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Single Purpose

Singles and Loneliness

We had so much great feedback from our first post. After reading only a few comments, I noticed a pattern emerging: isolation and loneliness! Personally, I think of all the issues a single person faces, this was probably my own biggest struggle, too. So today, let’s check out some truths that will hopefully shed some light for better understanding.

Truth #1: It is normal to feel a longing to be married. I know when you’re single; you start to wonder if it’s wrong that you don’t feel complete. But remember, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a suitable helper…” (Genesis 2:18) God designed and implemented marriage, and somehow He made us with a “missing piece” for a mate. We are relational beings with an innate desire for companionship. Can I get an “Amen”?

Truth #2: Many married people feel isolated and lonely. One of our responders wisely pointed this out and I have to agree. I too was agonizingly lonely in my first marriage. In fact, I was more lonely in my marriage than I ever was when I was single. Hmmm. How can this be? The truth is, if you are in a loveless marriage, or a marriage not centered on Christ, every day you have the disparity between the way you SHOULD feel as a married person (complete) and the way you DO feel as a married person (alone), and the emptiness is even more apparent than if you are not counting on a marriage to make you complete. This is why marriage is not always the answer to loneliness, but the cause of it. It is also why you don’t want to rush into marriage with someone just to solve your ache for companionship.

Truth #3: There is a level of ache that no human can fill. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but it is true. There is a level of ache that is never solved by humans, and it usually is present in our hearts before adulthood…before we blame it on being single. And if you bring this ache into marriage, you become a negative energy (drain) on the relationship, and then you are left more lonely than before because your spouse retreats, unable to fill your heart’s emptiness. The only way to truly solve this kind of loneliness is to do your business with God, getting to the place where your hope for meaning and significance are found in Him, not in another person. A great book on this topic for understanding what expectations are viable to place on your spouse, and what are over the top emotionally is the book by Willard Hurley, “His Needs, Her Needs.”

Truth #4: Marriage does not solve all your problems. Even though it goes with #3, this truth deserves its own category. Many singles know with their mind that marriage doesn’t solve all their problems, but their heart is convinced otherwise. “If I can just have someone to talk to…if I didn’t have to have the financial burden by myself…if I had someone to go to church with…if I had another parent in the house…if I had someone to hold/hold me on the bad days…” So many things we tell ourselves will be better with a spouse. That might be, but you have to remember that when you are married, there are a whole new set of problems that you didn’t have when you were single. And they all arise from two sinful, selfish wills living under the same roof! If only we could balance out our thinking, noticing that for every single person thinking that marriage will solve their problems, there is a married person thinking divorce will solve their problems!

Truth #5: Is the problem your church…or you? As I read your comments about how your church doesn’t have much of a singles program and you feel lonely and left out with all those families around, neglecting you, I remembered how I was challenged in this area. First of all, if there are other singles in your church, why are you waiting for someone else to do something? Why don’t you do something? Start a singles program and organize events and get-togethers. Start a single Bible study in your home (or at church). Too many people in churches are spectators, waiting for someone else to do something, but church is supposed to be a body with all moving parts. If you have a need or a desire to see change, you be the change.

If your church doesn’t have many singles and you feel lost in the presence of families, let me challenge your perception. I have a friend who is a young single woman and she said, “Nobody ever talks to me at church or invites me over to their house.” To which I responded, “Do you talk to them or ask them over to your house?” She gave me a blank look. So many singles take a “victim mentality,” waiting passively for someone to reach out to them, feeling sorry for themselves and left out. Meanwhile the families are oblivious because nobody has expressed a need or reached out to them. Should they be mind readers? Should they always have to be the first to reach out? They are busy people and it never occurs to most of them that singles might feel left out. They probably think the singles are living the good life, unshackled by family responsibility! They would probably be very responsive if you verbalized your need.

Even though I have befriended many singles in recent years in the church who later expressed similar thoughts, I don’t think they once ever let either individuals or the church at large know of their desires to be connected with families. Hey, there’s another ministry idea. Start an adopt-a-single program in your church where families bring a single person on board for mentoring and just plain relationship!

Okay, so now you’ve got a few truths under your belt for the week. What are YOU going to do? Keep your questions coming!! We’ll address questions at least once a week, so get in the habit of checking back every few days!

