When I was single and all of my close friends were single, life was pretty great. We stayed up watching movies, talking, or going out dancing. We had girls night all the time, talked about boys, and attended as many Catholic happy-hours that we could manage, always looking out for that one Catholic guy who would take us across the threshold of singledom, into marital bliss.
Sure we had our sad moments, where we commiserated about how lonely we were, or about how men would NEVER understand us (that’s still true, actually). We would come home from another Catholic young adult event broken-hearted because the cute guy in our Bible study group was totally macking on that blonde chick from Theology on Tap… Which wasn’t even fair because she didn’t appreciate his nerdy puns or secret love for playing bunco with his granny. But we did! Cue weepy confessions of more loneliness.
But despite the ups and downs of singlehood, we were happy with our friends. We had all the time in the world for them, and that sense of community and camaraderie was unbeatable.
But then one by one, my close friends started getting engaged then married. They began to have less and less time for me, and our once close-knit group became more of a chat-briefly-once-a-week type group. Our conversations became centered around wedding plans, relationship stress, chastity, babies and in-laws. The friends who would stay up to talk with me about all kinds of angsty things, were now so exhausted or busy, I found myself just journaling about it instead.
While I was excited for my friends who finally found love, I was frustrated with this change. I spent a lot of extra time in adoration sharing this loneliness with Jesus. I found myself spending more time with my single friends, and less time with my married friends. I felt like I didn’t belong in their group – we were in different life stages. This was completely the result of my misperception, however, and not a reflection of their behavior. They were loving and fun as always – just not as available.
After they got married, I started getting serious with Danger. We started having LTR talks and began discerning marriage together. As we got closer to engagement, I promised myself that when we got engaged, nothing would change between my single friends and I. I would spend the same amount of time with them – I would have it all (go ahead, laugh now).
After our engagement, I suddenly had much less time to myself, much less my single friends. Seeing my friends meant that Danger came along, or it was a group event. Every once in awhile I would manage to get a night with just my single friends – usually when Danger was travelling for work.
Then as wedding planning ramped up, and we started marriage prep, Danger and I were exhausted all the time. Usually a hardcore extrovert, I found myself yearning for an evening alone where I could zone out with a book or TLC channel marathons. When I wasn’t working, I was with Danger working on something. Even while I was at work, Danger and I would call or text regularly throughout the day, often using Facetime during our lunch breaks. And I went from talking to my single friends frequently throughout the week, to once or twice a week.
A HUGE change.
I was again really frustrated by my new reality – I missed my friends, but it turns out that preparing for marriage means spending time with your future spouse. Who knew?! Slowly Genesis 2:24 took root in my slow-on-the-uptake brain:
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
When a man and a woman embark on the vocation of marriage, things change A LOT. It becomes not about my life and his life, but about our life. Not only are our hearts and bank accounts united in matrimony, but also our goals, dreams and framilies (yeah, that was intentional, friends+families).
Marriage is quite the transition, and while it doesn’t mean I have to forsake my single friends – quite the contrary – our friendship does look different. While I love my single friends fiercely, and I miss having free time to hang with them as often as I would like, I’m doing what my vocation is calling me towards: joining my life to my husband’s.
As St. John Paul the Great (I LOVE writing that!) said in “On the Family”:
The family has the mission to guard, reveal, and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the church, his bride.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of hard and holy work. Danger and I have a unified calling to serve God through loving one another and raising a family. Now that doesn’t meant we have to do it inside a vacuum and ignore our community. We are still called to be friends, neighbors and family members. But it means that the scales are tipped in a different direction.
Early in our dating relationship, most of my free time went to my friends, and some went to Danger. Now that we’re close to marriage, most of my time goes to Danger, and some of my time goes to my friends. While that transition is hard for me and my single friends, it’s a natural progression. While I wish I could bilocate and be with my friends and Danger all at once, I know that if I fully accept God’s call to marriage, that means my focus and priority shift to my spouse.
Changing your vocation will cause shifts and adjustments in just about every area of your life. Some easy, some hard. Now that I’m on this side of the coin, I can really understand what my married friends went through while I was single. They were doing what I’m doing now! While a couple of my married friends have fallen off the face of the earth, most of them have figured out how to be married and part of their community. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m so happy for them.
I will always make time for my single friends. I will always make time for my community. And if I disappear for a few weeks after my wedding, it’s mostly because I’m trying to lay a foundation with my spouse before we take on the world.
But in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.”