I initially wrote this post about things people tell singles about marriage. However, I’ve decided to expand the series so that I can include things that people (these are usually people who’ve been married only a bit longer than I have) say to me about marriage, things people say to me about pregnancy and childbirth, and things people say about just about anything. Also, I’d like to point out that while some of this is a bit of ranting, the underlying point is that we should all (me include, me most definitely included) think a whole lot more before we say things to people, particularly when they are people we do not know particularly well.
However, today’s post will be about something married people say to single people. It’s this little gem:
“You’ll understand busyness when you get married.”
Honestly? I get it to a small extent. I’ve got a husband. I’ve got some wifely duties that I didn’t have before. But, I’ve also got a husband that travels a lot for work and works late a lot for work. In all honesty, I’m less busy now than I was when I was single. I realize that’s anecdotal, but isn’t the original statement? Perhaps in your (and that’s the general “your”) experience, you’re busier married. That’s totally cool. In my experience, I could use a bit more busyness.
I think it’s also important to point out that busy doesn’t equal happy. I’m not very busy, but my marriage is very happy. I have some theories on why that is, but at 21 months married, I wouldn’t begin to tell you what those theories are. After all, they probably won’t work once we have a kid or different jobs or someone gets a debilitating illness, because we all know those things happen to everyone at some point.
And, finally, use this as a springboard to talk to your single friends openly and honestly. It seems that when you’re a single adult, people often effectively volunteer you for projects because “You’re single, so you should have enough time to handle it.” That’s true of the first project, and it might be true of the second project that comes along at the same time as the first project, but it’s likely not true of subsequent ones. Be kind to your single friends, because in addition to getting volunteered for stuff, they also don’t have anyone to go home and whine to. So, don’t volunteer them and don’t assume, and heaven forbid, don’t tell them that they’ll understand busyness when they have a spouse. It’s just another way that the world implies that you don’t matter and you don’t have a life until you’re married.*
*Yes, I realize that this is likely not what the married person means when they’re talking to the single person. But think about it: it’s pretty easy to construe it that way, particularly when you’re a girl who wants a husband or boy who wants a wife.*
All I’m saying is be kind. Be sensitive. Be gentle. And I promise to cover things that are great to say to single people and engaged people. I’m sure I’ll have great things to tell pregnant women too, but since I’m not pregnant, I haven’t had anyone say anything to me. I have, however, had lots of fabulous bits of advice given to me over the years from people who are in a different stage of life than I am. I’ll share that too.