What’s A Single Mom to Do?: The Church, Singles and the Fatherless

I confess upfront that this is going to be a somewhat personal post because this is topic near and dear to my heart and one in which I have experienced great heartache. But hopefully leveraging my own angst might generate some food for thought, especially among church leaders but definitely among all the people of God.

I sometimes think we have a bi-polar disorder in the church. Now I’m not making light of those who suffer from this psychiatric condition. Why do I say that? The other day, a friend sent me a sermon on 1 Corinthians 7 that was given to singles at her church. Now granted, it was part of a series so maybe some of what concerned me was covered in another sermon. But the heart of it was pretty standard stuff I’ve heard before. Paul says singleness is better because you can devote yourself to the Lord. Don’t be over-desirous of marriage because that is idolatry (note the introduction of the dichotomies we like to create so much). If you really hate singleness and really want marriage, you probably have a problem. Bottom line, be content where you are.

single mom with kidsBut in the same breath, we sound the alarm regarding the fatherless. We decry single-mother households and their detrimental impact on boys growing up without dad. Of course, the assumption is that it is that way because the moms have no use for men. Never mind that contributing factors in these situations also includes 1) the guy totally abdicate his responsibilities; 2) the guy mistreats the woman that breaches the marriage covenant; or 3) the guy dies. Yes, I hate to break it to the statistics mongers but devaluing a dad in the home is not the only reason these situations happen. We live in a very broken world, which also produces bad kids with dads in the house. Yes, lets talk about that in the same breath as how bad off fatherless boys are. Now I’m not undermining the importance of fathers, not in the least. Only that we need to be cognizant of rash generalities and the fact that many single-mother homes would rather not want it that way.

So on one hand, we tell the single mother with the fatherless boy to be content and don’t really yearn for marriage. But on the other hand, we give her every reason to believe that her household is dire straights without a dad. What is a single mother to do? Continue reading

Relationships: Risks, Preferences and the Unknown

I really appreciated this piece from Trip Lee, Why I Married a White Girl. Though the post is describing how ethnic preferences can thwart accepting a good situation, I thought there were some salient applications for preferences in general. This is especially true for the older single whose life stage needs are a bit different from the young. Trip writes;

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having preferences, but we have to hold them with an open hand. I know certain people who overlook a potential godly spouse because they don’t fit some random preference. Some of our preferences really don’t matter that much. Some may even be foolish. Needless to say, we have to submit all of them to Scripture…It’s okay to prefer certain things in a spouse, but we have to submit our desires to what God wants for us in a spouse. What I wanted and needed most was a godly partner, and that’s exactly what he provided.

holding handsYoung or old, preferences are a tricky animal. What we may prefer may not ultimately be the best thing for us. If we are not careful, they may actually circumvent our ability to recognize a good thing. For younger people, the preferences can be driven more by fantasy of what something is supposed to look like. For older people, especially those who have been around the block and experienced relationship failure and dysfunction, the equation can become for muddled. On one hand, you know that you don’t want and what won’t work. But on the other hand, there could be the danger of setting up reactionary standards because of past pain. The worst thing you can do is expect another to make up for past relationship grievances and subject the relationship to that standard. Continue reading