5 Things Married People Dont Get About Singles

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1.   How singles date now.

  • Dating for singles now is the same as it has always been, but completely different. Confused? Singles now interact with technology in every part of the dating experience. From finding that person they would otherwise never meet online, to texting post date to affirm feelings. In fact, not using technology to date is harder than it is to embrace it and use it.

2.  Why singles wait so long to marry.

  • Some people will say the single is “too picky.” The mature Christian single hears the stats, sees friends or family members with unhappy marriages. We hear the horror stories about divorce but rarely hear the positive.

3.  We are Complete without a spouse.

  • No one needs a spouse to be fulfilled. But, what each and everyone of us, married or single, does need is a Savior. We said it before and we’ll say it again, Complete in Christ.

4.  How we spend our money.  

  • Being single does not mean you have an excess of funds. Singles have the same expenses as marrieds: rent or house payment, utilities, car insurance and car payments, food, medical insurance, student loans. For the single parent, there’s the child expense. No different than the married couple with a child.

5.  Where we hangout.

  • small groups. The local church offers the opportunity to intermingle with the body of Christ.
  • with co-workers. Those on the same team working towards a similar goal.
  • with others like ourselves: It could be the same hobby or interest. It could be others with the same calling, on the same mission, at the same place.
  • social events. Meeting friends of friends, friends of family. Meeting the stranger who enjoys the same type of music. Meeting the stranger who admires the same piece of artwork at an exhibit. Attending sports events.

You Don’t Deserve my Forgiveness

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I forgive you.

Three words that people fight to say all the time. It could be pride, jealousy, or even anger that causes us not to want to offer forgiveness but we don’t say them nearly enough. Why? How can we learn how to say “I am sorry” and offer forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it?

           But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

          Romans 5:8

 

           When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.           He forgave us all our sins.

          Colossians 2:13

 

          For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.                      Whoever believes in him is not condemned…

          John 3:17-16

God forgives us. Every single one of us. Even though, as sinners, we certainly don’t deserve loving forgiveness from Him. On the Cross hung a man who never sinned and took all the sin of the world and paid the penalty for our sins so that we may experience life. If you have followed Christ, you have been given that depth of forgiveness.

And because Christ forgave us, we must do no less. Otherwise, how do we reflect God’s love?

          Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and           knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love            among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.This is love: not that            we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God          so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives          in us and his love is made complete in us.

          1 John 4:7-12

Christ followers, we ought to say we are sorry and offer forgiveness as freely as it has been given to us. Don’t be a person of whom others say “takes a while to forgive.” Be a person who others say  “reflects God’s love.”

We will never be Christ, but we can reflect His love every time we offer forgiveness and say three simple words. I forgive you.

Want to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage?

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Singles you may or may not be married some day. At Table for One Ministries, we often include in our blogs the idea of being Complete in Christ for singles. But being Complete in Christ is not just for singles. It is for all adults. If you one day are called to marriage, remember this tip to help divorce proof your marriage:

Be Complete in Christ!

That’s right. Being Complete in Christ and not in a relationship with another person is a big key to helping your potential marriage be affair-proof for a few reasons:

Christ will be the head of your marriage

 

  • So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Col 2:10) (NIV)

 

  • Having Christ in the driver’s seat for major decisions and day-to-day tasks means your marriage will always have the right driver.

Communication will be better

 

  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov 10:1)(NIV)

 

  • Following God’s plan for you life will include things like prayer and devotion. You can and will apply those habits to your relationship with your spouse, resulting in conversation that is open, honest, and transparent.

Priorities will be clearer

 

  • …and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (Mark 10:8) (NIV)

 

  • Shared priorities in a joint marriage means everyone is going the same direction as far as finances, relationships, and life goals.

You will be drawn close together

 

  • Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb. 13:4) (NIV)

 

  • Keeping your completeness in Christ will keep you away from the sinful desires this world has to offer. Chase after Christ rather than finding completeness in sin.

All of these are easier said than done, however when both people enter into a union where they are a whole person prior to marriage, they are complete in the one who made them not the one who married them.

