Celebrating Milestones in the Lives of Single Adults – by Anna Broadway

Celebrating Milestones in the Lives of Single Adults – by Anna Broadway

A few years ago, I did a blog post or two with similar content – pointing out how churches keep on ignoring or minimizing singles by ignoring them and their accomplishments while forcing everyone to acknowledge (generally during Sunday morning church services) the milestones of married parents (e.g., announcing pregnancies, Mother’s Day celebrations, etc).

There’s nothing like that for single adults. And it’s tiresome when you’re a single.

It’s tiresome to walk into a church regularly and see the pastor or whomever in the church acknowledge marriages, new births, etc. (and this is usually done during church services where you’re part of a captive audience, and it’s done from the pulpit, so you don’t have a choice but to listen to it), but they never congratulate the adult singles in the adult singles’ lives for their milestones (e.g., gaining another college degree, buying a first home alone, getting a job promotion, etc).

Most churches unfairly only recognize marriages and “baby-making” – it’s absolutely infuriating.

(Link): It’s the Summer of Weddings. Here Are Other Milestones We Can Celebrate.


by Anna Broadway
June 14, 2021

The church has a unique opportunity to recognize markers of spiritual growth in our communities.

…But watching the joyous announcements and photos of this season triggered an internal battle over my status as a single woman and my “success” in adult life. As I learned from (Link): 17 months of researching Christian singleness around the world, many cultures deem marriage a mark of maturity into adulthood, a view that too often sidelines single people.

The Bible takes a different view of maturity: one based on a relationship with Christ rather than with another person. The apostle Paul, for example, called believers to develop certain qualities rather than hit certain life markers. That ought to have significant implications for what and how we celebrate.

Celebrating the important events in our lives is a rich and beautiful part of living in community.

But when our churches and communities take a milestone approach to celebrations and achievements such as weddings, baby showers, and graduation ceremonies, we can often unintentionally leave out the single, disabled, and infertile who may not wed or have children.

When we celebrate qualities of maturity, however, we recognize many more ways to rejoice with and encourage each other.  …

In her doctoral research on singleness in the church, theologian Dani Treweek said milestones like weddings and anniversaries came up frequently in her interviews. “It’s something that lots of singles have told me they feel quite intently and grieve quite intently,” she told me.

For many singles, celebrations year-round can resurrect a similar pang: the sense that most of life’s important milestones require a relationship to which they don’t have access.

But there are many ways in which Christians can celebrate each other in community outside these more traditional life events—from honoring a person’s dedication to education to acknowledging the impact someone has had by hitting a significant work anniversary.

…Celebrating milestones allows us to recognize the imago Dei in others. And to the extent celebrations help us show gratitude, they may be an especially important practice for Christian singles. Gratitude focuses on what we have, whereas, all too often, singles and churches frame this season as a time of not having.  …

Anna Broadway is the author of (Link): Sexless in the City: A Memoir of Reluctant Chastity. She’s currently working on a book based on her singleness research.


(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers

(Link): Unmarried / Single People Are Supposedly Bitter & Have Too Much Baggage – and that’s why you’re still single they say

(Link): Lifeway Research: Pastors Encourage Single Adults, Some Provide Targeted Ministries (How Churches Are Ministering to Adult Singles in 2022)

(Link):   Five Unhelpful Things Singles Are Tired Of Hearing by R. Duncan / Eight Things You Should Never Say To Your Single Friends by K. Wilkinson

(Link): Only Couples Allowed? The Need to Celebrate Singleness in the Church by P. Greer

(Link):  What Christians Really Think About the Church’s Relationship Advice by Anna Broadway

(Link):  Sex Regarded as Passage Into Adulthood

(Link):  The single life: Some people never find the love of their lives. And live to tell about it.

