Category: Singleness

Surviving the Solo Season

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by Amelia Glenchur

“Maybe your standards are too high.”
“Aren’t you depressed? You’re still single.”
“Is there any guy you know that could potentially be ‘The One’?”

These questions keep ringing in my ears from recent conversations about my status of being single. I remember being surprised at these remarks stating I was “alone.” In my head I was thinking, God, why am I single? Silence. At that point my prayer changed to Lord, help me survive this.

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Write This Down

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Never under-estimate the power of a journal. A journal can help you organize your weeks, it can enrich your life, or it can help you discover yourself. Everyone should have a journal this year, and here are some ideas of what kind of journals you can keep.

Date Night Journal 

Write down any fun date ideas you run into. Write down date ideas for staying in, going out, and going all out. Write down theaters, parks, attractions, and events in your area. Write down day trip ideas, weekend adventures, and getaways you’d like to plan for.

You can also use your date night journal as a record, keeping track of all the dates you’ve been on. Include the date, what you did, and rate how much you enjoyed the venue. Looking at your record, you may realize that you’ve planned too many nights in and it’s time for a night out. Or you may realize based on your sweetheart’s ratings that they really enjoyed going to scenic areas, so you can plan a special date around their preference.

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4 Ways to Serve the Church as a Single

churchflower2I get a little jealous when I see married couples in ministry together. It’s inspiring to see a man and woman working as a single unit, serving others and expanding the Kingdom of God. It almost feels like it was meant to be that way; like serving wasn’t meant to be done alone.

But every individual is called to serve, despite marital status. Singles have just as much weight in the growth of a church, and shouldn’t disqualify themselves because they feel out of place. Don’t let the married folks intimidate you – you’re just as important to the body of Christ as they are.

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The Reason You’re Not Married

weddingbouqetfinalSummer is the season for weddings. And it appears I have now officially reached the age where I get to watch all my friends get engaged and stroll down the aisle into marital bliss. There is are mixed feelings between my other single friends and myself;  happy for our friends who are starting a new chapter of their lives, and yet wondering when we’ll reach that part of the book ourselves. Some of us even suffer from periodical anxiety, questioning why the years go by yet we haven’t met someone to share our lives with. That kind of anxiety brings up horrible questions. Questions like, “Why doesn’t anyone want me?”, “What’s wrong with me?”, and “What do I need to change in order to be loved?”

These questions unnecessarily burden our hearts. Our imaginations attempt to come up with the answers, creating paranoid chaos. We conclude with, “I’m not attractive”, “I’m too messed up to get married”, or “There’s nothing loveable about me.” Some of us even decide that God doesn’t really care about our love lives, and that He probably deems our dreams of marriage as silly.

But these conclusions are wrong. Here’s why.

The Reason You’re Not Married Isn’t Because You’re Not Lovable
Psalm 139:13 says, “For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I want you to remember this truth for the rest of your life: God created you. And when I say “create” I don’t mean “mass-produced.” The Creator of the universe took the time to design you, inside and out. He passionately loves you despite the brokenness within you. And if God Himself loves you, there is not one person who can stand before you and tell you that you’re not lovable. That argument won’t stand in the Holy courts. If you want to read about God’s love for His people, just check out Isaiah 43:1-7. If you’re looking for someone who is willing to do anything out of their love for you, this passage will tell you Who that Person is.

The Reason You’re Not Married Isn’t Because You’re Messed Up
Here’s another truth for you: everyone is messed up. It doesn’t matter how perfect they seem on the outside, everyone is sinful and falls short of perfection. (Romans 3:23) Married couples will attest to the fact that messiness exists before and after marriage. There isn’t a hidden spiritual clause saying that once you get yourself together as a single person God will bring you a spouse. That’s not the way marriage was designed. Marriage was designed to be a picture of God’s love for His church. We don’t become the bride of Christ after we stop sinning or stop screwing up. Our salvation was not based on a reward system, and neither is marriage. Marriage would be a poor example of God’s love if we had to be perfect before we walked down the aisle. God loved us while we were sinners – your future spouse will too.

