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Alone in Marriage

How church leaders can support spiritually single women

Encourage the spiritually single woman under your care to forge relationships with other women and plug into a small group. Validate her gifts. Affirm her worth. You can’t imagine the difference it will make.

Small group leaders, you probably are the primary source of pastoral care for the married, spiritually single woman. Give her the gift of presence, a listening ear, and a tender heart. Withhold judgment and extend grace. Provide a safe place where she can take off her mask and be real, sharing her fears and challenges openly. Ask her how she’s doing, and be proactive in meeting her need for love and affirmation.

Marriages wherein one spouse doesn’t know the Lord are complex. They require a nuanced, compassionate response from church leaders. If you don’t know what to say, try asking, “How can I support you? What do you need from the church?” She will be more than happy to tell you.

A married, spiritually single woman faces challenges most people don’t understand. Give her your love and support, creating a safe place for her to blossom fully into the woman God created her to be. When you do, she just might become one of your church’s greatest assets.

If she continually chooses to stand firm in her commitment to Christ, the challenges in her marriage will teach her perseverance, shape her character, and mature her faith. She will also become a woman of prayer, as she must depend on God daily for strength and wisdom. But not every woman will choose wholehearted devotion to Christ. A woman may choose compromise in the face of opposition. Another, despite her best efforts, will be derailed by poor emotional or physical health. Still, each of these women is worthy of honor because she has paid a high price for her faithfulness to God.

But the woman who endures is “a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (, NASB). Seek this woman and ask her to serve in ways that align with her giftedness. She will truly count it all joy to pour into others what God has poured into her. A married, spiritually single woman with proven character makes a strong leader, pastoral care team member, ministry leader, mentor, and more.

As you invest in the life of a married, spiritually single woman, she will, over time and with perseverance, become a valuable contributor to the church, to the community, and to the world. God has entrusted this woman to your care. Serve her well, and she will, in turn, wholeheartedly serve the cause of Christ.

Mary J. Yerkes is a writer and spiritual director who helps church and marketplace leaders develop healthy spirituality and sustainable intimacy with God. You can learn more about Mary at www.maryyerkes.com and http://conversationsthattransform.org.

June04, 2015 at 8:00 AM

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