Question One: “When are you going to get married?”
Who asks this question: Usually, married people ask this question.
Who is asked this question: Single people are asked this question.
What does a single person hear: “What’s wrong with you? You should be married by now! Normal people would not be single at your age! You probably want me to set you up with someone nice!”
Why you should rethink this question: First, many single people want to be married, and your question rubs salt on an open wound. Second, being single is not an inherently bad thing. Jesus never married, and Paul encouraged believers to strongly consider singleness for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 8).
Question Two: “When are you going to have a (another) baby?”
Who asks this question: Usually, married folks who already have children (or grandchildren) ask this question.
Who is asked this question: Usually, young couples and newlyweds who do not have children are asked this question.
What does a childless person hear: “What’s wrong with you? You should have kids by now! Normal people would not be childless at your age!”
Why you should rethink this question: First, many couples desperately want to have children, but for various reasons they are not able to have children. Your question brings up a very emotional, very personal, very uncomfortable issue. Second, most people hear this question as unsolicited advice about proper family size. That may not be what you intend to communicate, but that’s often what people hear.
I’m not saying you should never ask these two questions. I’m just asking you to use caution and common sense. Before you ask a very personal question in a very public setting, take a minute to ask yourself a few questions … Is my question going to put someone on the spot or make them uncomfortable? Is it possible there are things about this person I don’t know and they don’t want me to know? Have I established enough of a relationship with this person to ask a very personal question? Do I really need to know the answer to this question?
Originally published May 23, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.