Singled Out: Does the Church Ignore Singles?

A while ago, I had a someone email me and ask whether or not I believed the church pushes marriage. I immediately thought, yes, I think the church does push marriage.

But should it?

Do we really want the message that the church promotes to be one of marriage versus singleness? Is marriage a sort of spiritual achievement worth striving for and if so, where does that leave all those who are single?

So yes, the church at large places marriage on a pedestal. However, I think part of the reason the American church idolizes marriage is a bit less honorable than we might suspect.

For starters, marriages produce children and children produce families. More marriages–more children. Bigger families. You guessed it…Bigger churches.

Now, please don’t misunderstand. I do not think this is the sole reason many churches promote marriage. Not at all, but it is certainly a factor. Families are a powerful force, helping to shape the culture from the movies that are made to the foods that are manufactured. Many churches are run like businesses and businesses need consumers.

But, beyond the need for families, the church has other reasons to promote marriage. Marriage is, after all, meant to serve as a reflection of Christ’s relationship to the Body. Yet, I doubt many pastors consider this fact when they are preaching from the pulpit about the need to be married.

Instead, it seems to me that many church leaders push marriage as a sort of excellence to be achieved– a Christian trophy to be won. They see marriage as the ultimate prize.

But is it? Is marriage really worth all the church fanfare?

Heck, yes! I love marriage and I am a huge proponent of it, as you would know if you’ve spent longer than 3 seconds on this blog.

But, that does not mean that I think those who are married are somehow superior or more Godly. Sadly, however, I do think that this is the message being projected to many in the church–that in order to fully walk with Christ, you have to walk alongside a spouse.

This message is a lie.

Christ never places marriage above singleness. Jesus never said anything recorded in the scriptures that should make us believe that marriage is a more spiritual path. Jesus was single, by choice I believe ( I imagine the ladies were like bees to honey though…)

Paul was single, by choice I believe, as well. Paul certainly understood some of the reasons to pursue marriage–sexual purity, for example. But, he also understood quite well the reasons to abstain from marriage–so that you might be more wholly devoted to God and that marriage can actually cause you more trouble in life.

The problem we face is that the American church has created a cultural lie that tells us that those who are married are whole, complete, and full in Christ. Yet, those we are not married are somehow lacking, less than, incomplete, and in limbo waiting for their life to begin.

Single people within the church are often left feeling left out or forgotten as their congregation happily partakes in family night, family picnics, family everything. It may seem seem trivial, but to a single person, it is not. I have even known of Godly men who were turned down for teaching or pastoral jobs because they were not married.

Can you imagine? What if Paul had been turned down because he didn’t have a wife? The idea seems preposterous to us, and yet it’s happening today.

Life does not begin at marriage. Life begins in the exact moment when we submit ourselves to Christ and make Him Lord, when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and take residence within us.

Our spiritual life is not dependent on our love life. Get that. Our love life might be dependent on our spiritual life, but certainly not the other way around.

And if we truly believe that God shows no partiality, than we must also believe that singleness is just as valuable in God’s eyes as marriage. Just as valuable. Does marriage offer unique opportunities to glorify God that singleness does not? Of course, but so does being single.

Both are worthwhile in God’s kingdom and His kingdom has room for both.

Let’s hear it. I know you have an opinion on this one. Do you think the church promotes marriage? Are you single and ever been made to feel less than? How can we better promote oneness instead of “marriage versus singleness?”

65 thoughts on “Singled Out: Does the Church Ignore Singles?”

  1. I remember the angst I had when a lady in church said she was praying for a husband for me. All I thought in that moment was… “Maybe there is something else more relevant she could pray for.” I wasn’t too impressed.

    I got married the day before my 41st birthday.

  2. Definitely. Many churches simply don’t know what to do with people in between college and marriage. I guess mega-churches might have great singles groups, but they almost become their own “church”. I think singles are looked on as oddities, unless they are older and widowed.


    Probably the best sermon I’ve heard on biblical singleness. We have become incredibly short sighted and handicapped if we believe that we do not absolutely need both single and married Christians. And we are feeling the effects of it. As someone who struggles with attraction to the same sex and thinks that they are going to be called to singleness and all that it entails, I’m fairly certain that the reason the enormous debate that rages on with regard to the biblical standard on homosexuality has a direct link to the church undervaluing, or even, at times, devaluing singleness. If I am called to singleness, I should not be a “special project” of some married couple. They, as well as my single brothers and sisters, should look to affirm the ways in which God is working in my life, pray for vision for my life, and speak into it out of love and biblical-founded truth. And I should look to affirm, prayerfully cast vision, and speak truth in love similarly. I should not be embittered at my brothers and sisters for misleading me either, but should correct them with humility that comes from my need to be corrected at times…and the giant plank in my eye.

    And what we SHOULD value is that the Lord of our lives has empowered some people in such a way that they are able to sacrifice their sexuality for the glory of the Lord, and find life their. And it hurts. It is lonely at times. But the great worth of what Christ did from us came from sacrifice of a caliber even greater than this, as he hung, alone (and single), on a tree, cursed that humanity might be freed from their depravity.

    Four points John Piper has on this topic:

    That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ.

    That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families (and, of course, it is wonderful when relationships in families are also relationships in Christ; but we know that is often not the case).