Julie

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Thursday, February 05, 2009 12:34 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

Thank You, Challenging truths worth my consideration. Thank You!
Left by Tessa on Feb 06, 2009 11:34 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

Ouch! =) Thank you for opening my eyes and help me see things from a different perspective (truth #5). I am one to often complain about feeling left out in church but I must admit I never really made a serious attempt to reach out to families or invited any of them for lunch or whatever, thinking to myself that they already have enough on their plate with their own kids, things to do etc. But from now on I will be the one to reach out to them and invite them over for lunch or to spend a day at the beach.
Left by Mimosin on Feb 06, 2009 10:20 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

That's a great and teachable attitude! Try not to take it personally if you have to work at it a bit, trying to find an agreeable time in the schedule for both of you. Unfortunately in our society, Sundays can be just another day of the week with many things on the schedule. Also, you could think of your desire to connect as a ministry opportunity and find someone (or a couple) in your church who is lonely (elderly, widow(er)), and ask them to lunch. I have met some amazing older people who have wonderful stories to tell and much wisdom, but who go unnoticed. Or you could mentor younger people in your midst. This is so much fun (when you find a good fit), and something I do regularly.
Left by Julie Ferwerda on Feb 07, 2009 12:03 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

A single person does not need to live in loneliness. Loneliness is a perception of being separated from others. I was single for many years and have observed singles demonstrating lonely behavior. They say, “No one talks to me “ or “No one ever calls me”. Thus one solution is to be more outgoing and to seek out others for relationship rather than waiting on them to reach out to you.

I also discovered one symptom of loneliness is lack of purpose. Some lonely people are board with their lives and lack purpose. Thus they find themselves alone while those singles with purpose and goals for their lives are out doing interesting things and interacting with others. Such individuals are too busy to feel lonely. Thus, there is a cure for loneliness: Stop acting lonely but live with a purpose, find others whom you can minister to and improve your ability to be outgoing and friendly.
Left by graceman on Feb 07, 2009 8:19 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

Ouch...! This is really an eye-opener, thanks. I don't think I've met better people or a better forum that addresses issues of singles and loneliness. It's nice to be able to share experiences with people who understand exactly how you feel when one says that they are single and lonely. In a way, I feel like today's article is kind of preparing me for the expectations in marriage in as far as being complete before entering the marriage institution. Thanks alot.
Left by Wendy on Feb 09, 2009 3:18 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

Hey singles out there, we need your questions! Send us your questions about single's life, specific or general, on any topic!
Left by Julie Ferwerda on Feb 10, 2009 3:32 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

Oops, I mean POST your questions here!
Left by Julie Ferwerda on Feb 10, 2009 3:34 PM

# Physical desires

As much as we as singles want to honor God and want to abstain from sex outside marriage, the truth is we do have physical desires we can't ignore.
We often feel bad because we are Christians and "we are not supposed to have these feelings" and it is often a tabu in church. If and when we fail and fall into fornication we are harshly judged and condemned by our brothers and sisters. But we are never told or taught how to deal with these feelings and desires and it seems it is a sin to even talk about this in church. Well, yes, we should go to God and pray about it, but what else can/should we do?

And thank you, I am really grateful for this blog!

Left by Mimosin on Feb 10, 2009 6:24 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I am divorced and disabled. I would love to date and possibly marry again. But I am 52 years old and don't know where I fit in the church. I feel to old for a singles group. And don't feel I fit with all the couples. I sometimes get jealous of others and feel like a freak. And I sometimes get lonely and depressed. But usually I just keep busy and look for what God has for me to do each day.
Left by Maribeth Wagner on Feb 10, 2009 6:55 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I agree that singles much reach out, but how do you do this successfully as an introvert? Despite being an introvert, I DO reach out and invite people over or organize events frequently. This this wears me out as an introvert. Unfortunately I don't find other people reciprocate or take the lead themselves - it seems if I don't initiate then I don't have a social life.

My job requires me be a leader most of the time, which is out of my comfort zone, so when it comes to a social life it's frustrating that I have to do the same thing ALL the time.
Left by Annie on Feb 11, 2009 12:57 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

Hey Annie, one thing you might try doing is to find another single or even a couple whom you can "adopt." If you can find a good fit for a more focused relationship, rather than trying to do the "social thing," you will go deeper while providing companionship/friendship, and also it will not suck up your energy. I have found as a borderline introvert that focusing on fewer people and more meaningful relationships gives me energy. Plus, those people will be more inclined to reciprocate as they get to know you more intimately.
Left by Julie Ferwerda on Feb 12, 2009 11:58 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

All good questions! Lee is going to post this week more on singles in the church, and next week, we will tackle one of those great questions above. Thanks for your interaction!
Left by Julie Ferwerda on Feb 12, 2009 12:00 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I have to admit that I'm not fond of the word "loneliness" because a friend accused me of being lonely and I told her that I'm alone not lonely and that there is a huge difference. I would like to tell every1 that we aren't alone and that we have GOD. The reason we are alone for however long is because sometimes we are chasing the wrong person and in GOD's time he will bless us and allow us to meet our other half. I will admit that I'm guilty of being impatient and I'm ready to be remarried and settle down but I don't want it to be on my terms and I need to remember that it's on God's. During this time I have learned to embrace being single and enjoy the time by myself. In retrospect there could be something I'm not doing in my life or maybe there is unfinished business that I have to attend to before I meet up with my soulmate. Who knows. I Agree with the people that wonder when is it gonna be my turn but the other advice I can give is love always happens when you least expect it.
Left by 1ofGodsAngels on Feb 21, 2009 2:22 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

