Snacks: check. Wine: check. Speakers: check. Crown: check.
Welcome to the bachelorette essentials.
At this point in life I am a self-proclaimed bachelorette party professional. I love bachelorette parties. They’re a time of celebration, excitement, and one last hurrah with your best friends before the big day. At some point in the night we end up settling down in our pajamas with a glass of wine passing around a bag of dark chocolate pomegranates.
This is the time when our married friends offer up their advice on the next season of life. It’s always fun to hear a chorus of voices scrambling over each other to share stories as we laugh about their mishaps and memories. Well, it is fun until someone says the inevitable:
“Marriage is hard.”
And thus, the conversation takes a turn. Party’s over.
We singles are fully aware that marriage is hard. We have a staggeringly high divorce rate that screams how hard marriage is. A lot of us come from families wrecked and ravaged by the very thing.
Yes, marriage is hard. But guess what?
Being single is hard too.
For some reason married people are allowed to talk about just how hard marriage is and it’s completely okay. And yet it seems a little taboo for single people to talk about their relational struggles. In response to the ever popular “marriage is hard” statement not once have I heard a single person reply “so is being single.”
And trust me, I enjoy being single. I love blasting all those songs about paying my bills and being an independent woman as loud as my stereo will allow. The freedom and flexibility my singleness provides are things I probably hold on to a little too tightly. But there are also some really challenging things that come with being single.
We live in a world where married people lament the difficulties of marriage and single people are supposed to rejoice in their singleness. That doesn’t really make sense if we’re being honest. We need to start painting a more complete picture of our seasons of life: the joys, the trials, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Married friends, as a single person I need your help. I need you to stop telling me that marriage is hard.
Instead, tell me the good stuff. Encourage the institution of marriage. Though it’s not for everyone and shouldn’t be entered into lightly many of us need some positive light shed on holy matrimony. For every time you say “marriage is hard” you’re feeding into our extended adolescence and giving us more ammunition to delay marriage or, better yet, not get married at all. In a world where marriage is fading away we need people like you to pave the way and rejoice in the fact that God ordained marriage and uses it to draw two people into covenantal relationship with Him and each other.
Marriage is a gift. We were made for worship; we were made to enjoy Christ, life, and each other.
If you’re enjoying your marriage by default you will say good things, so don’t downplay it out of sensitivity for my singleness. It is greatly appreciated, but now that I’ve been beaten down by the hardness of marriage, build me back up and encourage me towards it if that is truly what the Lord intends for my life.
And single friends, maybe it’s time we’re more honest about our stage of life.
Out of fear of sounding needy or ungrateful we tend to silence the difficulties of singleness. But as with any stage of life there are some real challenges and some deep-rooted insecurities that come with being single. Tell your married friends that it’s hard to not come home to someone at night. Tell them that dating, especially nowadays, is really confusing and can be less than uplifting. Tell them your baggage, your hurt, your pain, and your loss. Tell them you’re worried about getting bitter and jaded.
Paint a full picture to your married friends that the grass isn’t always greener; it’s just different. Singleness, though a gift and ordained by God like marriage, presents its own unique set of difficulties that your married friends need to know about in order to encourage you, pray for you, and support you. You’re not being needy when you tell them that you would like to start dating (if indeed you do), you’re being human.
For both married and single friends alike it’s a practice in the art of vulnerability.
Christ is using both marriage and singleness to conform us to His image. There is joy, unspeakable joy that we are promised in Him as both marrieds and singles alike. There is also pain and loss, heartache and frustration as we move forward in the sanctification process. Let’s be vulnerable with each other as the body of Christ and give each other a glimpse, a real glimpse, into the messy yet beautiful work the Lord is doing in our stages of life.
Maybe, just maybe, the outside world looking in will see something different, something attractive, and something called Christian community. Honesty really is the best policy and we have the freedom in Christ to be honest, so let’s start trying.