5 Things Single People Wish Married People Knew

As I weathered Valentine’s Day this month (again) as a single woman, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’d like to say to my married friends about what it’s like to be unmarried at 36 and living alone in a married person’s world.

First of all, I’m very happy when I see my friends enter into and build healthy, happy marriages. This is a beautiful thing, something to which, many of us as single individuals aspire to.

And I understand that it can be difficult to know what to say or how to treat those of us who have not yet gone to the chapel. So as I reflect on my station in life, especially as it relates to the empty fourth finger on my left hand and the desire I have for marriage, there’s a few things I’d like my married friends out there to know. Not to guilt you or chastise you, but to help you, like you help me, see life from a different point of view.

It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to feel like a third or fifth wheel, or enjoy the company.

1. Single people make good friends, too.

I can remember times when I first moved to a new town and I heard friends (all married) talk about the fun things that they had done together as couples. I remember wishing that for once, they would invite me to come along! It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to feel like a third or fifth wheel, or enjoy the company. Invite me along, even if I’m the only one without a date.

2. Please don’t assume you know how I feel.

As an unmarried person, I may or may not be struggling with my singleness at the moment, so if you want to know, ask me. Don’t assume that because we spoke once and I was really struggling in my singleness that I’m forever pining away for a husband. And don’t assume that because we once spoke about how I’m pretty content in my single status that I’m always going to be content. Instead of assuming, ask me.

3. Singleness looks different in your twenties than it does in your thirties.

Because you may have spent a period of time—long or short—being single does not mean that you understand what it is to see your peers and even your nieces and nephews get married before you. The experience of singleness does not remain the same over time.

4. Dispense your formula for finding a mate with care.

“It” may have worked for you and 10 of your friends, but from what I know about love, and especially finding and marrying—and staying married—isn’t formulaic. Chances are, I’ve “tried” your formula and it hasn’t “worked.” This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear your advice, I just hope that you’ll listen to me before you offer it.

5. There are days when singleness feels unbearable, and days when it feels empowering.

If you catch me on one of the bad days, offer to help me do yard work, buy me chocolate, take me out for dinner, or watch a chick-flick with me. Remind me that companionship doesn’t always come in the form of a romance.

Your friend may be single, but they don’t have to be alone.

There are other days when singleness feels empowering. On those days, I feel pretty good about managing a home, a car, a job, my bank account and social situations flying solo. Please don’t talk to me about how my independence is intimidating to a man. That’s so 1950s.

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It may seem that I’ve painted a pretty bleak picture for how you can approach your single friend when it relates to their single status in life. But the reality is that he or she may be single, but they don’t have to be alone. And for their sake, and for what they have to offer to you and the rest of the world, I hope they won’t be.

You can help them to know that they are a valued member of a community, and not just because they “have all that free time on their hands.” Cut them a little slack, and do them and yourself a favor by treating them like what they are: normal.

Top Comments

Brandon Lazarus


Brandon Lazarus replied to jamie king's comment

Ashlee is not saying that all of her friends have done all of these things. She is merely sharing thoughts from some of the experiences. If she had called out certain people or said that all married people had done all of these things then I would understand you saying this post is an assumption and very judgmental. Instead, she has made herself vulnerable and shared how she feels as a single and would like to be treated. She does live and have fun, she would just also like people to know how she would prefer to respond to her singleness.

Hannah Clark


Hannah Clark commented…

Hear hear! This was wonderful and exactly what I wish my married or just plain coupled friends would understand. Thank you, Ashlee.




Jennifer commented…

I appreciate this article and I empathize with where you are coming from.

As a married woman (married just a few years now) I wish I had other married women that would walk along side of me. I wish single woman would walk along side of me. Their are many days where I just feel like my soul is screaming out "WHY! why did I get married! Why dont I have anyone in my life, I feel so alone" because I am a believer I do not believe in divorce. My husband is not abusive we just dont connect or communicate and I am living in my own hell each day being alone and the only person to speak to is my child.

I think I fell into the category of thinking that once I got married my life would just magically be wonderful. That being married is the end all and be all of blessings. I rushed it, I longed for it. But being married isn't just being married to your spouse, its also being married to their family.

Marriage isn't a solution. So my suggestion for all the single people that like this post and can relate to it. I beg of you, do not rush into marriage. Dont think everything is just going to be wonderful and perfect because you are now "married". Know that you are a believer, that you committed to God that you are going to stay married and that it may just really suck.

Hannah Clark


Hannah Clark commented…

Hear hear! This was wonderful and exactly what I wish my married or just plain coupled friends would understand. Thank you, Ashlee.

Beth Ludlum


Beth Ludlum commented…

Much love to you, Ashlee! Thanks for continuing to be a faithful friend and disciple of Jesus.



Becky commented…

I think this is a great article, and one that I hope a lot of married people read with an open mind. I'm soon to get married myself (age 32), but spent about 10 years post-college as a single girl with no prospects. It was hard. And while my married friends meant well, they just didn't understand. I'm going to save this article to refer back to, because I have some very close friends (including my bestie) who are still single, and I don't want to become one of those married women who forget what it's like.



anja commented…

nr. 3 is só TRUE I wrote about it also in my book Ontworteld ... about grief by singles see fot more my website www.missieenmijmeringen.nl And YES you have to make everyday the descision to join the company or.... not.

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