What I Wish the Church Knew About Singles by Elizabeth Riese

What I Wish the Church Knew About Singles by Elizabeth Riese

(Link): What I Wish the Church Knew About Singles by Elizabeth Riese

-via Relevant’s site, which permits the reader five free articles per month…. anything beyond that requires a subscription

Excerpts:

October 27, 2022

… Singleness is not a subject that is foreign to me — I have been single the majority of my 30 years of life. In recent years, I have found myself declaring to my friends often how tragically imperfect the Church is in its attitude toward single people.

There often seems to be a sense in Christian circles that being single means you have not yet “arrived” or been made complete. Marriage is often spoken about as the most sanctifying experience a believer can have, helping a person become more like Jesus as they learn to unconditionally love their spouse.

Yet, as Dr. Bella DePaulo pointed out on the CXMH: On Faith & Mental Health podcast, there are many events in life besides marriage that are sanctifying. Grief, suffering, pain, loss — each of these experiences can deeply shape a person and make them more like Christ. Why do we like to hold up marriage as the experience that makes us most like our Savior, who was never married Himself?

Even further, the Church’s focus on and exaltation of marriage often leads to a neglect of discussing the very real struggles and issues inherent in singleness.

…The truth is that being single is not a curse, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It can be lonely and isolating and downright discouraging at times. And it often feels like the Church is doing little to help.

Continue reading “What I Wish the Church Knew About Singles by Elizabeth Riese”

Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single? by Emily Brown

Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single? by Emily Brown

The essay I am excerpting below is pretty good and contains a lot of truth.

It’s certainly true that a person who wanted marriage but remains single can eventually learn to accept their own single status, mostly make peace with it, but well-meaning friends and family (Christians are the worst, they worship marriage),
can make one of their well-meaning comments, and it can send you spiraling – until you learn to let it bounce off you, develop boundaries, and let that well-meaning person know that their comment does offend or hurt, even if that wasn’t their intent.

I also recall years ago seeing Christian singer Carman, who died in 2021, who was single until he got married in his 50s, say on a TBN program (while he was single) that he would be going along okay in life doing just FINE with his single status,
until he’d run into a Christian friend or family member who’d make those passing, sometimes well meaning, comments or questions like, “Why are you still single? Aren’t you depressed or lonely being single?”

Carman said on those occasions, his thoughts were, “You know, I WAS doing okay with being single UNTIL you had to rub my single status in my face and act like I SHOULD feel inadequate about it.”

The following is from Relevant, which only permits a person up to around five free articles per month:

(Link): Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single?

Excerpts:

by Emily Brown

As a lifelong single person, I’ve had a lot of time to come to terms with my singleness. And not even just come to terms and begrudgingly accept it, but truly learn to enjoy and love being single.

So when people ask how I feel about being single I don’t have to fake a smile. I excitedly share the happiness and joy I feel about being single.

That being said, there are still moments where I do feel sadness or shame or embarrassment about my singleness.

Do you know why? It’s because of the response people give me when I tell them how I feel about being single. Because when I tell people that I’m single they often respond with some iteration of:

“I’m sure you’ll find someone soon!”

Uh, thanks?

Nowhere in my explanation of my relationship status did I mention I was upset or worried.

Yet why do people — and let me be clear on which people I am specifically talking about: already married Christians — always assume I am sad about being single?

It has been a long, long journey to finding happiness. I worked really, really hard to unlearn the lie that being with someone would make my life complete and replace it with the truth that God is all I need.

I had to realize that there isn’t anything wrong with me and being single is not a curse.

…But it can take just a few words from well-meaning, ultimately misguided people to crack holes in my happiness.

Continue reading “Why Can’t Other Christians Understand I Am Happy Being Single? by Emily Brown”

Fewer than 50% of U.S. Adults Are Now Married. It’s Time to Give More Legal and Financial Breaks to Single People, Law Professor Says

Fewer than 50% of U.S. Adults Are Now Married. It’s Time to Give More Legal and Financial Breaks to Single People, Law Professor Says

(Link): Fewer than 50% of U.S. adults are now married. It’s time to give more legal and financial breaks to single people, law professor says.

Excerpts:

By Zoe Han

The share of married Americans has fallen to 45%, down from 50% in 2015.

…The share of married Americans has fallen to 45%, down from 50% in 2015. At the same time, the share of Americans who are not in a romantic relationship rose to 37% from 32% over the same period.

