- Include us
Bring us into your life, your family, your marriage. Don’t leave us out just because we aren’t partnered. We don’t mind being the third (or fifth, or seventh) wheel. Just include us in the conversation. Invite us to the gathering. We need you and you need us.
- Validate our life
Affirm and encourage our life now. Our jobs, relationships, choices. The lives of single people haven’t not started just because we don’t have a significant other or kids. We have lives, romantic and non-romantic relationships we are investing in, work we are striving to be better at, and things we are growing in, just like you. Crazy, right?
Our lives are not on hold just because we’re single.
- Be open
Talk about your struggles. Be honest about your wishes and hopes for us. Tell us your concerns. Be truthful as we let you into our lives, but also remember that there’s a difference between you and us, especially if you got married young, and we are not-so-young and still single.
The plagues of dating in your teens and twenties are far different than the ones you face as you get older. The pickings are slimmer, the baggage has increased, and the struggle to remain chaste has gotten more and more difficult.
- Accept us
Receive us as we are, an equally important part of the body of Christ. Singleness can be truly lonely sometimes, but through that loneliness we learn grace, perseverance, hope, and trust in Jesus. We may have learned those things in deeper or other ways than you have, especially if you married young. Let us share those lessons, and help teach us those you’ve learned.
- Be present to us
Don’t go away when you get married or have kids. Yes, we understand that babies are a lot of work and you probably can’t hit up a midnight movie or take a last-minute road trip with us like you used to. But don’t evaporate entirely.
Respond to a text, even if it’s hours or days later. Call us out of the blue sometimes. When we’re in crisis, remember that we don’t have a spouse to lean on, so we might need to lean on you a little more than your married friends do.
6. Don’t judge
Am I too picky? Really? Should I have kept dating so-and-so because we could have worked things out? Maybe I could try online dating for a spell? Really? I never thought of that! (That’s sarcasm, folks.)
Don’t assume you know the reasons I’m single. There’s probably more to my story than you know. Feel free to ask – I’d love to share it with you.
Also: online dating is the sixth circle of H-E-double-hockey-sticks, if not the seventh. Ask me about that and you’ll get an earful.
7. Don’t say you wish you were single
This is the WORST.
Yes, marriage may be super hard, and your children may drive you up a wall, but at the end of the day you don’t sleep alone. You have someone to do life with, fight with, and enjoy.
So yes, we may get to travel to Europe or go out late every Saturday night, but if that desire for a companion is deep, at the end of the day that solo glass of wine and those empty sheets are a stab in the heart.
Don’t invalidate our pain by immediately reminding us of the enjoyments we get to have because we are “free.” Most of us would gladly trade our fancy, crazy lives for your “boring” mundane doing dishes together evenings any day of the week.
- For the love of everything, don’t just talk about your kids and husband
Please talk about other things. We love to hear about your husband’s job and how your child just crawled for the first time. We really do. We want to know your life, but please know that there are other things to talk with us about then the latest parenting craze, that we can’t relate to anyway. Cause (remember?) we don’t have kids.
Know your audience. Keep sharing the kid anecdotes, we really do love them for a little bit, but realize that after two hours of nonstop kid-and-husband stories we might want to jump off a cliff. Read an article, catch up on the news, watch a new movie, talk about those things too. We’ll appreciate it.
- Don’t just set us up (But do)
Newsflash: Just because I’m single and Joe-so-and-so is single doesn’t mean we’d be a perfect fit! All it means is that we’re both single!
The only exception to this is if you know someone who really, genuinely would be a good fit. Someone who has a lot in common with me besides my single status, who you’d want to date yourself if you were me. Then gently, oh-so-gently bring it up.
And if I say drop it, please do.
10. Don’t make promises for God
More than one friend has told me he or she “can’t wait” until I get married because surely God has that in the cards for me, I’m such a catch, guys would be crazy not to want to date me, etc., etc., etc.
Guess what? Jesus doesn’t promise marriage. He promises to be with us until the very end, but he doesn’t promise marriage. Some talented, incredible, amazing people stay single. Like, for example, the apostle Paul.
So don’t make promises for God. Instead, help me walk this road today. Today when there are no certainties for me when it comes to marriage, when I may be feeling lost, hopeless, or alone. Remind me of what is true.
Thanks for reading! If you’re married, how can we singles encourage you?