Question: What would you say are the top 10 things you would like single adults to know that would help them grow?
Answer: The top 10 tips I’d like to share with single adults are:
TEN TOP TIPS FOR SINGLE ADULTS
After 2I years as a single’s pastor and 11 years directing Single Adult Ministries for the AG, I’ve learned many principles from single adults. Here are my top ten.
1. Find contentment as a single adult before finding contentment as a married adult.
Some single and single-again adults think a marriage relationship will complete them, solve problems, and bring contentment to their lives. Although it’s true a good marriage can bring satisfaction and contentment, it’s also true one’s spouse is not responsible for our contentment and happiness.
In a conversation years ago with a divorced relative of mine, he told me, “I didn’t make my wife happy and she didn’t make me happy. We both failed.” I remember telling him, “It wasn’t your responsibility to make each other happy. What a huge responsibility to put on someone. When they fail, we can blame them!” Although a married person should want to please his/her spouse, people are responsible for their own happiness and contentment.
Contentment comes through developing meaningful relationships with men and women; using your abilities to help others, and continuing a vital relationship with the Lord. A contented single adult is also much more attractive than a discontented single adult!
2. Realize there are worse things than being single.
Although some single adults have a difficult life, especially single parents, there are married adults who have a challenging life also. Some married adults in a difficult marriage would trade places with single adults if it were possible. There are worse things than being single, such as:
a. Being married to the wrong person
b. Being married at the wrong time
c. Being married for the wrong reasons
d. Having just a few days or weeks to live
3. Cultivate healthy friendships with other single men and women.
I Cor. 11:11 says, In God’s plan, men and women need each other
. (LB) God made us to be in relationship with others. A single adult does not have a spouse for companionship, and without the benefit of marriage relationships become even more important. Developing quality friendships with men and women is a luxury some single adults fail to cultivate. While single, one’s time and choice of friends is totally up to him/her. Challenges of life dictate the need for the perspective, encouragement, and support from others. Men can learn from the sensitivity and emotional perspective of women, and women can learn from the analytical and logical perspective of men.
A spouse can be somewhat guarded, critical, or jealous of time spent with single friends. Unmarried men and women should enjoy friendships with other single adults now before marriage. After marriage, friendship dynamics can change.
4. Develop your abilities, strengths and talents now while single.
God has given each of us abilities, strengths and talents. A single adult has more flexibility with his/her time than a married adult (I Cor. 7:26-32). One’s season of singleness should be used to develop personal skills and strengths. Improving God-given talents can be achieved easier without the encumbrances, schedule, and demands of a spouse and/or children.
5. Become the right person for marriage before finding the right person for marriage.
Many are intently looking for the right person for marriage, rather than becoming the right person for marriage. Some think marriage solves problems, but realize later marriage amplifies them. Who we are becomes more obvious when living with another person. Spend time and energy becoming a desirable mate, instead of finding a desirable mate. Would you marry someone like you?
6. Understand the five stages of dating to help avoid premature relationships and marriages.
A. Preparation – This affects the quality of all stages and is foundational. One should intentionally prepare him/herself to be a quality, date-able individual before getting into a dating relationship. This should probably begin as a late teen, or whenever one realizes s/he would like to eventually marry. This stage could last several months to several years. Suggested areas to improve include:
* Spiritual life
* Home cleanliness
* Personal hygiene and appearance
* Management of finances
* Personal responsibility
* Emotional health
* Family life
* Intellectual life
* Physical life
See www.singles.ag.org Single Living/Singleness Issues - “Preparing for a Permanent Relationship.”
B. Infatuation - This is based on physical and emotional attraction. During this time it is wise to spend many, if not most, dates in groups to observe reactions, emotions, and responses to people and situations. Some of these are not seen during one-on-one dates. This stage could last from 2-3 months.
C. Illumination - This is a time of discovery and recognizing weaknesses and differences in the other person. Opinions, character, convictions, lifestyle, values and habits are surfacing. This is the stage where “crisis” situations begin to arise, and need to arise so that each person’s style of conflict resolution shows. This stage could last 3-4 months.
D. Evaluation - This is the stage of serious evaluation when one begins to actively evaluate the differences and determine if the relationship is worth them. One or both evaluate and decide if they can live with the other person's manners, habits, perspectives, and attitudes which are different than theirs. This stage could last 2-3 months.
E. Maturation –In this stage, a couple commits to the relationship and intentionally continues resolving conflicts. Love by decision, not just by emotion, is practiced. The “syrupy” romantic infatuation has evolved throughout the previous stages into a mature, steady, forgiving, and serving love. Both are now intent on what they can bring to the relationship and give to the other, and not what they can receive. This stage could last 3-4 months before marriage and then continues throughout life.
7. Strive to remain pure sexually, and understand the consequences of sexual immorality.
One challenge of singleness is remaining pure in a sex-crazed and impure world. Sexual images in the media, expectations of others, and personal sex drives dictate the need for a disciplined life. Here are 11 suggestions for remaining pure.
a. Realize your sex drive is God-given
b. Don’t tempt yourself
c. Don’t blame God for your temptations – James 1:12-14
d. Decide your limits now
e. Develop early warning signals
f. Learn to control your thoughts
g. Choose your friends carefully
h. Exercise regularly
i. Ask God for help – Hebrews 4:15, I Cor. 10:13
j. Decide to resist - II Timothy 2:22
k. Build yourself spiritually – Hebrews 4:12
l. Find an accountability partner of the same sex
8. Maintain a good attitude even if misunderstood or under-valued.
Many pastors and adults are “marriage and family focused” and do not readily see or understand the needs of single adults. It would be easy to develop an attitude of “I deserve,” and “woe is me.” This attitude, however, is one of the worst to have. Married adults and pastors need to see single adults who are positive, cheerful, faithful, and making the most of their lives as single adults.
9. Serve in the church now.
One of the advantages of singleness is flexibility. Time, money, resources, etc., can be used as one desires (except for single parents who have hardly any flexibility). There is no need to get approval from a spouse before beginning to tithe, going on a mission trip, or teaching a class for children, etc. Imagine Jesus, the apostle Paul, Jeremiah, or other single adults in the Bible waiting till marriage to serve! Take an active role in church leadership and serve.
10. Allow God to direct your life.
The bottom line in life, whether married or single, is letting God be in control. Trust Him through life’s ups and downs. He will guide. His will is perfect, His plan is personal, His timing is correct, and His strength is enough. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.