Keep Kissing Those Frogs!

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"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

There must be something about me that communicates to elderly men that I'm a single woman in desperate need of relationship advice. On more than one occasion when I've been alone in public (maybe that's my first mistake!), a gray-haired gentleman has sparked a conversation about marriage, my singleness, and how "kids today think too much" before picking a life partner. Is that possible? I wonder, while smiling and nodding.

In fact, when I sat down in my favorite Starbuck's to write this very column, the elderly man at the next table engaged me in conversation, extolling the virtues of the younger single man sitting with him (with the subtlety of an anvil) and informing me the ideal age for marriage is 18.

My own grandfather isn't immune to this phenomenon. Whenever we hug goodbye, he whispers in my ear, "Keep kissing those frogs." But I want to know just how many frogs I'm going to have to kiss until I discover my Prince Charming.

Truth be told, it's not just older men who are full of remedies for our singleness. We've all heard these words of wisdom: Just stop looking and suddenly Mr./Ms. Right will show up. Focus on being the kind of mate you want, and then you'll be ready. Find your complete satisfaction in God, then he'll grant you a mate. God just needs to prepare your mate for marriage. Or, my personal favorite, God just needs to prepare YOU for marriage. (Gee, thanks.)

On the surface most of this advice is good, but the underlying messages aren't. There's the subtle implication that singleness is akin to sin or sickness - something that needs to be cured. Considering Jesus himself was single, I beg to differ. There's the intonation that marriage has to be earned by either our righteousness or our wholeness. Nothing against my married friends, but from what I've observed, not all married people had it all together or were completely right with God before they got hitched. And nowhere in my Bible does it say that God is like a big vending machine doling out marriages to those of us singles who spend enough time serving in the nursery or in missions.

I'll admit there are times I want to give these unsolicited-advice givers a piece of my mind. But when I get really honest with myself I realize sometimes I'm just as guilty as they are. Sometimes I buy into the faulty thinking that there must be something wrong with me since I'm still single. Sometimes I have to lecture myself into remembering that singleness doesn't define or devalue me - it simply describes me.

The only descriptor that should truly define us is Child of God. Unfortunately there are days that's a whole lot easier to say than to believe and live out. But since the Bible tells us we're God's workmanship, we're engraved on the palms of his hands, and we're fearfully and wonderfully made, then no one - not well-intentioned elderly men, not frogs who don't turn into princes, and not even ourselves - should be able to make us think we're second-class citizens. I'll try to remember that the next time I'm in Starbuck's and a grandfather-type says, "So why is a nice girl like you not wearing a wedding ring?"


Camerin Courtney
January 26, 2000

2002 Christianity Today. Used by permission.