Friday, October 19, 2007

Singlehood: Can Married People Really Help Singles?

Can married people really help and understand singles? This is an interesting question. My brother sent me a link and it quotes John Piper's forward from Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The quote reads:

We know you [singles] are there—almost sixty million of you in America. And we are listening. One of the most important things we have learned is that we do not know what it is like to be single in America today—at least not the way you know it. Margaret Clarkson made this very plain to us: "Because married people were all single once, they tend to think that they know all there is to know about singleness. I suggest that this is not so. . . . Singleness has a cumulative effect on the human spirit which is entirely different at 50 than at 30!" What I would like to do in this foreword is try to let single people do as much of the talking as possible—people like Jesus and the Apostle Paul and some contemporary men and women who serve in the single life.

The important thing here is not whether someone is married or not as much as if they listen. I know when I first learned that my singles pastor was married I had similar thoughts. I know when I talk to my brother, who is a pastor, I often challenge him to engage and include singles in his church. I felt that since he is not single, he may over look them. This is not always true. Now, I do not see my singles pastor and brother as married men, who escaped the troubles I face, but as shephards who listen and watch over their flocks, seeing the needs, hearing the cries, and guiding us back into the presence of the Lord.

The reverse works here. I cannot say that Jesus' teachings only applied to singles and only relate to the singles because He was single. Jesus ministered to all, He touched all, He loved all, He died for all. But Jesus also listened! He knew the hearts, but listened anyway. He asked people, "what do you want from Me?" and listened to their reply.

Do not get me wrong, I do feel there is value to what I wrote about in another singlehood blog post: In the Trenches Ministry. Knowing that you have people walking along side you who are kindred spirits helps. That is an important part of community and fellowship. It does comfort me to know Jesus was single and had a purpose and ministry as a single adult. But this does not mean that kindred spirits are the only help. Instead I find when I surround myself with only kindred spirits I am not challenged to grow. Instead I find myself in pity parties and soley focused on me. There is a balance to this all.

In summary, I think married people who desire to help singles should listen. Listen in love and mutal respect. I believe singles should not silo themselves with singles thinking that married people have nothing to offer. That is my two cents :)


Heather McTaggart said...

Tina, I would LOVE TO LISTEN! This is EXACTLY the reason my husband and I open our homes to singles so that we can share a moment, a word, or just a place with singles who need to feel that homey feel, talk their talk, or vent their vent! We were single once and COMPLETELY understand. I would love to listen and share a story with you someday that makes it clear why we understand! Your amazing!

Ted Slater said...

Very helpful blog post, Tina. Thank you for writing it.

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