Monday, February 18, 2008

i think better friendships will equal better marriages

what if all of us single people just hunkered down and committed to our friends and family and roommates? what if we took the focus off of ourselves and put it on each other? would we still feel as lonely and isolated and unstable as we currently often do? would we rush into bad dating relationships so quickly or stay in them as long as we do? i think probably not.

i brought this up with my friend evan the other day and he was right there with me; he agreed that our selfishness as single people is causing us to miss out on so many good things that god wants for us. basically, we're saying to god, i want the intimacy and connection and partnership that come with a spouse! and in return he's saying, i know that, and i want that for you too, but right now i'm providing with all of these other people for intimacy and connection and partnership, and you're ignoring them!

evan and i talked about what we thought might change if each of us had a significant other. he said he thought he'd feel more satisfied (amongst other things), and i said i envisioned myself feeling more stable and connected and anchored. we talked about achieving those feelings now, and we agreed that there's no good reason (save our own stubbornness) why we can't move that direction in our current single state.

i think that in order to get there, i've got to start putting other people first on a regular basis. for example; if my friends are going to watch movies and hang out friday night, and i really don't want to watch movies, well, maybe i need to suck it up and go watch movies just to spend some time with them. most of the time, i'd go look for something else to do with some other group of friends. and sometimes that's ok. but if i keep choosing the activity over the people, i never really commit to anyone. i never say you're important enough to me that i'll do something that i don't really like all that much just to spend time with you.

maybe the intimacy we all desperately long for is right in front of our faces. we just have to work a little harder to find it. die to ourselves a little. be a little more vulnerable with a few of our friends. really let them in, and really show them that we want to know them.

i think those things (sacrifice, service, vulnerability) are at the heart of a good marriage. why can't we start learning them now? good relationships are good relationships. a healthy community is a healthy community, no matter if it's singles or couples or a mix of both.


Amir Larijani said...

Those elements certainly cannot hurt; on the other hand, I would caution on two things:

(1) Those relationships are not a substitute for marriage.

(2) Do not pursue that as a "I must make myself better before I can be worthy of marriage."

Fact is, you are single, and probably for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with your character.

single/certain said...

i totally agree with both of those things, amir. but, those relationships are what i have right now. and every married person i've ever met has told me that the things you struggle with as a single person don't go away when you get married. if i'm not connecting with the community i have now and am feeling isolated, chances are i'll still struggle with that when i'm married.

and it's not about becoming worthy of marriage, at least not for me. it's about becoming more christ-like. it's about wanting to love people better because that's what god wants us to do.


Gina said...

At lunch last week with a married friend, she said to me, "The only thing I can't do now that I'm married, that I could do when I was single, is be selfish."

I think wanting to move away from our selfish tendencies as a single is an admirable and worthwhile thing to do, but I'd agree with amir - it's no substitute for marriage. God's been showing me this year that part of the reason marriage is a good thing is because it's the path he's chosen, for most of us at any rate, to make us more like Him. So that isn't an excuse to be selfish all the time, but I guess, to realize that no matter how selfless we think we may be, marriage just might prove us wrong.

single/certain said...

friendships and community may not be a substitute for marriage, but i have to believe that lessons i can learn now are just as meaningful as the lessons i might learn married. marriage isn't happening right now for me. that doesn't mean that god isn't teaching me about selfishness and intimacy and connectedness. he has many tools; marriage is one of them. it's the one i'd prefer right now, honestly. but god has chosen otherwise for me.

Amir Larijani said...

Good point, Gina.

As a bachelor, I have lots of freedom with respect to my time. I can blog, go shooting, go to the gym, play with my cats, leave notes on S/C's blog, the list goes on.

If I were married, that "honeydo" list would be the primary consumer of my time outside the office. ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything insightful to add. I just stopped by to say hello.

D said...

Yes and no. There is nothing wrong with longing for a partner. People used to get married at much younger ages, we now have a totally new thing called "the gap" which is defeined as the amount of years between puberty and marriage. I've had some very deep friendships with men that weren' right because they were actually dating relationships without commitment. If you want to truly dive into a world of hurt, have one of these kinds of relationships.

single/certain said...

i totally know what you're talking about, D. i've had those kind of relationships. if you want to read about one especially bad one, read all the posts in my blog about my friendship with seth. good times.... NOT.

i'm talking about healthy relationships. primarily with same-sex friends, but also opposite sex friends too, with lots of healthy boundaries in place.