Being the Church to Your Single Friends

Sharon Church, Friendships, Marriage, Singleness 6 Comments

One of the things I have appreciated most from my husband is the knowledge that he’s always in my corner. No matter what people say to me or about me, I can always trust that he’s got my back. It’s not that he’s a passive yes-man who tells me what I wanna hear–I can also trust him to be honest. But he’s my personal pep talker. He builds me up and affirms me in all that I do. He helps me to hope and persevere. He speaks truth into my mind and my heart.

As a warrior in a spiritual battle, having a spouse is a major asset. You’re fighting alongside one another, you can protect one another, pick one another up when you fall, and help one another to heal.

Knowing this, I’ve been convicted about the vulnerability of my single friends, who don’t have this same built-in support system. At least, not as frequently. I was reminded of this yesterday as I listened to one of my single friends confess her struggles and pains. She was tempted to believe a whole host of lies about herself, but she lives alone so she is often isolated with these thoughts. Whereas my husband is always right next to me helping me to combat the lies I am tempted to believe, my friend doesn’t have the same resource. As a result, she’s been a lot more vulnerable to attack.

As I listened to her, I was struck by the significance of the marital language used to describe Christ’s relationship with his church. My husband models that relationship for me every day, but not everyone has a supportive husband. In fact, not all married women have supportive husbands. It is in that gap that the church is supposed to step in. Our single friends should not be going it alone. They are still pursued by a Lover, and we serve as His hands and feet. While their relationship status might read “Single,” they’re not really single at all.

The only voice of support that really matters is Christ’s. My husband often serves as a vehicle for that voice, but husbands aren’t the only ones who can. The church can and should as well. As the hands of feet of Christ, we must do the work of the bridegroom in loving his bride. Countless women need to hear truth in the face of lies, insecurities and shame. We should be the bearers of that truth.

So if you have single friends, get involved in their lives! Know what’s going on with them. Don’t hole up in married world and shut them out. They need you as much as you need your husband. Speak truth to them and build them up. That is what it means to be the church to your single friends, so be there for them. Your husband may be your teammate, but we’re all soldiers in the same fight. Make sure you’re not sending your single friends out to battle alone.

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Comments 6

  1. betty

    i’m single and i think this post really gets at something key, and a definite felt need in my own life. thanks so much for writing it!

    i’d like to ask you about something though –
    most of my friends have gotten married by now and i still keep up with them, get coffee, etc. however, it seems that there’s a disconnect since they’ve gotten married. they’ll share some things about their heart with me, but i can tell vulnerability has decreased. i believe strongly that women should be closest with their husbands and need to have a bond with him that exceeds any other (except with Christ), but still its hard. i keep going from feeling like i know so much about my friends to feeling like i don’t get very much of what’s really going on in their hearts. is this just a balance thing we’ll figure out as they’re married longer? or do you think i should just learn to be ok with losing some of the closeness i once felt with my friends. i don’t think it would be so hard if it was just one friend but it seems to be the same disconnect with all of my married friends. i don’t expect a magical solution but i’d love to hear any thoughts you have…

  2. Lucie

    9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (New Living Translation)

  3. Post
    Author
    Sharon

    Lucie, GREAT call on Ecclesiastes 4! Such a relevant verse!

    Betty, thanks for sharing your thoughts. On this topic, there are a couple dynamics in play. The first, I think, has to do with age. Women who get married earlier sometimes find it more difficult to relate to single people. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve found it to be true a lot of the time. Because marriage changes your life so dramatically, it can be tough to remember what it’s like to see the world as a single person, especially if you weren’t single very long. Some of your married friends might therefore find it hard to relate to you the way they did before.

    Another dynamic is personality type. Some people are really good at being married and relating to single people, but others just aren’t. I don’t think it’s a matter of withholding information, but more a gravitation towards people at a similar place in life. Some married women are more open with other married women than they are with single women. And I think some of this is also because of a misconception that single women don’t want to hear about the details of their married friends lives.

    We do single women a disservice when we do that. Sure, single women don’t wanna hear about the intimate details of your sex life (heck, I don’t either people!) but when I was single I still wanted to know what was going on in my friends’ marriages. In fact, I learned a lot from my married friends who were open to sharing. I learned things that really served me well when I got married myself.

    All of that to say, don’t take it personally, although i know it’s hard not to. The transition from single to married is a big one, and some handle it more smoothly than others. Some of your married friends may never change, but I would encourage you to communicate your feelings to them. They may simply need to know that you DO want to hear more about their lives.

    And finally, I honestly doubt their withholding information because they’re saving the details for their husbands–let’s be honest, men hate chatty details. That kind of stuff is for our girl friends! So don’t feel you can’t ask. Our fellowship in Christ should transcend relationship status, so don’t be afraid to encourage your married friends in that regard. A little nudging will probably be good for them. 😉

  4. mama jaja

    VERY good post. I was married in my early twenties and I have definitely fallen in the “out of the game for so long” category. While most of my friends are now married and starting families (which is a whole NEW dynamic in sisterly relationships) I still have two single friends (one being my sister) with whom I’m still navigating how to “be there” for. You have given great insight, thanks!

  5. soumya

    thanks u guys… i love u for pointing out that married women do tend to shut out their single friends and treat them like losers… while i ve moved away from some such friends there are others who ve grown close to regardless of their marraige… thanks . God Bless…

  6. MsP

    Sharon, I’m SO glad I found this post. I’ve been struggling with this and I don’t know how to tell my married friends the truth: they treat me like I’m expendable. It’s the worst! I know they didn’t make any vows to me, but feeling like I’ve been thrown away is the PITS! You encourage me – I think remaining single longer has allowed you to see things in a unique way. Thanks.

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