A relationship has just ended with a man i grew to love because he could not accept some critical words i said which hurt his feelings. He knows that i love him and even though i've asked for forgiveness; he still has shut me out of his life. This has given me time to look into what we shared and Gods telling me that i am chasing after the wrong man as i have put alot into trying to make things work. I am embracing being single and believe that God is in control. Focusing on my relationship with God gives me strength and i know that one day, in his time, true love & the right companion will come my way.
Left by AUDZZ on Apr 09, 2009 6:32 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

im single for the past 12 years and ive been praying for Gods best but still im waiting sometimes i can get so lonely. sometimes i ask myself whats wrong with me iam too reserved or old fashion or too righteous but at the same time i dont believe that flirting is not Gods way of getting attention with the opposite sex but how? help me. I really wanted to fall in love again and wanted to get married, im pushingn38 this year. thanks
Left by wwjd on Apr 09, 2009 11:13 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I am 50 years old and have been divorce once now for 15 years. Then I got involved in another relationship 3 years after my divorce and neither of them were of God. I pick this men myself because I did not what to be alone. But you know in both relationships I was alone more than when I was single. Because these relationships kept me from doing what I wanted. I always thought about them and how everything I did would affect them and never took care of myself. I now am not in any relationship and yes there are times I am lonely and would like to have someone to come home to after working all day but in my lifetime this has never happen and maybe it will never happen, but I am going to make sure the next time (if there is a next time) it is of God. I do not need someone to take care of me financially, I made sure of that. I went to college and got a BSN and have a great job, my problem is that this attracts "bums" who want me to take care of them. I will keep praying about this.
Left by Penne on Apr 13, 2009 2:11 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I'm am so grateful to have found this blog. It is refreshing to hear comments from other christians who are struggling with some of the same issues as I am as a single person and how they have dealt with these issues. Especially the issue of loneliness and purpose. I have read a lot stuff on the internet lately about single issues but from a secular perspective which has been very discouraging for someone who is trying to live a godly life style as a single christian woman. I really feel like I am swimming against the tide in a culture that no longer values morality or godliness. It is good to hear an honest, yet biblical perspective of these issues and to read different viewpoints and possible solutions that as a christian I can learn from and grow in my relationship to God. Hearing others tell how they deal with loneliness and that God has healed thier loneliness is very encouraging. Thank you Lee and Julie. Keep up the good work.
Left by TenaMC on May 03, 2009 1:23 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I have been single for almost 2 yrs and before my last relationship I went almost 6 yrs without dating. I am 30 and I deal with so much loneliness in my life. I live in a city where I have no family and when I moved here I did not know anyone and still am having trouble meeting people. In today's world it seems like people are more comfortable meeting others online and I do not feel that is God's plan for me. I wish the Lord would bring someone into my life. The last woman I was with went to my church and she hurt me so bad that I almost stopped going to church. I fell into depression and was so alone that I later fell into sin and ended up sleeping with 3 women after that in hopes that they would help me forget about her, but that only made thing worse as it had me become distant toward God, and I knew it was sin but I was so alone that I didn't care. I just wanted someone to hold me and want me. Single life is so depressing. Church's are geared toward family and it's hard to fit in.
Left by kingheart on Jul 17, 2009 1:02 PM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I am 54 years of age and single all my life. I desperately wanted to master life before going further or making any serious decisions in my life. After being born-again God wanted me to marry but I was not ready and so kept putting it off. By the grace of God now I have mastered life and can live single or double.
Left by Emmanuel Hapuarachchi on Jul 18, 2009 2:43 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I am 48, never married, and am very blessed by this article and everyone's honest blogs. Once again I see the need to draw closer to God and to focus on gratitude and what God designed me to do on earth. My question to the group, is on purpose as a single with no children. How do we find that purpose? I currently nurture 5 godchildren which is rewarding, but I am hungry for a larger purpose and would have loved to have a large family myself. I'm not hearing God's calling and I seek something larger than just volunteering....like being an ambassador for children or something I can sink my heart and soul into - how does one find that? God bless.
Left by Luisa on Jul 20, 2009 1:23 AM

# RE: Singles and Loneliness

I started a singles group at church but it seemed that we could not find the same time to get together. and i currently live with a older couple from my church so its kinda hard to start a bible study group. but there may be an option to ask another single to open their home, good stuff thank you
Left by Texasgurl~Forgiven on May 21, 2012 8:04 PM