Putting Up Barriers

Phasing Out Single Friends

In a Hermeneutics blog, Alicia Cohn wonders if Christian couples "phase" out single friends because the church community has created a cultural fear of the possibility of adultery. 

Do you think she's on the right track? If not, what is your top answer as to why married couples stop including their single friends in activities?


I don't think it's a matter of "phasing out" single friends. I still have a few, but they are mine, not my husband's. I think it's more a matter of spending time with people you have someting in common with. Let's face it, I don't have much in common with an 18 or 21-yr.-old single woman who works for a living and partys all week end. I'm a 68-yr-old grandmother with disabilities. I'm interested in my 2 daughters, in my 2 nearly-grown grandchildren, and in my church activities. What youngster is going to sit still for a sedentary old lady who melts at the sound of her grandson's (deep) voice?

On the other hand, I feel sorry for Kevin Peet. What does a 42-yr-old have in common with an 18-yr-old? I think we should be able to choose who compliments our life and who doesn't. Or, put another way, whose life WE can compliment, and whose we can't.
Another Hand Up
in agreement with Rolley's thesis. Having wandered away from church gatherings in my twenties and early thirties, I don't know what it's like to be an adult single or a newly married couple within a congregation. It's the easy path to simply associate with those at a similar place in life and in similar circumstances. Todd and I have sought out older couples to mentor us.

As a married woman, I do guard against one-to-one friendships with men. If any of the men here on the BreakPoint Blog are ever travelling through the Wood River Valley, I would love to meet them, but not by myself. My husband would be there, too. If Gina or Kim were travelling through, I wouldn't hesitate to invite them to our home for coffee with just little ol' me. We have friends who are married couples and friends who are single men. The single men are my husband's friends and my acquaintances. Of the married couples, I'm friends with the wives and friends with them both as a couple, but I rarely have conversations where its just just me and the husband conversing. My intimate, heart-to-heart communication is with my husband or with one of a few women I count as friends. I used to be an outrageous flirt; it's an area of myself that God transformed while I wasn't paying attention -- I never consciously set out to change my bad behavior myself. So, I don't go anywhere near that destruction anymore.
At my previous church, when I began attending there at the age of 42, our new Assoc. Pastor had the idea of beginning a singles group. So I had the rather jolting experience of being in a singles group with an 18-year old!

I think I favor Rolley's theory, that there is a strong consumer mentality in today's American evangelical church-goer. I've invited people over for dinner, for breakfast, hosted BBQs at my home, but the number of invitations extended to me in these past seven years-- I think it's fewer than five.

It's curious, and sometimes it bothers me, but generally it doesn't. Perhaps I've simply accustomed myself to it.
Rolley, you have just made a very salient point.

Another point is instead of bringing people together, many churches are separating them when they shouldn't.

The thing I like about the worship at a Catholic church is they don't separate people into nice neat groups during main service. The babies are near the old folks, brats are sitting next to a 30-something. It can make it tough to concentrate on the sermon/homily, and sometimes you'd like to turn around with a ruler, and swat the parents...;-0
Fear of Not Getting Something in Return
I have another, equally uncomplimentary theory: that one of the chief reasons relationships are pursued is for “me and mine”, not for “them and theirs”. We seek those who “will make us happy”, usually the ones with whom we have the most in common, or from whom we sense we can derive some benefit, and avoid “the least of these” as a waste of our time (unless we can score stars in our presumed crowns by “ministering” to them).

Another angle not covered in the article: often single people seek out other singles to the exclusion of marrieds. So the door swings both ways – or doesn’t.

At least these are things I’ve observed.

BreakPoint Blog