Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

How to Recognize the Challenges of Your Unmarried Friends

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Elizabeth Ann Photography
Many married couples never think about what single people navigate in a society that celebrates "couplehood." But there are tangible, helpful ways to encourage single friends and family members.

Not long ago, I was the featured guest on a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Because I direct Boundless, Focus on the Family’s ministry for single adults, and because of my own single status, the host asked me to share my perspective on singleness — the good, the bad and the ugly.

I talked about the many perks of singleness: the freedom I have with my time and money; the luxury of being able to pour into friendships, go on missions trips and spend uninterrupted time with the Lord.

And I also spoke candidly about the many griefs of singleness. For example, I will never be married in my 20s or 30s. And my dad will not be at my wedding; he died when I was 30. I’ve had to grieve this. If I get married in the future, who will walk me down the aisle? At this stage, perhaps I’ll pick whoever can physically accomplish the task without keeling over.

I bear many of life’s responsibilities alone: a mortgage, home repairs, monthly bills. I have no life partner with whom to dream about the future or shoulder the burdens of today. In short, I’m no one’s most important person.

As I recounted loss after loss, the talk show host listened intently. I wondered if these singular sadnesses had ever crossed his mind. He was middle-aged, married and the father of several adult children. But he saw my pain.

The feedback in the days following the interview showed that I had touched a nerve. I received emails and messages from singles who said they felt validated and represented and from married people who said they’d learned about issues they hadn’t considered before.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that almost half the U.S. adult population is now unmarried. Yet in many ways we singles still feel marginalized and forgotten.

I’m not trying to pit marrieds and singles against one another — far from it. I know many married adults who are walking through hard stuff and feel abandoned or alone. Marrieds have challenges that I may never be forced to grapple with.

But singles have unique pressures that bear mentioning. Just look at the annual cycle of holidays and seasons beginning with Thanksgiving. This holiday is synonymous with family and togetherness. For single adults who go home to spend time with extended family, it’s often as if a time warp plunks them back into childhood — from sleeping on an air mattress in the living room (so siblings with spouses and children can have the guest rooms) to being relegated to the kids’ table, to being peppered with questions about their love lives (or lack thereof).

Then jump into the Christmas season with weeks of marketing imagery featuring perfect families in matching pajamas gathered around a spectacularly decorated tree. Most singles soldier through holiday parties solo, returning home to scroll through social media feeds and see picture after picture of engagement rings as friends announce their big news.

On to New Year’s with its couples-centric parties, midnight smooches and promises of new beginnings. For a single adult who’s staring down another year and fearing it will end like the last one, feeling festive or hopeful is hard.

By Valentine’s Day, if they’re still standing at all, singles are at least a bit wobbly as they stagger through a day that seems bent on shutting them out completely.

Spring promises a fresh start, but it signals the onset of the wedding season. A few years ago, I saw 14 of my friends get married in just more than a year. That’s 14 bridal showers and gifts; 14 bachelorette parties; 14 weddings, gifts and receptions; and almost as many bridesmaid dresses, plane tickets and engagement parties. Plus, it was 14 reminders that this wasn’t my big day — and by the way, would my big day ever come?

When I share this with my married friends, they’re usually stunned. They’ve just never thought about what we singletons shoulder as we navigate singleness in a society that celebrates romance and “couplehood.” Many of them wish they knew tangible, helpful ways to encourage their single friends and family members. This is wonderful because it shows that they see us and care.

With this in mind, here are a few suggestions for how to love, include and encourage the single adults in your life throughout the year:

Celebrate your single friends.

Many singles feel forgotten on holidays designed for couples, like Valentine’s Day. And when our married friends ask us to watch their kids that evening so they can go out for a romantic dinner, it can rub salt in the wound. Of course, I should bless my married friends by watching their kids so they can have time together, but marrieds can remember us singles, too. Send your single friend a card or flowers, or invite him or her over for dinner and board games.

One Valentine’s Day, a married co-worker invited me to join her and her husband for dinner out and a movie we all wanted to see. They paid. We had so much fun, and I felt included and valued.

Remember your single friends’ birthdays and other important milestones, too. Invite them to family gatherings and let them play aunt or uncle to your children. Put yourself in the shoes of your single friends and think about what would make them feel loved. Better yet, ask them.

Don’t act as if your marriage is the biggest thing about you (because it’s not).

I love that you’re investing in your marriage, and I want to support you in that. But marital status aside, you and I actually have a lot in common, so let’s start there. Talk to me about faith, career, family, hobbies and finances. Ask me about my struggles, and don’t minimize them or compare them to yours. Share your own hurts. Ask my advice. Let’s learn from and support each other.

Help your single friends make good matches.

People used to find spouses through family, friends and their church community. But for whatever reason, these groups of people have abdicated their role in the matchmaking process. Instead, single adults are going online, using dating apps and trying speed dating to find potential mates.

Friends and family need to get back into the matchmaking business. Not in a creepy, meddlesome way, but with discernment and care. Who better to help us singles find a life partner than the people who know and love us best?

Keep your eyes open on behalf of your single friends. Introduce them to mature, godly members of the opposite sex. Host a party or dinner and invite some of your single friends, allowing them space to get to know one another. Pray for their future mates.

Yes, your single friends have unique challenges, but there is much more to them than just their singleness. They are your brothers and sisters in the faith, and seeing them for who they are right now is a great way to love, honor and value the body of Christ as a true, complete family.

Encouragement for Single Young Adults

Boundless is a ministry of Focus on the Family with the goal of helping young adults grow up, own their faith, date with purpose, and prepare for marriage and family. Through articles, a group blog, a weekly podcast and the power of community, Boundless challenges 20- and 30-somethings to reject society’s low expectations and live biblically and intentionally in all things, including relationships. Visit Boundless.org for more information.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!