…However, people most likely to benefit from state and federal subsidies — joint bankruptcy filings, and tax and immigration laws — live in “traditional” households, typically consisting of a husband, wife and children, Mechele Dickerson, law professor at the University of Texas, Austin, wrote in (Link): her recent paper published in Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal.

…U.S. legal and economic systems favor married people, particularly upper-income, college-educated couples who are white, because that’s the demographic more likely to belong to the “traditional” married household, Dickerson said.

Continue reading “Fewer than 50% of U.S. Adults Are Now Married. It’s Time to Give More Legal and Financial Breaks to Single People, Law Professor Says”

Woman Says Why She’s Rejecting These ‘Lonely, Single Men’ – also: Male Entitlement In and Out of the Church, Men Who Won’t Take Personal Responsibility for Their Singleness

Woman Says Why She’s Rejecting These ‘Lonely, Single Men’ – also: Male Entitlement In and Out of the Church, Men Who Won’t Take Personal Responsibility for Their Singleness

Below this article, I have a lot of comments, before I resume with providing another link related to this first one:

(Link): Woman says why she’s rejecting these ‘lonely, single men’

Aug 18, 2022
By Jana Hocking, News.com.au

Unless you were hiding under a rock this week, you would have read about an article published on Psychology Today titled “The Rise of Lonely, Single Men.”

It was written by psychologist, Greg Matos, and revealed that dating opportunities for heterosexual men are diminishing as relationship standards rise.

The psychologist explained that women are now only dating men who share the same values, have great communication skills and are emotionally available. Praise the lord!

Toxic men are out, respectful studs are in.

Now first of all, may we get out our violins and play a sad melody for the men who have treated women like absolute rubbish and then realized that they’re now single and alone. How unfair for these poor creatures.

You see, while they were bed-hopping, ghosting, breadcrumbing and doing all sort of mind f–kery to us women folk, we were quietly, and subtly embracing this ‘self love’ culture that started to emerge in TED Talks, TikTok videos, YouTube channels, and various other online forms.

Oprah preached: “If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is. Don’t stay because you think ‘it will get better’. You’ll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.”

Continue reading “Woman Says Why She’s Rejecting These ‘Lonely, Single Men’ – also: Male Entitlement In and Out of the Church, Men Who Won’t Take Personal Responsibility for Their Singleness”

Lifeway Research: Pastors Encourage Single Adults, Some Provide Targeted Ministries

Lifeway Research: Pastors Encourage Single Adults, Some Provide Targeted Ministries

I’m afraid this is too little too late, and it also still sounds like a lot of pastors and Christians are apathetic about meeting the needs of single (especially never married) adults who are over the age of 30.

If you’re a church, or a secular or religious conservative, you need to meet people where they are and meet their needs where they are currently, rather than lambasting people for not being married, shaming them, or lecturing them about being single and the so-called importance of the Nuclear Family.

And stop putting the onus on single adults to meet their own needs and the needs of other single adults.

If your church has staff and devotes funds to minister to married with young children, drug addicts, divorced adults, or people in the grieving process,
you need to also set aside church staff and funds to set up programs and services to cater to single adults over the age of 30,
rather than making this hypocritical exception where you put the burden on single adults to set up single adults ministries and fund raise for single adult ministries.

To put this another way, many churches expect that older single adults who want more attention and effort poured into older single adults at the church will be told to take the matter into their own hands and to create and maintain singles classes and singles activities, rather than the church making it happen.

Most of you churches these days behave like international secular corporations, like a McDonald’s, where you cater to various special interest groups  (such as married couples, divorced adults, people in addiction recovery, or millennials or gen Z), but you’re telling me, you hypocrites, you cannot be bothered to view older single adults as another interest group you would be willing to market to and serve? That makes no sense.

I’m sorry, but no. That is complete hypocrisy.

If your church (like many churches) has classes, social functions, pot luck meals, and sermons devoted regularly to ‘married- with- children couples’ and THEIR particular needs and concerns,
and you don’t demand that married members set up these classes and provide elbow grease to other married couples (and you don’t), it’s totally hypocritical and infuriating to demand that single adults do the heavy lifting for single adult ministries.

If your church is willing to pick up the slack and provide services to married couples (and all of you do this, because you WORSHIP parenthood, natalism, marriage and the Nuclear Family), you can damn well also cater to the needs and interests of older single (and childless) adults as well, and stop asking the single adults to sponsor, create, manage or maintain the programs in place for older single adults.

