Tag: marriage

Selfish Singles?

I have a friend that I love who recently put up a blog post about her feelings on selfishness and her new relationship.  She said as a single person she has lived a selfish life and now with a boyfriend she has to take into account the feelings of another person.

While these feelings are completely valid and authentic I had to scratch my head a bit.  From my perspective single’s are forced into being less selfish than their married counterparts.

Here’s what I mean…when you are single you are self-sufficient only to a point.  You rely on the outside community for emotional, spiritual and other support.   In my experience my friends and family become my backbone because I have no other partner to lean on- they are my partner.

Again in my experience almost all married people  I know (at least for a while) become more insular and isolated after marriage than they were as singles.  With a few exceptions, most of my friends fall off the face of the earth as soon as they get engaged or married. Is this not also a form of selfishness?

I’ve even had a friend who I was a bridesmaid at her wedding and you know how many times we have gotten together in the two years since?  Twice. (and she lives in my apartment complex!).  I tried calling at first but eventually gave up. I still love her and chat with her when we happen to meet; however,  I have been disappointed in her lack of friendship.  I wish I could say such experiences were unique or rare.

I rely on my friends.  They are my support system, so when one of them drops me it breaks my heart.

Selfishness is defined as “stinginess resulting from a concern for your own welfare and a disregard of others”.   In my experience, married people are much stingier with their time and resources than the singles I know.  (this is with or without kids). Shouldn’t finding love make you more open to relationships not more isolated?  I’ve always been confused by this?

Perhaps as Mormon’s we focus so much on family that people forget the value of friendship. If there is any doubt on the church’s stand check out President Henry B. Eyring’s talk on friendship. He says:

“All of us will be tested. And all of us need true friends to love us, to listen to us, to show us the way, and to testify of truth to us so that we may retain the companionship of the Holy Ghost. You must be such a true friend.”

I understand that the single lifestyle has some selfish aspects.  For example, I don’t have to ask anyone’s opinion when I order a pizza.  I can get whatever toppings I want. I can watch whatever movie I want to watch at night, spend any money I have to spend,  and I have complete control of the remote control!  However, I think where it really counts we can be remarkably unselfish and sometimes we aren’t given enough credit for that.  We can be the most loyal, loving, service-oriented people in our churches, communities and families.

I suppose both groups have the potential to be selfish. We all do!  Isn’t it interesting how selfishness is the only sin which could apply to each of the seven deadly sins?  There are some economists who will try to persuade you that selfishness is a good thing (Ayn Rand anyone?). Maybe in economic theory this is true (I believe strongly in the free market) but in regular every-day life and interactions with others it leads to misery- married or single.

I will be very curious for thoughts on this topic.  Please add your comments!

I thought this was funny.

Gift From the Sea

Over the weekend I must admit to feeling a little depressed.  It’s hard to explain exactly why.  It may have been the new injections, the surgery date or that I didn’t feel great and was simply exhausted, wrung out in every way- emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually.  I was perhaps also a little bummed out at having to move my DC trip to September and I’m sure being alone over the Easter holiday didn’t help.  Who knows?  Sometimes I feel down for no reason at all, not very often, but it does happen.

Needing some comfort and inspiration I turned to a little book I had not read in at least 10 years, A Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh.  It was the perfect book for me to read at that moment and I devoured it!  (It’s not long- 127 pages.  Its more of a collection of essays than a book)  In the book Anne shares her contemplations after a vacation at the ocean.

Looking at a hermit crab leaving his shell Anne says “He ran away, and left me his shell.  It was once a protection to him.  I turn the shell in my hand, gazing into the wide open door from which he made his exit.  Had it become an encumbrance?  Why did he run away? Did he hope to find a better home, a better mode of living?  I too have run away, I realize, I have shed the shell of my life, for these few weeks of vacation.”

What a glorious thing such shedding is!  I feel the same way when I go to Hawaii.  Its sounds cheesy but the mere sound of the waves makes my problems float away and the brightness of the sun makes life feel alive, reborn.

Anne goes on to analyze her life, “I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.  I want, in fact- to borrow the language of the saints- to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.”

What a grand goal!  Of course, life becomes very complicated and busy.  Anne says “the life I have chosen as a wife and mother entrains a whole caravan of complications…This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of.  It leads not to unification but to fragmentation.  It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.  And this is not only true of my life,  I am forced to conclude; it is the life of millions of women in America.”

