4 Ways the Church Hurts Single Women

4 Ways the Church Hurts Single Women

How many sermons have you heard on singleness and sexuality? Sadly, many churches fail to cover these topics in messages. Our singles are believing the lie that something is wrong with them for having sexual desires and curiosities. Can we free these women from shame and share the message that God created them as sexual beings? We need to talk about singleness and sexuality because our single members are asking questions like, “What do we do with our sexual desires?” If we don’t provide these answers, pornography could become their solution.

When the church views marriage as the ultimate goal, we are hurting everyone. We hurt the singles now and we hurt them again if they get married because they are entering marriage thinking that marriage is the solution. The real and lasting solution is Jesus. Yes, I’m married. And yes, I still have all the same issues I had when I was single. Marriage didn’t fix me. Marriage didn’t heal my addiction to masturbation and pornography, Jesus did. Marriage is not our highest calling, but rather following Jesus is our highest calling.

Marriage is not our highest calling, but rather following Jesus is our highest calling. Share on X

When we devalue singleness in the church, we devalue marriage.

When we see marriage as the goal we hurt those who they eventually get married.

The church taught me that marriage was the solution. The church told me that sex was good and amazing in marriage, which was supposed to prevent sexual sin in singleness.

But what happens when one gets married and discovers sex is complicated and often painful? (Read my story of having painful sex.) What happens when a woman realizes that getting married didn’t take away her addiction to pornography?

She may lose trust in the church.

Even worse, she may lose trust in God.

I asked three of my single Jesus loving girlfriends, “What have people in the church done right for singles?”

Laughing, one woman shared, “Nothing.”

Sadly, our churches are hurting our single women.

4 Ways the Church Hurts Single Women

The church fails to talk about sex.

First of all, we cannot talk about singles and the church without talking about sex. The church fails to talk about sex, only saying to wait until you get married. Inferred but not stated, Christian singles often know they cannot have sex outside of marriage. Without a compelling reason not to, this lack of communication encourages people in the church to continue living together.

Instead, the church should preach that the church recognizes that singles have to give up having sex, and that singles are humans and have biological urges. Help singles figure out how to do this well. This needs to be the message to singles. Failing to talk about sex fails to give singles a robust view of sexuality.

The church upholds marriage and family as the Christian goal.

Second, the church upholds marriage and family not just as the norm, but as the Christian goal. Marriage is not a standard to achieve nor a sign of godliness. Instead, preach that marriage is not promised, and then enter into the lament with singles. Create a space for the pain of singleness. Stop preaching the message, “Oh, you’ll get married someday.” This message places satisfaction and fulfillment in Jesus below a spouse. Instead, the message should be that we have everything we need in Christ.

The church lumps singles and young adults.

Third, most churches place singles with the young adult ministry. One friend shared, “Worse than the messages that we hear is how we are treated.” My friend is a 40 year old single woman and feels out of place in the young adult ministry. She joked, “At some point we grow up.” Young adult ministry should be an age bracket, not a place to put singles. This division sends a message that you’re not an adult until you’re married. We must remember that Jesus was a single adult.

The church treats singles as second class citizens.

Lastly, teaching that singleness is second class causes Christian singles to believe they lack gifts to be used in the church. Often, churches won’t place unmarried women as mentors over married women. Yet, Christian single women offer wisdom that married women may lack. Allow single people to exemplify a beautiful picture of more than an unfulfilled longing, but rather a picture of faithfulness.

Have you heard these messages in your church? Comment below. I would love to have a conversation.

17 Comments on 4 Ways the Church Hurts Single Women

  1. Brianna
    at (5 years ago)

    Yes! I’ve heard and experience every one of those. Thankfully, I have finally found an amazing church that still sees me as a person, even as a single woman. They’re such a blessing in my life. Thank-you for sharing this message. So needed to know that we’re not alone.

    • Michael
      at (5 years ago)

      We are complete in Christ, Who is the Head of all principality and power, and… there is neither male nor female: for we are all one in Christ Jesus – Colossians 2:10; Galatians 3:28…
      Find your purpose and fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

  2. Ana Gomez
    at (5 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Rachel
    at (5 years ago)

    Joy, if married women are perfectly happy and spiritually superior why are they so cruel and catty? Why do these perfect matrons who suffer no lack go out of their way to humiliate us pathetic old maids?

    Do they visit cancer victims to laugh at their tumors? Do they kick stray puppies? They love to mock childless singles like me. I have gone home from church and spent the afternoon and evening in tears.

    Why? They can’t be jealous since even at 22 I was butt ugly and no guy would give me the time of day.

    Such horrible, spiteful, smug, self righteous women! Yet they all found husbands somehow. I guess they were stacked right.

    God blessed them by making them beautiful and beloved and sent the rest of us off to starve alone.

    No one at church ever offered to set me up. Just told me to wait and pray.

    My wait is almost over. I have pernicious anemia indicating something grave. Lord willing, I won’t have to put up with the constant pain and loneliness much longer.

