As a single woman of 28 in South Africa, Nyaleti has experienced plenty of pressure to find a man. It’s not just from well-meaning family. Her broader group of friends (married and single) also tend to struggle with her contentment to remain unmarried. “It’s weird” says Nyaleti “that my definition of me or my womanhood or who I am needs to be, do you have a man?” However, her immediate family understand that Nyaleti’s relationship with Jesus is critically important to her. As do many in her church community. For although she is single, she is not alone.
Feeling Loved, Not Lonely
“I’m happy. There’s nothing wrong with me and honestly, speaking I feel like Jesus has been so amazing in teaching me the difference between singleness and being alone. And singleness and being lonely. I’m not lonely, in terms of I feel loved, I have love. I have people who love me, but I’m alone because I’m not attached to someone. So I think we need to very careful. I’m alone because I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t have a husband. But, I’m not lonely because I have community.”
Jesus has taught me the difference between singleness and being alone. And singleness and being lonely.
Singleness: A Woman’s Perspective
Blaque and Nyeleti go on to discuss the challenges and realities of singleness. There are expectations and pressures placed on singles who have reached ‘the age of marriage’ according to societal norms. But there is also hope, love, security and freedom to be found in embracing Christ and your christian community. There is a season for everything and God is constantly refining and training us to be his children and grow His kingdom.
The Expectation From the 15 Piece Pot Set
Last year I turned 27, and my grandmother brought me a 15 piece pot set for my birthday. She came to me and said, “I’m so sick of you being single, I was going to give this to you on your wedding day, but clearly that’s not happening. So, I’m giving this to you now, so that you can hurry this process. Where is he?” I remember sitting there going “okay, this is awkward.”
Blaque: So you’ve just got pots in your room right now?
marriage is such a status symbol
Nyeleti: I just got pots, just sitting waiting, chilling in the closet. And she was insistent that I can’t use them until I get married. She was like, “but okay fine don’t get a man, but at least move out of our home. Just like, what are you doing? Just do something!” So I think for her, it has been the hardest because I’m the eldest. Well, I’m not. I have an older sister, and she’s got, kids. So I think they compensate for my lack of a husband.”
Being Too Picky?
“My aunt, my parents, my grandparents don’t think I’m being too picky, because they understand, my love for Jesus. My cousins think I’m too picky. Because I always tell them I don’t want to be fighting about church. I don’t want to be fighting about “I need to go to life group.” I don’t want to be fighting about the fact that I need to meet up with friends at church or whatever. Those are not things I want to fight about. Let’s fight about other things. I want a man who loves Jesus. I don’t care if he comes with a six-pack or not.
I want a man who loves Jesus. I don’t care if he comes with a six-pack or not
Equipped in my Singleness
“I would never give up the past 7 / 6 years of singleness because I feel like I’m such an amazing person now. And yes, I’m going to say that to the world. I got to boost my own ego! Anyways, because it was just such a good season and in terms of the desire for marriage. I don’t know if I’m ready for marriage, per se. But I feel I’ve been equipped. Whether marriage comes, I know I’ve got women who will stand with me and say, “your husband is a mess, but so are you so find a way to deal with it”. But there will be women who will say, ‘I know it’s hard to be single, but we have you.'”
For a full transcript of this podcast ‘Singleness: A Woman’s Perspective’ click on the toggle button above.
Click here to listen to part 1 of our conversation ‘Singleness: A Man’s Perspective.’