Many unmarried people in the church struggle to accept the label “single,” since churches can treat singles as second-class citizens. This treatment rests on wrong teaching about singleness. Simply put, the church can idolize marriage and make it the ultimate goal for maturity in Christ, relegating singles—no matter how old—to perpetual immaturity until they find someone to marry.
Confusing marriage with maturity has always been wrong, but it was easy when marriage was a cultural norm for the American church. At the turn of the century a large majority of the general population was married; in the 1970s the marriage rate had dropped to 70 percent; and by 2014 it had dropped to 50 percent. The inescapable reality is that countless congregations include singles of all ages. The church needs to learn how to love singles better—and the first step is repairing broken theology.
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