What is Anne’s solution to such a challenging problem? Well she compares each phase in life to different types of shells found at the beach:

1.  The Channeled Whelk- the abandoned home of a hermit crab.  “Blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, its shape is hardly recognizable anymore.  Surely, it had shape once.  It has a shape still in my mind.  What is the shape of my life? The shape of my life today starts with a family…I have also a craft, writing, and therefore work I want to pursue.  The shape of my life is determined by many other things: my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires.”

She goes on to talk about the difficulties of balancing all these shapes.  “Simplification of outward life is not enough.  It is merely the outside.  But I am starting with the outside.  I am looking at the outside of a shell, the outside of my life- the shell.  The complete answer is not to be found on the outside, in an outward mode of living.  This is only a technique, a road to grace. The final answer, I know, is always inside.  But the outside can give a clue, can help us find the answer.”

2. Moon Shell- “This is a snail-shell, round, full and glossy as a horse-chestnut.  Comfortable and compact…”  With the moon shell Anne talks about the importance of solitude and being comfortable in one’s skin.  “No man is an island, said John Donne.  I feel we are all islands- in a common sea. We are all, in the last analysis, alone.  And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about.  We are solitary.  We may delude ourselves and act as though this were not so.  That is all.”

Anne goes on to talk about the crowding in on solitude from modern life.  “Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone anymore.  We can do our housework with soap-opera heroes at our side.  Even day dreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms we choke the space with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen.  It is simply there to fill a vacuum…We must learn to be alone. ”

3. Double Sunrise- This shell was a gift from a friend. “Each side, like the wing of a butterfly, is marked with the same pattern; translucent white except for three rosy rays that fan out from the golden hinge binding the two together.  I hold two sunrises between my thumb and finger.”  Anne goes on to talk about the purity of the gift and what she calls the ‘pure relationship’.

“Every relationship seems simple at its start.  The simplicity of love, or friendliness, the mutuality of first sympathy seems, at its initial appearance- even if merely in exciting conversation across a dinner table- to be a self-enclosed world.  Two people listening to each other, two shells meeting each other, making one world between them.  There are no others in the perfect unity of that instant…”

The she goes on to say ‘how swiftly, how inevitably the perfect unity is invaded; the relationship changes’.   However, if we look we can find glimpses of the ‘pure relationship’ all around us.  Anne also recommends for couples temporary returns ‘to the pure relationship.’  She says our children need these glimpses also “Does each child not secretly long for the pure relationship he once had with the mother when he was ‘the baby’? And if we were able to put into practice this belief and spend more time with each child alone- would he not only gain in security and strength but also learn an important first lesson in his adult relationship?”

4. The Oyster Shell- Naturally we demand relationships that are more than the passions of a the purest moments.  This brings Anne to the oyster shell. “Each is fitted and formed by its own life and struggle to survive…Sprawling and uneven it has the irregularity of something rowing.  It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition after another to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and in its living state- this one is empty and cast up by the sea- firmly imbedded on its rock”

The oyster shell symbolizes the middle years of marriage (or I related it to the middle years of life). It is here that ‘many bonds, many strands, of different textures and strength, form making up a web that is taut and firm.  The web is fashioned of love.  Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic first, then a slow-growing devotion, and playing through these a constantly rippling companionship”.

As a single girl I must say- that is the dream.  ‘a constantly rippling companionship’.  I love it!

5. Argonata-  “These are in the beach-world certain rare creatures, who are not fastened to their shell at all.  It is actually a cradle for the young, held in the arms of the mother argonaut who floats within to the surface, where the eggs hatch and the young swim away.  Then the mother argonaut leaves her shell and starts another life.”

With this shell Anne contemplates on the second half of life when children have left the shell.  Anne says ‘ I believe after the oyster bed, an opportunity for the best relationship of all: not a limited, mutually exclusive one, like the sunrise shell; and not a functional, dependent one, as in the oyster bed; but the meeting of two whole fully developed persons.”

You may find it odd that I would be so moved by more talk of marriage but with so many evils fighting relationships- pornography, addiction, infidelity, workaholism- it is comforting to read of the potential for complete relationships.  Sometimes I am prone to be a bit cynical about love but in reading Anne’s words I thought of the relationships I do have and how they have grown.  My relationship with my parents, siblings, friends and myself have all changed and are changing each day.  How comforting to know that even more potential love is possible as relationships grow.

