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When New York Times columnist Tara Parker-Pope highlighted the many virtues of unmarried Americans last week, I recognized them immediately. It sounded like she was describing CatholicMatch members. She writes:

“Single people often contribute more to the community — because once people marry, they tend to put their energy and focus into their partners and their own families at the expense of friendships, community ties and extended families.”

 Among singles’ positive attributes, according to Parker-Pope: 

  • They offer more practical or routine help to their parents. (The stats: 84 of never-married women vs. 68 percent of married women; 67 percent of never-married men vs. 38 percent of married men.) 
  • They’re more connected with siblings, nieces and nephews.
  • They’re more likely to volunteer in the community.
  • They’re more likely to visit with neighbors.
  • They’re more likely to sign petitions and attend political gatherings.

“It’s the unmarried, with or without kids, who are more likely to take care of other people,” Dr. Naomi Gerstel, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts, told Parker-Pope. “It’s not having children that isolates people. It’s marriage.”

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7 Comments

  1. Ramona-738757 September 26, 2011

    Thoroughly enjoyed the article. As a single personal I found myself taking care or both of my parents who were terminal. I still had to work and getting time off wasn’t easy. As a single persona in the work force you are subjected to all types of changes at whim because it is assumed that you can be more flexible because you don’t have a family of your own. I’ve been active in my community theater and wasa board member and have volunteered religiously to help the homeless.

    Unfortunately, in all fairness many singles don’t always have a lofty agenda. I think having a good spriritual life help one to stay grounded on what is important and needs to be done.

    • Ramona-738757 September 26, 2011

      Sorry for any grammatical errors. My computer keeps shutting down.

  2. Barb-505508 September 26, 2011

    What a great article! Since I have been widowed, I have been a volunteer for many different organizations. Although I did volunteer when I was married, I found that being a wife and mother consumed an enormous amount of my time. So much so, that I only saw my friends once in a blue moon. I would not change a thing about that time; however, if I should ever marry again, I will still volunteer for the organizations that are near and dear to my heart and I will keep my friends close.

  3. Lisa-2533 September 27, 2011

    I just think this article is a little crazy. It only makes sense that single people would have more time for their parents, neighbours etc. We are all called to serve those around us. How wonderful that single people are able to commit themselves to this form of service. However, to make it sound like married people are doing less is misleading. The sacrament of marriage calls us to serve our God, our spouses and family. It also calls us to continue to evangelize to those around us. I know many married couples who are amazing volunteers in their parish and community. To me this article is just trying to make single people better about the effort they put out. I think it does nothing to promote the Sacrament of Marriage. What it seems like it is saying to me is “You are better off to remain single, because you have more free time.” Marriage calls us to unite ourselves to God and our spouses to build up the Body of Christ. Just because the couple may not be volunteers of the year in their community does not mean that they are not bulding up their domestic church at home.

    • James-233916 September 27, 2011

      I agree 100% with my lovely fiancee Lisa above! I have to say, I really don’t like seeing a quote about marriage “isolating” people on a Catholic site devoted to helping people get married! I just can’t help reading that quote and the entire NYT column without getting a slight anti-marriage bias.

  4. Elyna-771626 September 28, 2011

    Enjoyed the article. Thank you.

  5. Lucyna-749506 September 29, 2011

    It’s obvious that singles have more free time than spouses or couples. I can’t imagine a mother who is involved in voluntary work 5 evenings a week while her husband and kids are at home waiting for her. I completely don’t agree with the statement that marriage isolates people. It doesn’t isolate them. It moves every day’s involvment towards family which is higly consuming time activity.

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