As a gal who just ‘climbed the ranks’ so to speak, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the importance of having friends at every stage of life. I’m not really talking about young friends and old friends, I’m talking about single friends, engaged friends and married friends, because in the last few months I’ve realized how grateful I am for friends of all kinds.
When you are single you need friends who are single to give you hope, lift you up, and daydream about the future with. You need single friends who know what it is like to be single, to struggle with your vocation, to long for marriage, you need friends who know and understand that same ache.
When you are single you need engaged friends to be a living example that love is possible, that the fulfillment of your vocation can come and that real, sacrificial love is worth waiting for. You need engaged friends to get that fix of wedding planning that most (though not all) of us ladies crave. You need engaged friends who aren’t that far removed from the single-ache struggle but can also counsel you on why waiting for the real deal is so worth it.
When you are single you need married friends to show you, at least in some small way, the reality of marriage. So often as a single lady I got lost in the fantasy of married life, but my married friends kept me grounded that it wasn’t all hearts and rainbows all the time. Like your engaged friends, your married friends show you that love can be real, takes work and dedication and is worth waiting for. Your married friends show you that even if marriage isn’t all fairytale (spoiler alert: it isn’t), it can be and still is beautiful.
When you are engaged you need single friends to keep you grounded. When I was engaged my single friends reminded me not to get too lost in my happy-go-lucky world of wedding planning. Often times my single friends were a reality check. They also had my back like you wouldn’t believe during the difficult days of engagement. They were there for me to talk with, cry with, and laugh with. My single friends reminded me to have fun and enjoy life.
When you are engaged you need engaged friends to understand that ‘in between’ place in your life. You’re not dating and not yet married, and believe me friends, that is a tough place to be, but your engaged friends get that. You can go to your engaged friends on those days when wedding planning sucks and you are so over it all. Your engaged friends understand the struggles of chastity with marriage oh-so-close like no one else.
When you are engaged you need married friends to remind you why you are getting married in the first place. Your married friends won’t sugar coat the difficult days of marriage, but they’ll also remind you of the joy and love that comes from marriage. And trust me, after the wedding, you’ll want your married friends to stick around ;-)
When you are married you need single friends to keep you humble. Some days it is easy to get lost in the ‘just married’ bliss, but your single friends remind you of the struggle of singlehood, and they remind you to pray for those who have yet to find the fulfillment of their vocation. Often times your single friends provide a different perspective on your life, one that can shape you and make you a holier person. Don’t write them off just because they aren’t married because, believe you me, they have plenty of wisdom to share.
When you are married you need engaged friends so that you don’t forget the struggles of engagement and to remind you how grateful you are to be past engagement (and I don’t mean that as harsh as it may come across!). Your engaged friends give you an opportunity to get out all of those brilliant wedding planning tricks you learned along the way. But really, your engaged friends, like your single friends, shouldn’t fall through the cracks just because they aren’t where you are at.
When you are married you need married friends for the difficult days, and you need them for the joy-filled days. No one understand the joys and strife of married like other married people, and you need each other for the days your spouse drives you nuts, and for the days you just want to share that sweet things your spouse did.
The Reality Is…
We need friends at all stages in life for all kinds of reasons. Just like Paul needed Barnabas and Timothy and they all needed him, so to we need friends at every stage of life. Being married now has taught me just that: I’m grateful for all of my friends – single, engaged, married – for so many different reasons, and I’m glad I didn’t lose them along the journey to wife-dom, but what’s more is that I hope they stick around for many years to come.