In the last post, I wrote about ways married friends can support single friends. The opposite is needed, too. Here are 10 ways single friends can support their married friends.
1. Invite them to spend time with you. Don’t assume your married friends are too busy or only want to hang out with their spouses. They’re still your friends and want to hang out with you. On some days, they even need to get out of the house and spend time with people other than their spouses. Yes, their schedules might have changed because of marriage, so extend the invitation by giving them some options and enough time to plan/schedule. Find the best time you can get together for coffee, lunch, or girls night.
2. Invite them on your single life adventures. Again, don’t assume they would say no or won’t be able to make it just because they’re married. Invite them, but give them plenty of notice. Even if they do say no and can’t make it, an invitation would be appreciated.
3. Also invite the spouse to your parties, inclusive get-togethers, or out for coffee. Your friend loves her spouse and loves spending time with him. If the spouse isn’t your friend, too, that doesn’t mean you can’t both get to know each other better. Spend time with both your friend and her spouse, and widen your circle of friends.
4. Listen to their marriage woes and be a supportive sounding board. Married friends need supportive friends who will listen, and we can be that for them. Just don’t turn their spouses into the devil or hate them because your married friend had to vent. No marriage is perfect, and marriage doesn’t fix your problems. Do speak up if your married friend’s spousal rant makes you feel uncomfortable.
5. Give them the gift of time. Yes, single people don’t automatically have more time. What we do have is more flexibility with our time. It’s easier for us to rearrange our schedules because we may have less non-negotiable commitments. For example, spending time with your spouse is a non-negotiable commitment. Taking care of your kids is a non-negotiable commitment. These non-negotiable commitments mean less priority for what single people can prioritize first, like trying out the new restaurant or going on vacation during a school year. So, offer to house-sit so your married friends can go on a vacation. Offer to babysit or pet-sit so they can go out for date night.
6. Remember them as the person they are. I’ve heard from married friends that their identities can get swallowed up by specific roles. They become Mr.’s wife or baby’s mommy, and I’ve caught myself treating some married friends that way. As just somebody’s wife or somebody’s mom. Remember that they were their own persons before they got married or had kids. Celebrate their womanhood, and encourage them to do the same.
7. Learn from them instead of treating them as “old married farts.” Marriage is seen as settling down, but it doesn’t mean they stopped living. They’re in a different stage of life, and can offer new ways of looking at challenges and seasons in life. Don’t count them out in helping you with your single life problems.
8. Don’t treat them like Martha Stewart or judge them for not reaching your idea of what married people can/should be able to do. Getting married doesn’t suddenly turn you into a cooking/baking/crafting/organizing/home-decorating genius. It also doesn’t make you want to be that kind of person.
9. Forgive them for cliche single comments like “You’ll meet someone,” or “God will provide” or “It will happen for you.” To the single person, these comments sound trite because we’ve heard them so many times, often from ourselves. To a married person, these comments can easily slip out. It may be because married friends know how awesome their single friends are and truly believe what they say. Or it may be because they don’t know what to say and end up saying something trite. Whichever it is, just be honest with each other and open those lines of communication.
10. Step up as responsible, godly adults in their children’s lives. Show them they can count on you to come alongside their family and help lead their children into a relationship with God and spiritual growth and maturity. Parents aren’t given a manual on raising kids, and if there is such a manual, it is ever changing. Don’t be that friend they have to parent.