RELATIONSHIP STATUS: DESIRABLE by Abidan Paul Shah (Clearview Church)
(This article was first featured in the newspaper The Daily Dispatch on Saturday, August 30, 2014)
Each year their number keeps growing – 4 million in 1950, 20 million in 1982, and over 100 million today. They represent about 48 percent of the adult population 18 years and older in America. If they were a country, they would be the 13th largest in the world! Who are they? They are the Singles – the never-married, the divorced, and the widowed in America.
Before you pull out a box of tissues and feel sorry for them, let me caution you that pity is the last thing they crave. Some find much satisfaction with their status in life and the others deserve our encouragement and support. Here are some suggestions:
- To people in general: Singles don’t like to hear – “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” “You’ll find someone when you least expect it.” “When you’re ready, God will bring the right person to you.” “But you are so pretty.” “Stop dating and just be patient.” Such statements are not only demeaning but also unrealistic. Even some Christian books and sermons on dating are filled with clichés that are anything but biblical. Never give advice that even you didn’t follow! Love can be complicated with many twists and turns along the way. Single people just need our encouragement and prayers more than anything else. I had given up on dating when a family member encouraged me to list all the qualities I was looking for in a wife and give it to God. Three months later I met Nicole and she was all that and much more! The next time you come across a single person, try saying – “You are so gifted in _______.” “I always love______ about you.” “I am praying for you.” They will appreciate that much more.
- To parents: Home is the training ground for life where a boy learns how the husband is to love his wife unselfishly and a girl learns how the wife is to respect her husband unconditionally. Many singles are afraid of commitment because of the constant bickering and bitterness they observed growing up. Let your children see you loving and forgiving one another. It will do much more for them than buying expensive toys and shuttling them to every ball game. If your marriage ended in a divorce, remind them that it was not their fault. Don’t blame the other person but admit your failures and encourage them not to make the same mistakes. This will give them hope for their future.
- To single guys: It’s annoying how romance novels and chick flicks have created an unrealistic ideal of the perfect guy. Ironically, there was only one perfect guy and He never married! There’s nothing wrong with working out and polishing your truck but make it a priority to seek God’s purpose for your life; understand what He wants you to do; and start reaching for that goal. This will bring a serene confidence in your personality, which is very attractive to a woman. After all, God designed the man to lead. (Ephesians 5:22-23) Here’s a warning: When you mistreat a woman, you mock the pièce de résistance, the crown of God’s creation, and you will have to deal with Him for that. Also, what goes around comes around. As someone remarked – “Boys laugh at what they put girls through, but they won’t be laughing when they’re wiping tears off their daughter’s face for the same reason.”
- To single ladies: I can only imagine the frustration you face in having to compete with airbrushed divas and photoshopped models. You should feel loved and appreciated just the way you are. Unfortunately, in this fallen world, there will be rejections and broken hearts. But please don’t lower your standards and settle for whoever comes along. There are many good guys out there who still believe that a woman deserves to be treated as a princess. Let God guide your heart to the right one for you. Nothing wrong with focusing on your outer beauty but don’t neglect to work on your inner beauty, which is far more lasting. (Proverbs 31:30) Here’s a warning to you as well: Rejection hurts a guy just as well as a girl. Don’t lead them on if your intentions are not pure. Be kind and God will honor you for that.
- To those wondering why I’m writing this: Our nation is only as strong as the family. With the traditional family under attack and the devaluing of marriage in our society, we have to make it our priority to encourage the singles in America to believe in marriage once again. Our survival depends on them.
A Note to Facebook: Let’s change “Single” to “Desirable.”