The Reason You’re Not Married Isn’t Because God Doesn’t Care
I’ve suffered from the delusion that God isn’t incredibly interested in my romantic life. I’ve pushed my desires aside, labeling them as silly, and telling myself that God cares more about my relationship with Him than my marital status. And there is some truth to the last part of my logic – God wants my greatest love to be Him, not my spouse. But God takes marriage seriously. It is the witness of His love for His church. If anyone thinks marriage is important, it’s God. He invented it, He has a purpose for it, and most of all, God is a crazy romantic. I can only imagine Him carefully piecing together every love story, excited at His glory revealed through every relationship. Sooner or later, His glory will shine through your marriage. Right now, however, He is showing His glory through your single life. God is just as excited about this part of your story as He is about the later chapters.

So what is the reason you’re not married? I can honestly say that I don’t know. Only God knows, and He may not tell you the reason until later in life. But I do know that God hears every heart, and can see your desire to be married. He won’t forget you. As your friends change their Facebook relationship statuses, rest in the hope of God’s romantic and passionate nature. And remember, you all ready have the greatest love there is: His.

Throw a Singleness Party

singlenesspartyA singleness party is not to be confused with a singles party. A singles party creates an environment where single guys and gals can get together and mingle, possibly leaving with a new crush by the end of the evening. A singleness party is all about celebrating being single and creating friendships with others who are in the same season. Here are a few simple ideas for your next singleness shindig.

Gift Bag

Give your guests gifts that enrich their singleness. Here are a few gift ideas:

  • A daily devotional book
  • A journal for them to write to their future spouses in (to be presented to their spouse on the honeymoon)
  • A Bible study relating to singleness
  • Stationary sets
  • Gift items from non-profits that give back to the community, such as Thistle Farms, C28, any fair trade website, or even a local store in your town that donates to charitable causes. You can check out different gifts for different causes at Shop With Meaning.
  • There are also singles gag-gifts you can pick up at various online stores, like Zazzle.

A book on singleness, marriage, or dating is also a great gift idea for your guests. Here are a few suggestions:

  • The 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make by Bill and Pam Farrel
  • When I Get Married by Jerusha Clark
  • Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
  • Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll
  • Sacred Sex by Tim Alan Gardner
  • Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
  • Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
  • Wide Awake by Erwin Raphael McManus

Food

For a singleness party, any type party food is acceptable. Feel free to do fancy appetizers, a potluck, or a tasting party. If you want to add a spin on it, try adding a theme, such as “a dish you want at your wedding”, “a food your children will be eating often”, or “the dish that will win your spouse’s heart.” Have fun with it!

Activities

Questions and Answers
Sit in a circle and ask questions to each individual on their singleness. Try some of these questions:

  • How the Lord has used your singleness for good?
  • What is one thing you love about being single?
  • What is one thing you would like to do before getting married?
  • What is one trait you would like in your future spouse?
  • What is your biggest struggle as a single?
  • What was your biggest relationship heartbreak?
  • Do you believe in love at first sight? Soulmates? True love?
  • What do you expect marriage to be like?
  • What is better: dating or courtship?

Asking these questions in a group setting brings about great insight and discussion. It also lets your single friends know that they’re not alone in their fears and desires as singles.

Apples to Apples
Play this popular card game with a twist: whatever cards you win are the adjectives that describe your future spouse.

Create For Charity
Create something to give to others. Make food baskets for shelters, make packages to send over seas to troops, make scarves or quilts for the homeless. Contact local charities and see what they accept for contributions. You can also have your guests create gifts for family members or special people who have spoken into their lives. If you don’t want to create, donate! Have each of your guests bring items to donate to a cause or charity.

Get Prayer Partners
Have all guests put their name in a jar, then shake up the names and create prayer partners or small prayer groups. Have the prayer partners sit together for 20-30 minutes, discussing their fears, concerns, and desires for singleness and marriage. Tell everyone that they should contact their partner(s) once a week with updates and concerns. Encourage prayer partners to pray for each other at least once a week for wisdom and guidance concerning their singleness, marriage, and future spouse.

