We’ve been hearing a lot that “married people and single people can’t relate to one another.” What is your perspective on this? In what way can we bridge the gap between singles and marrieds? (Singles and marrieds perspectives welcome, of course!) As always, be sure to visit Jen and Morgan and the rest!
In my early and mid-twenties, I often wondered where newly married couples disappeared to. If they weren’t fixing up a home, dealing with a difficult pregnancy, putting in extra hours at work, or taking care of the new in-laws, I had this real curiosity as to how marriage vows suddenly made them unable to live their lives as they had just one month before—attending groups, making time for Girls’ Days, or having conversations about non-relationshippy things. But over the past couple years, having had a couple closer friends get engaged and/or married, and reading more about what people share about married life, I can see how there are some areas where really, we’re not relating, nor could we. Part of that is just being married and how that really does change you, as well as figuring out new family and new responsibilities. I can see how those differences can make it hard to relate to a person who has none of the above. But I also feel that when married people and singles “can’t relate,” sometimes it’s not due to differing priorities, but a failure to recognize or remember the commonalities we still share as friends and persons.
Friendship is saying: I love you and value all that is about you—including your new spouse. Friendship is also often the first love that you choose—it’s not aroused by familial bond or necessarily an act of sacrifice, but a deliberate choice to have a person in your life and care for them and wish them the best and enjoy things together. So I hope that can be a foundation for single and married friends to relate to one another.
Tell me about how life has changed for the better or just for the different. You know how I desire marriage and am eager to hear about its joys and feel prepared should I get to make those vows too. Give me the chance to say “Oh, I see. Makes sense now.” Don’t just keep me in the dark or fade away. If there is something too personal or hard, you don’t have to explain that; just ask for my prayers. I’m your friend; I love you.
Remember the things we share. The Saturday kung-fu movie marathons from the roomie days? Text me after one. Facebook me a funny meme you came across. If you see me in the grocery store and feel awkward because you forgot to call or respond to an evite, just run up, say “Hi, I’m sorry. Will get to it. Love you!” When we do get together, let’s talk art and music and books and what that stupid politician said or did. I still value your perspective and insights on those things. If somehow being married makes this difficult to do or somehow the fact that your marriage now colors everything about your life and somehow will affect the friendship negatively, just talk to us about it to the extent that you can. I’m your friend; I love you.
Listen when I have opinions or thoughts—even on marriage or kids. Sure I could be wrong. But more likely, my thoughts are just what they are because I haven’t had the experience to shape them otherwise. But they are still my thoughts and opinions, and I hope they can be respected. If I read or hear something about marriage, human gut reaction is to form an opinion or see what appeals to me, scares me, or confuses me. I think the best example in my personal life is the free-range philosophy. I stumbled across freerangekids.com and found that a lot of that approach to life and parenting is appealing to me. Of course I may change my mind when I have my own kids and see what it really feels like to parent and co-parent. But for right now, I’m not expressing ideas out of a vacuum. I’m thinking about them, processing them, researching them, and sharing them—sharing them with the person I’ve always shared ideas with…my friend whom I love.
And I Promise:
To respect your marriage. I won’t pry for personal details. I won’t badmouth the institution of marriage. I won’t exclude your husband from co-ed events. I won’t get too upset if your new responsibilities mean you can’t make it to my event. And understand if I can’t see you as much as before. I get that we may have been the first “loves’ of each other’s lives, but we won’t be the last.
To remember that you still need your friends, too. Maybe your spouse is away for long stretches of time and you need company, but no one’s called to hang out—I’ll be over with the wine. Maybe the spouse is around you all the time driving you crazy and you need an hour of girl talk about anything but relationships—I’ll pick up the phone.
To listen when you have opinions. Or a differing view on an issue. Or the gut reaction to correct me about a free-range notion because you have had the experience of feeling like a parent. And I will respect you as I listen, just as you have respectfully listened to me. In fact, I may take your advice because I look up to you, value your experience and newly attained wisdom and experience.
I think the single greatest thing we can all do to bridge whatever real or perceived gap there is between married and single people is to communicate better our thoughts, wants, and needs. At the end of the day, we are all individuals with the same call to know God, love Him, and serve Him—even if we go about it in different ways at different states of life.
Oh, ladies, please pray for me. I have TV appearance recording for the book tomorrow and it also could be the day I get a splitting headache, cramps, and mood swings. Thanks!