What’s it like to be single in the church? Are we unknowingly sending the message that without a matrimony, they are not a whole person? If you are married, I think you will be surprised by what my guest Nicole LeBlond bravely shares, and based on the other women’s voices recorded in this episode, she is not alone in her experiences.
What’s it like to be single in the church? Are we unknowingly sending the message that without a matrimony, they are not a whole person?
If you are married, I think you will be surprised by what my guest Nicole LeBlond bravely shares, and based on the other women’s voices recorded in this episode, she is not alone in her experiences. Prepare yourself to be enlightened and better equipped to know how to love and support the single women in your life.
If you are single, my hope is you will feel seen and affirmed. My hope is our christian communities will learn how to see you as whole and valid, as is.
My Guest: Nicole LeBlond
Nicole was born and raised Portland, Oregon and is a pediatric nurse at Randall Children’s Hospital. Along with working with the greatest team at the best children’s hospital in Portland, she participates in medical missions in Haiti – a country and people that has taken hold of her heart. She is a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and speaks fluently in movie quotes. She’s a little obsessed with Disneyland – so much so, she had an Annual Pass for 2 years and is thinking it might be time to renew. She is a follower of Jesus – striving to share His grace, mercy, and love to all the peeps in her life.
There tends to be a lumping in of never marrieds with divorced and widowed women even though the experiences are quite different.
The church struggles to know what do with single people.
Nicole has felt as a single woman there was something wrong with her because she didn’t really fit anywhere in the church.
She has found Women’s Ministry Events to be isolating – events seem to focus on a woman’s purpose is to be a wife and a mother.
Separating the Singles out (dividing them by age or gender) is injuring & feels like the church is telling her she doesn’t have any worth, like she doesn’t have anything to offer the rest of the church.
Singles Need Us to Be Their Community
Nicole enjoys hanging out with married people – being a part of a family is a beautiful picture of community.
She needs the church to rally around her and tell her, “We’ll be your family!”
Even though she doesn’t have kids herself, she does have something to offer us.
“I don’t have to have kids to be able to listen to you talk about your child, ‘I’m struggling with X and I don’t know what to do,’ but you know what I can do? I can pray. I can go to the Father for you maybe in a way that someone else can’t because I see it in another way.”
“Everyone is a valid member of our community.”
We have a unique opportunity to do life together.
Paul and the Bible: “Singleness is a gift”
This not a gift to the single person, but is a gift to the church
Because there may be more freedom in their schedule to serve others in the church, singles are then a gift to the church
How being single does not feel like a gift
-grieving not having a family with children
-romance shows can be poke the bruised places
The message she got that you can earn a husband – Marriage is a Reward or You are not Christian enough
“You’re not married yet because your husband isn’t ready. Once he’s hit whatever benchmark that God has for him, he’ll be ready and you can be married. Or “You haven’t met that benchmark that God has for you therefore when you meet that, you’ll be ready for marriage.”
What Not to Say
You have to just to stop looking, and then he’ll show up.
You just haven’t met him yet.
Some people weren’t meant to be married. (can give the message that there is something wrong with her)
The American Culture says getting married and having children is just what you do
What to Say & Do
“Man, I’m sorry.”
Engage them where they’re at, not waiting for them to get married
-ask them to lead Bible Studies
-ask them to open up their homes to host small groups
-not treating her as a tag-along but as a member who has something to offer
-invite her to events or to hang out with your family
Ask her if she desires/ to be married.
What She Wishes We Knew
She understands grief. She grieves her singleness.
Kathleen’s Parting Thoughts
If we really stop and think about it, as the woman earlier in the show stated, we are a society that holds coupling on an altar. If you aren’t in a couple, then we assume you are looking to find someone, and then we inadvertently are telling singles they aren’t okay if they aren’t matched up.
Invalid, not whole, not valuable, less than, don’t fit, something wrong with me
this was the theme I heard over and over again
you might feel attacked & not understand why what we are saying and doing is hurtful, and I’m glad you are noticing those feelings. But I also know you are here because you want to love better. So, if you don’t understand why single women are feeling this way in the church, now would be a great time to go to them and have an honest discussion.
In every Episode Guide I make available to my Patreon Members, I tell them if they’ve found themselves uncomfortable after the Big Reveal segment of the show, they might want to
And then I give them words they could say, like:
“I honestly want to understand why someone thinks the way they do about this topic. I’m not looking to debate you, I really just want to learn more. Would you mind sharing with me what brought you to this conclusion? Because I realize you probably didn’t just wake up one day and say ______. (I feel like the church thinks I am not valuable)
A good friend of mine who used to lead a thriving single moms group me were having a discussion about how we tend to see single men vs single women. Women tend to be seen as broken, and not able to keep a man, or power hungry, career chasing, no time for a family because of her cold cold heart, where as single men are seen as helpless in one way, “poor guy he just hasn’t found the right woman yet,” but he is not seen as broken or as power hungry.
This discussion really had me examining my own biases. And the result wasn’t pretty. I had to hold up things I had been taught (explicitly and implicitly) next to what was true in the lives of my own single friends to see that it was time to let go of some stinkin’ thinkin’.
Things to NOT say:
“You just haven’t found the right guy yet.”
“You’re going to meet someone, just when you least expect it.”
“Let God be your husband.”
Why aren’t you married yet?
You have to just to stop looking, and then he’ll show up.
Some people aren’t meant to be married.
God’s still doing a work in you/him, then you’ll be ready.
Have you found someone yet?
If you are married or have a significant other, I want you to notice how much touch you get throughout the day. A brush of the arm, an arm around a shoulder, a hug, a snuggle under a warm blanket, or even just a jab in the arm. Now I want you to think about your single friend and how little she is probably touched. A little warning here, not everyone is going to welcome contact, so you may want to make sure your friend is okay with touch, but please consider linking arms with them or hugging them the next time you are together. We need touch in order to thrive. And maybe this could be a simple way for you to love your single friend.
: A Guide to Uncovering the Real You
Are you a visual learner? Wish you had in written form all the guest’s tips about how to be a loving supportive friend? Become a $2/month patreon member and receive an Episode Guide that outlines all her practical tips (as well as some others we didn’t discuss).