Summary: Singleness is not a sin, its a ministry

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Many young people their childhoods and teen years thinking, dreaming, and planning for marriage. They imagine who they will mary, what married life will be like, and how many kids they’ll have. And, for the vast majority of young people, maarriage is in their future.

The number of never - married men and women, however, is on the rise. “In the past 20 years”, writes Stephanie Brush,, “the percentage of never-married women between the ages of 20 and 44 has more than doubled, rising form 6 percent to 13 percent of the adult female population.”2 Clifford and Joyce Penner offer a profile of this growing demographic group:

There are those who see themselves as temporarily single. This is the under twenty-five age group who graduated from high school, went off to work or college, and expect that they will be raising a family of their own. Many in the twenty five-to thirty-five year age range are focusing on professional goals without great thought or emphasis on marriage. Then there are those singles who intended to marry, but never did.... The never -married group includes some who chose not to marry (even if they had the opportunity) or some who chose the celibate life to give their energy to the call of God.3

The growing number of never-married singles combined with adults who become single following a death or divorce is reaching sixtyfive million and climbing.4

While there is a slowly increasing acceptance and comfort with) singleness and single lifestyles in Western society, many young men and women still panic at the propect of single life. Singles Pastor Allen Hadidian writes of one women who moaned about her singleness, “I am getting so old! I can’t handle it! What am I going to do?” When he asked her how old she was, she responded, “Eighteen.”5

Such panic is not unusal among single men and women, even those who are still in their teens or early twenties. Teens and young adults long to experience intemacy, to belong to some one, and many fear that they will never experience such things. Some become impatient, particurly when they see friends becoming engaged and getting married. A few become morose, convinced they will never be truly and deeply loved; others, while more willing to accept singleness, whether temporary or permanent, come to view their situation as second-best and themselves as second-class.


- Circumstances

Many young men and women are single due to circumstances. They may be pursuing an education or a career that leaves them little time to develop relationships. They may be shy; their family responsibilities (parents or children, for example) may make it difficult to meet new people. They may nothave met “the right person” yet. One single women wrote, “I have lived in a single state for so long, I think, because I value the institution of marriage so much. And I’ve seen too many people treat it like some kind of dress reheared.”6

The anxiety and uncertainty that often suround the single person are sometimes due, according to Carolyn Koons, to a “lack of developmental information concerning singles and their lifestyles, combined with singles’ questions about their goals, needs, and identities.” Koons continues:

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