Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Let's discuss the fact that I'm not married.

My topic for today was "Your current relationship; if single, discuss that."
Well, I'm single, and I have a lot of thoughts about that, and I actually already had a draft all about it, so here's a long-winded post for your Tuesday:

*I wrote this a while back, hence the titles of old articles that aren't really floating around any more.  It took me awhile to decide to post it because hurting anyone who loves me is the furthest thing from my intentions. But sometimes people who love us say things with the best of intentions and still end up hurting us, so here I am, hoping that I can be gracious and make my point at the same time.*

Lately there have been a lot of articles and blog entries shared on Facebook about marriage - "5 Reasons I Got Engaged Before 23", "23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23",  "26, unmarried, and childless", and "I Wasn't Ready For Marriage" to name a few.

Apparently 23 is a trendy age at which to get married?  I remember when I was 20, and signed up to work on Sumer Staff at camp, and a well-meaning friend of my Mom's said to me "That is such a great idea!  You could meet a really nice man there!"

I was recently asked "So, are you engaged or married?"
Apparently there wasn't a "single" option.

Once, I off-handedly mentioned to someone that three of my closest friends were married to men they'd met at camp.  She replied "And I'm sure you will be too, one day."
(Not the point of the conversation, in case you were wondering.)

Some time back, at a wedding shower no less, I ran into someone who hadn't seen me in a while, and she innocently said "I can't remember, are you married?"
Before I could even open my mouth to respond, another lady jumped in and said "No. She's still waiting."

This list could go on...

Really, though, I know that none of these women meant any harm by their words.  They were just trying to be friendly and encouraging.  Regardless of the intentions, though, it's hard to hear things like this all of the time.

If I'm honest with you, as I try to be on this blog, I have to admit, sooner or later, that The-Thing-I-Really-Want-To-Do-With-My-Life is to be somebody's wife, and mother to a few somebodies.

That's it.
Yes, I want to write and write, and write.
Yes, I want to get a Master's degree eventually.
And yes, it is a big dream of mine to someday teach college students who hate English to love it and express themselves well through writing it.
These are dreams and goals that I have, and am pursuing.

But the biggest dream is one I can't accomplish on my own.

It's one I may not accomplish.

Did you catch that?  I just said I may not ever get married or have kids.
If you think that was easy for me to say, let me tell you right now, it wasn't.

The fact is, though, that I have no assurance, no firm promise, that I will have those things that I want so much.
Jesus and I have had a lot of conversations about this, and my poor mother has had to answer her fair share of weepy phone calls about it.

And you know what?  I've received a lot of encouragement through those conversations with Jesus, and phone calls with my mother, but assurance that "my turn" will, in fact, come "one day"?  There's none.

Zip, Zero, Nada.

I'm learning that just the fact that I have a desire for something doesn't mean it's going to be a part of my life.

I may end up being the awesome old English teacher who lives in a house full of windows, where the tea kettle is always boiling, with a Cottage Garden in the front, and a yard full of dogs in the back.
(I'm allergic to cats.  Otherwise, I'd probably include "Cat-lady" here...)

Right now, as I write that image, I'm smiling.  I'm learning to be okay happy with it.

Ultimately, friends?  Jesus is enough.

I am, in fact, happy with this point in my life, with the extended (maybe life-long!) chance to invest in the girls that surround me without feeling guilty about taking time away from a family, to speak truth into the lives of many others, and be available 24/7.
I am happy to play "Auntie" to my friends' wonderful children - those who are already here, and those who are coming.
I am happy, so happy, that I have the freedom to travel whenever I like, and visit my friends who have gotten married and thus been scattered to the 4 Winds.

That has not been an easy road.  I didn't willingly rush into the arms of this new kind of happiness.

I have drug my feet, and this road has even been made a little harder by all the well-meaning women in my life who tell me things like "Don't worry.  Your turn will come."

Simply put, I'm happy here now.  I'm not worrying.

But if you tell me not to worry, I'm going to start worrying, and I'm going to fix my eyes on things other than Jesus and where He's leading me.  If you tell me my turn will come, I'm going to start clinging to a false assurance that is not from Him. 
The hard thing about all of this is that these people who love me may be fully convinced their words are true, but the fact is, at this point in my life, those words are not true for me, and are not what I need to be focusing on.

My family and my friends have never pushed me into matrimony.  They've never told me that it was my only choice, or even that it was the best choice, but, regardless, we live in a world where marriage is such a huge focus.

It's such a huge focus, that we're choosing sides about whether we should be engaged before we're 23.
It's such a huge focus, that we assume everyone who wants to be married is going to be married eventually, and we talk in those terms.

When I say "we," I'm talking to myself too.  I'm just as guilty of dishing out these platitudes as anyone else.  It's almost an automatic response in our society.

But, I want to suggest a better way.  Let's not discuss the fact that I'm not married yet.
Let's just discuss the fact that I'm not married.
Let's discuss the fact that there are lots of good things about this time.
"But that's the discussion we've always had," you may say to me.
Yes that's true, but these discussions almost always end with "And when you are married..."

Let's not do that.

Also?  Please tell me funny stories about your kids and grandkids.
Tell me about that hilarious moment you had with your husband last week.
And, if you're really ready to trust me, tell me about that argument you're in the middle of.

I have friends who are married, and who have children, and I've managed to keep up these friendships through receiving and giving this type of transparency.  It may seem weird to talk to a single, childless woman about your marriage or children.  But really, think about how boring life would be if we only talked about things we both fully understood or were comfortable with.

A dear friend of mine put it perfectly the other day when she said "Sometimes I feel like a non-person."

We're not Moms, or wives, but neither are we just waiting around or in between.
We are people, fully formed adult people with intelligence, and self-control, and understanding, and empathy.

Even though our lives now look very different, there's no reason we can't relate.  We're both human, and, ultimately, have the same struggles, just in different environments.

And when I trust you enough to bring my heart to you, handle it with care, knowing that you (and I) have no idea how my life will turn out.

I will try to give you that same respect, because, honestly, we could have this discussion about any number of life stages.


  1. I hate that people assume that because you are female, your only goal in life is to get married. I applaud women who aren't out trying to make marriage happen, and I applaud you for being happy with where you are.

    1. Wow. Thanks Audrey! And even more, thanks for sticking around during my incredibly long blog break!

  2. Your writing always inspires me. Thank you for sharing you beautiful heart. I am so grateful that you are in my life!

    1. I'm so happy I can provide you with some inspiration :) Thanks so much for the sweet encouragement!

  3. I can't put enough exclamation points or likes to express how my heart just cries out in agreement with this! Every word! I could never have said it so eloquently!


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