Why we let something like our marital status define us and separate us, I really don’t know. But there it is. Sometimes it seems like married women forget what it’s like to be single. Sometimes it seems like single women forget that marriage isn’t a “higher” status that they can’t relate to.
Let’s embrace the friendships, shall we? Both ways? Now, I’m single, so I’m not speaking personally speak from the perspective of a married woman, but I have lots of married friends who’ve shared their experiences with me. Please feel free to chime in via the comments, too! That said, here’s some ideas for all of us:
Seek To Understand
Single ladies, maybe you’ve never been quite as sleep-deprived and touched out as that mommy. Maybe you don’t understand the “floating in the clouds” syndrome so many engaged and newlywed girls experience. Perhaps you don’t know what it’s like to be in love, to adjust to marriage, to miss our families, to carry and birth a child.
Married ladies, maybe you envy the single girls their free time and personal space. Maybe you don’t remember the loneliness and “I’m afraid I’ll be single forever” syndrome so many single girls experience. Perhaps you don’t know what it’s like to celebrate your 25th birthday single, move out alone, travel for a career, try out a dating website.
But what if we sought to understand each other? Cared enough to ask questions and listen? What if we don’t assume that just because “she hasn’t experienced it”, doesn’t mean she doesn’t care? I’ve been so blessed by married friends who made the effort, and I know they’ve been blessed when I made the effort. And we usually find that the differences are really pretty minor after all.
Be Willing to be Honest & Vulnerable
Single ladies, it’s okay to be truthful with how you’re feeling, even if your friend no longer struggles in quite the same way. Chances are, she remembers, and the core issues don’t really change much. ie. Trusting God is still a challenge, married or single.
Married ladies, don’t think that your friend doesn’t want to hear about your marriage They do. Your honest sharing, both on the good and the bad, will encourage them. They need to be reminded that good men still exist, love stories still happen, and marriage is both incredibly hard and incredibly wonderful.
The best connections come when we’re all willing to be honest and vulnerable. Part of building friendships is sharing real stuff. Too often, we shy away from asking questions that would actually be helpful. We hide who we really are, trying to present a facade. Choose instead to share from your heart and hear their heart.
Give Each Other a Lot of Grace
Single ladies, yes, sometimes women in a new relationship kinda disappear for awhile. After they’ve been married a year or so, they emerge again, assuming that your friendship is still there. While I don’t recommend complete hibernation while building a new relationship, it’s fairly normal. Instead of resenting them, what if you choose to give them grace and welcome them back when they’re ready to begin the friendship again?
Married ladies, sometimes the single girls seem too busy for you, and they expect the friendship to be just the way it was before, complete with coffee dates and shopping marathons. And sometimes that isn’t possible for you. Instead of resenting them, what if you choose to give them grace, compromise a bit, and find fun things you can still do together.
People change. Circumstances change. And not just because of marriage or the lack thereof. Learn to give each other grace, adapt, compromise, be patient.
Don’t Treat It Like A Big Deal
I’ve been incredibly blessed with many wonderful married friends. Some younger than me, some friends I walked through singleness with and they’re now married. Some friends who are older, some even much older. The best friendships are the ones where we don’t make a big deal of it either way.
It so happens that I’m currently the only single woman working at the PRC I’m at. But it’s made no difference at all. I’ve been invited into the same close friendships we all share as coworkers. They talk about their husbands and their kids and their grandkids. I talk about my parents and my siblings and my friends. We’ve laughed, cried, and prayed together. I trust them, they trust me.
At church, I’ll have real, deep conversations with all kinds of people. Some of my women I’ve shared the most with happen to be married women. But our marital status has never been the focus. We’re just women in community, following our Lord and loving each other.
Ladies, no matter which side of marriage we happen to be on, let’s embrace friendships with each other. “Love one another as I have loved you” was the command. Let’s follow it, shall we?