I got a message from a well-intentioned single woman, who told me she was having a hard time connecting with my IG page, because I am “lacking in empathy”.
For example, she went on to say, “your recent post about saving sex for marriage…you’ve been enjoying married sex for more than a decade…and you have three children. You post pictures of your kids and pregnant photo on your IG from time to time.” She went on to say:
“It often lands as a lack of awareness. Telling people not to grow weary in waiting…is not comforting. If I was you, I would share my family photos on your personal account. You have a loving husband and fruitful sex life, according to your posts….but I would challenge you to connect more with the human side of your audience. You have not experienced the pain of [life long singleness].”
Her intentions were clearly not to hurt me, she said that over and over again in her posts. So she’s not the enemy here. She just wants people to see the truly hard side of singleness…
But her words definitely caused me to stop and think.
And after a couple weeks of thinking and praying about this, here’s my conclusion:
I won’t stop posting pictures of my marriage, my kids, and my life.
Why? For two reasons:
1. Because this is my journey, too.
With the ups, and downs. Highs and lows.
The truth is, this Instagram account is my personal page. Behind all the quotes, lessons, and conversations — there’s a real human being, trying her best to be a wife, a mom, a counselor, and a minister of truth.
To me, my personal page and ministry page are one in the same. Because right now, life is ministry. And I’ll just as freely share about my amazing husband, as I will about our difficult miscarriage and unexpected redemption pregnancy. I’ll be just as quick to share about my awesome kids, as I will about the brutal anxiety and depression I’ve walked through postpartum and intermittently throughout my life. This is life. With the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The truth is, I have A LOT of single followers on social media. And honestly, out of all my followers, they hold the most special place in my heart — and I will not stop serving and encouraging them until God tells me to move on. But I want to connect with them as a real human being…a real person. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide parts of my real life so that I don’t step on any toes. And I don’t want you to ever feel that way with me, either.
2. Because instead of just commiserating with singles, I want them to see the other side of the story.
My job as a counselor is all about changing perspective.
When you change your perspective, you change your life.
That doesn’t mean we don’t make time to grieve and acknowledge the hardships of singleness — in fact, if you look through my articles and podcasts, you’ll see I make sure to do that on a regular basis. (You Don’t Have To Like Being Single, Always The Bridesmaid Never The Bride, or 10 Times When it Stinks to Be Single).
It’s important to take time to grieve and acknowledge the hard things in life — but it’s also JUST AS important not to stay there.
I want singles to know that the work, investment, and preparation they put into becoming the healthiest version of themselves RIGHT NOW has meaning in the end!
I want to model to them what a healthy marriage and family can look like. I want to show them that real marriage takes a whole lot of work — but also, that I am truly in love with my husband. To me, there’s value in that just as much as there is in commiserating. You need to have a healthy balance of both.
Lastly, I’ve concluded that even though I have a lot of single followers, I also have a lot of followers who are dating, engaged, and married (long-time married at that!!!). I think that fact alone should make singles even more excited — because out of the large percentage of the people who started following me while they were single, many of them are now dating, engaged, or married…and they want to see the full spectrum of healthy relationships. For MOST people reading this post, singleness is a transient season….one that won’t always be.
If you want to find another leader on Instagram to “kill” that dream, and commiserate through every post….that person is not me. I want to continue offering perspective, hope, and encouragement. I want to continue asking God on your behalf, that he would bless you with a healthy marriage. I want to continue showing you that healthy people DO make healthy relationships. And part of how I do that, is by God’s grace, trying my best to live it out. With every post…and with every picture.
I love you guys so much. My heart is for you. My prayers are with you. And I take your feedback seriously. I don’t always agree with it — but I think it through. In this case, though, I’ve decided I’m going to continue posting 🙂
DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates, and Love In Every Season. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twi