Another news flash for churches and preachers:

You’re not going to diminish the phenomenon of delayed marriage or the increasing number of single adults by doing any of the following
(which you’ve tried before for over a decade now, these approaches do not work, and actually drive singles away from churches AND from the faith itself, in some cases):

  • shaming or criticizing single adults for being single and assuming they are still single because they are failures, losers, ugly, fat, too picky, selfish, or man-hating, career-obsessed feminists,
  • by yelling at them to run out and marry right away
    (that is not how marriage actually happens);
  • wrongly thinking dating sites are an instant solution to finding a mate, so advising all the Christian singles you know to “just try dating sites like e-Harmony!”,
  • lecturing adult singles over the age of 30 on the so-called wonders of The Nuclear Family and marriage
    (as though the reason they’re not married yet is that they dislike, or don’t value, marriage or The Nuclear Family – eye roll),
  • telling single adults bogus how- to- get- married advice that does not work
    (such as, ‘Just trust in the Lord, pray, wait, have faith, and in due time, He will send you a spouse!,’
    ‘Once you’re content in your singleness is when God will send you a spouse,’ etc)
  • refusing to help marriage-minded single adults who’d like to get married opportunities at church to meet other marriage-minded singles for the express purpose of dating leading to marriage
    (i.e., saying that doing so would make church a “meat market,” that church’s only purpose is to “worship the Lord”),
    or
  • patronizingly instructing older single adults that their only or main purpose so long as single is to act as free labor to the church or to society in general (eg., to act as free babysitters to the married- couples- with- children, to act as free maid service to mop the church’s kitchen floor, etc).

(Link): Lifeway Research: Pastors Encourage Single Adults, Some Provide Targeted Ministries

August 16, 2022
By Marissa Postell

As the number of single adults in the United States continues to grow, so does the need for ministry to single adults in churches.

According to a 2020 profile of single Americans by Pew Research Center, nearly 1 in 4 (23%) U.S. adults ages 30-49 are single—not married, living with a partner or in a committed romantic relationship.

And the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data on America’s Families and Living Arrangements reveals many of these have never been married.

Continue reading “Lifeway Research: Pastors Encourage Single Adults, Some Provide Targeted Ministries”

Are Liberals Trying to Pathologize Heterosexuality? Re: Heteropessimism – Liberals Trying to Reinvent the Wheel

Are Liberals Trying to Pathologize Heterosexuality? Re: Heteropessimism – Liberals Trying to Reinvent the Wheel

I recently saw an article from left leaning Salon magazine that discussed “heteropessimism.”

Liberals didn’t like celibacy and ‘virginity-unti-marriage’ until a lot of liberal, feminist women got burned out by and felt cheated by feminist “sex positivity,” so they took the good, old fashioned Christian and conservative concepts of monogamy, slapped the word “radical” in front of it and began arguing that sexual self control and restraint may be a good thing (as long as it’s not associated with that icky Christianity, conservatism, old fashioned values, or Purity Culture – eye roll here).

Now, those left- of- center seem hell bent on shaming heterosexuals for being heterosexual, or convincing them that heterosexuality is so passe’ and awful.

Some of this seems really bogus to me, considering that a percentage of American homosexuals claimed they wanted to have the ability for a man to legally wed another man – in other words, some homosexuals were claiming they wanted to mimic aspects of heterosexuality.

So it makes little sense for liberals to turn around and say that being heterosexual is blase’ and miserable (even if some married heteros do admit that marriage was not the fantasy they had hoped it would be) and that heterosexuals can learn a thing or two from homosexuals.

If this were true, why would homosexuals want to practice some of the same things that heteros do, like get married and have children?

I’m a never married hetero lady, and I’m here to say there’s nothing wrong with heterosexuality or with hetero marriage.

The issue is not hetero marriage or being hetero itself, but that secular culture and Christian churches have had the sad tendency in decades past to “over sell” marriage.

The reality is that you’re not going to find your meaning, purpose, identity and happiness (certainly not sustained happiness) in marriage, or not in marriage alone, no matter what romance novels, Hollywood Rom Coms, or your typical pro-marriage Christian sermon says.

What happens is that secular culture and obsessively pro-marriage Christians “promise big” on marriage and parenthood, but once people actually marry and have a child or two, they realize that no, marriage and parenthood aren’t the Norman Rockwell, Hallmark Card they had been promised.

Too often, church and culture portray marriage and parenting as though they will be fairy tales.

The conservative Federalist site is upset that some mothers have been getting real about motherhood lately and publishing their anecdotes about how boring, stressful, or difficult motherhood can be.

There’s nothing wrong with being heterosexual or having a hetero marriage, so far as it goes, but I do see a problem with a secular or religious culture that paints an unrealistic picture of marriage.

