So I’m 39 and single. I’ve been very blessed in my life to have several very strong mentors including one who has walked with me for over twenty years and another for over fifteen. Others who have had huge impact in my life along the way. One of the things they have all had in common (other than the whole Jesus thing obviously) is that they have all been married.
I think this is a really good thing. For one, I’ve gotten to see their marriages. I’ve gotten to see the things that they’ve done well and things they’ve screwed up. They’ve demystified things about marriage and parenting that otherwise I would have not known. I’ve seen their families do things differently than mine. Sometimes better and sometimes worse. They’ve walked with me through all sorts of things, including my singleness and all the cycles that go with it.
I bring this up because I think in our Christian culture we get stuck in this idea that only people just like me can understand. And while there is some truth to that, mostly it’s a load of crap.
As I wrote about earlier this can happen in the Church from a leadership perspective. But it also happens because often times we singles view ourselves as less able to minister to our friends and others who are married than we actually are.
What’s interesting is for me it’s been the other way around.
When I started out everyone who was pouring into me was married, but everyone my age was single. Then when I got into my late 20s and early 30s there was a shift. Now almost all of my peers were married, but the people I was pouring into were single. But now at 39 there’s been a new shift. Now at least half of the people I’m pouring into and discipling are married. It’s kind of crazy.
You know what, they are still my people.
I think that we as single people have a unique opportunity to love our married friends well. We can offer some things that sometimes others can’t. As I’ve mentioned before, we can fight for their marriage. We can be a great outside voice that asks questions. Also, just because we aren’t married doesn’t mean we can’t see what is going on and call stuff out. We still know relationship problems when we see them.
We also typically have more flexibility. And we should use that to serve them. Now before you freak out, I don’t mean babysitting and I don’t mean that we aren’t busy or that our time is less valuable. But like to admit it or not, there is a difference between the single lifestyle and the married one.
For example one of my best friends is married with three kids. About once a month, we grab a cigar late at night – after the kids are down. I just shoot him a text and say, “Cigar – late?” And I get a text back that says essentially, “Um Yes Please!” Stuff that I get to do all the time (go to a ball game, meet up for a drink, take a late night phone call) can be a treat for someone with young kids. So why not use it with one of them.
Here’s what I’m getting at, we need to serve our married friends and we need to keep pursuing them. We need to use our flexibility to our advantage. If it’s easier to go to their house for dinner we should do it. On the other hand when is the last time you made dinner for a couple – why is it always the married people who cook the meal? Know what I’m saying? If we want to be treated as equal adults, let’s be that.
I know this is not a super deep post but the point is we have a lot to offer married people and we need to offer it. A lot of times single people feel left out or not part of the “in group” at church etc. I have definitely felt that at times and sometimes there is truth in it. I have and will continue to call that out. But other times it has more to do with us than them and we just need to get over it. We need to go with the attitude of what we can offer them.
There will always be some married people who write us off. But we will definitely be written off if we don’t offer.
If you’re single, how have you felt like you could love your married friends well? How confident are you that you can minister to married people? If you are married, how have single friends been a blessing to you?