There is a very human tendency to want to keep things the same. We like to stick with people who are the same religion we are, who drive the same cars we drive, who earn the same amount of money we earn, who have kids the same age as our kids, and who read the same books we read. We like to be involved with people with whom we have things in common. And this works out just fine and dandy so long as things stay the same, but when things change regaining balance can be awkward to say the least.
This whole esoteric argument is building up to today’s topic: single people have to be very cautious when dealing with couples. They have an alarming tendency to be full of crap. I was thinking of calling this piece, “Couples Are the Enemy” but opted against it because, sometimes, these folks mean well. They are trying to restore the balance and put everyone on equal footing by helping the poor single sods around them to find the bliss they have found. Or, some such thing like that. At least that is the best reason I can think of for the way couples frequently attempt to meddle in the lives of their single friends and relatives.
I suppose those meddlesome couples think they are being helpful and some of them might really be helpful, stranger things have happened. But too often the supposed “good intentions” couples have for their single friends and relatives have to be taken under advisement. Here are some reasons why.
A sporting interest. When I watch football I often find myself wanting to put a muzzle on the analysts in the booth (except Troy Aikman, I like him). The analysts are usually former players and coaches who, upon retiring from the game itself, have made an obscene amount of money second-guessing the people who are still on the field. Often, I feel that couples are kind of like those football analysts. Couples aren’t in the dating game anymore but, out of boredom, curiosity, or evil, seem to feel entitled to second-guess and give advice when they might do better to think twice and say nothing. The person actually in the game, football or dating, has information, experience, and a perspective that those out of the game (some for quite awhile) do not have. It is easy for those sitting back away from the game to analyze what they see and what they think needs to be done when there is no possibility of them having to take those actions themselves and deal with the consequences.
Revisionist history. Is it amnesia or wishful thinking that accosts couples? I’m not sure but I do know that you can’t always trust advice they give you based on their own experiences snagging their partner. One godly woman was waxing eloquent about how important character was in her quest for a mate and how God seemed to have drawn them together. To hear her tell it, they weren’t human beings with libidos and hormones, but saints who just happened upon each other on the way to heaven. And I might have made the mistake of believing her if I hadn’t later talked to her husband. He told me that he first knew he wanted her and that she wanted him, not at a Bible study or at church or at a soup kitchen, but when she told him she liked to study in the nude. But I’m sure God inspired her to say that, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Maybe they mean to, maybe not, but couples have a way of rewriting their romantic history with an emphasis on proving not only that they are smarter than single people, but also that God likes them better than he likes single people. Probably makes them feel more superior than admitting that they stared at one another’s breasts and crotch while they were working up the nerve to talk to each other.
Good enough for you. I find myself flinching whenever couples talk about knowing someone their single friend should be paired up with. All too frequently it is someone that the people comprising these helpful couples never would have considered dating back when they were single, however, this yutz is good enough for their single friend who is, by their sage and married judgment, desperate and can’t be too choosy anymore. Perhaps that says more about the supposedly helpful couples and what they might do if they felt desperate than it does about their friends they claim to be helping. Just because the people in the helpful couples would give up all standards if they found themselves single again, doesn’t mean the single people they are “helping” will. And, incidentally, if ever there was a time in life to be choosy and particular, shouldn’t it be when you are deciding who you are going to spend the rest of your life with? This is the person who will help you raise your kids, who will impact your credit rating, who will decide whether or not to pull the plug if you’re in a coma, who will help you take care of aged and dying parents. Is this really an area where you should compromise?
While not all couples subject their single friends and relatives to this kind of annoyance and insult, it is common enough that single people have to be careful just how much importance they ascribe to what the couples they know say. And, when all else fails, the single person can keep in mind the stat that half of these couples will probably end up divorced anyway. Being married doesn’t mean they know how to maintain a healthy and successful relationship with the right person, it just means they persuaded someone to traipse down the aisle with them.