It doesn’t take much for Anastasia Northrop to put herself in the shoes of National Catholic Singles Conference attendees. The 38-year-old planner, who for the past 10 years has created programs based on the formation of healthy relationships, remains single.
Having grown up in a large family, Northrop always imagined starting one of her own. While her sister, now expecting a third child, met her husband at the annual faith-based singles conference (as did one of her friends now expecting her second child), Northrop has been too busy organizing the conference to experience the same outcome.
“It’s given more impetus to the conference that I understand better now in my 30s than I did in my 20s what people struggle with,” says Northrop, the event’s founder and director. “It’s difficult to be single when you want to be married and have a family.”
As the world celebrates Valentine’s Day, the holiday remains a reminder to many that their partner hasn’t come yet. Online dating—now as mainstream as meeting someone at a social event or church gathering—opens up more relationship opportunities than were available in the past. However, the rate of marriages in this country has dropped while divorce remains an all-too-frequent outcome.
Events like the National Catholic Singles Conference in August 2014 and the International Singles Conference, produced by the Denver Church of Christ’s Wade and Debbie Cook in September 2014, are outlets for attendees to meet others who share the same faith while exploring the challenges of forming and maintaining relationships. The former often lures attendees (although they may not always admit it), who will then return for multiple years because of the latter, the planners say.