Tuesday, May 02, 2006

On being single in a married world

How does a pastor in one 45 minute message on God's purpose for marriage keep from alienating and losing every single in the congregation? How does he communicate the overwhelming reality of the "completion factor" that is inherent in the relationship between and man and woman without communicating that being single is somehow "less than" marriage? Will people, especially single people, hang around long enough to hear the balance that couldn't be squeezed into the first message in the series? How patient will they be? How patient should he expect them to be?

Will they read the books he recommends that will give a high, biblical and balanced view of singleness or will they just toss them aside as so much drivel from another insensitive married person?

Will they trust that their pastor loves and delights in them even though (for a time) he has to give priority to the majority who happen to be married? Will they lose their self-focus long enough to hear what the Scripture says about marriage so that their prayers for their married friends will be enlivened with new knowledge and perspective?

And will the marrieds pick up the clues that right now (for this series) everything seems to be focused on them and their needs and reach out to their single brothers and sisters, with prayer and help and appreciation and without pity, condescension and patronization?

We'll see.


Anonymous said...

I also have to comment about those who are married to unbelievers. We are an even smaller group in the church. I know that God calls me to obedience, and as a believer, I will follow his blue print on marriage as much as I possibly can. But it is really hard - we are married - but at church we're seen as a single, but really can't be considered a single, because we are married. How can one apply God's plan when their spouse is not a believer?

Jen said...

Had a brief, BRIEF conversation with a single about the series. Suggested that perhaps understanding marriages would help her understand about Jesus and His Bride. She conceded that it just might.

ChosenRebel said...

Yes, we can learn much about the love of Christ for His bride the church by looking at marriage. In fact, in the design of God, marriage is a precurser to the gospel.

And those married to unbelievers are another whole category. You have stated it well. It isn't just women but some of the men in the church who are married to unbelievers (I'm thinking of two right now). They have huge struggles but even here the blueprint can be followed and in fact the Bible promises much to those who will adopt his plan even without a believing spouse. (See 1 Peter 3)

I was just given a good article that appeared in the Baptist Bulletin Magazine. It's called "How to parent with an unbelieving spous," that covers some of the terrain. I will see if I can put a link up or make the article available in some way.

Know this, your pastor's are not unaware of your situation. We pray for you and are interested in helping. Don't be a stranger to our offices. We will pray and research and counsel with and for you. And God will bring glory to Himself and joy to you as you continue to follow His plan, even when it is difficult.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor Marty for your encouraging words. It gives me great comfort to know that my pastors are praying for our situations and are on the look out for resources to assist us in dealing with our situations. If ever you want to talk to those of us in this situation - please let one of us know. Personally, it makes me feel good to help others understand our situation. Thank you again.