    I guess He will let me in to Heaven even if no man has ever loved me. I don’t know why he has given the “mean girls” every blessing under the sun and nothing but emptiness for women like me. Hopefully Heaven is still for me even if I never experienced earthly happiness or love.

    • joypedrow
      at (5 years ago)

      Hi Rachel,
      Married women are not superior or happier, I’m so sorry you’ve been so hurt. I’m so sorry that the body of Christ which is supposed to love and encourage you has hurt you. The advice they give you to wait and pray is not helpful, I get it. It’s frustrating. It’s hard. It’s so lonely. Do you have any good girl friends? Maybe try going to a different church? That one doesn’t sound healthy. I’m sorry you’re in pain. The good news is our God is a great comforter. When you go to heaven, he will wipe away every tear. You may not even remember the pain, we don’t know. But God knows and I’m praying right now that you can trust him during this really hard time. You are so loved sweet girl.

      • Rachel
        at (5 years ago)

        Sorry for my rant. At 45 I find Mother’s Day painful.

        I have joined a new church. Maybe if I work really hard they will accept me.

        • joypedrow
          at (5 years ago)

          Hi Rachel, it’s okay to be upset and feel pain. I pray you find new community at a new church. You should’t have to work hard, be yourself and step out of your comfort zone to tru and make new friends.

  4. Mimi
    at (5 years ago)

    Hi! I am 52 and have never been married. I have dated a lot and almost got married when I was 45. I have completely given up on going to church because I have been treated so poorly, especially by married women. They are vindictive, insecure, and catty. I have also been treated poorly by the leadership. They tend to infantilize me and won’t let me serve in any ministry except children’s church. Meanwhile, I have a bachelors degree in biblical studies and a masters in intellectual history. Ironically, I’m no longer concerned about marriage but about the horrific way I have been treated by people in the church. Married couples my age won’t come to my house for dinner because wives feel threatened that I might make a pass at their husbands. Pastors won’t hire me because I’m not married and can’t be trusted to counsel married women. I worked at a Christian university as an academic and enrollment counselor but could not get a promotion because the job involved cultivating relationships with pastors, and as a woman, I might tempt them. It has been horrific. I’m done with church. It is lonely, but by far healthier than being treated so poorly. I long for fellowship but feel like a piece of trash when I’m in church.

    • joypedrow
      at (5 years ago)

      Hi Mimi, I’m so sorry you have been treated so poorly. That is unfair and would make me want to stop going to church too. I pray that you will believe that Jesus is not like the negative experiences you had. He is love and grace. He is mercy and healing. He raises us women and never puts them down. I’m so angry with how people treat women. It really hurts. Your feelings are valid. I pray you would find a healing and would some day find a community of believers that are not like the ones you described.

      • Mimi
        at (5 years ago)

        Joy, thank you so much for your gracious response. By God’s grace, I haven’t and won’t walk away from my precious Savior. This is ungodly behavior that reflects poorly on the church and frankly, ruins my testimony in front of my secular friends and family. Jesus didn’t mince his words when he instructed us to love one another – by this they shall know you are my disciples. I love him because of the ultimate sacrifice he made for me. I pray that our sweet Lord and Savior blesses you for the kindness and compassion you are extending to your sisters ????

    • Jodie
      at (3 years ago)

      I left church because of this too.

  5. Euodia Bulus
    at (5 years ago)

    Am really encourage though Sometimes I felt lonely and as the worst sinner on earth because I thought am the only one suffering from sexual desire, thinking that getting married will solve my problem but thank you for your encouragement.

    • joypedrow
      at (5 years ago)

      Hello, I totally understand your feelings. It is hard to feel like the only one struggling with sexual issues. You’re not alone in your struggles. You’re not worse than others and marriage won’t solve your problems. I’m praying for you right now that the love of God would be enough for you.

  6. kimmy
    at (5 years ago)

    Wow, Joypedrow, I know you mean well and this is your private blog, but your responses of ‘so sorry you feel…’ or ‘i totally understand’ blah blah just seem a bit condescending or belittling. . . Can’t people just express and vent and let others who actually share their painful experiences read and reply without the pitying interjections? why pour salt on wounds???

    • joypedrow
      at (5 years ago)

      Hi Kimmy, it’s hard to tell one’s tone online. I wish I could get coffee with each one of the people who replied. I’m not trying to be condescending, but I can see how you could think that from reading my comments.

  7. Carlos
    at (4 years ago)

    I like you sister. You’re a bold, courageous, godly young lady who isn’t afraid to share her frailties with us and yet–magnify the beauty of God’s goodness, forgiveness and faithfulness to you. I praise you for being so open with us, especially in your videos on Youtube. We need more sisters like you. God bless, and thanks for sharing your encouraging words of wisdom and truth. Grace is what we all need to overcome this disgusting sexual idol that grips so many in our world today. We must protect the little-ones. They are the vulnerable who need protection the most.

  8. Sylvianne Coquet
    at (3 years ago)

    I am 65 and have never been married. I can relate to these stories, the church does not care about us singles, sorry to say that but it feels true. I do not believe that singleness is a gift . Stopped going to church a long time ago , have Jesus in my heart and he is enough, at least for me.