Couples and Singles: Oh How We Envy Each Other

I am a mother of 3 children five and under. I am sitting in a hip downtown coffee shop waiting for my husband and a friend to show up so we can squeeze in a discussion for our non-profit. Everyone around me must be singles. They look like they just put in a luxurious workout, are well groomed, and no chips mar their nail polish. Christmas music drifts through the air sprinkled with carefree laughter. With one breath in I am envying these singles and with one breath out I am deeply missing my children and my husband. I am sitting on the fence relishing what I have and envying what I used to have.

I am the father of 3 children five and under and, occasionally, I have a moment to pause and to ask myself: “Is this really my life?” How much things have changed in the years we have been married. My gym membership is frozen indefinitely. Our toddlers are my weights. I used to be convinced that if I didn’t exercise an hour every day I would wither away. However, Mary Rose says I never looked better. My friends agree with my wife. Am I the only one that sees the circles under my eyes? Or maybe I just feel the circles under my eyes…

The grass is always greener on the other side.

There is nothing like babysitting for a family with little kids when you are single to remind you to make the most of your single years. But this need not be selfish. Volunteer, deepen your friendships, make retreats, travel, take classes, learn to cook, be grateful, walk with Christ, learn to love selflessly, get to know young couples whom you admire and ask them to mentor you.

If you are not a happy single then you will not be a happy couple. Why? All the virtues it takes to love and serve as a well rounded single are also needed in marriage. Marriage is not the magic cocoa powder that when added to your “mocha single life latte” will make you happy. Marriage is not for my individual happiness but for a shared joy. Focus on others and on living every day as if it were your first, last, and only day. At the end of our lives we will not be judged on how much we were loved but on how much we loved others. You do not have to be married to love well in this life but in marriage there are many opportunites.

Learn what brings joy. It is a blessing that the coffee shop has to close sometime. Thank God that He invites us to walk out into the world and to joyously love and serve others no matter what our current state in life. Service, simplicity and prayer are good places to start. These three things will bring the joy of Christmas.