[quote="EasterJoy, post:12, topic:225232"]
There is a story in our family that my grandfather, when hospitalized, had asked one of his nurses if she was married or not. When she replied that she was not, he answered: "I think I can tell you why."
His comment was just about as helpful to her as your friend's was to you, and just about as charitable.
OK, so your friend would be miserable if she were married, she wouldn't put up with what you do if she were married...fine. She's not married. She doesn't have to get married. Some of us aren't cut out for it.
She can't sympathize, let alone empathize, with your marital problems. She has no useful feedback to offer, she doesn't help you figure out what you want to do, she doesn't help you feel any better. She may be a great friend in other respects, but this is NOT someone to confide in when it comes to marital issues. There are many single people who can understand, but she's not one of them. Don't talk about your marriage to her.
Her assertion that most single people are happier than most married people is false....but I say that with a caveat. Health studies have shown that married people are, on the whole, happier than those who are not married. These studies, however, lump the single people who don't have a desire to marry with the single people who do. They lump the never-married with the divorced with the widowed. Having said that, it seems fairly clear from medical data that eliminating the institution of marriage would not make people in general happier.
I mean to say that your friend is being a bit jingoistic, so to speak, about her state in life. She is so enamoured with what she has that she thinks her own contentment must translate to everyone else, if they would only have the wisdom to think the way she does. I'll give her this one defense: I will bet she's had to defend her state in life far more often than you have had to defend yours.
Let's put it this way, though: When Catholic priests are polled about the happiness they have in their state in life, they poll higher than men in any other profession or state in life. It would be insane to conclude from their responses that all men would be happier, if only they had had the sense to give up wife and family, go to seminary, get ordained, and live lives of celibacy. Likewise, you might point out to your friend that a poll that said that married women are happier or women in consecrated life are happier or that women who drive long-haul trucks are happier would NOT mean that every woman would be happier, if only she had gotten married, gone into the convent, or taken up truck driving. It means that each of those are states of life in which great happiness is possible, not that any is the one that fits everyone.
Her hurtful comments are not OK, most adults would know they're not. Having said that, there aren't many people who are gifted every aspect of friendship. It is probably best to just accept that while she's a good friend in some respects, she's not good when it comes to marriage advice or venting, and leave it at that. By the way, don't be so "nice" that you stop telling the truth. Lying is not nice. If you pretend that you are OK with it when she makes hurtful comments, she's going to keep hurting you, you're going to resent her for it, and that is not fair. She ought to know better, but that doesn't mean that we don't all need a reminder once in awhile.
I think it is best to just say, "Sally, I'm sure you're sick of defending yourself to people who can't believe that a woman can possibly be happy being single. Well, it goes both ways. I won't put down your state in life, if you would close your mouth about how miserable you would be in mine. It just hasn't been the kind of conversation that has left a good taste in my mouth. I'll just talk about my issues with someone who can offer some helpful comments, instead." Then stick to your guns.
When I saw your name on this thread, I was excited to read your insight. As usual, you have offered some great advice.
Thanks. I do have a tendency to be a push over and not tell people how I really feel. Assertion is not one of my strengths.
Next time, I will try it with her. She's a good friend, but she should know how much it hurts when she acts insensitive to my life choices (which I feel are very good ones!).