Are you caught up in the hunt for a bunch of roses and a 2kg bar of chocolate for your significant other half? Or are you standing your ground in defiance, voicing a silent protest against the marketing and commercialisation of a day of romance?
Or maybe, you are in a different place all together, single and wishing you were not. Dreading the day and the relentless build-up of hearts, teddy’s, loved up promotional shop windows and the reminder of the desire that is yet to be realised in your life.
Up to 2 million women in the UK are Christian, single and don’t want to be single. They are looking for a Christian relationship with a man and want that man to be a great life partner and a man after God’s heart. Trouble is, those men are not there. The churches can’t find them either.
Added to this is the rapidly shifting landscape of how ‘meeting for a coffee’ to ‘a date’ to ‘a relationship’ is being built and established today. There is so much potential for the UK church to be active, and deeply engaged in this process, helping provide healthy and positive support, training and encouragement. There are also incredible opportunities for the church in the UK to reach out evangelistically to men and see a healthy gender balance in the UK church.
Currently in the UK, half of British singles have never asked someone out on a date face to face, only online. So much of this process is played out scouring profile pictures, reading bios and trying to gauge if this could be a potential ‘coffee’ meet up and see what happens from there. Which of course is fine, but in my opinion it further compounds a profound sense of loneliness already being felt by millions of women in the UK.
I am no expert in this arena, but if it is anything like working evangelistically with men, then it is a very lonely place, and providing support and encouragement to keep going is so pivotal.
To provide some context here, in 2016 Brits spent about £900 million on hearts, cards, teddys and candle lit meals. That figure rose to £1.5 billion in 2017. It also seems to be men that are doing the spending, almost doubling the amount women spend on this special day.
So I guess what I want to say is, in this hype, hysteria and billion pound spending frenzy what can the church contribute? If the church carries the best news ever, the hope of the world, then the wider application of this is that we/the church must have some sort of voice on this? Right? How do we encourage, support, help, guide and walk with those who are single but really don’t want to be? How do we promote healthy relationships, singleness and dating? How do we do this for the adults in our pews and communities now and the generation on their way up like my two girls?
Well, the great news is Engage exists. Engage is all about making Christian marriage possible, not compulsorily. Engage have just produced a very helpful book called; 7 Reasons Your Church Needs More Men. This is more than a book, it is a workbook for anyone who cares about this stuff and is willing to be part of the change we/the UK church so desperately need to ensure a healthy gender balanced church.
My question to you is, firstly will you buy the book? Secondly, how can you support those around you in the bitter throws of life as a single person and not wanting to be single? And finally how can we be part of a voice of unity to help see healthy change in the UK for Christian marriage?
Image Credit: Jamie Street