Anne says “The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment.” She then asks “What makes us hesitate and stumble?  It is fear, I think, that makes one cling nostalgically to the last moments or clutch greedily toward the next.  Fear destroys ‘the winged life.’ But how to exorcise it?  It can only be exorcised by its opposite, love.  When the heart is flooded with love there is no room for fear, for doubt, for hesitation.”

I know this was a super long post but I felt so inspired by Gift from the Sea and  I wanted to share it with those I love.  Like Anne when I think of the ocean I am filled with light and peace. I think this is because the ‘sea recedes and returns eternally’.  I believe I am a part of creating eternal relationships, whether it be with a family member or a friend- or someday something more.  What we do now has more significance then we realize and Anne’s words helped me remember all of my current challenges are part of my great collection of shells, which eventually will be vibrant, beautiful and eternal.

I hope I have done the book justice.  It moved me and felt like a big hug from my Heavenly Father.  I loved it.  Have any of you read it?  What did you think?

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Good Men?

I know I just posted yesterday but I was forwarded this article by my parents and thought it was so interesting. (To my facebook friends forgive me for reposting my thoughts on this subject).   I also thought it was well written and very witty.

It is called Where Have the Good Men Gone by Kay S. Hymowitz (evidently it is an excerpt from her book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, which I am very excited to read).  In the article, she discusses the new problem of ‘pre-adult’ men in America.  These are the types of men that are often profiled in movies starring Will Farrell, Seth Rogan and Owen Wilson.  Some women find this type of silly ‘frat boy’ behavior charming but it has always driven me crazy.

Unfortunately, even in the church there are very few single men over 25 that I would not describe as ‘pre-adult juvenile men’. I could give you a ton of examples. For most of them it is not like they are doing anything specifically wrong or sinful (that I’m aware of at least) but they don’t seem to have any motivation in their life. No motivation in their careers, schooling, not to mention marriage or family. (There was a whole crew of them in an old ward I used to call ‘The Ferris Bueller Boys’ because of their immature and annoying antics!).

I think there are 2 problems that Hymowitz doesn’t really mention. The first is what I call the epiphany complex. Many men are expecting to be struck with an ‘ah ha’ moment when it comes to major decisions. For instance, they aren’t content to find a job, it must be ‘the job’. They are expecting to find something that is ‘meant for me’. Until they find that job they move from sales or other work that is beneath them, so when it inevitably doesn’t work they can say ‘oh it wasn’t the job for me’. This is also true with some men when deciding a major. Its like every class has to be perfectly suited for them or they can’t tough it out.

Of course the epiphany complex is most seen with men in dating. Sometimes, especially in the church, if a girl isn’t perfect and scream out ‘this is the girl I’m going to marry’ then they don’t pursue a relationship. A lot of guys miss out on great girls because they don’t get that epiphany they are hoping for and never ask them out.

The other problem is the possibly mistaken cultural tradition that making it in our society is harder for girls. Clearly this was true in the past when women could do little more than teaching and nursing. However, now there are more women graduate degree and law students then men. I think girls are still taught that you will have to work harder to get paid what men get paid. Single motherhood is also frequently portrayed in movies and on television and many women almost plan on it. When I was going to grad school it was always, with a few rare exceptions, the female students who worked harder than the men. In addition, if there were any students that we had to babysit it was the men.  I hated being in group projects with certain men.  It was a near-guarantee they would flake out, and I’d be forced doing the work for two people.  Women are taught to expect such behavior and to plow through it to get ahead.  We understand that things like education and a career will be tough and that we will have to fight for any position we gain in life. I do think this leads to a lot of overworked, stressed out, female professionals that only look to their girlfriends for companionship. At least girlfriends seem to understand.

The other ironic thing is that some guys feel intimidated by women who are successful but what is our alternative? Sit at home and knit? I don’t think so. (no disrespect for knitting intended 🙂 ) The women of the world are not going to wait around for men to be motivated.  We all just have to live the best life we can and hope to find someone who will love us.

It’s all kind of depressing when you think about it but what can be done to fix the situation? All I can do is pray that one of the ‘exception to the rules’ is out there. After all, I only need one!

A Celebration of Julia Child

Tonight was such a fun night.  It was book club night and we read My Life in France by Julia Child.  I had read this book once before and I LOVE IT! Rereading it was a joy in every regard.  Naturally I had heard of Julia Child before this book but I had no idea how remarkable she really was.

