I think my wife manages to get most real when she gets most surreal.
Perhaps it's human nature to feel that our neighbour's grass is greener and more carefully maintained. Singles imagine that all couples are locked in some kind of rom-com loop, playfully nibbling each other's toes and whispering phrases like, 'you complete me' or 'no, no - you're the wind beneath my wings'. Meanwhile the objects of such envy may spend Saturday evening wedged together with Jeremy Clarkson, dreaming of the freedom enjoyed by those without marital shackles.
Or here's another possibility. For those struggling to have children, the absence of such blessings can cast a shadow over every aspect of daily life. Everyone else seems to be effortlessly and carelessly reproducing, thrusting their progeny forward at every opportunity. Yet for parents, the reality can include permanent exhaustion or the feeling that they're just not good enough compared to the other Alpha-mums. Perhaps a wistful yearning for the old romance that's been supplanted by Horlicks and an early night - in separate bedrooms.
We might think that the Problem of Other People can be solved by cutting them out of our lives. But the opposite is true. By avoiding others we intensify our struggles and become isolated from the community and support that can bring real comfort. Instead, if we're prepared to get real with each other, such relationships can bring healing and understanding. The single person starts to pray for the couple who are struggling in their marriage. It's still a battle to wait on the Lord, but this is tempered with a new patience and realism about the nature of such relationships. By including those without families, parents may gain a new appreciation for their children - they are also freed up to enjoy more time together and to model to their kids the importance of friendship and caring for others.