Singles, we have all seen couples who marry and still lack happiness and chase other things of the world. It is our belief that you should be Complete; no, not because it will help you be married, but because it is God’s plan for your life.

Being Dad Through Divorce

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Divorce is ugly.

 

Talk to anyone who is going through or has survived a divorced and unanimously they will say, even in the best of circumstances, divorce is hard. When children are involved in divorce, the stakes and emotions are even higher. From the day one spouse says the words “I want a divorce”, life and the marriage relationship will never return to the place it once was with unbroken trust.

Dads are by nature protective providers, and while not perfect, they strive to achieve the primal “hunter and gatherer” mindset. Maybe you are a dad reading this going through divorce. Regardless of the circumstances that led to this day, there are steps as a Christ follower that a father should take even in the challenge of a divorce.

 

Fight for Your Marriage

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:23

Defenses go up, feelings are hurt, and a once promising happily ever after might fade into a nightmare. While your marriage will be shaped by the actions taken, it can be saved by the One who has saved you. In the midst of a storm is not the time to go silent and walk away. Be just as vigilant in loving the one you chose to marry as the day you went engagement ring shopping. Just as Christ forgave you for your sins and offered salvation through eternal life, you can offer forgiveness in the difficult times.

 

Be Present with Your Children

“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Divorce can be embarrassing, humiliating, and defeating. All things men hate. This often causes men to retreat away from the relationships in the situation, including your children. They did not choose this path; do not punish the ones you held in the hospital the day they were born with the present situation. Custody battles are never “won”–only compromised like the relationship that was broken. Even if you no longer want to communicate with their mother, you need to love and respect her in the way Christ loves us.

 

Your Ex-Spouse’s Salvation Matters

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Ask yourself this question: Do I want to see my ex in heaven? To a Believer, this question should be a centering moment in how you proceed in your divorce and your life. Remember the reality of your present state in this world. The emotions are high, your anger may be running over, the circumstances may be out of control. However, as a Christ follower, you should still keep the Gospel in the forefront of your conversation and mind. Don’t “Jesus juke” to be spiteful, but let your actions be ones that draw people to God rather than turn from him. Your actions a Christian applies to your ex just as much as the believers who stand beside you in difficult times.

A Profile of Singles: Single Parents

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A Deeper Look at Single Parents

At Table for One Ministries we are passionate about reaching singles of all ages and backgrounds. In this series of blogs we are looking at the “profile” of each type of single adult. While these are not all encompassing, they are meant to help singles and those who lead singles understand each type of single adult better or in a different light. We WELCOME feedback and additions to these profiles as we grow our ministry!

Characteristics of this Group

In 2011, thirty-six percent of new mothers entered motherhood without a spouse. Ten million single mothers and 1.7 million single fathers make up single parents in America. It is not new that single parents are on the rise, but the number of single fathers has increased significantly over the past decade and continues to grow. Single parents come from divorced, widowed, and unmarried situations. The majority of single parents arise from having children out of wedlock; however, that can never be assumed with the wide range of reasons leading to being a single parent. Single parents may share time with a paternal parent which creates situations where planning ahead for weeks is required, often by mandate of the court.

Ministry Needs in this Group

Single parents need to know there is a place for them in the local church. Often pictures of mom, dad, and the kids are everywhere in church and neglect the broken families of single parents. Single parents come in many ways, but those having children outside of wedlock and at a young age have a wide variety of needs. Many needs are financial but often neglected is the young parent’s need for a support network. Not having a spouse around to change a dirty diaper is hard enough, but doing it before age 20 is a reality in our communities, and the church needs a place to connect those single parents.

Communication Strategies for this Group

Time is of the essence for single parents. Communicating with them needs to be effective to maximize their limited time. Avenues where childcare is available become extremely important as these may be the only times where they can get a moment away from the kids. The mode of communication is not important, but communicating whether their kids are welcome or not at events is important. Singles ministry events need to specify childcare availability or not and whether the event will be kid-friendly. Doing so will help communicate to single parents where they can be involved.

