seen a male Christian writer declare to the single men to get off their couches, go on a diet, lose the beer gut, and hit the gym, because they might get more dates or get a GF if they get in shape).

    I do care about what a man looks like, but I am willing to overlook my personal preferences in the physical appearance department to an extent if the guy is sweet, funny, nice, smart, or brings some other quality to the table.

    My impression is that most men are not willing to compromise on a woman’s looks or ages – no matter how ugly or how old a guy is, they are all dead set on marrying a 21 year old stick thin fashion model.

    Some polls bear this out, by the way.
    I saw an article a year or more ago showing that while most women on dating sites set their age prefs within a few years of their own ages (e.g., most 40 year old women will say on the site they are looking for men ages 35 – 45), that most men on dating sites, even 50 and 60 year olds, will set their accounts to only filter women ages 20 – 25.

    Some of the men on the dating sites (the articles said) won’t even look at profiles of women ages 26 (or 30) and older.

    I think that is really, really dumb of men. If you are a single guy over age 35, you will have an unending line of pretty, smart, accomplished women over age 35 on dating sites (or in real life) who would love to date you.
    The world of women would be yours, all yours, yet so many of you all are fixated on grabbing the 23 year old Cindy Crawford look-alike (who you’re never going to score with, and, she’s being chased by all the other men ages 20 and up….)
    You could have plenty of 37 year old, or 45 year old, or 50 year old hotties, but you’re fixated on the 20 somethings.

    I think there are a minority of single women who are way unrealistic or too demanding in their dating criteria as well (re: money or looks), but from what I’ve seen over my life, and in many articles I’ve read, these issues of being too picky, and so on, seems far, far more pervasive among single men.

    Rachel said,
    “and ignore the hordes of wonderful bachelors in our midst”

    That annoys me too. This idea that over my life I’ve had billions of average to above average, nice, great guys chase me, but I blew them all off for a Brad Pitt clone. Lord, no.

    I didn’t have tons of men chasing me down, first off.

    The few times I did have cute or average looking guys flirt with me, my self esteem was so low, I avoided them because I could not accept that a decent, stand up, cutie would actually want to date me. I thought “surely there must be some mistake here.”

    That in turn goes back to the family I was raised in: a very critical one that told me that I am not good enough, I am flawed, I am garbage.

    So, I’m sick of these authors who lecture me (or women like me) that if we’re single, it’s our fault because of this or that reason, one of which is, we supposedly were too demanding, picky, and blew off ten million nice guys to wait on Brad Pitt to ask us out.
    Please, that is NOT the reality I lived at all.

    (I left two more posts on this thread, Parts 1 and 2. They are at the bottom of the last page of this thread, if you click the link at the bottom of this page that says “Older Comments.”)

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  5. “…because I’m too flabby, arrogant, bimboish…”

    Being a bimbo can be a real asset in finding a husband. Especially a Christian, conservative patriarch. Stupid women are more apt to submit unto their lordships and worship them like the gods they imagine themselves to be. 🙂

    At Indiana Wesleyan University, having a brain in your head was unimportant in landing a hubby. Sometimes it was even detrimental. I had a friend, Robin. She was a really cute, bubbly blonde. Normally girls like that made me feel inferior and intimidated, but I liked Robin because she was sweet and never treated me badly though I was homely and awkward.

    We all knew Robin could have her pick of men and would get engaged to some hunk before her senior year. One who was going into law or medicine. Lo, and behold, in her junior year Robin became extra studious and announced SHE was going to be a doctor! Not a nurse. Gasp!!!

    While preparing for med school consumed her times no one wanted to date her after that. Although she was cute, perky and blonde as ever Robin had had the audacity to show she had something between the ears as well.

    Last time I saw Robin, she sighed and told me she guessed she’d have to be a celibate.

    Too independent! She needed a lobotomy to make her a suitable wife. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was just saying in another thread on this blog (_in this post_) that the guy I was engaged to was as dumb as a box of rocks – which doesn’t fit with gender complementarian teaching.

    Some comp guy in that thread was apparently saying that men should lead their women folk and read the Bible to them, but my ex could not read well.

    Once, when I was in high school, I had a big crush on this guy who was in 2 or 3 of my classes. He was very, very good-looking.

    About half way through the school year, the teacher changed the seating chart around in one class, and Mr. Cutie had to sit next to me. He was a nice guy but not so bright. Once I saw how dim he was, I lost my crush on him.

    I do not grasp men who are okay dating “pretty but stupid.”
    There’s only so much you can stare at a person and enjoy the pretty before that gets boring. I’d want to be able to laugh or having interesting conversation with the person too.

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  7. Yeah. I had some older legalistic preacher admit he looked for a wife dumber than himself in the hopes she would be easier to control–but it didn’t work. This man also condemned celibacy from the pulpit. When I told my dad how surprised and offended I was, he said I was too sensitive. He was only condemning celibate clergy. (aka evul Roman Catholic Priests! We hates em! Grr!!!) I thought he meant this too. But his words and terminology weren’t clear enough; it sounded as if he were condemning all people who weren’t getting any. Ironically he and his group were so prudish they’d have choked on their pearls if I’d pointed this out. Only the women didn’t wear ungodly adornments like jewelry. They pinned bunches of flowers, lace and ribbons on their dresses instead. Lol.

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  8. I do want to say, it really bothers me when supposedly Christian people talk solely of looks in reference to people, single or married (ie, the look at my ‘hot wife’ pastor bro type). Attraction is a part of the selection part, but aside from the fact that it is highly subjective, being good looking/hot is not the end all and be all of Christian life. In fact, it is not important at all.

    (aside from that, I decided that there are a lot of people of varying levels of attractiveness both single and married. So that’s clearly not the issue one way or the other).

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  9. I have a problem with an article some dude wrote that used fat shaming techniques to cure church singles of their unacceptable marital status. Yes greed/gluttony is a sin, but he spent all the article condemning fat people for unsightliness rather than the sin that may or may not have been behind it.

    It’s okay to be greedy as long as you’re cute! It’s great to be a super model look alike who blows her income on the latest trends in clothes and jewelry rather than helping the poor. Appearances are all that matter to some nominal Christians.

    And there’s research now that fat shaming does not work. Telling someone, “You’re fat, ugly and unloveable,” 100 times a day will not lead to long-term weight loss. I don’t know about you, but I’m flabbergasted.

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  10. Daisy so glad to see your posting you always make me smile and or laugh. Rachel N. thanks for your comments. Still reading, tough subject but thanks for bringing to the forefront. Is any church and it’s leadership living the God of the Bible? Just wondering!

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