I read an interesting blog a few days ago with very helpful suggestions on what NOT to say to the single women in your church. They were written by a woman in an email and shared with permission by Kevin DeYoung. I’ve posted the highlights below. For the whole blog entry, you can read it here.
“I keep praying for someone to come along for you.” Instead of praying for that, why don’t you pray that I would be growing in Christlikeness so that if Mr. Wonderful walks into my life, I would be better suited to be a helpmate for him.
“I don’t know why no young man hasn’t scooped you up and carried you off yet.” I know this is supposed to be a compliment and that the intention of the kind woman is to tell me that she thinks I’m worth marrying. I appreciate that you think so highly of me. Unfortunately when you say this I immediately try to answer the question of why no one has carried me off…. What do I need to change about myself since obviously something is wrong with me if I haven’t been taken off the market?
“You should move somewhere where there are more young men, or maybe go to a church with more single people.” There is some merit to having a community that you can feel comfortable with, but comments like this aren’t helpful for several reasons. First, it makes it seem like the goal of going to church or moving somewhere is to find a spouse. That’s not why you go to church. Second, it feeds the controlling nature of most women to want to put their matrimonial future into their own hands instead of trusting God. Third, some women don’t have the option of moving, so pointing out to them that there might be “greener pastures” on the other side of the fence doesn’t help them be content in their current situation.
“Have you ever thought about online dating?” Many, many wonderful Christian people have met and married through online dating. But it can sometimes feel like the question is really saying “I see that you’ve completely failed at attracting anyone in your physical world so have you tried to do it in an online world?”
“Don’t you want to get married and have children?” Yes, I do want to get married and have children, but there’s not a whole lot that I can do about it. I don’t have a lot of control over who I come across and whether they would like to ask me out. And although I would like these things, my life is not somehow a failure if I do not achieve them. I would love to be able to have the blessings that come with marriage and children, but it should not be more than my desire to have the blessings of a relationship with Christ.
Proverbs 25.11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” And Proverbs 15.23 reminds us, “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” May the suggestions above help us speak appropriate, “seasonal words” to those single women in our churches.