At the ripe old age of 34 she married her husband Paul who was an artist and foreign diplomat.  Paul had spent years abroad before their marriage and already had a love for different cultures and food.  As luck would have it their first assignment was the embassy in Paris, France.  Growing up in Pasadena, CA Julia had never experienced anything beyond the bland food of the 1950’s-mostly prepared quickly by hired cooks.  However, everything changed on her first day in France when Paul took Julia to a restaurant in Rouen where she ate an unforgettable meal of oysters, sole meuniere, coffee and wine.  She had never tasted such rich and complex flavors and immediately fell in love with french food.  Bucking the trend of other women (even the french women) that surrounded her, she dived into the markets and recipes of France.

Eventually with the encouragement of her husband Julia enrolled and graduated at the famous cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu.   While gaining her culinary education she also met life-long friends and collaborators Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck with whom she started a cooking school called Ecole Des Trois Gourmandes.  Realizing her knack for teaching and explaining french recipes to American housewives Julia and her friends spent nearly a decade writing her masterpiece aptly titled Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  This is a book that inspired scores of women to embrace cooking and plan bold, exotic meals.  After  the books publication Julia started one of the first televised cooking shows called The French Chef, which became an immediate hit and ran for over 10 years.  Now Julia’s entire Cambridge, Mass kitchen can be seen at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  Her books are still best sellers and My Life in France was adapted in the movie Julie and Julia (the Julia part is so much better than the Julie.  Meryl Streep totally gets Julia! Btw- I hate the book Julie and Julia).

While I appreciate Julia’s contribution to cooking, I am more impressed with her indomitable will.  I am awed that in her late 30’s she dared to start a whole new life.  She found her passion and had the courage to embrace it.  I relate because I have also had a moment where I needed to change my life and like her the change was hard but so worth it!  Now I am undergoing another change with my fitness challenge.  It’s nice to know I can look to Julia for inspiration!

My Life in France is also a beautiful depiction of a marriage between Julia and Paul.  They are an amazing couple-passionate, adventurous,  and unfailingly devoted to one another.  Julia was not only introduced to french cooking (and taught to enjoy food) by Paul but encouraged in every other aspect of her new career.  As a talented artist and photographer Paul sacrificed much to allow Julia to pursue her dream.  As Emily mentioned in book club Julia’s dream became Paul’s dream.  I may not know much about marriage but isn’t that the idea?

It is a great book!  Read it!

On a related note we had a great book club today.  I love entertaining and making things look beautiful for my friends. I love planning menus, arranging table settings and gathering interesting people.  To me a perfect evening is 5-6 friends, a good meal and a leisurely conversation.  People always thank me for all the hard work but it truly is a joy.  I just love it.  For tonight I did a little French spread in honor of Julia.  It was a simple but delicious with 2 kinds of pate (my first time with pate- yummy!), goat cheese, brie, various crackers, strawberries and french cookies.  Then several people brought “food memory” desserts including a delicious arroz con leche and tiramisu (thanks girls).  It was a wonderful night of sharing, chatting and delicious food.  Perfect.

I also made pins with the badge Julia’s cooking school.  This was a badge she wore throughout her cooking show and other public appearances.  I told the girls wearing this pin would “bring out your inner-Julia in the kitchen!”  They were very easy to make so if any of you want one let me know!  Thanks to everyone who came and made it a great night!

Generation Next

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camera-002My sister and I used to joke about when it was we have officially “turned out”?  You know how people always say “she’s turned out well” or “he turned out with lots of problems”.  When do we turn out? When have we officially grown up? According to a recent study done by my Alma mater Brigham Young University the age of achieving adulthood has changed in recent years.  In fact, there is a new term, an “emerging adult”, that is used to describe young adults between the ages of 18-25.  This is like a teenager phase II.

Here’s  a press release from BYU on the topic:

http://byunews.byu.edu/archive07-DEC-adulthood.aspx

I have noticed this phenomenon amongst my fellow young adults.  It does seem like people my age are still searching for their roles and motivations when in the past they would have been forced into them- or at least in the past young people wouldn’t have thought of other options.

When I look around at many of my contemporaries I notice this trend and some of the negative sides.  There are  more “emerging adults” than I would like to admit who are 25ish and are still finishing their bachelors degree, undecided on their career and living at home- just kind of directionless.  This has always been hard for me to understand as I have been the opposite.  You can even see it in recent films by Will Farrell and Seth Rogan about older men who behave like children or teenagers at best.  It is like the frat boy mentality never dies.  It is seen in girls also but harder to put into words.  I think girls are more likely to develop peer groups like the ones exemplified in Sex and the City to replace the need for traditional female roles.  This lack of motivation is the negative side of the “emerging adult” phenomenon.

