Thursday, February 7, 2013

An Open Letter to My Married Friends

Earlier this week, I read this post on the Boundless blog about navigating friendships between married and single people. For the most part, I agree with the sentiments discussed in the post. But I thought I would share a few thoughts of my own.

1. I love being a part of your family!
Because my family lives a few hours away, it is such a blessing to be asked over for dinner, even if it means I have three kids hanging off of me, dinner consists of macaroni and cheese and I help with the dishes. It is wonderful to just feel like I have a family again. Don't feel like you have to serve something fancy, have perfectly behaved kids or a spotless house - I remember what it was like when I lived at home. I don't expect perfection, and I like helping! Plus, I learn a lot from watching you raise your kids and interact as a family.

2. Please ask me to babysit.
And most of the time, I don't mind doing it for free. It's a way for me to serve your family, which I love doing. But...don't just use me as a free babysitter if you aren't also interested in building a friendship with me. Sometimes it can feel like the only time I talk to some of the married couples at church is when they ask me to watch their kids. That just makes me feel used, as much as I love spending time with children.

3. Don't assume that my only ministry is to children.
At times, there is this subtle implication that the only way I can serve the church before marriage is in children's ministry. But last time I checked, marriage was not a qualification for ministry! Certainly I don't expect to be considered to teach a class on marriage. But I am an adult, and the Lord is teaching me a lot. I do have spiritual gifts to contribute to the church as a whole, not just to your kids.

4. Singleness isn't a curse. 
Marriage is a good thing, a gift from God, one that I pray I get to experience some day. But my life doesn't start the day I get married. Singleness is also a good gift from God, and it is the gift that He has given me right now. It isn't a season that I need to "get through" until I get married. It is a time where I am just as much able to serve the Lord and His church (1 Cor. 7). Please don't make me feel like my life isn't complete until my wedding day...I struggle with discontentment enough, and from all I have heard about marriage and read in Scripture, a wedding doesn't bring completeness either. That is only found in Christ, whether we are single or married.

5. You are such a gift from God!
I am so thankful for the way that you open your home to me, for your wisdom and encouragement. Don't underestimate the way that the Lord uses you to encourage the hearts of your single friends. I like spending time with you and your family because I leave reminded of the community that God has intended us to find in His church.

What do you all can married couples, families and singles better minister to each other? For those of you who are married, what would you tell your single friends?

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