Maybe it’s because we didn’t put an engagement or wedding announcement in the paper, but I feel like I haven’t gotten my invitation to the Secret Married Ladies Club yet. You know, the one where they tell you to lie to all your single friends about how great singleness is and how hard marriage is. Or maybe I just haven’t been married long enough yet to understand.
Well, when the difficult time comes, single friends, I will tell you how hard it is, but both then and now, I will not lie to you. And right now, the truth is this: Marriage is awesome.
I don’t say that to make you feel bad about being single. Singleness is awesome too. Some of you have heard me say recently that if I’d known how amazing being married would be, I would have been a lot more upset about being single. This is not entirely true. “Upset” is the wrong word. I would have looked forward to marriage a lot more, but I wouldn’t have been upset. I really loved being single. When I was single, I didn’t have to juggle two families at the holidays, I could always retreat to my bedroom for alone time, I could sleep until 11:00 on my days off if I wanted, and I could stay up until 2:00 a.m. on the nights before my days off. I never had to ask for anyone else’s opinion or input, and the only mess I had to clean up was my own. I only did my own laundry, my own dishes, and my own shopping. When I was bored, I decided what I wanted to do. I didn’t have to consider what anyone else wanted to do or didn’t want to do. I could spend my money on the things I wanted to buy without having to think about how it would affect “our” budget. I was completely independent, and I loved it.
I loved it. Like, really loved it. I loved spending all my money on trips to Europe and spending lazy weeks off watching multiple TV series in their entirety on Netflix. I loved quiet nights in my apartment reading a good book. I loved having long phone conversations with friends I hadn’t talked to in a while. And I loved being able to choose when to hang out with people and when to be alone.
I loved it, but I don’t miss it.
I don’t miss it because I also love waking up to snuggle with my husband even though I don’t have to get up and go to work. And I love talking and laughing about the day with him before we fall asleep. I love spending all my money on a functional new washer and dryer. I love hanging out with my in-laws. I love bouncing ideas off of each other. I love learning how to work together, how to cooperate (literally, operate with someone else) to create order and sanity in a home of two people prone to clutter. I love learning to function as one while also learning to love each other more deeply for who we are individually. I love growing together while encouraging each other to chase individual dreams.
I know there will be hard times. I know that. And I think this really good time is a sort of training ground, where we are learning to work together in easy times and get lots of practice. That way, when hard times come, we will know how to stand hand-in-hand and face it together.
I wish this were a lesson we learned more in singleness too. Singleness doesn’t mean that you are alone. In fact, most single people I know spend almost as much time with friends as I do with Will. And many of those friendships have the potential to weather the worst of times. You just don’t feel the same kind of commitment to your friends, but why not? Why don’t we commit to our friends anywhere near as fiercely as we do our spouses? I know it won’t be exactly the same, but as it is, it’s not even close.
As single people, we long for the community and connection that we see in marriages, but why has it not occurred to us that we can have deep connection and community without being married? I don’t have any answers or lessons learned on this, so I’m tossing it out to y’all. What do you think?
- Have you experienced this kind of depth in friendships?
- Do you think it’s possible for people who aren’t married to be as committed to each other as married couples are?
- Do you think that’s a realistic and/or healthy kind of friendship?
- How can we cultivate non-marriage relationships wherein both parties feel loved, supported, protected and connected on a level not entirely like but somewhat comparable to the feelings associated with marriage?