I’m married, how can I help my church become single friendly?

Both married and single people all need to work together to ensure our churches welcome, include and value everyone. Whether you’ve been married for many years or just a few months, you will likely have single friends or family members of different ages. You may even have been single for a significant period of time yourself before you got married. Or you may be married but attend church on your own, and therefore share similar experiences to many single people. 
Being married, your voice is extremely important in this conversation and carries a lot of weight. When married couples in the church welcome and include single people and encourage others to do the same, this will make a huge difference to the culture of the church.

How can you make a difference in your church? 

  • Think about your social circles at church. Do you have single friends as well as other couples? Who do you gravitate towards at coffee time? 
  • Make a conscious effort to greet those who arrive on their own. 
  • If you share the Peace in your church, could you turn to someone on their own first before greeting your partner and/or children? 
  • Make sure your invitations of hospitality include single people as well as couples. It’s fine to have couples nights, but try not to do this exclusively. 
  • Have conversations with church leaders about what your church could do to actively welcome and include single people. Check out our 5 Steps for ideas.
  • Be mindful when discussing dating with single people. Remember everyone has their own story and unique set of circumstances. Not everyone wants to be married - either for the first time or again. Some may appreciate offers to pray for a partner, while for others this may cause pain.
  • If your church is attending a Christian festival or conference together, consider inviting a single person to join you for meals. Particularly when camping, having someone to share the cooking and equipment with is helpful for everyone. 
  • When in social settings or small groups with a mix of single and married people, be aware of when the conversation focusses too heavily on "family" talk. It's good to share about your kids or family life, but when the whole evening is dominated with these discussions, it can be alienating and/or painful for single people without children.

How can you be “family” to your single friends? 

You likely won't be able to commit to all these things - but here are some suggestions to get you thinking about different ways you can support the single people in your life.

  • Many single people would love to be part of a family. Could you consider welcoming a single friend into yours? Many would welcome an invitation to join in on family walks, movie nights, and special occasions.
  • Single people make excellent godparents! This is one way of inviting them to join your family on a long-term basis.
  • Show up to celebrate them! Birthdays, job promotions, graduations, new homes are all moments when it’s important to have someone to share them with. 
  • Getting sick can be especially hard for those who live on their own. Could you bring them a meal or offer to do some house chores? 
  • Having someone with you for important health visits can make a huge difference. Could you offer to drive them to important doctors appointments, dental procedures or surgery?
  • Could you help with DIY projects, moving house or other practical tasks that feel daunting to manage on your own?
  • Be there to help talk through and process life decisions, big or small. Making decisions such as buying a house, taking a new job, or even what furniture or clothes to buy can feel overwhelming when you don’t have someone to consult or talk them through with. 
  • Try to take note of and remember days that may be painful for your single friends and consider how you could show support on those dates, e.g. the wedding anniversary of someone widowed, Mothers Day and Fathers Day, Valentine’s Day. 
  • Lots of people who attend church alone say they wish they had someone to discuss the sermon with after the service. You could invite someone to join you for a meal or drink after the service, or arrange to call a friend on Sunday evening to have a regular “debrief”. This is a great way to both deepen your friendship and engage with the teaching for yourself.
  • Consider taking a trip with your single friends. Or you could invite them on a family holiday. They might not want to come, but would likely appreciate the invitation. 
  • If your friend takes a solo trip away, could you collect them from the airport or station? Or arrange to call or see them that day to talk about their trip? 
  • If you’re on a day out with a friend, offer to take their photo somewhere.  It can feel awkward to ask for this yourself, but it’s always nice to have photos of yourself that aren’t selfies. Equally, if you’re ever on holiday and see someone by themselves taking a selfie with a view, offer to take their photo! They will likely appreciate the offer. 
  • Consider how you could help out single parents. Raising children on your own is less daunting when you have support. One lady shared how her best friend’s husband taught her two teenage boys how to shave. 
  • Consider offering to be an emergency contact for someone. One thing that the pandemic in particular has brought to light is the need for us all to have an emergency contact, and for single people without close family nearby, this can be an awkward thing to ask someone. 
  • If you don’t already, develop a culture of sharing prayer requests with your single friends. Let them know they can call or text you if they need prayer, and they can offer the same for you! 

These are just suggestions to spark ideas of ways your single friends may appreciate support. You may feel more equipped to do some than others. If every married person in church did just one of these things, the experience of church as “family” could be completely transformed, and you will receive so much in return.