Duane and Jennifer are my go-to couple. In their home, I know which cupboard holds the glasses and where to find their stash of carbonated water in the garage. When I’m having car troubles or questions about my taxes, Duane’s my guy. And Jennifer will talk with me about anything. She lets me know she’s praying for me, and keeps me in the loop about events I might enjoy. She even bought me special chocolate on her European vacation! I know I’m always welcome in their home.
Their friendship is not only special because they’re a blessing to know, but because I’m single.
Maybe you assume singles are only concerned about their careers, friends, and finding a spouse. Yet, as a single woman, I want to spend quality time with married couples in the church. There’s value in witnessing their example of a loving, godly marriage that no marriage book can show me. This longing to know and be known by established married couples is not just a desire of my own, but of many fellow singles.
In light of this, here are some tips for engaging with and loving the singles around you well.
Invite us to do life with you.
Sharing life and sharing about your life are vastly different things. Nothing against coffee dates, but summarizing our lives across a table is not the same as doing life together. The home is the place where the authentic, the unpolished, even the ugly happens. We simply want to belong.
I encourage you not to assume we would rather spend time only with other singles. We desire your wisdom and your hospitality. Your lived-in living rooms with crumbs and pillows on the floor put us at ease. All it takes is a simple invitation.
Are there certain skills you or your spouse could teach us? Sharing a hobby could be the start to a treasured friendship. One married woman at church offered to teach a single friend of mine how to make lasagna. Twenty years later, they’re still fast friends.
Of course, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your spouse about what an appropriate relationship with a single of the opposite sex looks like. Maybe a single woman could send the wife a quick text to let her know she is going to call the husband with a car question, for example. Or a single man might let the husband know he wants to ask the wife for advice about a gift for his mother.
Tip: In the lulls of everyday life this week, ask yourself, I wonder what my single friend is doing? and shoot them a text.
Help redirect our focus.
Marriage is a good and beautiful creation. It mirrors Christ’s relationship with the Church, provides companionship, and creates a godly foundation for parenthood. All good things, but they do not make us whole. Only Jesus can do that.
Unfortunately, many singles struggle to believe this. We often believe marriage is the end-all, ultimate good to achieve. Have you noticed many singles refer to their singleness as a “season” because they desperately pray it won’t last? I can testify that we need people—and not just other singles—reminding us our singleness is not merely a waiting ground for the “ultimate” life.
We need your encouragement to live for God wherever we are. In his letter to Titus, Paul urges older men and women to “teach what is good,” to “train the young women,” and “urge the younger men to be self-controlled” (Titus 2:3-6). You have the honorable charge to walk alongside others in discipleship, regardless of whether you’re one or 30 years their senior. Remind us we are whole people, we matter to God, and that He is enough, even if marriage isn’t in our future.
I encourage both you and your spouse to be involved in this discipleship model. While typically same-sex mentorship is wisest, hearing the input of both husband and wife is priceless, particularly in the area of relationships.
Consider not just how you need us (*cough* babysitting), but how we need you.
Singles, especially women, often receive babysitting requests. The general assumption is singles have more time on their hands. While we may not have 24-hour parenting responsibilities, we do have active lives. Please be respectful of our schedules too.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. We love your kids and will gladly bless you with a date night every once in a while. Just don’t assume we have nothing else to do. For some of us, it’s hard to say no. Sometimes we say yes more out of a desire to get to know you than to earn $8 an hour.
Tip: Don’t let babysitting be your only point of contact. Engage in real conversation and build meaningful connection.
Provide practical help.
Though we tend to give off an “I can take care of myself” aura, we need your help too. Being single not only carries emotional disadvantages, but practical ones as well. To name a few:
- Who will take me to the doctor?
- Who will help move furniture into my house?
- Who will check up on my car?
- Who will lend a hand with house projects?
I’ve also discovered the practical need for good, solid hugs, while other singles appreciate words of encouragement. You would be astonished by the impact a mindful touch, figurative and literal, can have on your single friends.
Tip: Set a reminder on your phone to check in with your single friend to find out if they need any assistance in areas that you can help with.
“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find, catch me a catch…” Can I just say that I wish matchmaking was still en vogue? I often wish more marrieds kept a keener eye out for their friends.
But, before you reach for your phone to tell your single guy friend all about me (I’m flattered), I want to propose a few caveats.
- The process of setting someone up is a two-way street: We need your help, but you need our permission. Please ask before you make any moves.
- Avoid setting us up with your child. I’m sure he is wonderful, and you don’t see why we wouldn’t get along. However, if I’m not interested, it creates an awkward situation. Have a friend make the suggestion, if you’re determined.
- Think outside the box. Isn’t there that wonderful guy in his forties from Bible study that you’ve never considered for your cousin? Or what about your college friend with your coworker? Don’t forget about those who’ve been single for a while.
- Lastly, don’t forget to keep differences of personality in mind. It can be easy to think “He’s a strong believer and so is she. This should go swimmingly!” Unfortunately, shared beliefs are not enough to create chemistry.
Tip: Brainstorm the singles you know and set two people up tonight, asking their permission first, of course.
As you take these suggestions to heart, remember you have a unique ability to offer singles what other singles can’t. Will you carefully and prayerfully make these steps to love your single friends?
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