Smitty, Mark and I call ourselves The Three Amigos. We’ve seen movies together, thrown parties together, gone on vacations together and eaten a thousand meals together. Smitty actually knew Mark before I did, and she and I have been friends since kindergarten. Though Mark and I are the ones married to each other, he finds himself the odd man out more often, I think, than Smitty feels like a third wheel.
Despite our decades of history, though, there are still times when Smitty’s singleness and my marriedness play a part in our relationship. No matter how sensitive I am or how confident she is, the fact is our difference is sometimes the third wheel in our friendship.
In the past month I’ve read several posts about what single people want married people to know or what one single person wants other single people to know. It got me thinking, and I realized that I have a list of things that this married person wishes single people knew. I can’t presume to speak for every married person, but I suspect I’m not alone in these thoughts.
What I Wish My Single Friends Knew
- The rude comments other people make get on our nerves, too. Your uncle who corners you at the family reunion, wondering when you’re going to settle down? Your sister who hassles you about going out with her “cute” co-worker? Your manager who schedules you on the holidays because all the people with families asked for vacation? Yeah, they make me mad, too.
- We’re sorry for the rude comments we’ve made, too. Umm, right. As defensive as I get on your behalf and as sensitive as I try to be, I realize that I’ve probably hurt you, too. Ugh, the thought of that makes me cringe. But I realize there are times I take advantage or make assumptions or just say things without thinking. I am so sorry.
- We don’t know what to say. It’s true. And it’s partially why we’ve said stupid things in the past (and will probably say them again). For me, I’m never sure if I should acknowledge it at all. Do I bring up that guy you mentioned? Do I ask how you’re feeling about single life these days? Or do I wait for you to bring it up? Will you think I don’t care if I don’t ask? Will you think I’m acting like your mother if I do?
- Sometimes, we’re jealous of you. Maybe that seems ridiculous or even offensive, particularly on lonely nights or at wedding receptions. But from this angle, the single life has some things going for it. You get to control the remote and the thermostat. You can go out, spend money and even move across the country whenever you want or need to. And [just being honest here] you get to check out all the cute guys at work or church without feeling guilty at all.
- On that note, yes, we are always on the lookout for single guys. It’s not only because we’re living vicariously through you, really. We just want to help.
- We just want to help. I know, I already said that. And I understand that you may not want help or may not actually need help at all. Especially from someone who’s been married for a million years and thinks that dumb guy from Step Up is cute. [As a purely hypothetical example, of course.] I know that you’re not incomplete, I know that you’re not perpetually depressed over your unmarried status, I know. But if I’ve even seen a glimmer of sadness or frustration (much less more than a glimmer), I will move mountains to help you feel better. Or, you know, tell you about the late-night commercial I saw for a new dating site.
- We actually think online dating sounds fun. For real. And don’t even get me started about speed dating. I mean, have you seen it in the movies? Okay, fine. I’m not completely removed from reality. I understand that when these awkward institutions have actual stakes, it’s a lot less fun and a lot more overwhelming, stressful and discouraging. I’m just saying that perhaps letting your old, married friend help you make a profile and sort through the responses you get might be a win-win. [What? You mean this isn’t about me? Oh yeah.]
- Don’t judge all marriages by our marriage. Whether we’re constantly posting gag-inducing love notes on Facebook or bickering over everything from where we eat dinner to shoes on the floor to the meaning of life, please believe me: Not every marriage is like this one. Don’t swear off men because our man is Prince Not-Exactly-Charming. And don’t pine for romance because our vases are full of fresh flowers each week. Every relationship is different, every relationship has its ups and downs, and every relationship has depths and details the public – even our closest, bestest friends – never see.
- That guy [or girl] who hurt you? Yeah, we want to punch him in the face. That’s really all I’ve got to say about that. Except – you are awesome. And anyone who can’t see that? Deserves a punch in the face.
- We love you. No matter what. We may not show it the right way. And we may not say it enough. We may be annoying or ungrateful or insensitive or all of the above. But the fact is, we love you. And we want you to be happy, no matter what that looks like.
If you’re married, what do you wish your single friends knew? [And if you’re single, what do you wish your married friends knew?]
This post will be linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings.
Thanks for reading!!
Number seven. Yes! I thought I was the only one!
Very good list Mary. I especially appreciate number 3. I never know what to say. And number 8 works both ways…I know I’ve been guilty of wanting my friends to get married because I love married life and I know other people who don’t want their friends to get married because they hate married life and tell their friends that.
Number 8 is hard. I know I’ve been part of that equation for both reasons, and I hate to hurt my single friends either way!
If I could ever get my lazy blogging butt back in gear, I would’ve written this. Every. Single. Word.
Hey!! I didn’t realize you were blogging again! Clearly I was not still subscribed! (Bad reader!) Don’t worry. Just remedied that. :)
Prepare to be underwhelmed :) It’s been a busy season of life and blogging has fallen to the wayside. Hoping to pick it up again in the next few weeks!