Letter to Your Future Spouse
Give each person a sheet of stationary and have them write a letter to their future spouse. Encourage them to write about how they want to serve their spouse, what marriage means to them, what romantic gestures they like, favorite Bible verse, words of wisdom, how they are praying for their spouse now, and any other information they want to share with their future spouse.

Serving as a Single

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAEven if you have no intentions of marrying (or re-marrying), your singleness can be used in a way that is for the betterment of the community, your family, and yourself. In being self-absorbed, you will never be content. Your singleness has a purpose.

Serving strengthens the community, it improves your character, and it reaches into the lives of others who need your skills or your views on life. Along with the immediate benefits, serving also has added future benefits for younger adults who intend to marry one day and have a family.

Singleness is not a period to wait for the next big thing. It is a period to prepare for the next big thing.

Serving at Home
If you are living with others, they should be the first people you learn to serve. This is a personal community you were selected to be part of, even if you aren’t particularly fond of them. People in a household need to serve one another lovingly in order for a household to be efficient and welcoming. Serve those in your home by assessing and serving their needs. Pay attention to your own responsibilities in the home – such as your own laundry, cleaning, share of cooking, etc. – and do what you can to make less work for someone else in your house. Serve them emotionally by spending time with them, repairing relationships that are sliding, and paying close attention to your way of communicating.

Future Benefits: When you are married, your spouse will be the most important person you need to serve. This will be a person that lives in your home at all times, and who – frankly – you may not be completely fond of on a daily basis. Serving the community in your home now will prepare you to serve your future spouse and family.

Serving the Church
The church is another kind of family that needs your service. Every person in church is someone who needs support, encouragement, and a community of people they can rely on. You can serve the church by joining or starting prayer chains, attending studies, getting involved with ministries, and volunteering for events and special outreaches. Serving the church helps the community as a whole, and it helps the church thrive and flourish. But most importantly, it keeps your eyes off of yourself and on God.

Future benefits: Serving the church as a young adult has many benefits. It can be a great resume booster, and a way to network with others who have the same interests. Getting involved with children’s ministries will help prepare you for your future children, and being involved with ministries with the older and wiser generations will give you insights in preparing for future issues. And most importantly, serving the church will keep you Christ-centered, which will give you a solid foundation for your life, as well as your marriage.

Serving the Community
There are many community services in your local area that are in need of assistance. Most of these projects are non-profit or barely funded, and are dependent on volunteers to make the community a better place. Check around for services your community provides, such as youth outreach, food kitchens, building repairs, or even office work. There are larger organizations that have many sites in many cities, such as Feeding America or Habitat for Humanity. Find something you are passionate about and get involved.

Future benefits: A benefit of getting involved with your community is – obviously – a better community. This creates a better place for you to raise your kids, and a better place for other people to raise their kids. Serving strangers helps you develop communication and social skills that will help you to serve your family better.

Serving the World

As a single person, you have more access to the world than you think Singleness is the best time to explore the world and gain new perspectives, and it is best to do so while you do not have a spouse. You can serve the world by joining short or long-term mission trips, getting involved with large programs such as Samaritans Purse or Youth With a Mission.

Future benefits: Not only does serving the world give you great stories to share with your spouse, but it also helps you adapt to different kinds of situations that you are sure to encounter while married. Marriage may not always be financially or emotionally comfortable, and things such as missions trips or working with organizations can help give you perspectives and insight on many different environmental situations.

There is nothing wrong with using your singleness to work towards your goals, but there is a problem when that becomes the only focus of your singleness. Singleness has many opportunities for growth in maturity, spirituality, and character. All of these will serve you, your marriage, and your family well in the future.

Settlers

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“In that day so few men will be left that seven women will fight for each man, saying, “Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us take your name so we won’t be mocked as old maids.” –Isaiah 4:1

…Desperate much?