    That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face.

    That faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

    1. Josh,
      You wrote: “I’m fairly certain that the reason the enormous debate that rages on with regard to the biblical standard on homosexuality has a direct link to the church undervaluing, or even, at times, devaluing singleness.”

      This is perhaps one of the greatest and most heartbreaking truths I have ever read. My heart hurts reading the words and yet I know in my spirit that you are right–that there is a direct link.

      I am also, however, so encouraged by the points you pulled out from Piper. Thanks for the link too!

      But more than that, I am encouraged by you and your continuing faith, the power of your testimony in Christ, your sacrifice to Him and death to self. You inspire me.

  4. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    And obtains favor from the LORD.”
    Proverbs 18

    Nicole, dig this post. I enjoyed my singleness when it was upon me, and I definitely enjoy my ‘marriedness’! (cue 70’s porn music)

    However, I do find it interesting that The Scriptures encourage finding a wife as a good thing, and one that pleases our Father. Obviously, this is not to say being married is some kind of stepping stone to being closer to God. Of course not. Yet, there is a blatant comparison between The Church and marriage.

    I have indeed found a good thing in my bride. I would highly encourage single guys to pursue the chick that catches their fancy, court her, woo her, show her that you are a covenant son and not just some Christian convert looking to get laid. Marriage is covenant, and is seriously spiritual business. Guys: Covenant is not for the timid, the faint-of-heart, the spineless, the ‘mama’s boys’, or for any man who would abdicate his authority like Adam did in The Garden. Be wise. Seek our Father’s will. Then go get her!

  5. I appreciate your view on this. As a woman I have found that there seem to be more christian women than men. That means that there will likely be plenty of christian women who will not marry simply because there aren’t enough men to go around. Additionally, christian women read in the new testament that men are supposed to lead in any potential relationship… which leaves us waiting and waiting and waiting for men to step out in faith and pursue us.

    I am single, and even though I long for the husband God hopefully is preparing for me, I look at my already married friends and think: they have to put so much time into one another that they lose time that they could be spending on others. Like, I slightly fear marriage because it seems impossible to be about other people as much as you can when you are single.

    I guess it all comes down to God’s will and purpose for every individual. Maybe some are meant to bring God glory through a marriage via that relationship and children and some are meant to bring God glory through the additional time singleness allows for those children in the world who don’t have good parents… or for people who just need hope….

    I don’t mean to look down on marriage. I hope to be married one day! The time issue is the one thing that I would really have to consider before getting married. I know it will not be possible serve God outside of my marriage like I would have outside of myself as a single person. Neither is better than the other. Again, just different purposes God has for each of his beloved children.

    1. “Like, I slightly fear marriage because it seems impossible to be about other people as much as you can when you are single.”

      Donna, that’s scriptural to a tee. Paul even mentions it. So it does seem that in some ways, marriage can be retarding to ‘doing God’s will’. But I would debate that it is through marriage that I am open to be a more available minister of The New Covenant. I do not have as much free time, say, as you have as a single chick, but I have found that the free time I do have is more focused and intense. One minute for me is like half and hour to you, perhaps. Please don’t think I am sating you are slow in the Spirit, no! But when He moves on me to get something done He wants, it happens quickly and with His intensity, since He knows my time is spent mostly attending to my House.

      Thanks for the dialogue!

  6. Oh so true. The only place for me in my 20’s was a youth group helper. The singles groups were meat markets. And also called “singles”. Like your value was baised on if you were married or not. I think churches lose the 18-20+ non marrieds and it’s a tragedy really. I mean Jesus did his best work as a single!

    I wish pastors and adult would see the desperate need to include this group. I know churches really effected my friends and I and we tended to travel in groups. Single is just your relationship status. NOT who you are.

    1. Mary Jane, I totally agree with all you posted. I’ve found that in most churches, singles groups are very thinly veiled dating mixers where 90% of the attendees are women.

      I’ve not been to church in about a year because I am so discouraged. It’s hard to get jazzed up about going to church when most of the sermons & teaching series are about marriages, children, family, etc. Plus, sitting by myself every week was a drag. I do pray & consider myself a Christian but it’s hard to feel like you’re part of the church family when you’re never included in it.

      1. “I do pray & consider myself a Christian but it’s hard to feel like you’re part of the church family when you’re never included in it.”

        Katie, I’m so sorry. That’s not what real family does. But know this, sister: you belong and you are beloved. I am praying right now that you find the family you’re desiring, because we’re out there.

      2. I, too, feel this way often, although I am attending two different churches to try and get more involved in the church community. I am new to the area where now there are more marrieds than singles (moved from L.A. to Cincinnati) so the challenge is even greater now. I would recommend finding a church where you like the general sermons, vibe, etc, and then meet with the pastor about your concerns regarding not feeling included.

        I did that at my last church and the pastor listened, but it took time. His sermons focused less on families or at the very least included some issues related to singleness. The events stopped all being labeled “Family” events. Now, I am doing the same thing at my new churches-communicating with the pastors with the need of the single population in the church. I am discouraged at the disconnected feeling, but hopeful that through speaking up things will eventually change.

        As singles, we need to speak up and change things from the inside. I wish pastors read this blog and really opened their eyes to a large segment of the church that feels disconnected. By reconnecting that link, it not only encourages more Godly lives, but it encourages more church and outreach involvement.

