5. Refuse to offer false promises.
Nearly all of the women I talked to expressed frustration with people in their congregations telling them that if they just wait patiently, God will provide a great husband for them. In our effort to comfort our friends who are single it’s tempting to try to encourage single women in ministry by telling them that God’s got a perfect spouse picked out for them. The truth, however, is that God doesn’t promise marriage to everyone, but he does promise his presence. Stop yourself from saying things like, “God’s got someone for you,” and “You just need to wait on God’s timing.” Whenever I feel uncomfortable about someone’s life situation that’s different from mine, I ask myself why. It’s important to figure out our own “stuff” that might be prompting us to act in unhelpful ways. After all, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with singleness. Paul even said it’s better to be single! Marriage is not the ultimate goal. It’s not somehow better than singleness. It’s important to remember these truths as we interact with single women in ministry.
6. Use inclusive examples in teaching.
We all know that there are exponentially more sermons on marriage than singleness, and, yes, that is problematic when more than half the people in our pews are single. That said, what can be even more damaging is the lack of inclusive examples in sermons throughout the year. How often have you heard a sermon end with an application that only applies to married couples? For instance, after a teaching on Sabbath, the sermon likely ends with something like, “How might you go home today and spend some quality time with your spouse and family?” That’s one great way to apply the message, but it completely leaves out singles. An inclusive wrap up might be, “How might you intentionally rest today from work and spend time doing something that refuels you? Maybe that’s spending time with a good book, or calling a dear friend, or going to the park with your children.” In addition, as we share examples of faith and love and bravery in our teaching, let’s be sure to share examples of single people as well as married people. This will send the message that we can all learn from and look up to both single and married people.