I’ve hit an age (well actually, I hit it about 6 years ago) where marriage is a hot topic of conversation among my friends. Not just among my female friends either. Apparently, we have finally arrived at an age where the guys have come around to the idea that maybe marriage isn’t the killer of all things fun (praise the Lord for this miracle).
Throughout all of these discussions, which are often followed by take-out and Friends marathons to band-aid the pain, there is one theme that has emerged:
WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?
Getting married certainly hasn’t happened on my timeline, nor that of most of my friends. If you had told me in high school that I would still be single at 28 I’m not even sure that I could have understood what you were saying.
“You must be mistaken…it says right here on my timeline that I’m supposed to get married at 22 to a Christian, Chad Michael Murray look-alike. See?”
But despite the frustration that waiting has caused, I’ve started pondering lately that maybe, just maybe, being older and still single is ok, and here’s why…
One of my professors in college once told us “Don’t get married unless you have to.” Despite my initial assumptions, he didn’t mean don’t get married unless made to by aggressive force (like, say, a woman who has been waiting five years for a proposal). No. What he meant was don’t get married unless you find someone so special, you just have got to marry them. It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand the true magnitude of this advice.
When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t really consider what a big deal marriage was. I knew its significance and that it was something that I wanted, but I didn’t think much about how you chose someone. In the past several years, though, as I’ve discovered more about myself and what I need and want from a partner, the more I’ve realized that who we choose as our spouse is one of the most important and life-changing decisions we will ever make.
We aren’t just looking for a roommate. We’re looking for someone to wake up and fall asleep next to every single day. They’re going to be the person we look to for support, and also the person who will sometimes just plain get on our nerves. We’re going to make decisions with them about finances, and parenting, and where we live. We will have to sacrifice for them, and them for us. And hopefully, God willing, we’ll be living our lives in tandem with their’s for the next sixty years.
Its a big. deal. And we can’t afford to settle.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that we should create ridiculously high standards and unrealistic expectations. I’m saying that we should look at marriage for what it really is, and find someone that we’re so excited to go on the journey with that we just can’t help ourselves. And despite our objections, that might mean waiting a little longer for that person to show up.
There will always be moments of loneliness, frustration, and a little bitterness on the road to finding that person, but I know that for me, I’m learning to find peace with it. The time I’ve had by myself has taught me about who I am, what I love and what I’m about. God has helped me to build a beautiful and fulfilling life, and at this point, as much as I’m open and ready, I’m no longer willing to bring just anyone into it.
I’d encourage us to consider that our time in waiting hasn’t been a punishment, but rather a privilege. We haven’t found the right person yet, but we also haven’t settled. We’ve been blessed with the time to find ourselves. To learn to be happy on our own. And the chance to arrive at a point where we’ve grown to love the lives we’ve built so much that we make the choice to get married, not because we want to, but because we have to.