The phrase “not-yet-married” actually tends to grate on my nerves a little bit at times. And guess what? Some people in church circles seem bent upon using it in lieu of “single” or “unmarried” to my eternal dismay.
Sure, to an early 20-something, “not-yet-married” can be a phrase of hopefulness. It can indicate the desire to be married. But to me the phrase “not-yet-married” sort of makes the singleton existence sound like limbo until one is married. It intimates that we singles have yet to “arrive” or even aren’t quite up to scratch of those who were blessed enough to snag a spouse.
And being in a limbo like state is how I imagine most married couples view singles in the church. They don’t quite know what to do with us all at times. Or I should say just single women because it does seem like the guys get off a little easier. As single women it doesn’t seem that we hold any value beyond babysitting on Sunday morning. Maybe even a missions trip. Women’s ministries are pretty much tailored to the married with children, too.
Given that there are more and more single people in the church (and just in general) one would think this attitude would change. But, no, most people still tend to gravitate toward other families like theirs and leave the singles to the childcare or recommend they go on mission trips.
In the future I’d like to see more integration that isn’t centered around differences but around similarities. I would love to see fewer women’s Bible studies that are scheduled for weekday mornings (when single, working women are, well, working). Another dream is more singles in ministries that don’t necessarily double for babysitting gigs. This is especially for women who have a lot to offer ministry and unique life experiences that are often undervalued because they lack a wedding ring.
Do you struggle with being single in a church community?