We’ve all seen them. The articles that poke fun at married women who are labeled as “sublimely unhappy” and “overcompensating” if posting too many pictures of one’s spouse – The Most Annoying Things Married People Do On Facebook – and even more annoying, those that pit single ladies against the married starting in the very title – What Single Women Hate About Married Women. Sure, it’s all in good fun but is it helping anything?
I was single for a solid 27 years before I was ready to meet the right guy and then later tie the knot. To some that was a long time to be stay single, I am Southern after all, and believe me, I heard it all from “When are you going to finally settle down?“ to “Enjoy these single days while you have them!” For a while the majority of my girlfriends were also single and we shared the good and the bad of being on our own and embracing life as free agents. When those same girlfriends got married my relationship with them changed, sure, but never once was I made to feel inferior or “less awesome” because they were in a serious relationship with a man and I wasn’t. Honestly it was pretty great to see my friends happy and so in love, which gave me hope that one day God would bless me with a good man. (Insert: Taylor)
As a very new newlywed I read “Why I Refuse to Join the Smug Married Club” thinking maybe there was a list of behaviors I should note and avoid like the plague. Are married women smug? Is that a thing? Is it inevitable that both groups secretly dislike each other simply because of their relationship status? Does something terrible happen to our manners once we add the Mrs.? I’d like to think not and now eight months into marriage I can proudly say I just don’t get it. I have friends who are happily single and happily married. Oh, and I also have friends that have KIDS. Can you believe it? As women, we are always evolving and changing, whether it be chasing the career of your dreams, marrying your best friend, working on your nursery to welcome in a little one or planning that trip to Vegas now that you’re retired. Who says we can’t all be supportive and happy for each other during every season of life?
Maybe I’ll alone in this, I don’t base my friendships on my girlfriend’s relationship or marital status. The guy they’re with – or not – is not why I cherish their friendship. They are supportive, hilarious, fiercely loyal and overall go-getters. We talk about men and relationships from time to time, but there are plenty of other topics — answered prayers, work, trips, where we ate the night before, whatever’s in People, etc. Being in a relationship hasn’t given me some sort of amnesia about being single, nor has my new role of wife made it impossible for my girlfriends to stomach hearing about what’s new with me.
No matter what box you check off to describe your status: single, married, divorced, widowed, or it’s complicated, that alone does not define you. Sometimes being single is awesome, and sometimes it’s not. I’d say the same is true for marriage! I have never been happier than I am today, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love so much about my single days. We’ve gotta stop with the negative and embrace where we are today, in this moment.
Ladies, let’s pull it together and support each other in every season of life. Enough with the team single and team married business – let’s all make the choice to be happy and live full, extraordinary lives. Let’s stop telling ourselves we can’t relate to that friend anymore because we’re in “different phases.” Enough with the silly articles that cause division and try to put us in categories. I pray you’re in love with your life and everyone in it, and not afraid to show it! Happiness is contagious and love is necessary. xo