I’ve been having really interesting conversations with some of my single friends, almost on a daily basis, these past few months.
We’ve been talking about marriage.
That’s right. We’ve been going on and on about getting married, and how they keep being fed this idea that it sucks to be single and unattached. And I think they resent the implication that they’re supposed to be married, with a kid or two, by now.
Here’s the background on my friends and I: we are church kids. Specifically, we grew up in churches where the next thing on the agenda, after college graduation, was producing a significant other and setting the date.
We’re also Filipinos. And if you know anything about our culture, then you’ll know how our parents and relatives and all the honorary aunts and uncles usually ask the same question at social gatherings: “Do you have a special someone yet?” And if you didn’t, then they know someone they’re pretty sure you will like. And it only goes downhill from there. Especially if that someone they know happens to be in the room as well.
But honestly, I’m the last person my single friends should be talking to. Because I got married when I was just twenty-two, about a year after graduating from college. So really, when I was as young as they are right now, I was either raising a son, pregnant with the next one, or homeschooling one while potty training the other.
And yet, they talk to me. And maybe I just might have something to say. So here goes…
Marriage is awesome. But so is being single.
Truth be told, my least favorite fairy tale princess is Sleeping Beauty. Okay, I know she had no choice about having to sleep for that long. So it’s not her. It’s me. Or, it’s the interpretation that has been made and passed around and is now elevated to almost gospel status in many circles, including circles I belong to.
Someday your prince, or princess, will come.
Maybe. Or it could just be a frog.
So I know true love waits. I was a teenager when the TLW movement was gaining momentum. I wore my purity ring proudly, and I signed my name on the dotted line. And I did learn a lot. I appreciate many things about it. I’m not interested in arguing about what the movement teaches.
See, my thing is, with the movement comes the assumption everyone is going to get married. And all those years before marriage is just one waiting period meant to be spent preparing for the day you finally meet the one ordained for you. And then, if you were both faithful, then you would live happily ever after.
Well, you know what, that’s just not true.
Not everyone will get married.
And, marriage is hard work.
Also, and this could just be my issue, but when you do the math, how is there just one person meant for you?
Think about it. What if X messed up and missed his chance at meeting The One? Does that mean he’ll be missing out all his life? Or what if X’s friend Y married the wrong one? Does that mean the one meant for Y will end up waiting forever, or end up marrying the wrong person as well?
It all gets to be one mixed up ball of yarn, with no way to untangle it. For me, at least.
So here’s a suggestion. Today, this day you’re living? Make it the best one yet. Go ahead. Just do it.
Live your life now. Go for purity, but also, don’t treat this time in your life like you’re at the airport waiting to board a flight to your dream vacation.
You’re single. Work, dream, travel, volunteer, serve, plan, laugh, bake, run, hike, fix up your home for your own pleasure. And don’t do any of these because you’re grooming yourself to become a good mate in the future. Do these things because you love doing them, and because you want to do whatever it takes to live a good story. Now.
Because these chapters you’re living? They will make for good conversation, if you ever get married. Or great advice, if you ever have kids. But if you never? At the very least, it’ll mean no regrets, because you lived and changed and grew and became the person you are now.
Every story is unique.
So yes, marriage is a possibility. But it doesn’t have to be The Plan. Let the plan be to live a good life, whether or not it means a change in your status.
I write this for my friends. And I hope they believe they’re just as valuable single as they would be, married.
[Funny story. When I told one of the leaders of the TLW movement in my hometown how I ended up marrying my first boyfriend, she laughed and said something that I loosely translate into: “You didn’t even shop around?”]