“Why isn’t a nice person like you married?” Mim begins talking about her pain with a question that’s hard for her to hear. “How are you supposed to answer that?” she asks.
“For every insensitive thing that’s been said, there’s been so much that’s positive,” she explains. “But these are how things affect me and my friends. Most of the time, people are not intending to be unkind.”
Another unhelpful thing: People who are married sometimes put marriage down, perhaps thinking that will comfort her. “They’ll say, ‘marriage isn’t always such a great thing. It’s hard work, and it’s not always so wonderful.’ But you know that this is something you want. Single people need to hear that marriage can be good.”
When Mim’s mother was sick for two years, her father was a model caregiver. “All of a sudden it struck me: well, who’s going to care for me when I’m dying?” She realizes, though, that having a husband doesn’t guarantee you’ll have someone to care for you.
Another thought: “I remember the first time I could go to a wedding and really rejoice with the bride.”
She recalls a painful time in later years, when people she knew were leaving grandchildren and other relatives behind for a while and were very upset about it. They told her, “Well, Mim, you just don’t understand.”
“And no,” says Mim. “I didn’t. I wanted to say ‘You guys are taking a husband with you! Some of us are states away from anyone. You guys just don’t get it.'”
And she recalls earlier years, when it would have been so much easier to have a husband. Listening to girls share every detail of when their boyfriends asked them to marry them was difficult.
Now she finds herself surprised by new seasons of grief: first, it was ‘who will care for me when I’m dying?’ Then she got another surprise: ‘I’ll never be a grandma.’
She enjoys being with couples, but it’s awkward “when they’re too cuddly and I’m the only single there.” Wedding receptions where tables are set for two or four are tough, too.
Referring to the “inner churnings” Lynette has asked the women to talk about, Mim says, “I was sure that if I wouldn’t be so fat, someone would be attracted to me. Just the lies: ‘If I’d be married, then everything would be happy’; or ‘There must be something wrong with me.'”
And what do you do with God? “I remember how healing it was when I realized that God could handle my kicking and screaming.”
She recalls coming to a point when she told God, “Okay then, I don’t need men.” The very next day, her car got stuck in the snow so badly she had to call a man to help her out. “I did need men in my life, not just to help me, but as friends. I’ve been blessed with many men who are like brothers to me.”
And she closes with a warning about “another danger”: escaping into fantasy. “Christian novels sometimes are a real, deadly enemy.”
Mim falls silent. After a few moments, the other women surround her with prayer.