Feb 25, 2016

In Every Season: What Single Gals Want You To Know (Pt 1)


Many times, it can be awkward, embarrassing, and even upsetting for a single gal to talk to her dating or married friends. She may feel belittled or saturated with advice on what to do to "cure" her of her singleness. But, there are also single gals who absolutely adore regularly conversing with their married friends because of their compassionate and loving community they offer. In the survey I sent out last winter, thirty-one single Christian gals responded to my question: What are some ways that Christian women who are no longer single can help you, love you, serve you, and encourage you during your season of singleness? I hope their responses can offer inspiration for heartfelt, honest conversations between women despite their marital status.

Be a good friend
Nearly half of the thirty-one single gals that replied in the survey responded that they wanted their non-single friends to just be a friend. They want to be "looked on as equals" rather than their married friends acting like they've crossed a finish line that the single friend hasn't yet. One girl (who sounds adorable, by the way) wrote that she has three married friends who  "spend time with me and invite me out for dinner or a movie night. We simply live life together They talk about their struggles and listen to mine, and listen to my gushing over Clayton Jennings (YouTube sensation and my ManCrushEveryday!) They relate to me on being a woman in the workforce and loving Jesus together! I'm more than a single and they focus on the rest of who I am.” Ok, does anyone else want to just hug this girl and her friends? Yes! What an awesome picture of loving each other as sisters despite marital status.

Here are some other things these gals said:

 “Just continue being a friend. I understand you won't be as available. Hear out my stories, don't be too quick to critique (remember when you were single), and remember that being single has it's challenges. Don't tell me that I have it so easy - you don't know how many burdens I carry. And the best way to encourage me: show me that being in a relationship (be it dating or married) doesn't have to hinder your ability to serve God.”

 "Just seek us out and be our friend. Don't just tell us "it will happen someday." Ask how we're doing and listen to us vent and cry about it because it's not a pleasant season, especially if one has waited and waited for what seems like an eternity.”

 “Reach out to single people more. Sometimes when friends get married they get very busy in getting settled in marriage and if it's a close friend it may feel like I'm being replaced. I've felt the most loved by my married friends when they let me just be in their lives like normal and ask to include me in simple ways.

 “Inviting us single gals into their lives, making us feel like we (our friendships) are a priority, not disappearing when dating or married though I know the spheres narrow naturally when that happens.”

“They can help me just by being a friend and staying connected, even though I may not be able to share the same stories or experiences.”

"Be a constant friend. By that I mean, be consistently who you've been in our friendship. Obviously, the parameters of time shared together is something that gets redefined, but friends will choose each other if there's mutual respect, love, and growth.”

 “Don't feel like you're being redundant or just saying meaningless cliches when you encourage me and other young ladies with words like, "Keep being patient, Trust me, it's so worth it, God knows exactly how to completely exceed your expectations."  I've also learned from friends who have so honestly reflected on their past mistakes and told me about them so that I could learn from them. One of them being, don't make the mistake of living in constant hope and desire for the future, and missing the present. You will never be able to rejoice with others, or in your personal joy of getting married in the present, if you don't learn to live presently and find your sufficiency in Jesus when you're single.”

“Just being a good friend, laughing, crying, and praying together.”

“I think being a listening ear and a prayer partner are the two most important things, especially for me. There are days where I need nothing more than a listening ear, someone to be real and honest with when it comes to my singleness. Sometimes, the pages of a journal can only do so much. And prayer is essential! Not just when it comes to singleness, but in all areas of life. Prayer is where I can pour out my heart and cry out to God in those hard times of loneliness, but also thank him and praise him in the encouraging. Prayer is where we can be honest. But, when we have other people praying for and with us, it can give us a strength we didn't know we had. Having someone else pray with us in our struggles and triumphs gives incredible encouragement and sometimes a fresh perspective when we may feel that our prayers aren't going beyond the ceiling.”

Is anyone else convinced that friendships between single and non-single gals are still important? I certainly am! Reading these responses helped me remember how much I appreciated the many married friends I had while single who were a bigger blessing than I know how to explain in mere words. They prayed for me, encouraged me, shared what they were learning about married life, and treated me with respect and love. I didn't feel less of a woman for not being married when I was around them and they remained great friends even though our lives looked very different in that season. And when I was dating and eventually engaged to Greg, it was so great to pick their brains about marriage questions, worries I had about things like the wedding night, and being goofy and giddy together about the season I was in.

I want to leave married women with a few simple suggestions to start fostering more time into friendships with single gals. First, pray about specific gals in your life to reach out to. Second, strike up conversations and invite gals to hang out.
  • Meet for coffee at a cute little cafe
  • Get manicures together (at a salon or at home!) 
  • Find a place in your city (museum, a park, a hiking trail, etc.) that you've both been wanting to explore and go there together
  • If that friend lives in a different city, find a day to FaceTime or Skype while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Send encouraging snail-mail 
  • Invite the friend over for a meal (either cook for her or cook a meal together)
  • Have a movie night at your house (a good opportunity for you hubby to also hang out with his guy friends that night) 
  • Support her in different things that are important to her, such as rooting for her if she plays a sport, going to a concert if she plays an instrument, sharing a post you liked that she wrote on her blog, etc. 
The possibilities are really endless! Be a friend. It may look slightly different now as a married woman than it did when you were both single, but it is not impossible. With a little determination, prayer, and letting your husband know this is something that you have on your heart, I am confident that you'll find time to dig deeper in friendships with single gals.

Stay tuned for more things that single gals want their non-single friends to know!

***** To catch up on this series, click HERE *****


2 comments:

  1. I am seriously LOVING this series. Thank you for doing this!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Gennean! I love it and am excited to post more… I have had some awesome women who have participated in surveys, Q&A, and guest posts, so it's been awesome learning from their experiences and wisdom

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