      3. Katie – I am currently in your same boat. Though for me I moved to a new city, and it seems every church I have visited, you are only greeted if you come in with someone else.. Single? You don’t even get noticed, no handshakes or welcomes. It’s quite discouraging, and I stopped going to church for that very reason. I miss the groups for colleges aged kids I attended when I was younger, but I am 34 now, and no one has Bible studies for older singles here where I live. It’s always about wives or husbands or parents or families. Where do I fit in? Why can’t churches understand that single people need encouragement too, that although we may be more able to serve, sometimes we need to be served too.
        Sorry for my rant, but my heart has been so heavy. I want to start a singles ministry, once I finish school, simply for the sake of bringing encouragement, and fellowship for singles who are older than the college aged group.

  7. After my dad passed from cancer… I prayed this prayer.

    “I have seen now how you loved through my mom. I want to be able to love like that. ”

    That was it. I didn’t ask God for a lover, I asked Him to make me a lover, by loving though me just like I saw Him love through my Mom in years she was married to my dad. (43.5 in total). The last few months were the roughest.

    I narrowed my list down significantly.

    Within a year, God led me back to the man who is now my husband. It has been over 3 years that we’ve been married now, and I am learning what Love is, simply by letting my Father love though me.

    I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    1. Ruby,
      This is beautiful and I think such a Christ-like response. One that, it seems God responded to with a great gift.

      If only more of us had that mindset and attitude of the heart.

  8. Rodney Clapp’s book “Families at the Crossroads” has an outstanding chapter on Singleness (that comes before his chapter on marriage). Tim Keller’s great new book “Meaning of Marriage” has a similar chapter.

    I don’t have a lot to add. Great post. Single persons in their singleness witness to the sufficiency of Jesus in all things and their hope in the resurrection for eternal life (not propagation of children).

  9. Really good post. Thank you, Nicole! I’m glad the church promotes marriage, and I’m happy if anyone wants to set me up :-) , but we really do need to remember that one state is not superior to the other.

  10. Thanks for this post, Nicole. It has been a longtime frustration of mine that singles are deemed “less than” for not being married. I’ve seen people who have been single their entire lives and impeccably walking with the Lord for all of it turned down for a leadership position; and it was given to someone who was a relatively new Christian, but they were married. As a lifelong single, it is hard to find examples of Christian single leaders within the local churches. I have a friend from the UK who tells me that the churches there allow single leaders. Being married was not viewed as being more stable or mature; and that’s really the insinuation.

    1. Dee Dee – I agree with the difficulty in finding churches with singles who are leaders as they are not mature enough / responsible enough when they might be 10 years older than a young couple that have been singled out for leadership.

      Its hard enough being single and in your 30s, never mind having to walk into a church full of families and feel even worse. This is the place where you should find family.

      This is the one thing that has almost lead me to leave church.

      1. When a friend of mine and I were trying to start a bible study and social group for the singles in our church, the missions pastor viewed our efforts as selfish. How is it selfish to try to build authentic Christian relationships that will help you with your walk with God? This pathetic attitude by some pastors is a reason why a lot of the flock feel discouraged and stop attending church.

  11. I was just talking about this the other day, to a friend of mine at church who is a single guy in his late 50s. Having never been married and never particularly longing to get married, he was sharing his frustration at often feeling like a misfit in what should feel like his home. Sermons address marriage and sex but not singleness. Programs are for families not the entire family of Christ.

    He is a wonderful teacher and leader, who is a surrgoate father to many younger guys at our church. (One of whom is my husband, as my in-laws are not Christian. My husband literally calls him “dad.”) To him, singleness is his calling. He has the time to focus on leadership at church, being a warden, and focus on his work, which is a holistic Christian medical practice.

    Yes, marriage is the Father’s will for some, but this is not a blanket statement for all Christians.

    Paul writes in 1 Corinthians: “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”

    And besides, a person is more than simply their marital status.

  12. I am beyond sick of the FAMILY night, FAMILY pow wows, FAMILY seminars…. I get it.. I not only have to face this at church, but I have to face it as a Christian Counselor. I work for a large counseling organization wth approximately 90-100 employees total. Of those 90-100. I am one of (Pretty sure this is accurate) 4 single folks. And 2 of them are in their 50’s, and content being single. Another 1 is in her 20’s still, with plenty of time, and then there is me.. turning 40 next month, and NOT content being single, but God just hasnt delivered the right guy yet. I get to sit thru all the family oriented stuff constantly. I hate the feeling of not belonging… I try to get involved in as much single stuff as I can.. and have done the Christian online dating thing (um.. what a Joke! Most are not even true Christians).. sigh… I hear ya.. with a 49% single estimate in the united states, It frustrates me to no end that we are kind of put on the back burner…

  13. Hi,
    I think marriage is still highly valued by our Christian culture and many churches. It still represents a kind of “achievement” of “good, Christian parents” and insures a continuation of the traditions and values of a traditional church culture.

    I think alot of single Christians have the same doubts and concerns about marriage as their non-believing contemporaries. Divorce rates among Christians mirror the general population. There is domestic violence, abandonment, and infidelity in Christian marriages much like secular marriages. Plus, you have all the pressure to become part of a couple in an internet-connected world. The dating pool got as big as the Worldwide Web.

