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Monday, May 26, 2014

"Living Whole Without a Better Half" (Wendy Widder)

TITLE: Living Whole Without a Better Half
AUTHOR: Wendy Widder
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2014, (192 pages).

This is a book about singlehood written by a single. Having waded through tonnes of resources about singleness and also evaded the darts of inquisitive questions about why she is still unmarried, Widder no longer plays the role of a victim. She has become a voice for the singles.

She has three graduate degrees; years of teaching experience with elementary school children; many friends, but no husband. After years of waiting, hoping, and wondering, she begins to see beyond the need for a spouse toward the recognition of singleness as a gift. With tough personal lessons learned, author Widder addresses her fear of singleness with faith in God. She learns to adopt a sense of identity based on affirming herself in God more than simply marital status. The most pertinent question is "whose am I?" After attacking two common lies about singleness, Widder goes on a journey on learning from 14 Old Testament characters. Even though many of the characters are not single, there are principles in which singles can learn to live without the need to get married.

In the story of Abraham, one learns trust in the midst of an uncertain future. Knowing God is more important than knowing the answers to when one gets married. With faith comes contentment and learning sufficiency in God. The story of Job is a lesson in pain and injustice beyond the domain of retributive justice. Noah's life shows us what it means to persevere and to step out in faith. In Moses, one senses the particular difference between loneliness and aloneness. One turns one inward and the other outward. Jacob and Joseph' life is about learning to take life as God intended. The story about Cain and Abel is a story about the right and wrong attitudes toward living in worship. Enoch is an excellent example of a man single-minded on obeying God. Less known characters include Amram and Jochebed who defied Pharaoh by saving the life of baby Moses to let faith overcome fear. The last three characters are curiously negative examples, of those who began well but ended poorly. From them, five lessons are gleaned and subsequently applied to the single life.

  1. Honestly recognize one's identity
  2. Sticking to the basic of keeping God's Word in one's heart through regular devotions
  3. Controlling one's mind 
  4. Clinging to the truth
  5. Pursuing God more than pursuing a partner.

Singleness may very well be an unpopular gift. It takes faith to receive it. It requires courage to lift up the will of God more than self-will. In fact, singles often have to battle against doubt and fear. They have to learn how to rebut insensitive comments from others. Like what Widder has mentioned, it is important to cling on to the truth. It is essential to finish strong. While the book is targeted primarily at singles, there are principles and lessons within that apply to all. Lessons of faith, perseverance, trust, faithfulness, devotions, and finishing strong. Come to think of it, even those who are married can be utterly lonely. Those who are unmarried can be very fulfilled. The issue at hand is not one's marital status. It is one's identity in Christ. We can all live whole without the earthly "better half." In fact, the best person whether single or married, is to be one who is totally identified in Christ. When that happens, one will bless the community around us.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.


  1. Thanks, Conrade, for taking the time to read and review "Living Whole." I appreciate your perspective and say "amen!" to your last lines: "In fact, the best person whether single or married, is to be one who is totally identified in Christ. When that happens, one will bless the community around us." Good stuff. :)

    1. Dear Wendy,

      Thank you for taking time to comment. May the Lord use your book (and you) to bless and encourage many more. Blessings.