In the past few years, I’ve watched as most of my friends have gotten married, settled down, and started families. At times, it’s been difficult. There have been times when I’ve wanted to break ties with my married friends because they don’t always understand the joys and sorrows of the single life.
When things become challenging, they have their spouse to run to for constant support. I, on the other hand, have to rely on the help of friends and family, who also sometimes have spouses that take priority over me. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to value the relationships that I have with married friends. I’ve learned from their mistakes and also witnessed the joy and beauty of marriage and family life. We certainly live differently through the day to day activities, but our end goals are the same.
Of the many things I’ve learned throughout the past few years, there are three things that have stuck with me:
1. Married friends are incredible witnesses to the real struggles of marriage and family: It’s easy to idealize something that one doesn’t have. As probably most young women do, I fanaticized about getting married young and having a big family. Had that happened in my life, I am sure that we would have made it, but I’m grateful for the time that I’ve had to really grow and mature into the woman I am today. Although there are many days when I wish I had a spouse to confide in, single life has encouraged me to be more vulnerable with those who are in my life: my parents, siblings, and friends.
2. Married friends provide an opportunity for “home away from home.” I was recently speaking with an older gentleman and when I described my generation of single people, I called myself a “floater.” As a single person, it’s often really tough to find close knit community. I feel like I’m floating from one adventure to the next. My married friends have proved to be a stable support amidst transition and change. They’ve been able to listen to my struggles and provide very good advice.
3. Life is difficult no matter what our state in life, and we all need support and community. Just because someone has found his or her permanent state in life doesn’t mean he or she no longer needs outside support and friendship. The men and women in my life who are married but have worked to foster friendships outside of their marriage have been rock solid support for me and others. These friends also seem to live healthy, balanced lives. As much as married friends can provide support to me, I also need to reach out and be their support during times of transition, hardship, and joy.
When we have friends and family with various life experiences, we receive a fresh perspective on life. For the most part, we all confront the same obstacles throughout our lives, and it’s important to have friends to support us during challenge and people to share with during times of incredible adventure and joy!