Tonight I went along to a Christian Connection event reporting back on a survey of 3000 people, mostly users of their dating site, about singleness and the church. David Pullinger analysed the data and presented results focusing on what single Christians appreciated about church, and what they found difficult.
The results are still being finalised, and more formalised reporting will come in due course, and some of the results have already been reported. But a couple of comments immediately stood out.
- Only 1/3 of single men aged 30-44 socialise with their friends at least once a week. This is a significant drop from those younger than this and is not matched by a similar decline among women.
- Single women often find married couples reticent to offer hospitality, and this seems to be related to a perceived threat to their marriage. Single women often work, don’t care for children and as a result often find they have more in common with the husband than the wife. I’m fascinated to look into this more and eagerly await seeing the data.
- And there was a list of twelve things single Christians would like their church leaders to do, in order of importance…
- Give talks about singleness
- Organise or enable social and fun activities
- Provide models of singleness
- Pray personally or in the church
- Be inclusive in all church activities
- Organise or enable single groups
- Be in contact, through phone, email or text
- Provide or facilitate practical help
- Provide practical help in finding a partner
- Knowing and recommending singles events
- Seeking the single person’s viewpoint
It’s an interesting list, and some I certainly agree with. But in all of this I had a recurring question, is there a danger of entrenching an identity of singleness, and possibly as a result seeing identity defined by the absence of a partner, rather than the many other things which make up the individual’s character.
Is singleness something which should be seen as an identity? If you’re single is it a label you use or appreciate? Or do you think it can do more damage than good?