Several women tried to start a singles' group at my parish in the Sacramento area. The turnout for the first meeting was good. There must have been at least thirty singles, about two thirds women. Soon it was practically all women, and eventually it died.
I also attended a singles' group in New York City. It had been started by men and had lasted many years. It was huge, I think there were well over a hundred people there. Two thirds were men.
More recently a group of singles lead by a man set up a singles' group in my Sacramento area parish. They could not get women to join. A couple of attractive women did attend regularly, but one of those was engaged. The guys were handsome, well educated, and had good careers or at least good prospects.
The four people, including one woman, on the steering committee rotated the duty of planning the program for each week's meeting. When the woman's week came, she invited someone to speak on the rosary. Attractive women flooded in, but our handsome, eligible bachelors didn't make it that week.
This is a clue to the problem. Certain subjects and activities attract the guys, for example, apologetics speakers and sports. Other subjects and activities attract the women, for example, spirituality and dances. As we live in a democratic society the majority tends to rule. If the majority are guys they choose male oriented activities. If the majority are women they choose female activities. This was obviously what happened with the girls' group here in the Sacramento area. The New York singles' group tended to have apologetics lectures.
If Catholic singles' groups are going to assist the formation of Catholic marriages then the leadership, and in this democratic era the membership, needs to work on creating balanced programs that can attract both sexes.
But some will wonder why this is important. It is important because couples who meet in religious singles' groups that are specifically set up to help form marriages rarely divorce. With the incredible level of divorce in America, we have had and may still have the highest divorce rate of any major country, anything we can do to get the plague under control needs to be encouraged.
My parents experience illustrates the point. They met in a church singles' group. When couples married they had to leave the group, so the married couples set up their own group, which met for many decades until most members died. Of the thirty plus couples who participated in the married couples' group for more than a short period of time none divorced. Collectively they reached their second millennium of successful marriage. This is a good record for a bunch of liberal Protestants from Berkeley California in the second half of the twentieth century. I once described it as a minor miracle. I was quickly corrected by a girl whose parents had gone through a painful divorce. She said there is nothing minor about it.
My former landlord had much the same experience in a Catholic singles' group based in San Francisco, but the married couples meet perhaps once a decade not once a month so it is less certain. I have spoken to members of other religious singles' groups and they also report high levels of success.
Based on all of this, I believe that religious singles' groups are God's way of arranging marriages. God has given us an easy and pleasant way of forming strong marriages. We need to respond to his generosity by forming strong singles' groups, and part of forming those strong singles' groups is keeping the proper balance between the subjects and activities favored by men and women.
On an individual level I can say, if you want to find a Catholic marriage partner search in the Catholic singles' groups. If the activity or topic does not appeal to you, go, the opposite sex will be there.
Furthermore let me say that if you search long enough there is a decent chance that you will find the right group. My father had to travel about twenty miles to find the right group. There were many groups closer to him in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they did not fit his needs. So keep searching the group is out there.
Here is another tip for your Church singles' group, why not put up links on your web site to these pages. I am not offering to link back, only a tiny percentage of my visitors live in your area, but it might help if your members or people who were thinking of getting involved in your group read some of these messages.
Tell me what you think. Here is my contact information..Last edited December 5, 2005
30+ Marriages, No Divorces, from my parent's church singles' group.
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Religious Singles' Group Index