Tuesday, October 26, 2010
10 Top Tips for Single Adults
A friend forwarded this article to us, which we felt was definitely worth sharing. We met Pastor Dennis Franck at a SAM Conference in Florida two years ago. He truly has a heart for singles and has his finger on your pulse!
By Dennis Franck
Oct. 10, 2010
After 21 years as a singles pastor and 10 years directing Single Adult Ministries for the Assemblies of God, I’ve learned many principles from single adults. Here are my top 10.
1. Find contentment as a single adult.
Some single and single-again adults think a marriage relationship will complete them, solve problems and bring contentment to their lives. Although it’s true a good marriage can bring satisfaction and contentment, it’s also true one’s spouse is not responsible for our contentment and happiness.
In a conversation years ago with a divorced relative of mine, he told me, “I didn’t make my wife happy, and she didn’t make me happy. We both failed.” I remember telling him, “It wasn’t your responsibility to make each other happy. What a huge responsibility to put on someone. When they fail, we can blame them!” Although married persons should want to please their spouse, people are responsible for their own happiness and contentment.
Contentment comes through continuing a vital relationship with the Lord, developing meaningful relationships with men and women, and using your abilities to help others.
2. Realize every life has its challenges.
Although some single adults have a difficult life, especially single parents, there are married adults who also have challenging lives. Some in difficult marriages would trade places with single adults if it were possible. There are worse things than being single — such as being married to the wrong person and married at the wrong time.
3. Cultivate healthy relationships.
First Corinthians 11:11 says, “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” (NIV). God made us to be in relationship with others. A single adult does not have a spouse for companionship, and without the benefit of marriage, relationships become even more important. Developing quality friendships with men and women is both a blessing and a need some single adults fail to cultivate. Challenges of life dictate the need for others’ perspectives, encouragement and support. Unmarried men and women should enjoy friendships with other single adults. After marriage, friendship dynamics can change.
4. Develop your abilities, strengths and talents now.
God has given each of us abilities, strengths and talents. Since single adults tend to have more flexibility with their time than married adults, use this time to develop personal skills and strengths, to improve God-given talents.
5. Become the right person for marriage before finding the right person for marriage.
Many are intently looking for the right person for marriage, rather than becoming the right person for marriage. Some think marriage solves problems, but realize later marriage amplifies them. Who we really are is made more obvious when living with another person. Spend time and energy becoming a desirable mate instead of focusing your time on finding one. Would you marry someone like yourself?
6. Understand the five stages of dating to help avoid premature relationships and marriage.
Preparation — This affects the quality of all stages and is foundational. Preparation involves intentional work and improvement spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, financially and relationally. Continually work at maturity in these areas. Intentionally prepare yourself to offer meaningful friendship before getting into a dating relationship. This should probably begin as a late teen, or whenever you realize you would like to eventually marry. For more information, read “Preparing for a Permanent Relationship” under the “Single Living/Singleness Issues” section of singles.ag.org.
Infatuation — This is based on physical and emotional attraction. During this time it is wise to spend many, if not most, dates in groups to observe reactions, emotions and responses to people and situations. Some negative and positive traits in others cannot be observed during time spent alone as a couple.
Illumination — This is a time of discovery and recognizing weaknesses and differences in the other person. Opinions, character, convictions, lifestyle, values and habits are surfacing. This is the stage where “crisis” situations begin to arise. This needs to happen in order to exhibit each person’s style of conflict resolution.
Evaluation — This is the stage of serious evaluation when you begin to actively evaluate the differences and determine if the relationship is worth working through those differences. One or both individuals evaluate and decide if they can live with the other’s manners, habits, perspectives and attitudes.
Maturation — A couple commits to the relationship and intentionally continues resolving conflicts. Decisional love, not just emotional love, is practiced — a mature, steady, forgiving, serving love. Both are now intent on what they can bring to the relationship and give to the other, not what they can receive. This stage should last the duration of time remaining until marriage and should continue throughout life.
7. Strive to remain pure sexually and understand the consequences of sexual immorality.
One challenge of singleness is remaining pure in a sex-crazed and impure world. Sexual images in the media, expectations of others and personal sex drives dictate the need for a disciplined life. Here are 12 suggestions for remaining pure.
• Realize your sex drive is God-given.
• Don’t tempt yourself.
• Don’t blame God for your temptations (James 1:13,14).
• Set your limits now.
• Determine early warning signs of sexual impurity.
• Learn to control your thoughts.
• Choose your friends carefully.
• Exercise regularly.
• Ask God for help (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
• Decide to resist (2 Timothy 2:22).
• Build yourself spiritually (Hebrews 4:12).
• Find an accountability partner of the same sex.
8. Maintain a good attitude even if misunderstood or undervalued.
Many pastors and adults are “marriage and family focused” and do not readily see or understand the needs of single adults. It can be easy to develop a negative attitude. Instead, married adults and pastors need to see single adults who are positive, cheerful, faithful and making the most of their lives as single adults.
9. Serve in the church now.
With single parents as the exception, flexibility of time, money and resources is one of the advantages of singleness. There is no need for approval from a spouse before giving tithes and offerings, going on a missions trip, or teaching a children’s class. Imagine Jesus, the apostle Paul, Jeremiah or other single adults in the Bible waiting until marriage to serve! As a single adult, take an active role in church leadership and service.
10. Allow God to direct you life.
Whether married or single, the most important goal is to allow God to be in control. Trust Him through life’s ups and downs. He will guide. His will is perfect. His plan is personal. His timing is correct. His strength is enough. Proverbs 3:5,6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).