I have blogged about this issue before (ahem, several times), but the firestorm of comments on a couple of Kevin DeYoung’s posts (darn that guy, always writing stuff I wish I’d written) makes me think it’s time to revisit.
Look, people. There is nothing inherently wrong with or less mature about being unmarried. Paul? Pretty darn mature guy. Jesus? Him too. Also: Marriage isn’t the silver bullet to make you grow up, and it’s not a superior status. Also: Don’t give advice to people you just met. Also: Don’t try to fix people and certainly don’t try to “fix” them with pithy axioms. Also: Don’t be a jerk. Also: The golden rule, you guys. Nine tenths of the hurtful, ridiculous stuff that gets said to single folks could be eliminated if people just remembered their basic kindergarten manners.
That stern intro aside, here are some Dos and Don’ts, bullet-point style:
DO pray for your unmarried friends. DON’T just pray for them to get married. (At a loss? Start with “Christlikeness” and go from there.)
DO be on the lookout for potential mates for your closest unmarried friends. DON’T assume that you can make romance happen between two of your friends however much you want it to, and DON’T accuse your friend of being “picky” if he or she says, “No thanks.”
DO encourage your unmarried friends to grow in godliness, contentment, and maturity. DON’T imply (or say!) that any deficiency in these areas is what’s standing in the way of them getting married.
DO offer specific counsel when appropriate to your level of friendship with your unmarried friend. DON’T just offer pat answers — why don’t you move churches, why don’t you try online dating, why don’t you do speed dating, etc.
More soon on the right and wrong way (or… a wrong way and a better way) to fix up two friends and other ways for you married folks to step into the lives of unmarried folks.