Whether a person is single by divorce or death, leading a fulfilled and happy life is challenging in a society that is structured for couples. A single often feels like a misfit--alienated and lonely.
Those of us who are alone because of divorce are often shocked when our social life comes to a screeching halt. Christian couples who used to be a part of our lives suddenly become too busy to get together, and many of our married women friends begin to drift away. Dinner invitations often cease, and we may find ourselves not only divorced from our spouse, but also divorced from many people whom we had trusted as friends. Divorced women are treated as outcasts more often than divorced men and frequently feel that they are akin to lepers.
When a spouse dies, there is no stigma attached to the widow/widower, but there are noticeable social changes. One woman said that she and her husband had been members of their church for many years, their children had grown up in the church, and they had paid their tithes and served in the church in different capacities. However, when her husband died, it was as if she didn't exist anymore. She was hurt and confused. This type of exclusion is common.
There are no easy answers for being single, but the Lord is neither threatened nor afraid of our singleness. He will help us deal with our losses and guide us in rebuilding our lives.
Our first step is to become better acquainted with Jesus through prayer, Bible reading, and study. As we grow in our knowledge of our Lord, our faith will be strengthened, and we will be better able to do what is necessary to make our life work.
Marriage will not cure all that is wrong in our lives, and singleness is not the answer for avoiding the struggles of life that are often seen in marriages. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The following are some common steps that will help to fill the emptiness and enable us to feel like we belong:
- Be sure to spend quality time with your children on a regular basis.
- Keep your children active in their church functions.
- Register your children for lessons in the areas of their interests, such as art, sports, and music.
- Join a Bible study group, not necessarily a singles group.
- Get involved in your church--volunteer to help in an outreach program such as Sunday school or Vacation Bible School.
- Take classes to enhance your career or personal interests.
- Find a Christian support group for single moms/dads. If there isn't one, consider starting one.
- Join your church's singles group. If there isn't one that includes your age group, see if there are enough singles to form a new group.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Don't wait to be invited to someone's home for dinner. Extend an invitation to your home for several people at a time. Be creative. You could invite couples and singles together. If finances are limited, just have coffee and cookies or have a "dessert potluck" where everyone brings their favorite treat.
Not everyone will respond to our invitations, and not every situation will prove to be right for us. However, with the Lord's help and our faith and trust in Him to help us rebuild our lives, we will succeed. Even though it's not easy being single in a couples' world, our lives can still be happy and fulfilled.