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Wait, You’re Single…and Happy?! June 30, 2010

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in Christianity, family, life, singles, The Church.
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The Church is a family-friendly place, as it should be. Every preacher in America has preached sermons on family, on having healthy marriages, and on how to be a better parent; most pastors preach on these topics several times throughout the year, some the majority of the year. In churches such as mine, where the majority of the congregation are married and have families, this makes sense. Sermons on building healthy families are needed, and needed often. The sad part is for single people, like me, is that we usually have to put up with the old, “You singles listen up! You’re going to need this one day when you have a family!” While this statement may indeed be true, I usually take it as a slap in the face. 

Now, I know some of you might think that I’m being too harsh because several churches have good singles ministries. In this you are correct, there are some excellent singles ministries out there. But, I’m talking about corporate worship services and the interactions we get from our married brothers and sisters.

First of all, singles are not guaranteed that we will ever get married. The old idea that “God has someone picked out for everybody” is proven untrue every time that a lonely single dies unmarried. This being the case, I may not need the sermon on how to build a healthy family, because we can’t be sure that I ever will get married. I’m hopeful I will, and I even think that’s it’s probable that I will, but it is far from guaranteed.

But, the thing that bothers me most about the Church’s focus on the family (I hope I don’t have to pay James Dobson royalties for using that phrase), is that it seems like most married people with families view the single person as lacking something.  The last time my pastor preached a sermon series on the family, one of his points was that, “being in a family adds value to your life.” So, my life as a single is less valuable that someone who is married? I understand what he was saying, and while there may be truth to it, that statement didn’t exactly edify me.

In addition to that, when singles tell married people they’re single we usually get this line: “Aw, you’ll find somebody. The right person is out there.”  The connotation there is that being that we are not married, we must not be happy. Granted, I know a lot of singles that are indeed unhappy and lonely, but sometimes I wonder if they are like that because those feelings have been willed onto us by our church family, because again, they make it seem like we are lacking something. 

Let me just say that if you are single, you are not lacking anything. It is well noted that even Paul thought it was better to be single than to be married (1 Corinthians 7:25-35). My request to the Church is that we get shown some love. Yes, a lot of us singles are lonely. Yes, a lot of us singles are sad. Yes, a lot of us singles do have dreams of being married and in a family one day. But, we are not lacking anything. Instead of constantly teaching us about how to build a healthy family or to find a godly mate. Teach us how to be content in our singleness, and how to best serve the Lord while we are single. Please do not just assume that because we are single that we are unhappy. Ask us if we are! If we are, please minister to us! If we are not, then laugh with us! Whatever you do, just don’t make us feel like we are lacking something!

Do you think that churches put too much emphasis on ministering to families and not enough on singles?

Have you ever felt like you were lacking something because you’re not married?

What are some ways the divide between married people and single people in the Church can be bridged?

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Comments»

1. Kerry - July 1, 2010

1) Do you think that churches put too much emphasis on ministering to families and not enough on singles?
Yes. The church is all about family, singles are tolerated.

2)Have you ever felt like you were lacking something because you’re not married?
Yes. Having legitimate sexual and emotional relations with the opposite sex.

3)What are some ways the divide between married people and single people in the Church can be bridged?
The singles need to tell the pastor they had enough of the bulls**t and just quit and walk out. The church will take notice. It is NOT up to the singles to come up with the answers to bridge the divide. Pastors spend years in seminary. If the seminaries don’t know, don’t care or don’t teach, then the message is loud and clear, “singles are not welcome in church.”

thesociallyawkwardchristian - July 1, 2010

I agree with your sentiments. But, I don’t think quitting and walking out of the Church is ever the answer.

amd - December 25, 2011

I was divorced when I was 28 and have been single ever since. Has any body considered what Paul says in the Bible about being single. Here are just a couple scriptures:

(1 Corinthians 7:27) Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife.

(1 Corinthians 7:39-40) A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is–and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

2. Rachel - September 27, 2013

In my opinion the protestant church is really into “marryolatry.” Lonely marrieds die every day the same as lonely singles. So why is every Christian expected to marry? It probably won’t make you happy if you aren’t already, so what’s the point?
As a 40-year-old spinster I have no desire to marry now. Sometimes I think the only reason I ever did was because the church expected me to. Married women are too wrapped up in hubbies and kiddies to do as much for the Lord, but they’re always the ones asked to serve.
We need to read God’s Word more and less of those cheesy “Christian romance” novels!

