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.