It saddens me when I hear time and time again of single people who have disconnected with friends because their friend had gotten married. Some say they feel their friend who is now married, doesn’t have the time of day for them and they have somehow drifted apart. Some single people choose only to socialize with other single people, perhaps because they feel they have nothing in common with them or nothing to offer.
I would like to share my positive experiences of friendship with married people and about how I believe building relationships with married people can be fulfilling and how you can learn from them if you yourself one day desires marriage. Here are three great reasons why single people need married friends.
- Learning how to outwork selflessness
As a single person, it could be so easy to fall into the trap of being selfish. That’s not to say that married people have it figured out, but the reality is that I can come home from work, watch what I want, eat what I want, not call or text anyone if I don’t want to. My house is mine, my food is mine, my time is all mine. Married people, on the other hand share their space, their food, their finance and their duvet. If they have kids, they have to make plans around them and each other’s schedules. I’m certainly not saying that all single people are selfish and all married people are the purest example of selflessness but you can see how it could be easy for a single person to shut out the world and think only of themselves and their needs.
It’s taken me a few years, but I have started to figure out that as a single person it’s necessary to put into practice selflessness. In befriending married people I have learned where, as a single person with no dependants, I could offer practical help and support. It’s through my friendship with married people that I’ve been able to exercise my ability to spot a need and do what I can to help. Learning to be selfless through acts of kindness and simply sticking around when times are tough are small steps towards outworking selflessness.
2 . Becoming Family
A lot of single people feel lonely. In fact, single people can feel lonely even among a group of people. Often what single people are looking for is a sense of belonging, after all God Himself said that it’s not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). As humans, we have a God-designed desire for companionship – we’re not meant to live isolated lives.
In developing a friendship with married friends, I have had the honor and privilege of building up a relationship with them and with their kids. Kids are great and they are a massive blessing, but they can also be hard work. Through being friends with married people who are parents, I saw how they sacrificially give to their kids day in and day out and at times I realized it was important for them to have a break or time out for themselves. In seeing this, I began to offer to babysit, open up my home to my friends and their kids, learning to share my home, my time, my finances and my food. In essence, they became family to me.
Whilst it’s not practical – or even appropriate – for me to be around them all the time, like with any family member I’m there to help whenever they need it and visa versa, as well as having the option of simply spending time with them.
- Witnessing Married Life
One of the biggest values of having married friends and being welcomed into their lives like family is that I get to witness what married life is truly like. If you’re a single person and your only experience of married friends is via social media, let me tell you this: you are seeing a perfect vision of marriage which does not exist. The true value of having friends who are married, and spending quality time with them is witnessing the rough with the smooth and getting a true picture of what marriage is really like, away from the perfect frame of social media.
I see my friends walking hand-in-hand, I see them disagreeing over seemingly minor things, I see them interacting with their kids and with each other, I witness the frustrations which may surface with each other. I see two humans navigating life together. Sometimes they get it wrong, sometimes they get it spot on and sometimes I see them working through something with diligence and patience. Sometimes I see selfishness and sometimes I see selflessness.
If marriage is giving of yourself selflessly for another. If marriage is wanting the best for another. If marriage is being a blessing even when it’s hard. If marriage is juggling life with maybe a couple of kids in tow, then maybe my married friends have given this single person the greatest and most important lessons I could ever learn.
If you are a single person, it could be so easy to either wallow in loneliness, be self-absorbed or selfish to only satisfy your own desires. It could be easy to become single-minded to the point of limiting your circle of friends to only those of the same relationship status. We would be emotionally poorer if we limited our circle of friends in this way.
Instead, I encourage you to step outside of yourself and your comfort zone to focus on others. Challenge yourself to befriend married people, to become more selfless and in doing so, you will become family to others. I became an aunt to kids whom I was in no way connected by DNA. I learned to be selfless and a blessing to others, in doing so I learned what it was like to juggle two boys, prepare meals for them, get them ready for bed, watch endless repeats of kids TV, change nappies, and go out for the day with them in tow. I learned a little of what it takes to run a family, and in doing so had a greater understanding of the true day-to-day challenges married people face.
Being friends with married people has certainly given me insight into a future that I hope one day I will have. I’ve seen the blessings and I’ve seen the challenges but in the meantime, I will continue to give of myself and my time continuing to learn to love selflessly as Christ Himself does for us. I hope the same for you, too.