Navigating the Rapids: The Unseen Challenges of Single Life

Life can often seem like a calm river, gently flowing under a clear blue sky, but for many singles, the river of life feels more like a turbulent rapids, unpredictable, and constantly changing. The solitariness that comes with being single is frequently overlooked, or worse, stigmatized, and it’s high time we change this narrative.

Picture a duo paddling down a river in a two-seater canoe. They paddle together, coordinate their moves, and navigate the calm and rough waters in unison. Such is life in marriage – two individuals, though distinct, charting the course of life together. While their ultimate solace rests in God’s hands, there is an undeniable sense of security in the unity and togetherness of marriage that often feels missing in a single life.

Think about the life of a single person, sharing their living space with a couple of other singles. While they could be friends or mere acquaintances, the challenges that they have to face are relentless and demanding. Imagine being suddenly laid off from work, or a roommate deciding to leave, causing a disruption in the household finances. These instances are not unusual in a single person’s life, and yet they serve as a stark contrast to the relative stability offered in marriage.

Sure, marriages can face similar hurdles. Divorce rates in society remain high, and any spouse can face job loss, illness, or even death. These situations are undeniably devastating, but the likelihood of them occurring multiple times is relatively lower compared to the uncertainties a single person faces daily.

The challenges for singles, especially millennials, are compounded by economic factors, making the goal of independent living seem like a distant dream. Job instability and the constant threat of loneliness are their unwanted companions. Those who live in shared Christian communities often experience high turnover rates of roommates due to marriage, job loss, or relocation. This can create a cycle of instability and emotional exhaustion, resulting in many choosing the path of least resistance, such as returning to their parent’s home post-college.

Sadly, these struggles are often overlooked within the Church as well. In many congregations where marriage is celebrated as a pinnacle of spiritual and life achievement, singles can feel sidelined, overlooked, or even invisible. They are left to fend for themselves, reliant on their resilience and faith in God. While God’s comfort is undoubtedly a beacon in their lives, the recurring advice from married individuals about divine reliance can feel somewhat paradoxical.

But here’s the crux: no one should go through life alone. While marriage is a common solution to this loneliness, it isn’t the only one. The Church’s role is to stand by every individual, regardless of their marital status. This doesn’t just mean verbal reassurances, but tangible actions. It’s about inviting singles to social gatherings, sharing meals, and most importantly, acknowledging and understanding their unique challenges.

The heart of our faith compels us to reassure singles that they are not alone, that they are cherished, and that their struggles matter. They bring invaluable perspectives and contributions to the Church that must not be dismissed.

Yes, the river of single life can be tough to navigate, but together, we can make the journey less daunting. It’s time we rally around our single brothers and sisters, lending our support, our ears, and our hearts. After all, we are all in the same river, just in different boats.