A while ago I wrote a blog titled, “Things To Not Say to A Pregnant Woman”. Pretty much most women could relate to the awkwardness of being pregnant as it is a universal season most females experience. Then while chatting with a friend we determined singleness is also a universal season that most women have had to endure together (and if you didn’t, we consider you lucky).
I have only been with my husband whether dating or in marriage for three years. We started dating at age 23 which means I only had 5 years in the dating scene. Those 5 years was more than enough for this girl and I see many of my awesome, beautiful friends stay single and most of them miserable.
It’s easy to sit back and think, “Why would they be miserable. They have so much freedom. And we all know you don’t find your identity in a man and blah blah blah.” Unless you married your high school sweetie, dig into your memory and remember how hard doing life on your own sometimes. Blind dates, online dating, and single’s bars are not as fun as they sound.
Women are getting married later and later. The current average age of marriage for a female is 26 and is even later in larger cities like New York and LA. Many get married younger but a whole lot get married older than that age as well. Even in most church circles, women are getting married later and later but it doesn’t seem to be because of their own preference. You see wonderful women in leadership positions being single for a really long time (if you are familiar with them think the stories of amazing women like Christine Caine or Donna Crouch).
In collaboration with five, kick ass single women of all ages, who not only gave me funny comments they are bombarded with, but what they wish they could say back. If you are guilty of saying these things, I’m sure you are forgiven and it is *almost* completely forgotten. Here is a list of things to avoid saying unless you are comfortable being known as the “ungrateful married witch” behind your back:
1. “Don’t worry, I didn’t get married till I was (insert age here).” That means you didn’t get married for ‘X’ amount of years past my current age. I already feel like an old maid and knowing it could be at least ‘X’ more years makes me want to die. You think you are being inspirational but you are just dumping on my frustration.
2. “Your life is so easy as a single person. You don’t have the problems and responsibilities married people have.” Yes but remember we consider you LUCKY to have those problems. I would kill for a spouse to argue with and take care of. I would kill for someone to spend a boring night at home with binge watching Mad Men on Netflix. Some peoples burdens and complaints are other people’s answer to prayers.
3. “I can’t wait to see who you marry!” I can’t wait either.. Now either set me up with someone or stop giving me generic phrases of compassion.
4. “How are YOU still single?” I am so glad you find my situation shocking, maybe I should be in a museum. Again this is meant as a compliment but is kind of like rubbing salt in the wounds. Thank you for thinking I’m wonderful, please spread the news among your handsome single friends.
5. “It always happens when you least expect it.” Married people think they have all the answers to the equations of singleness. When I was single I was looking for my soul mate so you bet I expected it. Maybe it wasn’t from the person I expected but it didn’t take me by surprise. So excuse me while I go try to stop expecting things to happen while I try to make things happen.
6. “If being married is a desire of your heart than God will give you that desire.” God is really taking His sweet time on this one. I see everyone else getting their “desires” so what is wrong with me that I’m not getting what I want.
7. “Sorry we didn’t invite you to the party, it was a couples thing.” Even though that’s my main group of friends, thanks for not inviting me THEN telling me about it. I guess if I came I would have distracted all of the couples from their fun because they would just be too busy feeling sorry for me.
8. “You will not find your fulfilment or identity in a man.” I am not looking for someone to complete me, I’m looking for someone to be my partner in life. Don’t excuse my effort and initiation as desperation.
9. “Have you tried online dating?” For the younger crowds, online dating is totally acceptable. For those in their late twenties and thirties, many women feel a stigma about it. In fact studies show the majority of women who online date don’t want to admit it. Also if opens your life up to these moments of pure awakeardness:
10. “Enjoy your freedom now while you still can!” Well this is just offensive on so many levels! Again most single’s would kill to have your responsibilities.
Next time the kids are driving you nuts, your husband and you are disagreeing, and you are exhausted, just remember that there are millions of women who would happily be in your shoes to have what you have. It is okay to have those “married people problems” but putting it into perspective is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and your friendships. Guaranteed no matter what age you are, you will have single friends!
Mindy Kaling said it perfectly. “Marriage is an exclusive club that many of you take for granted and that so many of us would kill to be apart of. I don’t want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting, or the work it takes to plan a date night. I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got the other hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they’re dead meat. I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun.”
Conclusion: next time you feel like your life is hard, just remember your struggle is exactly what someone else is dreaming of!