The story goes something like this: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl plan wedding. Boy and girl ask their people to stand in front of church in matching outfits. Boy and girl live happily ever after.
But there’s one part of the story that rarely gets covered in this script: What happens to boy and girl’s single friends after they get married?
It can be tricky to navigate cross-life-stage friendships. From a logistical standpoint, your schedules and availability don’t always match. Maybe you’re trying to spend quality time with your spouse in the evenings or running your kids to soccer practice when your friend is available to hang out.
And on an emotional level, you may be facing different challenges and celebrating different victories. While you’re mired in potty training, your friend is muddling through online dating profiles. Is it even possible to maintain close relationships with your single friends after you’re married?
Although there are challenges inherent to these relationships, the benefits far outweigh any awkwardness. When you have a friendship that transcends life stage, you know that you value each other for who you are. You aren’t friends simply because you’re in the same dorm or because your kids are in the same class; you’re friends because there’s a deeper, soul-level connection. And when your relationship weathers a major life change, it creates a loyalty that can last a lifetime.
If you want to maintain a close relationship with your single friends, you must realize that there are some things they need you to do.
1. Be Part of Their Community
Our culture, and the Christian subculture in particular, is couples-focused, which means that daily life—especially special occasions—can feel isolating for those who don’t have a spouse. Invite your single friends to join you for holidays, celebrate their birthdays, sit with them at church, or invite them over for pizza on a Friday night.
2. Share and Listen
Don’t shy away from talking to your single friends about marriage and parenthood, both the good parts and the challenges. At the same time, be ready to listen when they want to talk about the guy they just met or about lonely Saturday nights. When you’re in a group setting where everyone except one person is married or has children, it’s easy for conversations to center on topics your single friends aren’t privy to. Be sensitive to this tendency and look for ways to make sure they’re included. Your relationship will grow when you can share authentically about the struggles and joys of different life stages.