It’s one that can let people down, once they actually do marry and realize their partner is not a perfect dreamboat who can save them or magically make their life better.

I have more to say below this link and excerpt – the church was already given a solution to this problem via the New Testament, which I will explain below:

(Link): What is “heteropessimism,” and why do men and women suffer from it?

July 4, 2022

It’s time to examine alternative ways of living and loving found in other cultures and LGBTQAI+ communities

By Jennifer Hamilton

…Heteropessimism is a new word for an intuitive, possibly very old, concept in white Western culture. Coined in 2019 by writer Asa Seresin, heteropessimism is an attitude of disappointment, embarrassment or despair at the state of heterosexual relations  – specifically about being in one.

Seresin’s definition is useful because this pessimism is accompanied by the paradoxical practice of sticking with heterosexuality in its current forms, even as it is judged to be “irredeemable.”

Seresin now uses the term “heterofatalism” to emphasise how dire, hopeless, and lacking in visions for an alternative, this attitude is.

Continue reading “Are Liberals Trying to Pathologize Heterosexuality? Re: Heteropessimism – Liberals Trying to Reinvent the Wheel”

Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)

Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)

The letter below, and the summaries of other ones I am mentioning here (below the link and excerpt), should be a wake up call to anyone who has a difficult time saying no to people, refusing to turn down their requests, whether out of a sense of guilt or fear.

If you really struggle with turning down people’s requests for favors or for help (even if it’s someone who seems to legitimately be in need of help, such as a solitary, lonely, elderly neighbor with chronic health problems who is in a wheel chair), you may be codependent, a people pleaser, or an empath with very bad boundaries.

(And there are people out there, such as, but not limited to, Covert Narcissists who can spot nice, sweet, giving people like you in a heart beat, and they will waste no time in taking advantage of your kindness to get their needs met.
Even genuinely well- meaning, kind, nice, non-narcissistic people will and can lean on you too much, if they are very needy and you don’t put boundaries up.)

You need to learn that it’s perfectly fine to draw boundaries with people, even elderly neighbors who live alone who have health problems.

It’s okay to be straight forward and tell such neighbors that while you’re fine doing X for them every Z number of weeks, that you don’t want to do it more than that often, and you don’t want to also do Y, Q, and R for them.

The following is a letter someone sent to an advice columnist.

I will be including more comments below this link and excerpt:

Dear Prudence: Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor

I had no idea one kindness could turn into this.

Advice by Eric Thomas
June 4, 2022

Dear Prudence,

I moved into a new upstairs apartment five months ago. I made the mistake of helping my wheelchair-bound neighbor, “Stella,” with her groceries during my move.

Stella had her bag break in the parking lot after she got off the bus. I put down my boxes and ran to help with her items and then put them up in her kitchen.

Stella told me about how she was alone in the world and on a fixed income.

I told Stella I would be happy to run to the grocery store for her since I go once a week.

Stella calls me every day now. She has problems with her doctors, her bills, and for anything and everything, she calls me. I have tried to be kind and helpful—but now I need help.

I should have set firm boundaries earlier, but she is a little old lady, and I was lonely in a new city. But I am not her daughter or her granddaughter. I am okay with running to the grocery store or being an emergency contact or coming over for tea and a chat—but not this.

Adult services are useless.

Stella’s life isn’t in danger, and she had enough income to be disqualified from the majority of services.

She isn’t cruel or abusive or mean. She is old, scared, and alone in the world.

But she is suffocating me.

Continue reading “Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)”

Three Reasons Women’s Ministries Might Want to Focus Less on Marriage and Motherhood

Three Reasons Women’s Ministries Might Want to Focus Less on Marriage and Motherhood

I’ve been saying many of the same things on this blog for the last several years that this 2022 essay says.

Churches, especially gender complementarian ones – and not just in women’s ministries, but overall, in every facet of a church – make single / childless / childfree women feel ignored or unwanted, except for those Christians who patronizingly behave like the only use for a single, childless woman is to babysit the children of the married couples.

Reminder to Christians: more adults are not marrying these days – at all. Some may marry, but not until their 30s, 40s or older. Many (even if they do marry) are choosing to forgo children.

When churches focus on marriage and motherhood to the extent they do, they also send a message that being married and a parent is necessary for sanctification or relationship with God, which is false.

A person does not need to marry or have children to be sanctified, know God, or to be mature, ethical, godly, loving, or responsible.