On the other hand,  I do not think this trend is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many of the articles and studies on the topic found some positive benefits to the new behavior of young adults.  For instance, there is a new closeness between young adults and parents that didn’t exist in past eras.   There is also a commitment to family, careers, and goals once they are made that may not have existed in previous generations. Perhaps we wait because we value the commitments of adulthood not the other way around?

Another benefit is that the “emerging adults” typically have a broader exposure to different cultures, families, philosophies and lifestyles.  They tend to be more diverse and well-rounded as a result. Regardless of how you view such a  change it is important to recognize that it has occurred and then we can look at the pluses and minuses.  At the very least it makes me feel better about being single- evidently there are a lot of other young adults out there around my age who are unattached and independent like myself!

It all reminds me of a book I LOVE called Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters.  It made me feel validated and I read it with a highlighter and a notepad.  It just spoke to me.  For the first time someone was actually saying that by being single and forming groups of friends I might actually be showing my commitment to family instead of schlepping my life away.  I also liked the way that Watters asked society to look through a new lens- that maybe there were negative aspects to a new trend but let’s at least analyze it for what it is and not what it isn’t.  These groups of Urban Tribes (or emerging adults) are changing America in lots of ways and its hard to appreciate those changes if we do not acknowledge their existence.  I will do an entire entry later on that book. I loved it so much! I will be very curious for your thoughts on this subject. Do you think this trend “emerging adults” is a good thing, bad thing, neither?  Look at this interesting NPR article:

Generation Next’ in the Slow Lane to Adulthood

December 20, 2007 · Recent studies find interesting differences among today’s young people compared with those of decades past. There’s even a new term for the generation age 18 to 25: Generation Next. And a new label for this period of development: “emerging adulthood.”

Jeffrey Arnett, a developmental psychologist at Clark University, coined the term “emerging adult.” Arnett says a number of cultural changes over the past five decades created this lengthened path to adulthood.

“Go back 50 years, the median age of marriage for women was 20; for men, 22. And they likely had their first child within one year,” Arnett says.

Back in 1960, Arnett says, most people in their early 20s had chosen a life partner, finished their education and were in a stable job if they were male; full-time mothers if they were female.

But none of that exists today, Arnett says.

“Now, if you heard of somebody 19 to 20 years old planning to get married, you’d think they were crazy,” Arnett says. “It’s so unusual now to do that. The average age for women to marry is 26, and for men, 27 and a half.”

Colin Herron, 21, is a senior at George Washington University. Lindsay Tingley, 23, is a law student at Wake Forest University. Herron and Tingley pretty much reflect the thinking of their generation.

“I’m not feeling like I’m in any rush,” Tingley says. “I think people get married a lot older these days and they have kids a lot later these days, and I know that I, myself, want to have a career. I don’t see myself getting married for another, I don’t know, three to four years. Three to six sounds good.”

When asked if they feel like adults, Tingley says what most 20-somethings say: yes and no.

“I do have a roommate down at school. I feel independent in that way. I have to make sure my rent gets paid and I buy my own groceries, take care of my car, feel like I have adult relationships. I’m responsible for getting my work turned in and staying on top of things, so in that way, I do,” Tingley says.

But complete financial autonomy? No way. Tingley receives financial help from her parents and from school loans.

“I don’t know a lot about investing, and I feel like at my age, that’s something that I should really start learning about,” Tingley says. “I certainly wouldn’t know how to buy my own house at this point.”

Herron says that the fact that he’s in school leaves him dependent on his parents.

“Because I have strings attached as far as school goes — loans and how I’m paying for school — that’s kind of what’s keeping me from entering adulthood,” Herron says.

And school is the other part of what Arnett calls the “quiet revolution.” The number of early 20-somethings in college has doubled over the past five decades. Today, there are more women than men attending college. Attending graduate school is more common, also, thereby increasing the length of time people spend preparing for adulthood.

Developmental psychologist Larry Nelson of Brigham Young University recently completed a study that appears in December’s Journal of Family Psychology. Nelson surveyed 392 unmarried college students and at least one of their parents.

“We wanted to know if parents considered their child —18 to 26 years old — adult or not,” Nelson explains. “Over 80 percent of mothers and fathers said, ‘No. They are not yet an adult.'”

It’s not just financial ties. These young people are also emotionally close to their parents.

“We have a really great relationship,” Tingley says. “We’re really close. You know, I don’t talk to them about everything, but I feel I could if I wanted to.”