    It seems you have Christian singles eager to marry and marry quickly to be “godly.” And then there is the “speed dating” trend that seems to ignore all conventional teaching about “getting to know” someone before committing.

    I think the best thing a church can do is treat it’s singles like everyone else: as disciples of Christ. Offer them the chance to serve where they can give their time and talent, don’t limit them to “single ministry” meetings or opportunities. Be an usher, play in the band, work in the nursery, do drama, serve on a mission, fund raise for the building. If the church’s goal is good marriages, then it would make sense to engage and allow singles to serve Christ. I still believe that’s when you meet the “right” person to marry.

  14. Another awesome post. I think the church is trying to shore up marriages by providing marriage groups and marriage seminars because there has been an entire generation that has been raised in single family homes and doesn’t know what God’s idea of marriage is. I also see a big push in the Christian culture to teach singles how to live pure lives for God to counteract culture’s message, but that is the extend of their ministry to singles. Our church has a young adults ministry and is starting creating small/community/life/home groups strictly for married couples.

    I think there are two trains of thought regarding singles: integrate them into groups so that the -church doesn’t become clique-ish or create a group just for them, which sometimes becomes a “dating service” rather than a place for single people to grow in Christ and experience non-married friendship and accountability.

    The one thing I think the church could do is to establish a month to honor contributions that singles have made in the church, and it isn’t just Paul. In addition to singles who serve in their own church, there are countless single missionaries like Gladys Aylward, Brother Andrew and David Brainerd, who remained single and gave their life to God. It might make having to endure Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day, all either started or corrupted by Hallmark, much easier to endure for singles, I would hope.

  15. First, I want to say that I love the church and all that it is and strives to become. There are always going to be hiccups but we can get past those. Most of the time. Which leads me to my second.
    Second, I am a single person at 26 and I am very content being single. What I am not content about is being made to feel like I am not content. I am constantly reminding myself that I am ok with being single. It is other people that are around me that think I should be actively searching for a boyfriend or (if I decide to get into a relationship) settle for someone who will not completely make me happy because it is the Christian womanly duty to be a wife and mother. It makes me exhausted just thinking about the extended conversations that I have had with many church folks. I love them but I need them to understand that I am not like them. I need to be affirmed in my decision to be single. I am not saying that I will reject someone if I believe that God is talking to me about them. I just want to be able to make that decision without the pressure from people in the church.
    Third, I am deeply disappointed by the churches response to the people who are single in their church. We have become so wrapped up in producing things to strengthen the families in the church (which is extremely important!) that we have forgotten how to strengthen the church community. That includes all of the people in the church. Black. Mexican. Single. Child. College. Gay. Widowed. Married. Unloved. Anyone who steps through the door. We need to take down our silos that we have created to keep people separate and just become a unified community again. As a single person, I need my married friends. My married friends need me. We all need each other and to come together in Christ.

    1. Celisse,
      There is so much Truth and wisdom in what you wrote. Your third point strikes right to my heart. I agree that we have failed to edify and equip the whole Body. Instead, we focus on specific groups or niches–often times families.

      You said it best: “We all need each other and to come together in Christ.”

      Amen and yes!

  16. Maybe somebody has already mentioned this but I didn’t want to go searching through the comments :L True, there are a lot of single men in the Bible, and I completely agree that singleness is no way a less godly path than marriage… but I almost bang my fists on the table when I read about Christian women in scripture. Is marriage our main goal? Is that a completely different debate altogether? I’m a strange soul, I’ve no doubt I want to be married one day, but its the “that’s-where-you-should-be-headed” attitude that makes me want to strive for something different; I’ve started to think that maybe I have some hidden feminist roots that have begun sprouting into my character… :/

    1. Megan,
      One thing to consider, when reading the scriptures, is the cultural climate of the day. Marriage, has historically been an institution to protect women. In many cultures, if women were not married they were cast out or seen as useless.

      That is why women in the Bible did seek marriage often times. It was the guarantee of a better life.

      Now, some might disagree with me, but I do not think God created marriage in order to solely protect women or for it to serve a purely cultural/structural institution. I think marriage was created to glorify God and represent His love for the church, as evidenced by Christ’s relationship to the Body.

      So, I would encourage you Megan to take that into consideration when and if you decide to marry. It’s okay, of course, to have a streak of feminism in you (I do!) but know that God is a feminist too…just not in the way we tend to think. :)

  17. I think one aspect of this is that the church is somewhat suffering from a broader cultural problem. Our broader, secular culture says that a person is unfulfilled until they are sexually active. The church has sort of bought into that, but of course the only way to be sexually active in the church is to be married. Thus we all must be married to be fulfilled. After all, haven’t our parents been told to pray for our future spouses? I’m encouraged to do the same for my children when reading devotionals or other Christian literature. It makes more sense to me to pray for my child!

    While my church doesn’t preach marriage as the better life choice from the pulpit (if they do I’m too married to notice), and they make available many opportunities to be part of fellowship that has nothing to do with life situation, I know our congregation preaches it in practice, frequently and mostly unwittingly in informal ways. I started dating my husband in college, so was never really all that single. That does present limits of its own to service. I do know there was a big barrier between us and families with children for the 7 years we were married before we had kids. We could not break through that barrier and ended up changing congregations. As a parent now, I realize the tendency and the temptation to do the same thing to those, single or married, who don’t have kids. I pray for the grace to recognize and dissolve any and all barriers between me and the people God brings into my community.

