Based on last year's national Australia census (2010), 41.9% of adults in our local State of Victoria are single. They include people who have never married (because they chose not to marry or have not found a partner) or those who have been married but are single again because of the death of a spouse or through divorce.
Single people are part of the family of God – they are not second class citizens. They are to be given full acceptance and affirmation. They are not abnormal or to be viewed with suspicion. Marriage is not a superior status to singleness, nor visa versa. Both marriage and singleness are gifts from God. Being single is not ‘second best’ or a life doomed to misery and incompleteness.
Singleness is not in any way inferior to marriage. In fact, you are better off happily single than unhappily married. The apostle Paul preferred singleness and encouraged people to consider it as a life choice (1 Cor.7:7-9, 27-28). Jesus was a single too. Singles are not half a person. We are complete in Christ, not through marriage. Marriage is ordained by God, yet it is not obligatory for everyone.
Some of the unique challenges that single people face include loneliness, low feelings of self-worth, problems with identity and life direction, pressure from married people (the 'matchmakers'!), maintaining sexual purity, and possibly or parenting alone.
Reflecting on the lives of both Jesus and Paul, we see that some keys for single people living an enjoyable and fruitful life are: (1) establishing an intimate relationship with God as Father, (2) developing healthy, non-romantic friendships, and (3) having a sense of purpose for life.
Singles, know that God loves you and has a purpose for your life. Marrieds, let's be sure to reach out to singles, giving them heaps of encouragement, care and support. After all, we are all a part of God's bigger family.
Click here for some thoughts on dating.