I was newly seventeen when I walked down the aisle, escorted by my daddy, dressed in white. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I smiled at the guests that had assembled for my special day.
Why was I crying? For lots of reasons.
I was happy and excited to be marrying the love of my (short) life. I was sad and fearful about leaving my father’s house, the only home I had ever known. I was nervous about the ceremony, being in front of so many people, having so much I wanted to say.
My new husband and I spent the next several months adjusting to being around each other 24/7. Then, almost exactly a year after the wedding, our first baby was born. It was a snuggly, colicky little boy.
According to most of my still-single friends, my life was now complete. No matter what we tried to talk about, the conversation always wound up revolving around the same thing. They’d make glowing assumptions of my life based on my marital status, and they’d complain about their own “incompleteness”.
“You’re so blessed!” They’d say. “You don’t know how awful it is to be afraid and unsure of your future. You don’t know what it’s like to be lonely or depressed or insecure about your appearance. You have a loving husband and wonderful children. I can’t wait until I can finally have that.”
It’s been five years now and my friends still say those types of things to me. I still cringe and don’t know what to reply. Mixed emotions ricochet through me until my heart feels like bruised pulp inside.
Why do I feel that way? Because I do have a loving husband and wonderful children. But because of that fact, I don’t have a magical, fairy-tale existence.
I’m Going To Be Honest.
Many of my friends are currently unmarried. I love them, and I really respect them for how they rely on God in their situation. I believe they have been through as much mental and emotional turmoil as they say they have. I don’t mind them talking to me, crying on my shoulder, or confiding about their troubles and fears. What I do mind is when they use their experience to get the “one-up” on me in those areas. (Otherwise known as the “my problems are worse than your problems” mantra.)
Of course, married people do the same thing to each other. No one has a corner on hurt or happiness. No one. Every season of life has ups and downs, advantages and disadvantages, joys and pains.
Some Examples of Suffering Comparison:
Single people can be depressed because they don’t have that someone that makes them feel special. Married people can be depressed because they don’t believe their spouse thinks they’re special.
Single people can feel upset because they don’t have a companion to join them at family functions. Married people can feel upset because they’re having issues with the in-laws at those family functions.
Single people can be lonely because there’s no one to wake up beside them in the morning. Married people can be lonely because they feel a million miles away from the person they’re waking up with.
Single people can be confused by finances. Married people can be divided about finances.
Single people can struggle with lustful thoughts. Married people can struggle with unfaithful thoughts.
Single people can mourn their lack of children. Married people can wrangle with infertility, unexpected children, and/or bereavement.
The list goes on.
It’s Not a Contest.
When a single woman opens up and talks about how lonely she feels, married people shouldn’t say, “You think that’s bad? Imagine wishing you had a moment alone so you could use the bathroom without spectators!”
When a married woman opens up and talks about struggles she’s having with her husband, her single friends shouldn’t say, “You think that’s bad? Imagine not having a husband to fight with at all!”
Both of these situations are disrespectful. Friends should love each other, not feel like they have to one-up each other. Our experiences should pull us together, not tear us apart! Humanity needs people in every situation and season of life. That’s what makes it full, unique and well-seasoned.
Is Understanding Required?
You see, somehow we humans have a myth influencing our thinking. We feel that we have to be understood by everyone.
But we don’t.
Sure, I don’t understand a lot of what my single sisters go through. But I don’t have to completely understand to sympathize!
Single people don’t understand what a lot of their married sisters go through. And that’s okay. They don’t have to completely understand to sympathize.
We just have to love and respect each other.
Now For Your Input!
I realize that this post has been mostly about comparing pains. But now it’s time to celebrate. There are many ways that single people and married people can celebrate their unique achievements together. Could you comment down below and help us think of some positive ways married and single friends can interact with each other?