Recently while I was driving, I was listening to Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson. It was night and I could not take notes. He was interviewing a woman that ministers to single moms. They were discussing that many single moms feel they are a failure because they do not have a man in their lives.
In my 27 years of counseling (nationwide by phone (636) 448-0121- www.carolclemans.org), I have counseled many single moms that have felt incomplete without a husband. I must address the issue of feeling incomplete.
Whether single (male/female), divorcee’, or widow, feeling incomplete has more than one facet. Society can influence a person’s feelings of being different. Before I was married in my early 20’s, a well-known pastor said very loudly at a conference, “Where is your husband?” I replied, “I don’t have one.” This pastor looked at me as if there was something wrong with me for being single! I did not like that feeling.
I have to admit, at that age, I did sometimes feel like a 3rd or 5th wheel depending on whether I was with another couple or two. I was determined as a young woman who loved God that I would only date a man who had the same salvation experience that I did (Acts 2). I wanted a husband who had loved God for a long time and not a new believer. I set my standards (godly behavior) and lived by them.
Knowing who I was in God through the influence of God’s Word, gave me the strength to resist ungodly opportunities to date. I knew I was valued by God because he was my Creator – Psalm 139. I knew God valued me because He came in the flesh as Jesus Christ and died on the cross for my sins and became my Savior!
Today many people place their value in what others think about them. This is a fickle foundation for self-worth because people change their opinions all the time. I do not focus on self-worth. My focus is on my God-Worth! It does not matter what others think about me! It does not matter what others think about you!
What matters is who we are in God! Single and married, my focus has always been on what does God think about me? God’s love and thoughts toward me is not based on my performance or my status in life. God’s love and acceptance is not based on whether I’m single or married. God’s Word says we are complete in Him!
Colossians 2 “6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding [d]in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone [e]cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead [f]bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all [g]principality and power.” You are complete in Him!
Paul encouraged people to remain single as he was single. Paul said when you get married you will have troubles. 1 Cor. 7:28 AMP “But if you do marry, you have not sinned [in doing so]; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned [in doing so]. Yet those [who marry] will have troubles (special challenges) in this life, and I am trying to spare you that.”
Single women who feel incomplete without a man have fallen into great troubles when they marry a man because he encouraged pre-marital sex. The man who (claiming to be a Christian) wants sex before marriage is an ungodly man following the lust of his flesh. In my counseling, many of these men are addicted to pornography. They know what to say and do to fool the woman and make her feel special just to get what they want.
A godly man will never try and talk a woman into sex (or outer sex) before marriage. But when the woman has low God-worth, she hopes if she gives in that he will eventually marry her. I’ve witnessed the man who walks away once the woman gives in to sex. I’ve witnessed the man marrying the woman then becoming abusive, controlling, or revealing a porn addiction! Both can be completely avoided when a single woman knows her God-worth! She will know her value in God as God’s special treasure. Being a woman of the Word will not allow herself to be belittled in any way.
These issues should be taught in the church. When we teach holiness of the heart that controls our actions, single women will know their value in God and single men will know how to be godly in their conduct in dating. We are to treat others as we would treat God! A godly person would never consider thoughts of tempting others into sexual sins!
Experts in the field of single parenting feel that single parents need to focus on raising their children focusing on God as their help and provider. After raising the children, maybe then consider marrying again. Blending families is never easy. The children are the ones who suffer emotionally. They are already dealing with the abandonment of one parent. When the custodial parent marries soon, the children feel betrayed because now they see the attention going to the new stepparent and maybe stepsiblings. It is never easy.
This brings me to another need I see in the church. The single parent feels like they do not fit in the church. I’ve had many single parents tell me in counseling they do not feel accepted by married people nor do they feel accepted by other singles without children.
Psalm 68:6 New King James Version (NKJV) “6 God sets the solitary in families.” The solution to this issue would be that every pastor look for married couples that are healthy spiritually and emotionally. Each couple could be-friend a single parent family – including them in holidays, birthday celebrations, etc. Of course, there would be guidelines regarding not putting the single female or male parent with the opposite-sex spouse. This inclusion would help the children see how a loving marriage functions.
This would be a major way the church could show love for one another. With older singles (male/female) or widows/ers, they would love for a family to reach out to them. We did this many times as our children were growing up. We would invite a widow or single person to go out to eat with us. I would go visit a widow or invite one to come to my home and share a cup of coffee.
When we had potluck dinners at our home several times through the years of our children growing up, we would have couples and singles/widows join us. I pray I will reap what I have sown.
The Bible is full of commands that we are to love one another. The world will know us because of our love one for another. Each of us needs to be challenged about showing love one to another.
1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Whether we are single or married, we will be able to love others as we love ourselves when we are healthy spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. Let’s read I Corinthians 13 to see how we relate to others with God’s love. Remember, we all are complete in Him!