Loving Your Married Friends This Season

marriedLast week, we shared a small excerpt from my In Their Shoes series, and today we will do so again. Many misconceptions surround engagement, marriage, and motherhood, so I believe these transparent posts will encourage and challenge us!

As this holiday season ensues, we will see an increase online of “perfect” moments, holiday romances, and lovely photos splattered throughout social networks. I am all for sharing the beauty, but I want to encourage those in hard places to see past the picture perfect moments to the struggles behind. So, let’s talk about your married friends. It seems pretty idyllic, right?! It’s far from it and I want to share with you some of these experiences—

A lot of things change when a woman marries. Slipping into those wife shoes can be wonderful, but just like any other life stage, the shoes can be painful. A common thread surged during this series — wives are women, and women desire strong friendships despite life stages.

Listen closely to these experiences:

I know to those who are unmarried it may seem like they are on different “levels” from their married friends, but they can definitely still relate because that married friend still has the same struggles as before, but maybe they look a little different now.  You keep friends the same way you make them … staying in touch, sharing bits of your life with the other, and especially relating on a spiritual level so your bond in Christ makes the relationship the strongest it can be.”

An unmarried woman is not second best, and a married woman still struggles as just as she did before. Marriage is not the magic potion that makes problems go away. At the end of the day, we are all living imperfections.

Married and single women alike need to be intentional about loving each other throughout life changes! It doesn’t have to be difficult, and yet in the following experiences, you’ll see how we sometimes box our hearts in.

One time, I was talking with a woman and my being married hadn’t come up yet. We were having a really good conversation, but halfway through it, I had mentioned my husband. As soon as I did, her whole face changed. She looked at me differently, as though I was in a higher level of life.

If singles know you’re married, they tend to automatically draw a line between you. The same can be said of wives though. They can just as easily draw lines between marriage and singleness.

But I see women on both sides wanting to fellowship and be together, simply because we are women. We have a lot in common. Womanhood is a great bond. I wish the lines would disappear, so I do what I can to erase the lines people like to put in front of me! I’m just like you. Let’s be real friends — married or not!”

I was the first of my friends to marry, so I can’t answer this question. But … I will say that as a newly married young woman, I was deeply hurt when I was left out by a few of my dearest friends who were single. I think they didn’t know how to incorporate me (in my new role as a wife) into their lives any more. I would have liked them to keep calling me. Keep inviting me to do girl things. 

I think I understand now, there is a need for both women to acknowledge feeling lost, and for both women to have a lot of grace and continual understanding that it’s a learning process — a friendship between a married and single gal. Always, always assume the good will of your friend! You aren’t friends because that person likes to make you feel bad.”

How easy it is for us to draw lines around ourselves simply because of our marital status! In both instances, you can see the honest desire that these women have for the friendship of singles! We don’t have to create walls and only give the house key to people that share our current life stage. So my question is:

Are you drawing a line and creating self-inflicted limitations because of your life stage?

Consider that it may be you and not the other person standing in the way of a potentially deep friendship. It is easy for us to blame others for our own lack of understanding and friendship. But, I dare say, we have all held the stick that draws the line in the sand!

Viewing the holiday season through social media can be dangerous if we don’t take the time to think about the hearts of our friends. So, let’s erase all those dividing lines we’ve drawn because real friendship happens when we live intentionally, allow others in, and open our hearts wide.

Sierra Straightforward

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