Married People, Help Me Out

12 Nov

Dear Married People,'Begin Two Way' photo (c) 2011, niXerKG - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

What do you get tired of hearing from singles? What misconceptions do we singles have about your married life? What would you like to tell us about yourselves? How can we, as single people, be encouraging to you? How can we better understand you? What should we learn from you? What can we teach you?

I do a lot of talking about what it’s like to be single and how you married folks can better relate to us and encourage us. But this shouldn’t be a one-way street. I’m interested in a dialogue.

Please chime in and address issues you want us to talk about. Better yet, if you’re interested in writing a guest post for Single White Christian, let me know! I would love to listen to what you have to say.

Sincerely,

Single White Christian

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8 Responses to “Married People, Help Me Out”

  1. Abbi Blosser November 14, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Frankly, I’m really lucky to have great friends – both single and married. Of my single friends, I have one very close friend who was married and is now divorced, and several who haven’t ever been married (though they have been in relationships). I only know one person who has decided that being single is what they want. Most of my other single friends would like to be married.

    I think the thing that’s important for everyone (single and married) to recognize is that there’s pluses and minuses to both. One of my single friends can afford to take amazing vacations every year, and sometimes I sigh a little with jealousy. Yet I know that she really wants to be married and have kids, and she has days when she cries about the fact that she doesn’t have someone.

    Something I sometimes hear from singles is this idea that getting married means you’ll never be lonely or sad (or have to take out the trash) again, that all problems will be solved, and that everyone lives happily ever after. (cue wry snort) Any relationship requires work, but being married and living together is, especially at first, relationship boot camp. I’ve had never-married single friends think that they knew what being married was going to be like because they’d had to work at relationships or had bad roommates. I was single until age 29 with different relationships and roommates and friendships, and I have to say that nothing is as intense or crazy-making as marriage and becoming one unit while still being two distinct and equal people.

    I have one thing single people shouldn’t say to married, when the married person needs a moment to vent about their spouse: “Well, at least you haaaave someone.” It’s kind of the equivalent of telling a single person, who is venting about being single: “Don’t worry, you’ll meet someone someday.” Both phrases are dismissive of the needs of the other person in that moment.

    Married people need a safe space to vent about their spouse, and what they need from any friend (married or single) is a kind and listening ear and a non-judgmental attitude (and by that I partly mean that when I vent about my husband, don’t start talking about how terrible he is and acting like he’s the worst in the world, because then I have to start defending him when I just want to complain for a minute.) Single friends especially need to understand that my life isn’t perfect just because I have a life companion. It makes me feel like my single friends have been watching too many Disney/Hallmark films with sappy endings.

    I think married people also need to take lessons from their single friends. First, if a friend is truly lonely and wants marriage, but doesn’t see it on the horizon – be sympathetic (don’t go on about how hard marriage is) and take a moment to be grateful for your spouse. Second, just like your friends can’t fix all your married problems, you can’t fix their single problems. Third, while single friends need to understand that married friends can’t just run out and do things at the drop of a hat anymore, married friends need to understand that single friends need time and attention and to not always be the one who comes over to your house – you can go to theirs sometimes too.

    I’m not a person who has only married friends, or only single friends, and I’m glad of that. We all have different perspectives and different lives, and we can learn a lot from each other – and have a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

    • SWC November 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Abby, you’re amazing! This comment is really a guest blog all in itself. πŸ™‚ I love the lessons that married and singles can take from each other. Possibly my favorite is that single friends need to not always be the one who comes over to your house. My best friend hasn’t come to see me in years. I’m always visiting her & her husband’s house, or we meet halfway for dinner. And it’s a hard thing to try to communicate without feeling petty, but it’s something that genuinely hurts my feelings.

      • Abbi Blosser November 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

        That’s one thing I’ve tried to be careful of. My twenties were pretty much spent single, and I had moments of frustration when I was always the one hauling my cookies over to their place. I do try to mix it up – sometimes meet at a restaurant/movie, sometimes my place and sometimes theirs. I try to make it depend on the situation – when I do a big dinner (Christmas Eve or Easter) and invite people, they’re obviously going to come to my place to eat, single or not. But if it’s just hanging out? I think married folks need to be careful about not always assuming it’s going to be at their place.

        And if you want a guest post, just let me know! I like it when you can give me a topic (a little more specific than just a married perspective – a perspective on what?). πŸ™‚

        • SWC November 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

          I think it’s fantastic to include single friends in your big dinner things. We do that in my family just because, well, I have single family members. πŸ˜€ It would mean a lot to me if one of my married friends included me at a holiday dinner in that way.

          I will COMPLETELY hold you to that! I’m sure I can come up with a topic or two! You’re awesome, Abbi!

  2. edarnut November 20, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    I’m going to ditto what Abbi said above about when single friends say, “Well at least you have someone.” That phrase really bugs me. Married people need to vent about conflicts and struggles just like everyone else. The fact that I share a meal with someone every evening doesn’t make it any less frustrating that he STILL hasn’t figured out how to get his plate from the table to the dishwasher after said meal.

    I was the first in my group of friends to marry, and I was hurt by the fact that my single friends stopped inviting me places after my wedding – and even more so after I had a child. Being in a marriage doesn’t remove the need for friendship. Whether or not the married friend is able to spend time with the single friends, just being invited helps that bond of friendship.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I realize I was just as guilty by not inviting my single friends out often enough. I’ve always figured that it would be too awkward for a single person to hang out with a couple, but now I wonder if that’s just me projecting my own fears.

    • SWC November 20, 2012 at 1:20 am #

      Thanks for jumping in, Edarnut! I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember if I’ve ever said “at least you have someone”. I sure hope I haven’t, but I can’t remember one way or the other! I definitely can see where the frustration comes from at hearing that, though. Sort of like if I want to vent about my job, I don’t want to hear, “You should feel lucky you have a job.” You want to reply, “Sure, but that isn’t the point right now!”

      Several of my college friends married early after we graduated, but they mostly live far away. Something interesting is that, although we have a mix of marrieds (with kids, these days) and singles, we never include spouses or kids, unless we get together for a football game. Then spouses are allowed. I’m not sure what the reasoning is. Maybe it’s logistics–if we do a dinner during the week, someone has to put the kids to bed? I’ve felt left out of our holiday gatherings before, but that has been more because in the past I worked at a place with a stingy holiday policy while the married moms are stay-at-home moms and have a husband to negotiate with instead of HR…

      I confess, I think it’s weird that people didn’t invite you to things after you married. Not that I don’t believe it happens–but that I don’t really understand WHY it happens. Maybe the single folks in question thought you would be more interested in spending that time with your hubby? Maybe they had the notion that friendship was really just a singles support group? πŸ˜‰ It could be that, however mistakenly, they were trying to be considerate of your new state. Marriage has to be a huge adjustment, and it could be they believed it took priority (which it should, but not to the exclusion of everything else). In any event, it’s good to point this out, because I suspect a lot of singles don’t realize they are hurting their married friends when they neglect them for socializing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. We’re All More Than We First Appear « Single White Christian - November 19, 2012

    […] Married People, Help Me Out (singlewhitechristian.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Discover the 19 must read blogs for married people. | Essence of Marriage Magazine - January 8, 2013

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