(Link): Three Reasons Women’s Ministries Might Want to Focus Less on Marriage and Motherhood

Excerpts:

March 25, 2022
by Rachel Baker

Women’s ministries are often the home to every category of woman: Single, married, mother, widow, and so forth. As a Women’s Ministry Director, I both attend a women’s small group and organize the women’s ministry meetings at my local church.

In my small group alone there is a vast array of women, each in different categories, some are empty nesters, some are starting families, some are intentionally single, while others are single with the hope of being in a relationship in the future.

We cover the gamut, so why is it that women’s ministries’ regularly cast their focus on the married mother?

Don’t get me wrong, as a married mother I have absolutely benefited from Bible study curriculum and content focused on marriage and motherhood, however it should go without saying that these types of studies do not represent all women.

If you are in a position at your local church in women’s ministry or as a small group leader here are a few reasons why you might want to steer your Bible study content away from marriage and motherhood:

Studies Solely Based on Marriage and Motherhood Can Feel Exclusive

As a young married woman and then young mother I desperately needed support and connection and resources to help me feel a little less alone in that particular season of my life.

Marriage ministries and parenting ministries absolutely have a place within the church; they are absolutely needed.

However, when our larger-scale ministries such as women’s ministry or small group ministry only focus on young-married or motherhood we can miss out on the richness that comes from a group of women of all life-stages and relationship status.

Continue reading “Three Reasons Women’s Ministries Might Want to Focus Less on Marriage and Motherhood”

Americans Increasingly Ditching Religious Marriage for Secular, Interfaith Relationships: Study

Americans Increasingly Ditching Religious Marriage for Secular, Interfaith Relationships: Study

Not only has there been a surge in editorials the last few weeks by conservative marriage-pushers beating young people over the head to marry and marry really young (I’ve not gotten around to addressing those articles and editorials)-

But I wouldn’t be surprised in the weeks to come if conservatives, both secular and Christian, don’t see this new study about interfaith marriages being on the rise, freak out, panic, and start publishing a lot of fear-mongering editorials or pod-casts guilt tripping or manipulating Christian singles into abiding by “equally yoked” and not even thinking about marrying a Non-Christian.

I have some more comments to make below these two links with excerpts:

(Link): Americans increasingly ditching religious marriages for secular, interfaith relationships: study

Excerpts:

by L. Blair
Feb 18, 2022

Fifty years ago, religious marriage ceremonies were the norm. Most people got married to someone who shared their faith, and just a small fraction of husbands and wives were in relationships where no one practiced a religion.

That trend, according to the latest American National Family Life Survey, is now on the decline as the influence of religion in society has been progressively fading.

…“Only 30% of Americans who were married within the past decade report having their ceremony in a church, house of worship or other religious location and officiated by a religious leader,” the study said.

Interfaith marriage — a union between people who have different religious traditions — has also grown increasingly common and make up 14% of all marriages. Another 14% of Americans are in a religious-secular marriage where one person does not identify with a faith tradition while the other does

Continue reading “Americans Increasingly Ditching Religious Marriage for Secular, Interfaith Relationships: Study”

Single at Thanksgiving

Single at Thanksgiving

Several web pages linked to below:

(Link): How to Cope When You Are Alone on Thanksgiving

Excerpts:

by Arlin Cuncic

…Whatever the reason for being alone, there are ways that you can feel less lonely.

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving

 Accept Being Alone
Accepting being alone doesn’t necessarily mean staying home and feeling lonely. There are many things that you can do on Thanksgiving that put you in the company of people, or connect you with people, while you are still alone.

Be Productive
Make it a productive day and get your house organized. Clean out closets, get the paperwork in order, make to-do lists, and generally get control of the little details in your life. You will end the day with a feeling of accomplishment, and the ability to focus on your relationships with others because your life is manageable.

Continue reading “Single at Thanksgiving”

FTC Warns of Increase in Romance Scams, Especially Targeting Older Adults 

FTC Warns of Increase in Romance Scams, Especially Targeting Older Adults 

(Link): FTC Warns of Increase in Romance Scams, Especially Targeting Older Adults 

Seniors made 23,053 online fraud reports in 2020 – 2,150 of those reports were said to be romance scams: FTC
By Cortney Moore | Fox News

An increasing number of American seniors have been targeted for romance scams during the pandemic.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published an updated report on the top scams that have cost seniors aged 60 and up millions of dollars.

Continue reading “FTC Warns of Increase in Romance Scams, Especially Targeting Older Adults “

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.

Excerpts:

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.

Continue reading “Celebrating Milestones in the Lives of Single Adults – by Anna Broadway”