Strategy for Reaching this Group

Single parents are not just young mothers with kids and no money. A strategy to reach single parents, both male and female, needs to be in place so that any single parent can find a way into the church. Single parents also may be dealing with the loss of a spouse or divorce. Both may require a program to help reach out and connect them to the singles ministry. Single parents may choose to join a singles group or a married adult group depending on their age and if they want to be with other families. Either way is fine, but preferably they will be able to find a connecting place within a singles ministry.

Resources

Armstrong, Brenda. Financial Relief for Single Parents. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2007.

Leman, Kevin. Single Parenting That Works: Six Keys to Raising Happy, Healthy, Children in a Single Parent Home.

Carroll Stream: Tyndale House Publishing, 2006.

 

What do you think?

Do you agree with this profile of single adults who are single parents? What resources or information would you add?

Father to the Fatherless

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At Table for One, we acknowledge that the children of a single parent often experience a feeling of emptiness for a missing parent. This void is a direct result of God’s plan for every child to have a mother and a father to raise that child in the way he or she should go. But when God’s model family does not happen, children are left missing a parent and often filling the void with worldly things.

Psalm 68:4-7 says: “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” For children seeking a missing parental figure, God is the missing relationship they yearn for as the parental authority who offers advice, love, admiration, correction, and kindness.

Not only is the missing relationship filled with God, but the loneliness that comes with being in a single-parent home is lessened as well. These passages are applicable to both parent and child in that both must turn to God for strength to fill the void. In a nuclear home, this void is not often as acute if both parents are following Christ and reflecting His image. So in many ways, a single-parent home that seeks to follow the Lord can fill the void of a missing parent with God’s abundant love.

God is Father. So do you think He can be a Father to the Fatherless and how so? How can the church focus on reaching single parents and minister in this situation?

Racism and Dating

Let’s talk about it.

Dating inside or outside of your native race can be a big deal. Regardless of skin color, dating a person of a different nationality or ethnicity may lead to a point of contention. Cultural experiences shape us into who we become whether we admit it or not. Events experienced at a young age, from the toys we play with to the friends we have, from family interactions to relationships outside our front doors–everything we’ve been through shapes who we are and influences who we date.

Racism is real.

Racism is nothing new. Racism is a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. In Scripture we find story after story of oppression to the nation of Israel (Exodus 1-15) as well as the Hebrews being racist to other cultures like the Philistines. Outside the Hebrew religion, it was even said of Jesus, “What good could come from Nazareth?”, his hometown. (John 1:46) The Samaritan woman at the well is another example exhibiting racism. Her people did not associate with another culture. (John 4:1-26)

However, the Bible is not racist.

The Bible is about unity and love.

God became man for all to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. (John 3:16) The Gospel is to be taken to everyone in the world, not just a selected few. (Acts 1:8) We have been shown love on the cross, so should we love one another. (John 13:35) It is through loving one another that we see God’s love and know HIm better. (1 John 4)

So what does the Bible say about the issue of dating outside one’s race or ethnic background?

“ Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

– 2 Corinthians 6:14

It all comes down a common factor of fellowship with one another in Christ. Not race. This is the Believer’s  foundation for all relationships in life. Being joined in spiritual community is vital to select a person to date and perhaps even marry one day. There are many factors involved in a successful relationship, but spiritual unity is priority number one. Not race.

It is not about race.

Choosing who you date should be a decision based on God’s will for you life. That does not ignore the fact that dating someone from another background may have its challenges. It may be a harder relationship in many ways than dating someone within your ethnicity, but it is not one to be avoided simply because of a difference in culture.

In fact, many of the challenges associated with dating people of other backgrounds has nothing to do with the couple and everything to do with their families’ dynamics. Families often struggle with acceptance issues more than the couple. To help close the gap, the foundation of the relationship needs to be about Christ, not about race.

First, each individual in a relationship needs to be Complete In Christ before adding another person to his or her life. When the foundation is in Christ, the decision of who to date or marry is not based on racial issues, but on firm ground laid by the one true King.

