Frog Hunting: The Glorious, Undocumented Life of the Single
I love my life. So much. It’s amazing. One of the for-sure barriers to attachment for me is an overall contentment—nay—enthusiasm for my current life.
I won’t go into all the typical reasons, like getting to watch or eat whatever you want whenever you want, go to bed when you want, get up when you want, live where you want because nobody else cares.
Those reasons are great, but I won’t go into them because they’re rather petty. I’m sure some people have decided consciously, “I don’t want to get married because I don’t want to release control of Netflix,” but I don’t know any of those people.
No, the reason I have spent most of my life enjoying this glorious singleness has to do with something deeper. Life is good, and I rarely feel like someone is missing. I’ve enjoyed intimacy in relationships that is a beautiful, soul-cleaving, David-Jonathan intimacy. I’ve felt the depth of that intimacy often enough that I don’tregularly bemoan my single state. While my life lacks sex, it does not lack intimacy.
I’ll admit, this is a reason why my Frog Count has been low. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Why seek to alter a state when I’m normally so happy. If I’m unhappy, it rarely has anything to do with my lack of life partner.
True, I’ve often wondered if there was something wrong with me. Certainly, there was a large portion of my life where I feared marriage. I had seen so few good marriages, I thought my odds for a good marriage were pretty low. I just decided I’d rather be single than miserable in a marriage I couldn’t escape.
But even in this fearful state, a tiny ache in my gut wouldn’t go away. We are created for intimacy, for joining our lives with another. Fear or no fear, we can’t shake our God-given design.
I know a woman who had resolved to be single. She planned to be a missionary and was excited about the prospect of bringing Jesus to foreign lands. She was an adventurer and a lover of life and most people believed she’d never marry.
A year or so before her proposed timeline of moving off into the world of service and sacrifice, she started dating a long-time friend. They married not long after, and her life took a very different turn.
A few years ago, she told me she sometimes thinks about the missionary life she had once dreamed up for herself. As she looks around at her growing family and the husband she loves, she says, “Yes, I sometimes miss that dream. But saying yes to something often means saying no to something else. I don’t regret one bit the decision I made, but I still sometimes think about that life and wonder what would have happened had I said no to marriage and yes to my other dream.”
Then there is Jane Austen, author of the epic romance Pride and Prejudice. This woman had such a depth and understanding of love that many, many people have wondered why she never married. Her capacity for love was so high, why did she not partake herself?
No one really knows for sure, but we do know, considering the culture she lived in, what marriage would likely have done to her life—to her writing. It’s quite possible she could have learned to love the men who did seek her hand (just as her characters often did), but it seems she was aware of the toll married life would have taken on her writing career.
Given the number of miserable marriages in her novels, she seems also aware that marriage for the wrong reasons was worse than singleness—even if singleness, in her day, was a cause for great insecurity.
All that to say, while I’m Frog Hunting, I don’t believe marriage is to be preferred over singleness in general. Each individual must make their own choice. Each individual must seek Christ over their single vs. married state. While I’m Frog Hunting, I can say confidently that I believe marriage is something God has for me. When? Where? How? I do not know. While I’m Frog Hunting, I know saying yes to dates means time and attention away from other things I love. I must create space in a life of contentment to allow opportunities to grow and learn and have fun with a date.
I’ll repeat: I must create space. As my friend wisely said, “Saying yes to something often means saying no to something else.” To say yes to a date often means saying no to time with a friend, to time I’d normally spend writing, or time I’d normally spend at the gym or resting from a long day of work. Dating takes time away from my glorious, single life.
I don’t have to do this, but while I’m Frog Hunting, I am aware that the desire to have a life partner someday is greater than the desire to be single forever, even if only slightly.
I’m leaning into that desire and that belief that this is something God wants for me. I’m taking those baby steps, unsure where it will lead.
Which is why it’s all the more important to be sure my posture towards dating is to have fun and learn and grow.
Otherwise, I’d like my date-free life too much to give it up.