Jenn - November 3, 2013

I agree with Rachel about the focus on marriage in the church. I never wanted a child, I never really wanted to be married but I did feel the pressure to look and try and I think it’s a combination of church and secular culture pressure. I am happy, truly happy. It’s amazing how difficult it is to convince people of this fact. I’m not waiting or filling in time until I find someone as many unhappy singles are, I’m actively serving God and loving life as is. Fulfilled in God.

Pat - March 23, 2014

God bless you. You are perfectly fine the way you are. God’s grace is with you whether you are married or not. No one is married in heaven. Jesus said that. Don’t let the world convince you that there is only one vocation. God has no limitations. He doesn’t put people in one category. Look at how many flowers He has made and how many stars there are in the universe. He will meet us where we are at. Human wisdom cannot limit His love for us. He is your bridegroom.

3. Vicki - February 26, 2014

Thank you for this! I had joined a church that I thought would have given me the fellowship with other singles that I needed. But I soon discovered that the emphasis was “young adults”, not specifically singles, and soon after a change of leadership of the ministry, the group was now labeled “young couples”. I no longer had a place. And it doesn’t stop there. When anything is described in the Christian community (whether online or offline) “for singles” it actually should be “for singles who want to be married and are incapable of functioning as a single person”. The same for anything described as “for women”. EVERYTHING is focused on being a wife AND mother (no “or”), or future wife AND mother. I’m getting fed up with the Christian mentality that the only thing that a woman needs in her worship is how to be a wife and mother. Absolutely FED UP. It’s unfair, discouraging, discriminatory, condescending, stereotypical and not a little sexist to those of us who have no interest in those topics. (::Extreme personal/private thoughts warning::)Not to mention that my desire for marriage is even further quelched by all the times I’ve read in forums that the wife’s duty is to give herself to her husband WHENEVER HE WANTS WHETHER SHE WANTS TO OR NOT. That right there stops me in my tracks. What the what! So they’re telling me that I have to deny my sexual desires until I’m married, then once I’m married my sexual appetite is redundant and I’m supposed to perform on demand? Excuse me, but since when do women’s bodies work that way? I thought the marriage bed was a “expression of love”. That doesn’t sound like love to me, that sounds like horny men who don’t care if their wife doesn’t feel like that type of entertainment at the moment. But, I digress. My point is, I’m sickened and disappointed. Whether single or married, there are things besides marriage and kids to discuss that needs guidance on. Nobody likes unwanted advice about anything, and when the ONLY advice is being a good wife and being a good mother, you kind of stop asking for advice. To be cute and a little silly, it’s like an ant who, everywhere he goes, gets told how to be a good elephant, proper trunk care, where to find giant q-tips and how to avoid becoming an umbrella stand. To sum up: does anyone know any good daily devotionals that don’t include the words husband, wife or kids?

Pat - March 23, 2014

Read the story of St. Teresa of the Little flower and St Francis of Assisi. It is not just a story for Catholics. It is a story for everyone.

4. Pat - March 23, 2014

There is nothing wrong with being single. God does not discriminate. He’s more concerned with having our soul saved. I’m in formation to be a third order Franciscan and have found that everyone has their own vocation and marriage is not the only vocation. St Francis was not married and experienced the joy of Gods love.

5. Pat - March 23, 2014

I have received so much love from receiving the Eucharist. I’m Catholic. St. Teresa of the Little flower was not married but she was very very happy and fulfilled. Christ is our bridegroom. Every time I receive Holy Communion I feel fulfilled. I read the story of St. Teresa of Avila she experienced moments of ecstasy and peace. There is more than one vocation. Don’t know how to explain it. Have to experience it.

Rachel - March 24, 2014

Hi, Pat. Which biography of St. Francis do you recommend? I enjoyed a good one by G.K. Chesterton. I believe St. Teresa of the Little Flower and St. Teresa of Avila left autobiographical writings. I’m reading “Interior Castle”–a very good book. At times it reads more like a beautiful fantasy tale than a spiritual instruction manual.


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