    1. Kristy,
      I think you raise an interesting point about churches preaching or believing, that an individual is unfulfilled until they are sexually active. I hadn’t thought if it in those terms. Sadly, I think you may be right. Even sadder than that, is that this is the same message the world sells us–and yet here it is coming from within the Church.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and adding to the conversation!

  18. God sometimes calls people to remain single (1 Corinthians 7:7-8). Being single should not be viewed as a curse or punishment, but as an opportunity to serve God wholeheartedly (1 Corinthians 7:32-36)

    1. Absolutely! One of the beautiful things about both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity is that they value vocations such as being a monk or nun, and even if we are called as single lay people in the world, we are not considered 2d class citizens. Too many Protestant church miss out on that. Hence the over-emphasis on marriage.

    2. I Corinthians 7 was written by Paul not God nor can that passage be used with much credibility to support an alleged call of singleness and Paul said he hoped people could remain as him . I call that his calling not Gods

  19. I know of a few situations that have been made… awkward by the pushiness of some churches towards marriage, or at least individuals in those churches.

    I am married, but have a few single friends who are turning 30 this year. I was thinking about how one of them can only attend the young adult group at our church for this year. Then he is without a ‘group’ at church until he can join Singles 40+ in ten years. What is our church (or other churches) doing for this age group? Nothing right now…

  20. Be married or be single … God only commanded two (2) persons to be single: Elijah & Jeremiah. Paul was NOT called to be single – he chose it of his own free will. There is no such thing as “gift of singleness”. That is satanic perversion of the gospel.

    Each person, including Paul, needs to stand up & quit waiting for God to make decisions about what is desired in life – go to God & tell him via Jesus Christ what you desire, and PARTNER with Him to make it happen. Accept His advice along the way, but take responsibility for decisions. If God wanted us to turn all over to Him, why then did He give Free Will that He will not override? Turn over all matters for His advice & guidance, yes, but not to abdicate responsibility for making decisions by us humans. God provided a framework, a set of rules, for us to know what to do. It’s called The Bible. Read it – all of it, not just a few lines here & there.

    Bottom line: churches DO vallue married over single. CHurches are nothing more than humans coming together, albeit claiming to follow the framework & Jesus Christ. DO they succeed? Some do-many do not. We live in a “couples” oriented society, and read where God said it is not good for the man to be alone. His basic design is pairs … in marriage, in sending out the disciples (pairs), read ECC chapter 4 on strengths of being a couple, a 3-strand with Christ as the 3rd strand, and the danger of being one.

    No wonder churches are mostly married and the US population is 50% un-married. Singles especially who divorce are looked down on – they will reconnect and “live together” or pursue some other non-biblical relationship (many), and not want to associate with hypocrits (stage actors) called churches. Face it – in the end, marriage is viewed today as little more than “exhuberent celebration of not being single anymore”. Hence why divorce is so tragic, as it quickly returns 2 persons to a point in life they were glad to exit.

    What do Un-marrieds do? Make a decision to marry or remain single, and develop a plan to live the decision to the best. Ask Jesus to assist. He will be glad to. This is called “relationship with Christ”. He knows He is a spirit not fleash & blood, and knows our feelings. Through Him, we have relationship with each other more fully.

    As a divorced man, I partnered with Jesus, asked Him to help me ( not do it for me ) develop a plan to transition to a “prudent husband” while requesting a “prudent wife” according to PROV 19:14. It is only right to be able to deliver back what you ask for. I am dating a wonderful Godly “prudent” woman now – very exciting. Never been so close to Christ.
    TRY IT – YOU WILL BE AMAZED, BLESSED, and totally committed to Him.

    1. Thank you ! God doesn’t call people to be single regardless of how many people say so but even worse they have made I cor 7 as their argument yet why is there no other passage ? I cor 7 was written by Paul and are his words
      I’m single and people used I cor 7 as Gods reasoning for calling me single

  21. So I read through the majority of the comments and now I have questions. So, what if I am single, no longer living in sin, have prayed time after time for a husband, yet no answers or spouse has come? What if I’m doing the best I can to make my singleness useful and keep my attention on God by honoring him but I still receive no respect t from the church? What if (this is a big one) IM STILL A VIRGIN in my early 20s and have to put up with feeling less of a woman because I’m not married? Since when does marriage validate our salvation? It seems to me that young Christians get married because they aren’t sexually fulfilled and don’t want to live in immorality. While that may be credible, just because their living under matrimony doesn’t make their relationship with God more pure than mine. There is zero love or tolerance in a church for singles and that’s part of the reason I found a smaller church to attend recently. Yes, being single is a great way for me to serve God more but if I realised marriage was a right-off to my service to the community, I would have married my last boyfriend. One thing I cant stand about the church and it’s response to marriage is that they amp it up to be such a leisurely life with so much joy and bliss. Thats a lie from Satan himself! Married folk have issues too but the difference is that you’re not in a fight alone as we singles are.

