If you're a married woman, here's a great list for including your "single sisters" in your life. If you're single, share shamelessly with your friends! They will enjoy knowing better how to bless you.
#1. Be sensitive to her needs.
Single women are a natural pick for baby sitters or help with various other projects and needs. While I strongly support the idea that a single woman should serve others with her greater flexibility, sometimes she needs to meet her own needs. For example, of the handful of single women I know, over half of them (including myself) struggle with significant health issues. Those problems require a lot of attention and they sometimes result in missed opportunities to serve.
Married sisters, be sensitive to the single woman's needs. She has a life of her own too, with dreams to pursue, goals to work toward, and struggles to face. You can be as much an encouragement and blessing to her as she is to you.
#2. Appreciate her relationship experience.
It's been one of the weirdest and best experiences of my life to receive comments from various people about my book Ready For Him Today. Women who have been married for decades say things like, "Man, I wish I had known this stuff when I was young. It would have saved me so much heartache." One woman asked me, "How did you get so wise?" The short answer: I ask God for wisdom (He promises to give it!) and I listen to and observe my parents and others who are veteran spouses.
I still have so much to learn and I am painfully aware of my inadequacy, but I've begun to realize that my youth and inexperience with a romantic relationship of my own does not disqualify me from gaining wisdom pertaining to relationships.
Married women, if there's a single woman in your life whom God has blessed with wisdom regarding relationships, encourage her to share. Someone may benefit from her insight and be blessed. And it just might be you!
#3. Include her in your life and conversations.
It's intimidating to be one of the few singles at a gathering of ladies, and to hear talk that revolves around the other ladies' family lives. The single woman doesn't have a husband, so she feels awkward joining the conversation about hubbies. She doesn't have kids, so she feels out of place commenting on potty training, diaper rash, and discipline. The struggles of her singleness seem so different from the struggles of motherhood; who would sympathize with her job difficulties when motherhood difficulties seem so much more in vogue?
Married ladies have an awesome opportunity in this situation to make the single woman feel included and valued. Some single ladies of my acquaintance work in child care situations and have a lot of experience to share, if only someone will ask. Others may have more knowledge about healthy relationships than you guess (see #2). And, if the topic will inevitably drift into topics of wifehood and motherhood, make sure that you've listened well to her stories of singlehood too. With a dwindling number of single friends, who else will she share her life with?
#4. Involve her in your special occasions.
As fun as it is, it is also super hard to be a bridesmaid in someone else's wedding or to help with practical aspects of wedding planning. That said, when the bride is especially appreciative of her single friend's presence and help, the single woman no longer feels so much like an outsider.
The same thing goes for the births of children. One of my best memories was my opportunity to visit my best friend for almost two weeks after the birth of her first child. As I helped my friend transition to full-time motherhood, I learned a great deal and I also felt included in her special experience. I am looking forward to similarly blessing my sister, who will have her second child soon.
#5. Celebrate her milestones.
Many holidays and special celebrations revolve around people in relationships. Couples are celebrated on Valentine's Day. Mothers are celebrated on Mother's Day. Bridal showers and baby showers celebrate an important approaching life change.
But when do we celebrate the singles? When do we tell them that they are doing a great job, and honor them for their impact in our lives? How do we celebrate the unique, valuable people that they are? A single's most important celebration is probably her graduation from high school or college. Aside from that, her most significant personal accomplishments and joys are not usually celebrated.
Real life isn't an endless party; I understand that. But when a single woman reaches some important landmark, it would mean the world to her if you celebrated with her, even if you simply took her out to dinner or made some cupcakes to share with friends in honor of the occasion. Remind her that her personal achievements are noticed and celebrated.
What would you add to this list? Comment below!
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.