I had an incredible conversation last night with a new friend I made at church a few weeks ago. After talking for an hour or so I, assuming his wife wasn't around, asked him about her whereabouts. To my amazement, he told me she was there, at home, the whole time.
I thought, "WHAT?? You mean you weren't just talking to me because your wife was away?" In a strange way, it seemed precedent setting. Typically, at least with guys it seems, you'll hear from your married friends and have good conversation during (a) a crisis or (b) when the wife is out of town (or at least not a home for several hours).
The conversation was real, authentic, to the point, honest, open, comfortable, and uninhibited--all things that Xers value in relationships (even among men).
But THEN, he invited me to hang out. Not just with him but his wife as well. Now I'm thinking, "HOLD ON you're breaking the young couple protocol. You're actually inviting a single person to enter into you're married journey as NEW friend on purpose?" I almost didn't know what to say.
The church quarantine between Xer singles and marrieds was breeched last night and it was almost overwhelming. The church quarantine of Xer marrieds and singles results in missed opportunities to experience the mutual edification of the cross-pollenization of unshared experience. It's good for me to know people that have a different daily routine than I do.
Needless to say, I asked him to thank his wife for me for letting me have his ear as long as I did. She must be an incredible woman. And rare in the church.
About a month or so ago another new Xer married friend broke protocol by inviting me into his family's life as a new friend. And he's even got middle school aged kids (they stared having kids like IMMEDIATELY out of college). But again, I was in shock.
I thought, "hmm, you know I'm single and you won't me around any way." Are the Gen Xers in Grand Rapids just different from my experience in Atlanta, St. Louis, and Philadelphia? I dunno, but I've been very encouraged the last couple of months by the new people I've met. That is, the new invitations I've received.
But why does it have to be this way? Why can't Xer marrieds and singles living in community together? I don't get it? Why the quarantine?
What happens to some if us single Xers with the quarantine is that I'm increasing several years older than my friends are. I just had this conversation yesterday with another Xer friend of mine who missed the marriage cut as well. We were talking about vacations and noted that since most of our church friends are 4-7 years younger than we are, and people our own age are married and therefore quarantined, finding vacation partners is almost impossible because your younger friends don't have any money.
So you're stuck making a road trip to the nearest beach instead of exploring the planet. Since our friends are either newly in careers or in grad school they don't have the discretionary income to go anywhere far. I was hoping to go to New Zealand in the fall for a Lord of the Rings tour, but of course, none of my single friends can do it, and what's the point in asking one of my married friends.
How do non-Christians handle this?