But now the day and the person are much more real. Matt is a dream and a joy, an amazing friend and partner, supportive, loving, fun, and full of a deep love for God. And as I anticipate marriage and all the changes that will bring to my life and Matt’s life, I have also been reflecting on singleness.I was single for a long time - or, at least, it felt long to me, as I watched friends get married while I was not even dating someone seriously. I was, at times, discontent with my singleness and longing for a partner. More often, I was fiercely attached to the idea of being single and in some ways was quite proud of it. I was a woman building a career, getting an advanced degree, making it on my own, learning about who I am and who I want to be in Christ. I saw friend after friend, acquaintance after acquaintance, getting married, then having children, and that made me prouder of my singleness. I was different. I did not follow the path that had been laid out for me by much of West Michigan and the culture of Calvin University. I did not get engaged before graduating. I did not go to school to find a husband. I did not need someone else to be okay and was becoming more comfortable with who I was.
So, renouncing the title of “single” and taking the title of “girlfriend” in December of 2019, when I started dating Matt, was an adjustment. I fit into circles now where I hadn’t before - but fitting in to circles where before I had not felt welcome left a bad taste in my mouth. I avoided talking about my new relationship, not out of shame for the relationship, but for two reasons: first, I did not want my new relationship to begin to define me within my church, where conversations could turn from discussing anti-racism work or my job working with children and youth to conversations about my dating life and asking if marriage was in the picture yet; and second, because I was resentful. I did not want to share so personal a life event with people who make me feel as though they were just waiting for me to get married, as if I could not be happy or complete without that taking place.
I need to not forget what it feels like to be single. I need to work to ensure that as a currently engaged and eventually married woman, I always make room at my table and in my heart and home for people who are single, by choice or by chance. I need to get better at being hospitable and welcoming to others, particularly to those who do not fit the mold of what society expects or wants. Diversity in many different types is valuable, including relationship status.