(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40

(Link): Supporting Singles and How Churches Can Help Singles Get Married – Lessons from Match-Making by B. Lea

(Link): To the Christians (especially married ones) Who Like to Instruct Single Christian Adults They Should Only Marry Other Christians, Listen Up (Re: Equally Yoked Rule)

(Link): The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

(Link): A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood (article) – how Christian teachings on gender and singlehood contribute to raunch culture and fornication etc

(Link): The Holy Spirit Sanctifies a Person Not A Spouse – Weekly Christian Marriage Advice Column Pokes Holes in Christian Stereotype that Marriage Automatically Sanctifies People

(Link): Codependence Is Not Oneness: What Christians Get Wrong About Relationships

(Link): This Is What Therapists Tell People Who Are Sick Of Being Single

(Link):  Stop Overlooking Singles in Church By Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence

(Link): Theme Park Bans Single Adults For Fear They Are All Pedophiles

(Link): Stigmas and Stereotypes of Single Unmarried Men Over 25 or 30 Years of Age – They’re Supposedly All Homosexual or Pedophiles

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link):  Christian ‘Married People’ Privilege – Most Marrieds Remain Amazingly Blinded to Christian Discrimination Against Singles Or Write Unmarrieds’ Concerns Off, As Though They Are Nothing Compared to Marriage/ Parenting.

(Link): Marriage Won’t Keep You From Contracting Covid and Dying (this may come as a shock to Al Mohler and Brad Wilcox and those like them)

(Link): My Marriage Broke Down Around Age 30 — And So Did Most of My Friends’ Relationships by E. Woods

(Link):   Typical Conservative Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough (or at all), Mr. Right will magically appear

(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): Christians: Please Stop Telling Singles that Their Singleness is “For God’s Glory” /  Owen Strachan’s “Being Single To Bring God Glory” Essay

(Link): ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles by Bella DePaulo  

(Link):  Five Things Single Women Hate to Hear

(Link):  Five Unhelpful Things Singles Are Tired Of Hearing by R. Duncan / Eight Things You Should Never Say To Your Single Friends by K. Wilkinson

(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line

(Link): How (Married) Christians and Christian Teachings About Dating/Marriage Are Keeping Single Christians Single Part 1

(Link): Same Old Tired Advice to Christian Singles

(Link)Article: My Savior My Spouse? – Is God or Jesus Your Husband Isaiah 54:5

(Link): Following the Usual Advice Won’t Get You Dates or Married – Even Celebrities Have A Hard Time

(Link): Stop Telling Your Single Friends to Try Dating Sites – Please.

(Link): Responding to the Cliche’ “Jesus Is All You Need” – Re Christian Singles

(Link): On Christians Marrying Non Christians -and- Unrealistic, Too Rigid Spouse Selection Lists by Christians

(Link): Why Are So Many Single Women Leaving the Church? by K. Gaddini

(Link): Another Christianity Today Magazine Editorial (2019) Expects Single Women To Meet the Needs of Married Women – Christians Never Ask the Reverse

(Link): Christian Double Standard – Pray Earnestly For Anything & Everything – Except Marriage?

(Link): Getting Married Is Not an Accomplishment by N. Brooke

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): “God’s gifting of singleness is rare”

(Link): It’s Not Your Imagination, Single Women: There Literally Aren’t Enough Men Out There – Re: Man Shortage – Follow Up Interview 

(Link):  “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site

(Link): Article: 30 And Single? It’s Your Own Fault

(Link): Stop Believing God Told You to Marry Your Spouse by G. Thomas

(Link): Never-Married Adult Man Named Stephen Asks Christian Host Why God Has Not Answered His 3-Decades Long Prayers To Send Him A Wife

(Link): Desire for Marriage is Idolatry?

(Link): Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

(Link): Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work

(Link): Husband-Hunting is the Worst Part of a Christian Upbringing – Christianity Made Me Obsessed with Finding a Husband – by B. Ramos

(Link): People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Death of a Spouse – Widow Widower

(Link):   Married Woman Says She’s Lonely Because Her Husband Works All The Time

(Link):   Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis

(Link):   Women Who Dump Women Friends As Soon As They Get A Spouse or Boyfriend (Letter to Advice Columnist)

(Link): Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless

(Link): Dear Abby: Teen Gets a Boyfriend, Snubs Her Old Pal 

(Link):  Single People Aren’t Problems to Be Fixed or Threats to Be Neutralized By Ella Hickey

(Link): Should Churches Aid (In) Matchmaking For Lonely Singles? by John Stonestreet

(Link): Research: Being Single [or Fear of Being Single] is a Meaningful Predictor of Settling for Less in Relationships

(Link): Consider The Source: Christians Who Give Singles Dating Advice Also Regularly Coach Wives to Stay in Abusive Marriages

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