    I’m so conflicted because I don’t know what kind of Christian woman I am supposed to be. Should I be the girl who completes college and settles into a career to get married? Oh wait! I cant do that because then I would appear too strong. Or maybe I should forgo college all together and never move out of home until prince charming comes knocking at my door. But wait, that makes me weak and desperate right? Sheesh!!!

    I don’t know what the church expects from me and others like me. Being a young single woman, I have put a lot of effort into placing myself infront of eligible bachelors but its up to them to make the move according to my trusty king James.

    Marriage is no trophy since all humans are imperfect. My trophy is my salvation and the assurance I have in it. Do I want to be married? Absolutely. Do I value biblical marriage? You better believe it. But I also believe God has our lives written for us and I shouldn’t be made to feel less than a woman because I haven’t met my prince yet.

    Sometimes I wonder if I had been raised with a father in my home, would I desire to be married so deeply? Would I still lack the affection and intimacy that I currently lack? Is it really fair to blame my singleness on the church and society when it was my fathers job to nurture me before I was thrown into the world? All I can say is that I am working with what God has thus far given me and I’m trying to make the best of it.

    1. What kind of Christian woman are you supposed to be?

      One who loves and serves her Savior. Period. If he is leading you to pursue a career path for which he has made you uniquely skilled, WONDERFUL! Follow His leading. He will bring you the man He has for you, if it is His will (and if it is, this guy will support you wholeheartedly in your decisions).

      In addition to singles, it seems that Church has ignored the Christian working mother, as well. I’d love to see you write about that one, Nicole.

      1. Not period GW . A bit extreme to have life so one dimensional . God gave us free will too and people are to make choices in life . Can’t agree on the being led part . Is that a real actual really taking place event .

        I personally am not being led in a certain direction . To me that’s co dependence and God gave us a brain and talents but it’s up to us what we do with them .

        Are you a Christian or a religious extremist

  22. Interesting, interesting topic. Looking back 20+ years ago, it seemed like part of the formula to graduate from Christian high school…What next? Go to Christian college…What next? Get married…

    In addition to not knowing how to deal with “singles”, I think that churches push marriage because they don’t want to have the hard conversation about sex. As others have commented, no one deals with “singleness” in the Church; to deal with it would have to deal with the whole sex issue. Easier to just tell everyone to go and get married.

    As the pastor that married me, as a young stupid 21 year old, said, “you both come from Christian homes, you’ll be fine…” Riiight. He was wrong.

    As a lay leader to the college group at my church, I was a part of conversations about what to do with those singles “not of college age”. We quickly shot down the well-meaning pastor who meant to roll it all into college; he didn’t see a problem with 25 year old single guys being in close proximity of 19 year old coeds. A group was eventually started, but I fear most in that demographic moved other places.

    Regarding the fear of “meat markets”, I say, why fear it? Embrace it! What better place to meet girls than at church!

    This is my first time here…I like it!

  23. To get married or remain single? BOTH require careful thought. Our God has delegated a decision to us, and awaits our answer so He can move forward with us.
    We can choose to be single, but there is a trap many do not consider: without a gift of celibacy to handle being single, risk rises of fornication in a weak moment, and that can lead to all kinds of things including loss of participation in the Millennial Reign of Christ. It can lead to selfishness, bitterness, expanded lonliness, depression, etc.. It can also be good for the self-motivated to repair / build financial affairs, get in better physical shape, hone in relationship skills, etc.. A fine line divides the positive from negative.
    Glaring trouble is being single can aid in dodging responsibility and accountability, and avoiding addressing the items we fear.
    Being married is great for community, a sex partner, and common bonding to build each other. Eccles. says two are stronger than one. Adversely, we are imperfect ( under-matured ) beings, and faults collide to produce damaging heat. It can lead too divorce, scaring of kids and each other for remainder of lives.
    Nonetheless, God has only called two (2) people in scripture to be single: Jeremiah and Elijah. No where else. Paul stated he had NO command of the Lord in I Cor 7, yet so many ignorantly push that Paul advocated singleness therefore God must have plans for some to be single and is going to make them single one way or the other – like it or not. This is a satanic lie. God advocated marriage and His plan ( design ) is for pairing. Yet, He offers the free choice. I
    It is up to us to tell God what we want. Yep – stand up and realize He gave us free will and He is not going to go against it. Rather, He wants us to partner, so both are active in our lives. What better advisor could you get than Jesus Christ ( one with the Father John 10:30 ).

    Churches do not recognize the above – unless you walk in the door married, you ARE viewed by the majority as somewhat second-class and treated accordingly. Notice that majority of members of just about all churches are MARRIED. WHY IS THAT?

    The equalizer. Those MARRIED folks go through divorce and suddenly have a change of heart. Oh, but what goes around comes around. Then they become second class. Nothing worse than an older divorced man with no kids in church. I’m 58 and can tell you all about being married then single again. How Christians DO turn on one another. Forget that we are to uplift each other and bear each other’s burdens. Well, true if you are married.
    For me, I’m opting to get married again. Really unconcerned with what others think or believe. My advisor, Jesus Christ, is helping me prepare to marry better and will honor His word via PROV 19:14 and PROV 18:22. Never felt closer to Him as when I woke up and realized the partnership – all mine for the taking. It is everyone’s for the taking, but each has to take it. It won’t be forced on you – God does not override free will.