It’s true. I don’t know what to say. And I do want to set them up if I know of a great guy. But, purely because I think my single friends are so great and any guy would be lucky to have them! Great list Mary!
Yes, that’s just it. If I can see how amazing these friends are, why can’t everyone else?!
My wonderful friend Lisa (who is married) could’ve written this post as well about me. She gets angry about others comments to me. I get them ALL the time, from everyone. She and a few other friends who are married have really let me just be me. They don’t make a huge deal out of my singleness, they ask questions but it is always in a loving way. They listen to my heart when I am hurting and sometimes whining about still being single. They pray for me. And yes, they are always on the lookout for guys. Which I am 100% okay with. :)
Mary, your post just confirms that every single person needs a friend like you and like Lisa. :)
Becky, thank you. Thank you for sharing and for your kinds words.
Mary, I love this! LOVE. I’m so glad you took the time to write it.
I’ve told my closest friends that it’s fine if they want to ask me how I’m doing with my singleness or what’s the latest with guys (though typically if something is happening in that department, they already know it.) Because we have a relationship, I welcome those questions. I do not welcome those questions from anyone falling in your 1st item listed here. #5 cracked me up. I just wish my friends had better results! :)
Whew! I was so nervous to post this! I’m glad it all came out right. And actually, after writing this, Smitty and I talked a bit and she said pretty much what you’ve said hear (with the caveat that she might just have to tell me to shut up sometimes…which is fair!).
#8 –> oh yes. We are not perfect and we are not the model of a perfect marriage. We try but we are only as in love as we are because of the grace of God.
I think this is great.
I would add that we don’t mean to talk about our marriage/kids all the time. So just tell us when we’re doing it and we’ll find something else to talk about.
Nicole, I wish I would’ve thought of that one! Such an important thing – being able to talk about something OTHER than our families with single friends is a big deal.
LOOOOOOVE this Mary! One thing that gets on my nerves, though, is when married people give me dating advice. Especially people who married young or their high school sweetheart! Especially if they’ve been married for 10+ years…which means they haven’t dated in the days of match.com, facebook and texting :) It’s a whole different ball game :)
Ok, rant over…love ya Mary!
Staci, that is such a good point. And, um, maybe I’ve been guilty of that one… ;)
And, I believe she’s most definitely talking about me on that one;)
I am really digging this! This is so well said
This is a really great post, Mary. It also made me realize (and I was shocked) that other than one of my sisters, I don’t really hang out with many single people. We got married young, so we were used to hanging out with singles a lot, but apparently as we got older, we either migrated toward more married couple or maybe just most of our friends got married. Who knows.
Huh — I just never realized that until right now. Crazy.
I think maintaining a diverse group of friends takes such effort in some cases. I’ve realized recently that I’ve surrounded myself in a bubble of Christian friends. It happens without realizing it sometimes. (And I’ve recognized often that I don’t know nearly enough single guys. I’m basically no help to my single girl friends!)
Love it Mary! It is so easy to read your blog! I follow and understand what you are saying! Please keep up the great work! Peace, Julie
Thank you so much for your kind words, Julie!
#6, 9 and 10 are exactly what I want my single friends to know!
Thanks for wanting to punch guys in the face for me. ;)
I had to come read this post, because I got married before most of my girlfriends and still have several single girlfriends. One in particular got teased A LOT about her lack of boyfriends (she’s now married to an AWESOME guy, so waiting paid off).
If I could go back to my younger, single self, I’d tell her not to be in such a hurry to get married. And I’d tell any single person – DO NOT get married because it seems like the only way to get out of a tough situation. That is NOT a good reason to get married. Get yourself out of that tough situation – then decide if you still want to get married.
I love my husband, but as you say, we’ve had our ups and downs. Marriages are bound to have ups and downs, because you throw two very different people together in close quarters. :) But hey – stick it and you’ll have fun.
Great advice, Bonnie. Thanks so much for sharing!
I see a lot of ways these apply to me, a person without any children, and those with children. In fact, just last week someone told me I should be on this school committee that I don’t want to be on. Why should I be on it? According to another teacher I should be on it b/c I don’t have kids and have time for it. UGH! I also get used and abused A LOT as a free babysitter for anyone and everyone. Oh, I could go on and on. Anyway, my point was that I could relate my situation to your blog. I love all of your blogs!
Yes, it definitely relates. And that teacher? Is a jerk.
Hi there! I was doing some research for my book….Getting Naked Later and came across this post. I write the blog The Sexy Celibate…I’m not sure if my post on what single people wish married people knew you mentioned at the beginning if not you should check it out.
I am actually trying to write a chapter called “What Married People Wish Single People Knew” (didn’t mean to copy your title that was just the opposite of my other title!) And need more material. I like a lot of what you say here. Do you think I could interview you or have you write out some answers to questions for this chapter? I am not really sure what to write about for that and just need people with good experience and who are articulate.
If my email doesn’t come up here, you can go on my website katehurley.com and hit the contact button..
Thanks so much!
I love this article. I am a single women. It was nice to hear this.