I was joking with friend the other day about wedding reception slide shows. You know the scene right? You walk in to the reception and there’s a picture slide show with all sorts of pics of the bride’s and groom’s life. There are the baby pictures, the little kid pictures, the awkward middle school picture that everyone laughs at, and then there are the high school pictures (if the couple is younger – usually there’s an emphasis on the sport they played or something to that effect) and then finally the pictures of them together. It’s like their life story in photos. Now I know that the point is to show their life so far and now they are together (at least I think that’s the point – I’ve never put one of these things together).
There are only two other places you see a slide show like this. Graduation parties and funerals. Here’s the thing – they got married. They aren’t leaving. They’re still here. But often times it seems like they left. Think about the toasts at these weddings. The best man and maid of honor get up and talk about how great life “has been”. Now the good toasts talk about the future together etc, but at a lot of weddings it’s treated more like the end of something than the beginning of something.
This is crazy of course. When you get married you have not “arrived”. For heaven’s sake you haven’t even started to arrive. You are really just beginning a journey together. Yes the whole situation and context is changed forever but it’s not time to disappear.
I’ve heard many single people say things like, “We were friends but then they got married,” and I’ve heard married people tell me that they got married and then all their single friends stopped calling them. This is not helpful. Marriage changes the dynamics but too many friends separate when they get married. That’s not friendship and frankly in most cases it’s not a good idea. You should be focussed on your new marriage but if you disappear then you can easily become isolated as a couple. And guess what – couples need community too.
There is plenty of blame to go around here. Most of it is a lack of communication. Single and married people need to not abandon their friendships – which leads to everyone being lonely – instead they need to work on their friendships within the new context of marriage.
Here’s the key – don’t make assumptions. If you are single and your friends get married – give them a couple of weeks obviously, but call them. Remember how you used to grab lunch – guess what your friend who is now married still eats. Married people, don’t become completely marriage absorbed. The world doesn’t all of a sudden revolve around your marital bliss. We need to talk a lot more about how we can be in community together as marrieds and singles but it starts with getting rid of the premise that we are automatically separated.
Do you have a friend who you haven’t talked to in a while since your or their marital status changed? Have you reached out? Lately? Really?