  24. I used to attend a singles group at a Methodist church. Unfortunately it was comprised of senior citizens; I was the only young adult. Their activities comprised mainly of Sunday School classes; nothing else. Needless to say, even though I complained to the leader and told them to get young people involved, no one paid any attention. I left that group and the church; eventually the group folded. I joined another Methodist church which planned to start a singles group. In this case, the minister decided to call it a “couples group” and he almost told me that I was not welcome in the church because I was the token single person in the church. Needless to say, I left the Methodist church for good. I wish I had reported that minister to someone higher up, but he was about to retire. I have been very suspicious of singles groups and of Methodists since.

  25. The church definitely makes marriage sound like it’s better than being single–I actually got into a debate with a friend and it went as well as expected (I usually keep my mouth shut in groups, mostly because I’m terrible at being social and/or I have nothing to say/feel like I have nothing of interest to say). I wish they promoted singleness just as much and I wish I knew about that verse sooner.

    With that being said, I don’t want to bash marriage, either. There are two sides to every coin and I know myself–I’ll make a lot of jokes about it which are veiled insults. :(

  26. I agree with you commentary. I am a 60 yr old female divorced 30 years with no children, and it is most difficult trying to find a church where I feel that I, too, matter. I live in the Columbus, OH area and have tried many churches including the Vineyard, however, I still strongly believe in the gifts of the Spirit and trying to find the precise church is quite a challenge. Maybe I should go to worship and as long as their doctrine is sound Biblically just take my seat and follow along.

  27. I agree with a lot of what is here and found the article compelling! The other thing I have found is that the pastors of churches seem to be threatened by interacting with a single female. For Pete Sakes, I am not an automatic man eater just because I am single and certainly never out to do anything anywhere close to hurting their rep or ministry. I find it hurtful that I can’t have a conversation with my pastor and yet Jesus focused MUCH less on protecting rep and ministry and sought to meet the need in front of Him instead (aka the woman at the well, etc etc etc).

  28. But, that does not mean that I think those who are married are somehow superior or more Godly. Sadly, however, I do think that this is the message being projected to many in the church–that in order to fully walk with Christ, you have to walk alongside a spouse.

    This message is a lie.

    ========================================================================SADLY, no, it is NOT a lie.
    Go into any church in the USA. Majority of persons are married.
    As singles get older, last thing they need to see is others around them coupled and they have no one. Older men are allowed to come in, but are not “welcomed” … there is something wrong with them if they are not married.

    “If you don’t have a spouse, you are not welcomed into God’s House” … SADLY, this is the culture of churches today. As more divorce, or choose to live together, the church is viewed as hypocrits and that explains why only married folks and a VERY minute handful of un-married folks attend church. IT IS GETTING WORSE, NOT BETTER.

    Marriage has become the exhuberant celebration of not being single anymore.

  29. Hi there,just thought I’d google on Christian singleness and found this awesome discussion.Not sure when this was posted ,but just want to say thank you for putting such things up .I am from South Africa and ever since I turned 24 started feeling like everything in the church leads us to marriage discussions. I am turning 26 this year and want to serve the Lord with other passionate believers ,but like a few others have said its like if you are not married you are missing something/ it feels that way. All women’s conferences /camps eventually have something or the other to do with marriage. Not bashing it also ,I know its a gift from God ,but teach me how to serve God as a single person with other believers without pressure to become part of an item.

    1. Hey, I am also from South Africa! And I am turning 30 this year so you can imagine the types of discussions I’ve been having and it’s been like that since I turned 21! A few years ago I spoke to my Senior Pastor and shared with him how I believe the church needed more emphasis on being whole as a single person and how I as a single person can live the best life with God as they church focuses too much on marriages. He took me seriously and agreed with me and implemented singles seminars but guess what? He gave it over to other Pastors who are married and the seminars focused mainly on being single and being in relationships and staying pure. That’s is not what I wanted! I walked away from those seminars learning nothing new! All I want is someone to tell me that I can live a life, a whole life as a single person without expecting to be married at the end of the day! But it always ends up like you’ve said about marriage. My one pastor gave me advice about children and her exact words were “you will get married one day”. Why doesn’t she rather wait until I am married to give me such advice? Why make me feel like I have to get married now? It was so tedious, everytime there was a function everyone would always ask me that question about when am I getting married but no one bothered to get to know me as the real me. I felt like I had to get married, that is the wrong attitude. The church I am in now doesn’t care about that. I love it! I don’t feel pressurised to get married.

  30. Oh Yes, I am not alone! It got to the point in my old church that I left because people had put limitations on me. “You’d accomplish so much more if you were married!” Funny that, I do a heck of a lot more than most couples do together! “You need a man in your life” Why?? The question about getting married and having kids cropped up everywhere I went. No one bothered getting to know me anymore, they were so focused on my love life. Then my worst nightmare. People would then start trying to set me up with the single men in church and they didn’t do it in such a nice way. E.g. “Roelien is single, she’s desperate, she’ll date anyone” I kid you not! Of course the men didn’t want to date a girl who was portrayed as “desperate” so I thought bugger this, I’m leaving to start afresh, where no one knows me. I am now in a church that accepts me just as I am. No one cares about why I am single and when I am getting married. They care about my walk and my relationship with God!

