The traditional female life course is normative, socialized and supported by the ecology of compulsory marriage and motherhood. (Allen 1989:116) When the above mentioned quotation is studied, it seems that this statement is not valid anymore in the times where we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, singles have been looked upon with curiosity and suspicion. In the beginning of the nineteenth century never-married women were seen as someone with at least some kind of disability or a disastrous engagement to explain the fact that they are not married (Dorsman 1993:14). During modern times it seems that not much has changed with regard to perceptions about never-married women. Although the discourse in the church is that it is God=s will that people (men and women) will find fulfillment in each other in marriage, it does not seem to happen because of the broken reality that we find ourselves in. In this study the focus will be on the stories never-married women tell about themselves as well as stories from literature. It is an effort to address the ignorance and lack of understanding with regard to never-married women. Another aim is to guide never-married women by means of the narrative paradigm to develop their problem-saturated stories of doubt and pain into new stories of hope. These women should see themselves as complete and acceptable in society. The model that was chosen for the journey is the narrative approach within the social-constructionism paradigm. The researcher or therapist accompanies the never-married woman on the journey. She in turn becomes the co-researcher and the co-therapist. The influence and impact of discourses on the identity and worlds of the never-married woman will form part of this study. The research will culminate in the point where the narrative approach as an alternative therapeutic approach will be discussed. The research does not in any way claim to have come to any conclusions or truths as found during the research process. There are no easy answers or guidelines to help solve the problems of never-married women. In this research the never-married women are the partners or companions who have the outcomes of this research in their hands. The therapist is there to listen, to ask questions and to support. These women are seen as people with the inner potential to go about their lives with purpose and meaning. The purpose of the narrative approach is to help people to live (Louw 1993:38). The purpose of this study is not to uplift being never-married as the ultimate way of living, but to show that to be never-married can be a legitimate and positive alternative way of living.
Thesis (PhD (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2005.