All the Single Ladies: people who marry young.

 

The initial idea was to make this a blog series but writing about this consistently would be exhausting, so instead it just pops up whenever.

Previous: I’m not always okay.

The other day I was talking to Brittany about a conversation she’d had with someone regarding a person she’s dating. The details aren’t mine to tell, but at one point I asked how old the other person was when they got married. I wasn’t shocked when Brittany said 19ish.

That launched us into this whole conversation, and I’d like to share with you the heart of it all.

If you got married young {and I think “young,” for these purposes, will be under the age of 25} then I don’t think us single ladies are interested in your dating advice. No, seriously.

This is not meant to be condescending or bitter towards people who married young. God’s got plans and times for all of us, and I’m fine with what he’s done for you.

But things start to change, and being single at 30 is not the same as being single at 19, and dating at 30 is not the same as dating at 19. It’s not that your advice or experience is invalid, it’s just that it is often irrelevant when it is based off of your own experience.

For example, the issue of dating men with children came up. It’s one thing to say when you are 19, and much of your dating pool has never been married. It’s a completely different thing to say when you are 35 and that percentage has jumped. Your standards have to evolve. Not lower, mind you. But evolve. At 19, the idea of getting married and “having nothing but love” is probably romantic and whimsical. At 30, it is irresponsible. Get it? Times just change.

We agreed that part of the frustration is that it is rarely meant this way, but it usually comes across offensive. You know why? People who marry young have experience in being married. So be married and offer marriage advice when it becomes relevant. But you know what people who marry young do not have experience in? Being single for many years in a row and having to face the reality of entering into your 30’s without being married, and buying your first house all on your own and making very grown up decisions without having a partner to weigh your options with.

This is not to say, however, that if you married young, your opinion has no value to us. But don’t tell us how gracefully live another year single or treat our struggles as petty frustrations. And for the most part, you can go ahead and not use your brief time as a single adult as some sort of common ground. You be okay with your experience and help me be okay with mine.

If I ever called up a friend of mine who has been married for 7 years and decided to correct all of the emotions they felt towards their husband, I don’t think that would go over so well. There would be a wall between assumption and understanding. Marriage sounds like a sea of mystery, and single adulthood is as well. Two different bodies of water with depths that cannot be understood by one not submerged in them.

So.

The truth: People who got married young do not have relevant dating expectations for people who are approaching or in their 30s and single.
The appropriate response: You be okay with your experience and help me be okay with mine by listening and loving and remembering that your marriage advice {not advice on singleness} will be invaluable to us when we get there.