(This is part 3 of my exploration of the marrieds-singles divide)
Iâve been told on more than one occasion that itâs pointless and a waste of time to try to get singles and marrieds together because single people hate hanging out with married people anyway. Weâre so boring. All we want to talk about are mortgages and kids.
First off, I find this suggestion just a teeny bit disheartening. . . I would like to think Iâm multi-faceted enough to manage a wider range of topics than that.
But maybe itâs actually true. Maybe we are that boring.
Shortly after Ben and I got married, our church started up a monthly Sunday afternoon potluck for young married couples without kids. They were some of the most agonizingly boring social gatherings I have ever attended. All we did talk about were finances and casseroles. I still felt more or less like an unmarried person: Iâd just gone through a wedding ceremony months before, and I still had absolutely no interest in married-people stuff. I still had all the same interests Iâd had three months ago. I wanted to talk about theology and literature. Going through the motions of being a bride and starting to sleep with my husband hadnât diminished my interest in those things, and didnât immediately increase my interest in children or cookery.
I bagan to believe that married people were just inherently boring.
I no longer think that’s the case. At least, I don’t think so. Part of the problem with those gatherings — the reason why we couldnât talk about anything beyond these topics — stemmed, I think, from the fact that we werenât there based on any commonality besides marital status. We hadnât gathered because we shared similar interests or a common goal. We had gathered because we all happened to have spouses — a pretty shaky basis for a social gathering, in my opinion.
Iâll admit, though, that since those days I have slowly become interested in kids and casseroles. They make reasonably interesting conversation topics. I still canât abide conversations about mortgages, but overall, I can hold my own in any âmarried-peopleâ conversation and even enjoy a lot of it.
In fact, I talk about married-people stuff a lot these days. I love swapping recipes and going over kitchen successes and failures. Iâm interested in other womenâs birth experiences and theories of parenting and the like. I’m all wrapped up in the world of marriage most of the time. And I worry sometimes that as a result, most single people probably wouldn’t be able to stand being around me much of the time.
Iâd like to think, though, that getting married has simply increased the number of things I can talk about. Now that Iâve had a wider range of experiences, I can cover school, books and adolescent angst as well as babies, budgets and birth control. And Iâll still go for theology and literature before anything else.
Perhaps Iâve gotten into a habit of reverting too often to married-people talk, though. Itâs quite probable that younger folks find me just as tedious as I found those early married-people gatherings. But maybe thatâs a consequence of spending too much time just with fellow marrieds and not enough time with anyone else. Maybe I would do better if I hung out with a more diverse range of people.
And thatâs what brings me back to the belief that itâs worthwhile to encourage single and married people to spend time together and learn from one another. The more time I spend in my married-only universe, the more easily I forget to value of non-married conversations. I just forget about the world outside of married-land. I think it would be valuable to hang out more often with people who are at different stages in life, and learn to converse on a wide range of topics so that I donât have to bore or alienate any particular group of people.
What do you think? Is it possible or even desirable to try to get married people and single people to hang out? Are we married people hopelessly dull no matter what? What can we do to change that? Are there more complex reasons why single people donât want to hang out with us? Or do they really hate it as much as Iâm told?