The first time I found out that one of my close friends was getting married, I cried. A lot. Like if I found out she was going to die. I was only about 13 or 14 years old, but I felt that I was losing my friend forever. As I got older, I realised that it doesn’t have to be this way – I now see it as an opportunity to gain a friend, in the person of my friend’s spouse. Now, at age 34, most of my friends are married, so I have a lot of experiences, both positive and negative, with my married friends, and I would like to share some of these with you.

I appreciate when my married friends include me on their family vacations. While it is true that I have my own family vacations that I thoroughly enjoy, there is something special about going on vacation with my friend. Just the mere fact that I have been invited on their ‘family vacation’ shows how much they value my friendship, that I am treated more like family than just a friend. Also, it allows us time to have conversations that we may not have been able to have due to the demands of our divergent daily schedules.

I appreciate when my married friends trust me with their children. I love children, but since I have none that I have birthed, I love when my friends allow me to treat their children like if they were my own. I am grateful for the opportunities to fall asleep with a baby in my arms, and to see the excitement in their eyes when they go to the zoo for the first time, and to hear their laughs when we go to the beach, and to get cards on mother’s day saying “Thank you for all that you do for me”.

I appreciate when my married friends send me texts at random times just to find out how I am doing. It shows me that, although our lives no longer run in parallel, my friend still cares about me and makes the effort to let me know that they do. Sometimes months may pass until I next hear from them, but that’s OK, because I know that the love is still there.

I appreciate when my married friends are willing to make time for me when I have one of my “I need to talk to you” moments. Most of the times, just the fact that you make the sacrifice to hear my story is all I need.

But, my married friends are humans too, and there are sometimes when they do things that unintentionally hurt.

I do not appreciate when my married friends make insensitive comments about my singleness and then say “Just joking”. To me, it is never funny.

I do not appreciate when my married friends share details of their married lives with me that should just be between them and their spouse. To me, it is too much information.

I do not appreciate when my married friends ask me when I am planning to ‘settle down’. To me, I am already settled, because I am content in my present state.

I do not appreciate when my married friends who I have not been in contact with for a long time ask me if I have a boyfriend as yet. To me, if we were that close, I would have told you, so the question is unnecessary. I also do not appreciate the ‘as yet’ part of the question, as though it is understood that my singleness is a temporary state of affairs.

The truth is, I don’t know if God’s plan for me involves marriage. But the fact is that right now, I am single, and doing my best to live out God’s purposes for me in this season of my life. The best thing my married friends can do for me is to love me as I am, and don’t try to change me.

[To read what Chris Jacobs would like his married friends to hear and know, click here]