So ummm, I wrote this. (BY THE WAY: HELLO BLOGLAND! It’s been a while! I know, I know, you could hardly stand it without me. But seriously. I’ve kind of been busy teaching Nathanial Hawthorne, cooking quinoa, and running fartleks.) Anyhoo, this little post has been popping around my head. Not sure if I want to apologize for this beforehand or not. Just, if I overgeneralized your identity, I’M SORRY, and here’s a dried fig newton to wipe your tears with. There, their, they’re.
“Why Married People Make Great Friends”
One of the things that’s tricky about post-college life is navigating relationships and friendships with people who are at stages of life that are different from you. You’re single, they’re married. They have kids, you don’t. You work full time, maybe they work part-time. How do you build good relationships with otherwise cool people who are living very different lifestyles than you? While I’m still looking for the answer to that question, in the meantime, here are some reasons why married people make great friends.
1. Married people give good advice based on experience.
You know that older sibling who was always getting into trouble, getting in scrapes, testing the limits, so that you never had to?
Married people are like older siblings. They go before us,
plowing guiding the way, and we wait til they get back and tell us everything to do or not do. Hanging out with married people is great because you can learn from their mistakes. Just like you learned from your older siblings.
It’s like that time my sister wore a bright, multi-colored, pointy bow a little too far forward on picture day. In the photograph, she came out looking like a deliriously happy game cock.
What a memorable day for me! I made sure to avoid big, colored bows on picture day from then on!
Married people are like those older siblings. The coolest ones are patient listeners and give good relationship advice. They tell you embarrassing stories about moving in with their spouse, and they regale you with hilariously awkward in-law stories. They tell you which Tupperware to buy, where’s a good camping spot, and that funny story from their honeymoon. They give great advice, based on their own experiences. Whether it’s a new recipe to cook, a new thought-provoking book to read, or a new perspective to lend, married people have a lot to give. Young parents, too, have important things to teach us about relationships and getting along with other people. Rubbing their needy child’s head, young parents solemnly declare: “Parenting is so good for me. I just can’t be selfish anymore. It’s not about me. It’s all about the other person.”
2. Married people live responsibly.
Straight out of college, we young people are adjusting from pretty pathetic daily routines, including our ridiculous, non-existent sleep schedules and poor diet. Newly graduated, newly employed, we’re pretty proud of our care-free status. It’s nothing for us to go out for ice creams at 11, or stay up til 3 BECAUSE WE CAN and there’s no paper due.
Married people, however, seem to be miles ahead in the responsibility department. To put it simply, they plan ahead. They have a schedule. Maybe it’s because they spend most of the day apart from one another, so they want to maximize the time they DO have together. Which means getting up in the morning so that they can see their spouse off to work. It means going to bed at a decent hour the night before so they actually CAN get up in the morning to see each other off to work. A lot of married people I know actually get adequate sleep. They’re so good at adulting. Whereas, we single people are like:
But maybe we could learn from this responsibility thing.
3. Married people are settled, dancing in time with the rhythms of life.
When I hang out with my single friends, our conversations go something like this: “After we talk about the Purpose and Meaning of Life, why don’t we discuss Poverty, the Philosophies of Broken World Systems, and How I Can Change the World Through An Obscure Major Yet Still Live in Communion With Everything I Used to Hold Dear Except For Whatever I Decide I Don’t Identify With Anymore.”
All of this, but we still haven’t learned how to cook a decent, healthy meal, how to file an insurance claim, or how to install a cupboard door in the bathroom. I am suggesting that singles in their 20s and 30s live philosophically, rather than physically. Many of us are still nailing down exactly what we want to do with our lives. We’re figuring out our careers. We try jobs here and there, moving to different communities (because our status allows for this mobility) when we decide our talents may be used better elsewhere. Education, work, and figuring out life’s calling takes up a lot of our mental capacity.
In a sense, it’s a little different for married people. (Not that they never philosophize or never take big career steps.) But there’s something settling about a marriage relationship and the human element of physical coexistence. (For heaven’s sakes, they buy houses! I certainly call that “settling.”) I’ve found that the conversations that I have with married people are often about physical things and day-to-day life. (And I’ve found that sometimes they are self aware of this and feel the need to apologize for these conversations.) They talk about the lemon chicken ziti they made. They describe the fun, new thing their child started doing. They talk about the trip they took to their in-laws. Life for married people, in some sense, becomes more about experiencing life alongside another person, rather than, as for some singles I know, about still searching for the life they want to live. You may choose to disagree with me on this point. (In fact, I just thought of some married friends of whom this is not true.)
But I would say this: I think we singles would do well to take a hint from our married friends and take some time to ENJOY LIFE. Married people take time to enjoy each other and enjoy their children, either by spending time together or by celebrating special milestones. I think that sometimes we singles are too afraid to enjoy life because sometimes celebrations can seem so self-indulgent. (Especially when some people make sure we are keenly aware that we are only spending our resources on ourselves. Whatever. Not sure what that guilt trip is about.) But to my single readers: celebrations are not self-indulgent. They’re a part of the rhythm of life. Seasons and times are sacred. You ought to go out and enjoy a milestone. Make some special muffins. Pray a special prayer. Better yet, ask a married person to celebrate a milestone with you.
You might find that if you do, you’ll get a break from trying to fix the world, trying to fix yourself, trying to fix whatever’s wrong with you that makes so many people say, “Why are you still single?” And good married friends will treat you like gold. They take you kayaking, they make you yummy brownies, they introduce you to new friends, they let you spoil their children, and they are totally comfortable with you being yourself.
These three reasons are why married people make good friends.