Disclaimer: I’m writing this after having talked with a couple unmarried friends whom I love dearly. I’m not single, so my authority on this topic is not strong. But I don’t think I’m far off.
I seem to have gotten married right in the middle of it all. At a time when a lot of my friends were single and a lot of my friends were married. I didn’t necessarily experience some of these things. But now, I’m a married person with a lot of married friends and a few single friends. And I attend a church with a ton of unmarried adults that does a great job affirming them and loving them.
I’m only three years past being single. The ache to be married and more readily welcomed by those who are married is still really familiar. And my eyes have recently really been opened to ways we can better love and serve our single friends.
So, how can we, as married couples, bless and love and serve our friends who are currently unmarried?
Invite them into your home: For purposes other than babysitting your snotty kids. They want to have dinner with you! Have them come over for a bonfire or game night or to watch a movie. The exact same things you would invite other couples to do. They don’t mind your messy home or your bad cooking. They like being around families.
Can I just dispel this myth now? It is not awkward for most single people to hang out with married couples. Don’t let the term “third wheel” even cross your mind.
Spend time together without your spouse: They don’t mind spending time with your spouse. But sometimes, it’s nice to just have a girls’ or guys’ night. To talk about the things that aren’t best in mixed company. To allow your friend to express her current disdain for men without your husband around. She’ll appreciate the one-on-one time.
Allow them into the messiness of marriage: I was blown away the first and few subsequent times a married couple I highly respected shared even a glimpse of their struggles with me. Many of our churches unintentionally put marriage on a pedestal. To fight against this, we need to have honest conversations about the un-obvious messiness of marriage.
Be respectful of their desire to date and who they want to date: It’s just not okay to trick them into situations that become double dates. This is awkward, and it takes away your friend’s ability to choose with whom he or she would like to spend time.
Don’t always talk about wanting to find them a spouse. Pray about it, and keep it to yourself. They’re tired of hearing about it.
Set them up with someone cautiously. Discern whether or not this could truly be a good match. Ask honestly whether or not your friend might be interested in being set up, and listen for their true feelings.
Be respectful of their desire to be married: Be highly on guard against treating your single friends like less than your married friends. Their wisdom, struggles, and desires are just as valid as anyone else’s. Many of them ache deeply to be married. It can be painful and lonely for them, especially as they wait and watch others getting married.
Celebrate their role in the church: They are valuable church members. They are wise. They are capable of leadership! Don’t direct single women toward children’s ministry and single men toward AV. Please learn about their gifts, their interests, and their passions. Please mentor your single friends well. But please consider all you have to learn from them, too.
Unmarried or recently married friends, what do you wish married couples knew? How can we do a better job making you feel loved?