Herron agrees. “There’s certainly a security net in the sense of an emotional security net. I know that they’re there. They certainly have let me know as long as I can remember that they will be there as long as they’re alive for whatever I need.”

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows eight out of 10 young people surveyed had talked to their parents in the past day. Nearly three in four said they see their parents at least once a week.

What does it add up to? A generation that’s closely connected to family. And one that’s taking its time to figure out the future, which, according to Arnett, isn’t such a bad thing.

“Once you take on adult responsibilities, you’re going to have them for life. So, why not take this time in your 20s to do the sort of things you couldn’t do before and never will be able to do again?” he says. “Once you get married and have kids and have a long-term employer, you can’t just leave them because something interesting comes along. But in your 20s, you can.”

And much of this time experimenting with life is balanced on the other end, Arnett says, by a lifespan that continues to rise.

“I say, more power to them.”

Married vs Singles?

So, I gave this blog a somewhat provocative title on purpose. I am hoping that some good discussion will develop from my thoughts on a TV snippet I saw this morning. The point of the discussion was why married and single people tend to have a difficult time maintaining relationships with each other. Of course, they put the argument in boxing terms which may be a bit strong, but they brought up the point that often people that are close when they are single find it difficult to remain friends after one of them gets married. I must say that I have noticed this on occasion. I have some great married friends that I am still close to but others have fallen off the face of the earth. To be fair, I have also lost contact with some of my single friends as well.

Do you guy’s see this as a phenomenon? If so, why do you think it happens? Do singles feel threatened by the marital bliss of their friends- or vice versa? Are schedules just so different? Are lifestyles different, so relating to one another becomes hard? Do married people not need friends for support and comfort the way single people do?

I hope nobody is offended by this line of questioning. I honestly am just curious for thoughts on the topic. One thing I have wondered is if the real barrier comes when children are brought into the picture. I have had a number of married friends without kids that mention the difficulty they have bonding with other married couples with kids. Most of the time such difficulties result from scheduling conflicts. Children require so much time particularly at night when those (married or single) without kids are off from work itching to hang out. It’s a lot of work for a parent to find a sitter and the few times they do go to such trouble they probably want to spend time as a couple instead of hanging out with their single friends.

Another problem that might create barriers is a change in conversation and interests between the two groups. For instance, two girlfriends may have had everything in common when they were single but now that one is married some of those primary interests have changed for the married friend. What is important to remember is that those points of connection are still there. Priorities have just changed. I would wager to say that singles can be every bit as flaky in discounting or forgetting their married friends- with singles just assuming they have nothing in common anymore. I am obviously not married but it has got to be hard to get married and get dropped by most of your single friends.

So what is the solution to this problem? I don’t know, but here are some thoughts I have on strengthening married/single relationships (sounds so diplomatic hah!). First of all, whether single or married everyone must try to be what I call a low maintenance friend. Be someone that doesn’t whimper and feel neglected if they aren’t contacted for a month or if an outing together doesn’t work out. I love friends like this. Friends that I can always count on, friends that I love to be with, but that are not going to cause me additional stress in maintaining the friendship. I understand that everyone has their high maintenance moments but in general friendships should uplift our lives and be a solace from the world. They certainly should not add extra stress to our already busy lives. My next suggestion is to try and be understanding of different schedules and lifestyles. I was talking to my sister Megan the other day and she mentioned that a friend of hers and had gotten together for breakfast. She said this was convenient for her because she got some female bonding time without interrupting naps, sleeping or other commitments with her children. It was also casual so she could bring the kids and did not need a sitter. Maybe next time a single girl wants to get together with her married friend she could suggest a Saturday breakfast? On the other side of the spectrum married people must work around and respect the schedule of their single friends. Finally, it is important to be sensitive in conversation to the lifestyle and decisions of both groups. Sometimes both groups can come off as condescending- as if they have made the better choices. Let’s just respect each other and remember that we are friends. That’s what’s important!

One last tip for my married friends. Don’t set up your single friends unless you honestly feel that the set up has potential. Most singles don’t mind set ups that are thoughtfully prepared but everyone I know hates the “Your single. He’s single” type of set up. There has to be some reason that the couple might work. Bad set ups are irritating and annoying on many levels and can give the impression that you can’t be friends unless you are part of a couple.

So, those are my thoughts on this topic. It will be interesting for your responses and again hopefully you all understand the spirit of the post. I love all my married and single friends!!!