How to Be a Better Friend to Your Single Friends When You're Married

How to Be a Better Friend to Your Single Friends When You're Married

How to Be a Better Friend to Your Single Friends When You're Married

A few years after my divorce, I found myself attending a wonderful church where I was eventually appointed director of the singles ministry. And about ten years after that, I started a singles ministry, although I was married at my current church. I have a heart for single people, and much of what I've included here are lessons I taught to singles. 

I've been married seventeen years, but I have friends who are single, divorced, and widowed. However, I've also been a single mom. I remember the struggle of wanting to please God with a holy lifestyle while combating the fleshly temptations I often faced. Although I was only a single parent for seven years, it felt like a lifetime.

A few years after my divorce, I found myself attending a wonderful church where I was eventually appointed director of the singles ministry. And about ten years after that, I started a singles ministry, although I was married at my current church. I have a heart for single people, and much of what I've included here are lessons I taught to singles.

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1. Encourage your friends to live full lives instead of looking for a husband. 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)

Let me start by saying there's absolutely nothing wrong with being single. Singlehood isn't an illness that needs to be cured; neither is it a holding pattern. Singlehood isn't a stepping stone to marriage. Singlehood is honorable. A good friend to single women and men encourages them to live their lives to the fullest in a way that glorifies and honors God and encourages them to pursue their dreams. If a single woman wants to buy a house, travel, or start a business, don't tell her to wait until she's married. What if she never gets married? Instead, encourage your single friend to pursue her dreams and goals now.

2. Don't throw married life around like it's the epitome of womanhood.

"But I say to the unmarried and to the widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:8-9)

Closely tied to point #1 is refusing to exalt married life like it's the pinnacle of womanhood. I understand being a wife and mother were traditionally the goals for many women. However, in today's world, women aren't defined by their marital or parental status. A woman is a woman regardless of those statuses. If you want to be a good friend, don't make the mistake of intentionally or unintentionally lifting "wife" above being single.

3. Don't be a matchmaker, unless you're asked.

"Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or troublesome meddler." (1 Peter 4:15)

There's a young man I've been watching for some time now. He's a genuinely nice guy, in his late 30's, never married, and a homeowner. I'd like to see him married to a good woman. Unfortunately, I don't know any women in their mid 30's who'd be a good match for him, which leads me to my next point. Good friends don't try to play matchmaker unless they're asked. This young man doesn't need me to hook him up with anyone. He's an extrovert who has a lot of friends. He just hasn't found the one yet. And he may never find her as he's content being a single dad to his beautiful daughter. And there's nothing wrong with that.

4. Tell the truth about marriage. It's not easy. It's hard work. 

"Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices." (Colossians 3:9)

Marriage is hard work. Don't fool your single friends into thinking marriage is easy. I've come across some people who got married and soon realized they didn't want the marriage, they only wanted the wedding. Marriage is more than a wedding. Marriage requires sacrifice, commitment, and respect, even when you don't feel like giving them. Marriage brings joy but also sorrow. It brings laughter but also tears. Make sure you're showing a real marriage, so your friends don't idolize it.

5. Remember, your friends' relationships are just as important to them as your marriage is to you. 

"For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith." (Romans 12:3)

Perhaps your friend isn't married but is dating or in a committed relationship. Don't downplay their relationship just because they aren't married. Trust me, their relationship means as much to them as your marriage means to you. In addition, their relationship requires the same level of respect as your marriage.

6. Give wise counsel only when asked. You aren't a relationship expert just because you're married.

"For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)

Just because you're married doesn't mean you're a relationship expert. Further, what works for your marriage and relationship isn't a standard by which other people need to live their lives. Thus, be careful about giving unsolicited advice. If your friend asks for your advice on a particular topic, feel free to give it. However, reign in the free advice if your friend hasn't asked for it. And when you do offer advice, ensure it is Bible-based, not your personal opinion.

7. Make time for them.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

When I was attending the church in which I was appointed director of the singles ministry, there were a lot of single women. As they started getting married, I found myself with more time on my hands as two of my closest friends had gotten married. One of my friends still made time for me, and I appreciated that. Make time for your friend(s). Schedule time for movies, dinner, a girls' day/night out; call her. She will appreciate the time with you, and I'm sure your husband will find something to occupy his time.

8. Be a godly example of a wife and Christian

"Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)

If your single friend desires to marry one day, you have an incredible opportunity to display for her the traits of a godly wife. Whenever you show your husband respect, love, and appreciation, you're teaching her how to do the same when she marries. Always remember to set a good example.

9. Dissuade fornication and other sexual sins

"Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)

If your friend was sexually active before coming to Christ, she might be struggling with a desire for intimacy. This desire or temptation can cause her to fornicate. If your friend is struggling, pray, and fast for her. Remind her what the Bible says about fornication. You don't want her to miss God's will for her because of sin.

10. Be sensitive to your friends during the holidays.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." (Proverbs 17:17)

Valentine's Day, birthdays, and Christmas can be hard for single people. Be mindful of special days, even vacations, when talking to your single friends. While you're receiving gifts, your friend isn't receiving anything. One of my single friends gave me a box of candy for Valentine's Day. That simple gesture meant so much. Perhaps you can give your friend a small, inexpensive gift, so she doesn't feel left out.

I've met many people who, after they get married, seem to forget about their friends. Many of these people act as though cleaving means to cut all other relationships. That's not what cleave means. God didn't intend that we forsake our friends when we get married. Indeed, marriage is an excellent opportunity to serve our unmarried friends. Our marriages can minister to our friends if we allow them to do so. Be a good friend to your single friends. Let your marriage be an example of love, respect, and sacrifice. Perhaps they'll need your example one day.

Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking Victoriously. Aretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.

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Today's role for a Christian woman takes many forms working together - mom, sister, wife, home maker, career women, and more. All of these relationships demand your time and attention. At iBelieve.com we want to help you grow in healthy relationships whether you’re single and dating, newlyweds, married or widowed. Find encouragement and feel uplifted with the sharing of personal experiences from women in every walk of the Christian women’s life.