  31. This article could have so easily been written about the church in the UK. Yes I am married, but we have no children out of choice. However both my wife and I have found that churches cannot deal with single people and the default settings are to either ignore them or nudge them toward any other single person in the church.
    The other thing we have found that the church is lousy at dealing with are couples like us – the ones without children. You are either ignored at worst and at best treated with something bordering on pity. You should have heard the reaction when I said I didn’t like ‘Family Services’ and would go out of my way to avoid them.

    Come on church this is unbiblical and ungodly.

  32. Hi! I agree with you on this . I believed the lie that told me I couldn’t serve God as well , or do things that married couples do .
    Then I realized ….singleness is a gift from God , just as much as marriage is. We must receive every good and perfect gift from our Father :)

    1. Singleness is not a gift from God and nowhere in the bible is that stated . People have decided its a ” gift from from God ” when it’s not – God said that’s it’s not good for man to be alone . Paul didn’t say that God did

  33. I feel this too. I stopped going to church. Just got tired of sitting alone, and the pitiful handshakes during the greeting part of the service. I went to church once with my 5 year old niece, and I could not believe the attention I received. Women came up to me warmly talked to me, and asked about my so call “daughter”. No when you walk in a door at church it isn’t right. When all the “popular” ladies including pastors wife are whispering amount themselves and snarling as they stare at you!! This is my experience. The pastor can’t help me his church is so small 60 members. Most of them couples. I’m not one of these cute bible college sexy legs, plays piano sings, and has perfect hair, and teeth. No I’m an average looking fat girl who wanted to be loved by someone. I accept now that what I need most is Christ. Also I stand on Isaiah 34:16 for my answered prayer. Believe it’s done, and God will do it!

  34. I am 72 Years old and have been divorced since I was 34. I was never fully accepted at any church until I lied and passed as a widow!

  35. Hello,

    I’m so glad to find this blog. I’m 46 and unfortunately, there is a shortage of single guys in my church, especially in San Francisco. I used to go to 10am services but felt left out. All the married couples were greeting each other and hugging each other. It is like I didn’t exist or like they didn’t bother wanting to get to know me. I mean I could help out with the kids and support them in their trials but it is like some people think only married couples understand each other. That’s not true. We all form part of the Body of Christ. Some of us don’t have the opportunity to get married or want to give their all of their attention to Christ. St Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa of Calcutta never got married but were on fire for Christ. Gods love is enough. He fulfills us and we all are dependent on His love. We all need each others prayers. I go to the 430 services on Saturday now and feel more involved in my church. I volunteer for different ministries. I’m thinking of joining a third order as a lay person either with the Dominicans, Franciscans, or the Carmelites. I’m Catholic and really admire St Teresa of the Little Flower. She became a Carmelite sister and never married but was so in love with Christ. Some of us don’t marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ. We are called to be spouses of God. Christ is the bridegroom. When I feel lonely I run to Him. He fills me up. The Holy Spirit guides me and whatever I give up for Him, my decision to be single for Him is sanctified. I bear fruit because He loves me. He knows my sufferings. I just wish all of us could set aside our differences and love one another. If you see someone who is lonely invite them to lunch. Invite them to dinner at your house. We all have something to offer. We all count.

  36. The only time churches embrace singles is when they need money and/or volunteers. Since we’re single we must have plenty of cash and time and can be such a “blessin'”.
    I find it ironic that I’ve never been married and I’m looked down upon but people in church that are on their 2nd, 3rd (or more) marriage are welcome with open arms. I would love to find a church family but all I seem to find is a well organized country club where all can enter but few are accepted.

  37. For goodness sake, since when did the Great Commission become about earthly marriage? I’m married and I see the way family has become a huge idol in the church. People have become so inwardly focussed on their own families and family oriented programmes within the church building that they are not reaching outwards to the community! We are supposed to love one another, have EMPATHY for one another, make disciples of all nations. People matter to God and they are to be built up and encouraged, not judged and marginalised for their marital status. When we die, we’ll all be single!

  38. I think churches definitely ignore single people – almost as if they think there is something wrong with them that they remain single. I’m a 52 divorced, straight male who has a teenage daughter that lives with her mother, and every church I seem to visit, they either ignore me completely or try to convert me to more fundamentalist beliefs. Even gay couples in the churches I visit get more attention — simply because they ARE couples and not by themselves. I want to grow spiritually, but I also don’t want to be treated like a pariah. I want to be an active part of a church community that accepts me for who I am.

  39. I find myself struggling with the same issues as those who have posted above. I’ve been in a relationship with a divorced man for 30+ years who is 13 years older than me, who led me back to the church. He told me from the beginning he never wanted to remarry, and I’m OK with that. What I’m not OK with is the church’s attitude. My church is fine with any marriage, gay or straight and made such a big deal out of it at one service, I left in tears! I’m actually thinking of leaving altogether, as I really felt (and still feel) like a worthless person. After all, what does a single, financially struggling, childless 59 year old high school graduate have to offer? I’m in the choir – they talk around me, not to me. Forget coffee hour, as everyone is in their own family groups/cliques. Trust me as you get older, corporate worship becomes more difficult. I give up!!

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