Missionary Single Issues
The proportion of people living as singles is increasing in Western cultures. In
fact, there are more unmarried adults than married ones in some Western
countries already, and the trend is toward that in other countries as well. Ron
has written a series of brochures, “Cross-Cultural Singles Issues,” to help
individuals deal with some of the situations that arise when singles serve in
Love: The Bible discusses several kinds of love because
its languages had different words for them. This brochure presents three major
kinds of love found in Greek and in recent research, and it discusses which
kinds are all right for single missionaries.
Celibacy and Chastity: Today celibacy
and chastity are nearly synonymous, but years ago they meant quite different
things. This brochure discusses these different meanings and what these concepts
mean to single missionaries.
Loneliness: Single missionaries know that
loneliness can be a major problem. Here are some things that cause loneliness as
well as suggestions to help overcome it.
Identity: During adolescence in Western culture most
people go through a period of role confusion before developing their identity.
Single missionaries have fewer roles available to them, so here are some
suggestions about available roles in both host and passport cultures.
Sexual Fantasy: Most people at some time in
their lives engage in sexual fantasy. This brochure considers what the Bible
says about such fantasy, what changes have occurred since Bible times, and what
single missionaries can do to cope with this fantasy.
The Ticking Clock: Turning thirty or forty
makes single missionaries who want to marry and have children realize that time
is running out for them. This brochure offers suggestions for those who are not
content with their singleness.
Housing: Single missionaries are more likely to be
asked to share living quarters with others than are married missionaries. It
seems to make financial sense to the agency, but it may lead to serious problems
with the missionaries. Here are some suggestions.
Matchmakers: Matchmakers have been around for
thousands of years, and new kinds of matchmakers continue to be developed. Here
are some suggestions about using them, and possible responses to self-appointed
Contentment and Comparison: The
Bible talks about both contentment and comparison and the results of each. Here
are some ideas to keep comparisons from leading to envy and destroying you
The New Singleness: In many cultures
marriages were arranged while people were still children. A couple centuries ago
Western culture invented adolescence so that everyone went through a period of
singleness and people became responsible for finding their own spouses.
Is Singleness OK? Both Jesus and Paul were
single and encouraged others to be single as well. For many centuries most
missionaries were single, and they spread Christianity around the world. Only
recently have the majority of Christian missionaries been married.
Single Again: During most of the 2000 years of
Christianity divorce was quite rare. However, during the last two centuries,
divorce in the Western world has made becoming single again commonplace.
Arranged Marriage: Many people today confuse
arranged marriage with forced marriage. This brochure gives an example of how
arranged (not forced) marriage worked well, how it worked among Christians in
one culture for half a century, and how compares it with many arranged marriages
Masturbation: Two hundred years ago most people
in Western culture condemned masturbation, a common practice among singles.
Today most people in Western cultures approve of it. The Bible does not mention
it, so single missionaries must decide for themselves.