Regardless of race, or background, or history, dating always has challenges. If you feel called to date, let Christ lead you, instead of allowing the influence of family or social norms choose a potential mate.

Singles Lose at Christmas

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Where will your family celebrate Christmas this year?

As the days zoom past before Christmas, families across the country start discussing where Christmas will take place. For some, this is easy. There is a set location and family gathering time regardless of any other circumstances. For others, a tug-of-war begins between single and married siblings.

Singles often lose at the holidays when they have a married sibling in the family. It’s likely that Christmas is where the married sibling is or it could be whoever has the most children. These conditions often leave the single adult with nothing as a leverage chip for family to travel to the single’s house. Family members may say it’s less expensive for the single to travel to the larger majority. Sure it is “cheaper” for one person to fly, but proportionally as a single adult a plane ticket can mean a big hit to the budget with one income vs two. The expense can impact for months leading up to and after the gathering.

Singles, be encouraged that even if your family doesn’t travel to you and your budget doesn’t allow you to go to them, you have Framily, a family of friends, who are eager to gather for the holidays. And even if your budget allows the travel, there’s nothing that says you have to wait for blood relatives to celebrate.

Don’t save all the holiday cheer for only the relatives. Decorate and invite your friends over. They’ll appreciate your effort, especially during this time of year, which can be lonely for many.

Organize a white elephant gift exchange and invite your friends for a dinner, or even simple snacks. It is a great way to give other singles a taste of the holidays at your home and opens your ability and opportunity to minister to them. Often, the non-Believer will enter the hospitable house of a friend before they enter the doors of the church.

Have Christmas at your place! Even if it is not with your immediate family. You and your Framily will have a blast at your place!

Between Separation and Divorce

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Between Separation and Divorce, there is the:

Opportunity to focus on Christ.  Do you move forward with divorce? Seek wise counsel.  Look to His Word and as 1 Thessalonians 2:16 instructs us, pray continually.

Opportunity to grow your relationship with Christ.  Dust off your Bible and dig in. Look for verses to strengthen your heart.  Seek His comfort.

Opportunity to volunteer.  The adage that helping others will bless you may never be truer than if you are wallowing in the aftermath of a separation.

Opportunity to pray for healing the marriage.  No matter how angry or hurt you may be, Malachi 2:16 reminds us God hates divorce.  Step back from emotions and be certain where God is sending you.

Opportunity to reconnect with friends and family.  If you don’t move into the light, depression will set in.  Call the friend you haven’t seen in a year.  Spend time with that aunt you haven’t seen for months.  Gather your hugs and support where you can.

Opportunity to learn from mistakes.  When every option leads to a broken marriage, take time to assess the damage.  It may be financial. It might purely be emotional.  But changes will happen.

Opportunity to seek counseling.  DivorceCare, even while only separated, can offer clarification and practical advice.  Many churches offer wise counsel and group support for this difficult time.  Take advantage of any chance to heal and grow in a safe environment.

Opportunity to honor God.  Matthew 6:33 tells us, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  (NLT) This is not a time to seek a new partner.  You are not single and hanging out in social environments geared towards singles is not wise.

Single and Considering an Abortion

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The world tells us you that as a single you cannot raise a child alone. Regardless of the life in you, your life and priorities come first. After all, how will you raise a child by yourself? This lie is spread by some who are pro-choice in an attempt for a mother-to-be to feel empowered to chose what God has already allowed. Ironically, once society gets past this decision, mothers, Christian or not, can find all kinds of support for raising a family with one parent.

Enter your church’s singles ministry. A place where a mother can find hope and family to help raise her new child. Singles’ groups are always fluctuating with people getting married, and hopefully, new guests coming into the group. But this environment is where single mothers need to find friends and community combined with preschool, children, and youth ministries for their child. Do not segment out these ladies or men. They need other singles to come alongside them and provide support for both parent and child.

When your church has a singles ministry, single parents should never have to raise their children alone regardless of how that child entered this world.

Single leaders, reach out to pregnancy centers and connect single mothers to your group and church to find a place to call home.