Ladies, meet Katie Keil. She lives in San Francisco, where she works as a Brand Manager for Clorox. Like Jennifer Garner’s character in 13 Going on 30, she’s “30, flirty, fun” and… still single. Last week, Katie sat down with us to talk about her struggles in the “love” area of her life.
4word: You mentioned that you and your friends have struggled with the idea that “there must be something wrong with us if we aren’t married.” Can you explain what you mean by that?
Katie: In my case, I wondered for a long time if I was too quick to volunteer for things because I did not see a lot of guys taking on leadership roles. I thought if I was in a leadership role too often, I would never find a guy who wanted to marry a woman like me
In some ways, the church has played a role in this. Growing up, it was always assumed that women would get married and have a family. Many women will grow up and choose those things, but there are a lot of us who want those things and don’t seem to have them. If this is the only path discussed for women, it leaves those who don’t want that or who can’t seem to have that feeling lost.
4word: How could the church better embrace a generation of strong, career-minded women who do desire marriage but have difficulty finding men to share their lives with?
Katie: I would love to see more church leaders reach out to this generation of women and really seek to understand our thoughts, passions, beliefs and struggles.
For example, my friends and I are all enjoying success in our careers, but we really want to be married and have families. Simply being willing to acknowledge that there is an unfulfilled longing in our hearts is a great starting place.
I also think the church needs to figure out how to celebrate healthy relationships between men and women. I and so many of my friends have had deep, intimate friendships with a guy, always hoping he will suddenly develop romantic feelings for us. What is the line in male-female friendships? I certainly don’t know, but I think it has gotten trickier as we have stayed single later in life.
4word: You have mentioned that you do desire to be married and be a mother, but you don’t have either of these two things in sight. Is this desire something you have a hard time trusting God with? Why/why not?
Katie: I have to admit this has been really hard for me. I used to say that I trust God with everything except relationships because I just haven’t seen Him work in that.
Well, I quickly realized that I only thought I trusted God with other areas of life. Because I was confident in my own abilities, there actually wasn’t any trust required. I was basing my trust in God on Him doing what I wanted in each area of my life, so being 30 and still single left me thinking God didn’t care.
In the past year, some situations in my life have clearly showed me He is at work behind the scenes. This broader perspective has given me a deep trust that God knows what He is doing. Do I still hope this includes a husband and a family? Yes, from the bottom of my heart.
I just know there are things I can do now that I won’t be able to do if I am a wife and mother, so I am trying to take advantage of this time. I can point to many experiences in life that I don’t think I would have had if I had married right out of college. Recognizing this reminds me that God has a good plan for me.
4word: What’s one thing you’ve learned about dating that you wish you had been taught in youth group?
Katie: I wish we had been taught the truth about dating – that it is a chance to get to know someone better. I was in the generation of high schoolers who read I Kissed Dating Good-bye. I know good was meant to come from the book – it just seemed to backfire. All of a sudden, you only went on a date with someone if you knew for a fact that you wanted to be with him. This started a culture of ambiguous friend dates.
Men are now afraid to ask women out because they think we automatically assume the poor guy wants to marry us. And women make a big deal out of each date because most women I know aren’t going out on a regular basis.
As a result, you have all of these intimate friendships developing where at least one party gets really hurt. It’s not fun! I just hope the generation of kids behind us will have a healthy view of dating – one that leads to fun and great relationships.
For more on singleness, dating and marriage as a career woman, read Chapter 6 of “Work, Love, Pray.”