This chapter isn't about what you might think it's about on reading that title! It's about how married people and single people can 'live together' in terms of understanding, supporting, loving and caring for one another. So often single people can feel hurt by things which married people say and do - obviously they don't mean to be hurtful, but sadly that's how it can feel. It's not only one way though - I'm sure single people also sometimes do and say things which aren't helpful to our married friends. If we're going to really be 'family', if we're going to truly love and support one another, if we want to understand one another better, then we need to talk about this stuff. If we're able to have open and honest conversations, and if we genuinely want to do relationships better, then it can only help. Otherwise we'll run the risk of one of two extremes - either when we're hurt we'll never say anything, but simply store up the pain until it becomes a big lump of bitterness; or when we're hurt we'll immediately complain and lash out, causing even more pain and upset. Neither of those sound like great options, do they?! So let's start some honest conversations...
In this chapter I've listed 10 things which single people wish married people wouldn't say to them. Every one of these things has been said to me at some point by a married person. Some have been said several times. From chatting to other single friends I think I've captured a decent top 10 here. The list is meant to be funny (rather than bitterly angry!!), but it's also meant to make a serious point. Here's the list (each one is expanded on in the book) -
1. You're so lovely, why are you still single?
2. Don't worry, you're still so young.
3. Do you have a family?
4. If you get your relationship with God sorted out, then he'll send you a spouse.
5. I was still single till the age of X, so I know exactly how you feel.
6. Do you think maybe you're being too picky?
7. Have you thought about speed dating/internet dating/blind dating?
8. You're so lucky to be footloose and fancy free.
9. My husband/wife/children are driving me mad. It's so hard being married/having children - if I were you I wouldn't bother.
10. I think God has given me a word for you - you'll be married by the age of X/be pregnant by next Christmas/have 6 children.
I also list a whole load of things which single people have told me they love about their married friends, and ways in which they've had relationships with married people and families work really well, as well as a list of ways in which things haven't worked so well. Then there's a chance for the married people to get their own back, as they've listed some things which they'd like to say to single people.
I really hope this chapter will help single and married people to understand one another better and to develop great relationships which will bless everyone involved. I know how blessed I am by the relationships I have with some great married couples and families who open their homes and lives to me. As church, I really think we ought to be good at this stuff, and showing the world around us how to do loving relationships well.