It’s amazing what we compromise in order to not feel alone. We crave more than anything to feel wanted and love, so when it comes to dating we lower our standards, we negotiate, and we forget the foundational things that are incredibly important to a relationship. Everything becomes negotiable.

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Once

AgendaEach new year comes with a handful of vague, easily broken resolutions that people do not even remember making by the time June rolls around. Instead of making resolutions to lose weight or resolutions to quit making resolutions, makes goals instead. Make a goal for each day, each week, each month, and each year; goals to improve the quality of life as an individual, and goals to improve your relationship as a couple.

Once a Day

As a Couple: Say a Word of Appreciation
It is surprising how gratifying it is to hear “thank you for dinner” after a long day. Everyone likes acknowledgement of their hard work or accomplishments. Give a grateful remark to your spouse once a day, even if it is just for a small gesture.

As an Individual: Indulge in All 5 Senses
It is easy to take your senses for granted. It usually takes some sort of illness to realize how much you use a specific sense and just how much it enhances every day life. Take time each day to appreciate your senses. Watch the sunset, listen to some moving music, light a great smelling candle, indulge your taste buds with a sweet treat, and keep a soft blanket around to wrap yourself in. Deliberately notice your senses when you use them and enjoy them to the fullest.

Once a Week

As a Couple: Have a Date Night
Scheduled romantic time together is very important for any couple. It allows both parties to step into a mini-vacation from their struggles, conflicts, and rough situations. Make sure to schedule a date night once a week– even if you can only fit it in a couple of hours. All dates should include something fun and relaxing, with no talk about work, kids, or family members. Turn off your cell phones, exclude all third parties, and spend the evening (or morning or afternoon) completely focused on relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

As an Individual: Indulge in a Hobby
Hobbies are a great way to improve your skills and overall enjoyment of life. (And no, television watching or internet surfing are not considered hobbies.) Regularly schedule time to enjoy a hobby that refreshes you, such as dance, martial arts, writing, baking, or fishing. Try a new hobby each month. Remember to invite your friends to join you! Avoid hobbies that isolate you from others; try to find hobbies that encourage socializing.

Once a Month

As a Couple: Give Each Other a Random Gift
A gift is a way of telling someone “I think about you.” Gifts can be anything from a car to a candy bar. Once a month, you should give your sweetheart a token of love and appreciation. Men, pick up flowers on your way home from work or a box of specialty chocolates. (Do not buy anything generic. Make it personal!) Ladies, pick up the DVD your man talked about getting or a specialty food he really likes such as bacon salt or hot sauce. Edible and perishable gifts are a great way to go because they can be used up instead of being put on a shelf and collecting dust. Pay attention to what your sweetheart enjoys and surprise them with it.

As an Individual: Give Time to a Good Cause
There is nothing more miserable than thinking about yourself all the time. Regularly donate your time or resources to a community shelter, food kitchen, or charity event. With hectic work schedules and other responsibilities it may not be easy or profitable to volunteer every week, but at least try for once a month. Do not simply show up at a community service to give yourself a pat on the back for helping out; genuinely pick a service that tugs at your heart. Volunteering really helps others in your community and it gives you a new perspective on your own life.

Once a Year

As a Couple: Take a Vacation Togetheradventure
Take a honeymoon every year. Take your spouse and run away for a weekend (or a full week) each year, rekindling your friendship and intimacy. Block out the outside world as much as possible. Ask a travel guide for help finding romantic getaways– there are usually wonderful honeymoon or romantic packages you can reserve. If you cannot afford to travel, be creative. Find a local honeymoon package for the weekend, or turn your house into a romantic getaway.

As an Individual: Have a Grand Adventure
Do something big. Gather a group of friends and make a cross-country road trip, or fly to another country all together. Do something extreme like water rafting, or sky diving. If you are single, do a short-term or long-term missions trip if you have the opportunity. Do something that requires planning, saving, and preparing. Make it big, adventurous, and memorable.