The Single Perspective: Words to Married Friends
It's hard to believe that The Single Perspective is coming to a close with this final post. It's been such an honor to hear the stories and perspectives of a variety of unmarried people. I hope that you've enjoyed this series as much as I have.
If you've missed any of the four weeks, you can see the whole series here, and if you know of anyone who might appreciate these words, I'd be honored to have you pass them along.
Question: If you could share something with your married friends, what would it be?
*My advice is more for married couples in general, because my married friends have a pretty good balance in how they consider singles.*
So to married couples in general I’d say that life is about journeys and stages. Some of us are on unique & different ones than others. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need each other nor does it mean that we cannot learn from one another. There is no “us” and “them.” There is just “us.” We are all the family of God. I think it limits us and our ability to imagine what community looks like celebrating the different life stages of each other when we create subsets that don’t allow for us to participate in the learning & celebration of the others.
Khristi Adams is an Author, Pastor, Youth Advocate & Filmmaker. She is the author of the book The Misinterpreted Gospel of Singleness: a cultural critique of myths surrounding singleness in the Christian community. She is single, dating, happy, and having a great time living in Washington, D.C.
I think the advice I would share with married couples is: don't be afraid of single people. For me, I don't know why I'm not married like the couples I know. I want to be, one day, but I have made choices and been dealt cards that make me different than them.
I would say: don't hide behind your relationship. If it is a healthy one, it is a place of strength to strike out from, not a fortress to defend. Reach out to the ones who are alone, because as I know from experience (as might you) singleness is not easy, and I can be the most fragile and volatile I've ever been when I'm not in a relationship; right at the crossroads of cloud 9 and giving up.
Lastly, remember how you felt before you were a couple. You were probably much like me at some point, so be kind, because you know singleness, especially if it's long term, can discourage brave hearts, and it can be difficult to keep your head up. So, couples, be brave, when I can't be.
Kevin Strickland is an Editor for a show on Public Television. He lives in California and enjoys trying to figure out his life. (He is also Cara’s brother).
It’s tempting to just project a list of “married people just don’t understand” complaints onto my married friends. These would be purely assumptions, as I have never been asked by a married friend what it feels like to be single. I’m pretty sure they all remember.
Many of my closest friends have been married 1 to 5+ years, and they’re either my age or younger. So while I’m sure they remember their single lives, it’s difficult to imagine that they understand my single life. They’re having kids and taking family vacations and buying houses, and I feel so far behind. Not because they do anything in particular to make me feel that way. But because I compare myself to them — because I love them and want to share in life with them and keep up with them.
My best friend Brittany is the best person I know. She’s been married for 6 years, has a 2-year-old, a baby on the way, and a career as a nurse practitioner. I could brag about her superpowers for days, but one thing I love about her the most is that she includes me. She invites me over and lets me babysit and makes plans with me and cooks me food and makes me a part of her life. I hang out with her and her husband, and I never feel like a third wheel. I’ve never felt unimportant.
That’s what I want married people to know. Your single friends want to hold a place of importance in your life. They want to be called on for favors. They want to babysit your children. (Yes, single people! I just volunteered you to babysit.) Your single friends want to hang out with you and your spouse without feeling weird. They also want to hang out with just you. They want you to celebrate their triumphs and milestones, even though there won’t be a shower thrown in their honor or a family photo Christmas card to commemorate them. I want to tell married people that your single friends need you, and you need them.
Tara is a graphic designer, writer, and Midwest enthusiast from Indianapolis, IN. She loves a lot of things, but mostly her dog Gretta, Young Life, and Taylor Swift. Tara writes about the beautiful, awkward, stretching, funny parts of life as a single 30-something Christian woman on her blog No Need for Mirrors.
I think most of my friends know this, but if they don’t, I would sit them down, look them in the eyes and tell them: “I celebrate your marriage, I pray for your marriage, and I hope for it to be a place of love and grace and freedom for you. With that being said, I want you to know that marriage is not the ultimate fulfillment of life. There are ways of experiencing love and life that stretch far and wide beyond it. It can be a beautiful way of experiencing God’s love and provision, but it is not the only way. Be fully you as you are fully committed to another, allowing yourself – just you - to be complete in Christ as the person you were created to be.”
I think it’s important for my married friends to know that I truly am happy and content with being single. They tend to worry about me, I think, and I appreciate the way I am welcomed whole-heartedly into their lives and families. It’s been a journey to discover who I am as a single person again, and I am so very thankful that I can be myself around my married friends with no expectations or preconceived ideas placed on me.
Kate is mom to four wonderfully unique kids and friend to some of the best people you’ll ever meet. After getting divorced in August of 2014, she began two exciting new jobs – one as a legal administrative assistant and the other as a piano teacher. In her free time, she enjoys exploring faith, mystery and beautiful words, listening to Tiger’s baseball games, and engaging in autism and lgbtq advocacy. You can find her on Twitter and on her blog.
A beautiful thing happened several years ago, when I formally asked the blessing of my church community on my celibate life. I wrote a prayer of offering, and they stood, as sacred assembly, with hands extended, as the priest prayed the blessing over me.
Six months later, married couples were still approaching me, saying “Our married life is richer because of the generous way you live your celibate life.”
I felt humbled, elated, affirmed. And also instructed: How we live our lives in Christian community matters—not just to God but to those who are watching us, seeking clues and encouragement for their own journey into holiness.
If I could share something with my married friends, it may or may not be a word of insight. More likely a word of appreciation, of love, of gratitude. What I most share with my married friends is, well, friendship, inclusion—creating a space of genuine friendship for them in my life, and entering into the space of genuine friendship which they offer to me.
Isn’t this the way it should be? There is only one banquet table, only one Lord, who insists on calling us friends, who spreads the table, who invites us at every turn.
In the end, St. Paul would insist, there is neither married nor single, no “us” distinct from “them.” There is only Christ, in whom we all uniquely live and move and have our being.
Mary Sharon Moore is a Catholic author, teacher, speaker, and spiritual director, whose practice spans the United States. She works with individuals in all states of life (single, married, divorced, widowed, the “waiting and wondering”) who may be discerning a call to celibate life. For more on her work, visit marysharonmoore.com.
Thank you all for reading The Single Perspective. Single Minded Mondays will return next week.