He Said-She Said: Living in a Married World
- Thursday, April 28, 2011
When I worked as a youth worker, I always invited the children of my co-workers to attend the events and trips (even mission), which many did. Although I didn’t (and still don’t) have children of my own, my co-workers and I had much to discuss about the weekend I spent with theirs.
One thing I have discovered from many of my married friends is their lives are fairly “consistent” (some would even call it “mundane,” to describe it politely). I often get many more questions about what I’m doing and experiencing in contrast to their common response of, “Same ole, same ole.”
Don’t spend your time worrying about what you don’t have, but rather experience what you do have—a sense of freedom, more flexible lifestyle, and “free of concern and (seeking) how you can please the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32).
Live your life to the fullest and be a light to the world—that is how you can properly deal with your circumstances.
SHE SAID: I’m so glad you wrote in and asked this question.
Yes, you, me, Cliff … we are all singles living in a “married world.” Those who have been married since graduating college (or very soon after) have no idea what it is like to be single for many years, even decades. And it is also true that those who have been single for many years (myself included) have no idea what it is like to be married for many years (or even just married at all).
That’s what I tell myself each time I feel left out of a conversation that is all about spouses or children or when it seems like I am being misunderstood or judged for not being married (or having not found someone to date) or that a married person thinks that he or she knows exactly what I’m going through as a single person or has the quick-fix solution to my problems (“You just need to ______.”).
My flesh wants to rail against and to whine and to bite back. But the Spirit checks me and impresses upon me to be gracious. Thank God for his Holy Spirit who moves and guides and convicts us, yes? Otherwise I’d be down a great number of friends and acquaintances by now.
I’m not saying that I’m successful all of the time in responding with kindness and graciousness in situations like the one you’ve described in your question above. Far from it. I’ve just thought about this a lot. My personal conclusions are this: I can’t change those around me. I can’t change their perspectives. And I can’t get them to understand my point of view or what I think I need as a single person. But I certainly can change my attitude and my response when I am faced with any situation where I feel like a “social outcast” and a “reject.”
And I think the key word here is feel. If you asked the two women you work with if they intentionally wanted to make you feel left out or not included in their conversations because of your station in life, I am certain that they would say, “Absolutely not.” They’ve probably never even thought that you could be feeling left out during their conversations that focus primarily on activities or situations that you know nothing about experientially (or even emotionally).
Bottom line, they only know what they know. They are coming from a married world and you are not. They speak a somewhat different “dialect” than you, just like you do as someone who’s coming from a singles world. It’s like taking a trip to a foreign country where you don’t speak the native tongue. You’re trying to maneuver and to communicate and to have a good time. But it’s going to take some effort on your part to make it all work and go smoothly, right? The whole country you’re spending time in is not going to change for you while you’re there visiting (especially if it’s France … kidding!). So you’ve got to adapt and deal and make some changes for yourself in order to have a pleasant trip and come away with some good memories.
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