Friday, August 22, 2008

Singlehood vs. Marriedhood: To be or not to be

I had a reader write to me as a single woman explaining that my blogs were helping her understand what she's headed for when she gets married -- I explained that as a woman who waited until she was 29 to get hitched, I understand the woes of singlehood -- b.u.t. -- to really enjoy it because there are so many benefits you don't see until you're married (you know how that grass always looks on the other side of the fence) -- She wrote back and was like Please tell me the benefits! I'm so sick of my married friends telling me to enjoy being single! God, do I understand where she was coming from!!!

What's funny, is I'm actually getting nervous just thinking about this subject -- Why? Because I know how finding that man and getting married is so monumental in the life of a woman and I realize you may be reading with the hopes of finally solidifying that voice inside saying I just want to not feel like I'm in agony any more -- What I say may help, but it's a process --

Boy howdy -- OK... here we go -- I really believe that there is list (Schindler's List, maybe?) that society throws on women and we grow up checking items off as we accomplish something (men, too, but I'm talking about dream weddings and babies, people) -- One of those itty bitty accomplishments would be finding prince charming, getting married, building the house of your dreams, and having little muffins running around in Polo brand boxers -- All this is happening in our minds whilst we go about our very realistic days of work, school, traffic and indigestion -- Oh well, another day when my future husband didn't show up to sweep me off my feet...

The time of being a single woman is a prime time for, as Honda says, Opportunity and it's knockin', -- You have the freedom to choose exactly what you do with your days, where you travel and when, how you spend or save your money, how many nights you'd like to spend out or in and if you'll clean the kitchen today or next week... it's all so glamorous :) -- It's the prime time to be all you can be and believe in it without another's opinion -- It truly is the most amazing opportunity to become exactly who you are -- There is no one standing beside you questioning what you're doing or suggest it be done another way... you have complete freedom --

As I watched 15 women I knew get married in an 18 month time span, I had the privilege of learning a few things:
# 1 -- Do NOT marry someone to complete you... Marry someone who compliments you -- You should be a whole person when you get married -- You want to offer this amazing life partner a complete person... not someone who's dependent on them to make up what's missing --
# 2
-- He WILL come to you when you're not looking (boy, could I have smacked some people for saying this) -- but it's the truth -- If you are making it happen it's not right --
# 3
-- KNOW what you want -- and more importantly, what you don't want -- I call them deal breakers -- You are never going to find prince charming, so know what you can and can't live with and stick to your guns --
# 4
-- TALK ABOUT IT -- Whatever it is that may be bothering you or you have questions about it... get it out there and resolve it --
# 5
-- Do NOT get married within 6 months of meeting each other... that's barely enough time to find out their full name, never mind plan financial responsibilities and really know their core values -- My suggestion would be to AT LEAST go through 4 seasons with a person --

There are so many more things, but I won't bore you -- I truly believe where the hardest part comes in, is stated in another one of my blogs The Truth About Pictures -- Our beautiful, wonderful America has painted such a glorious picture of.... Ta Da -- A wedding -- They don't talk to you about the realities of a marriage -- You may have in your mind this man who will act like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire and say to you You had me at hello with violins playing the background -- WAKE - UP! Life doesn't happen like that --

How did I meet Dan? Like a fairy tail... and I believe in the mushy gushy (oh, do I believe in it) -- Yet, as my husband says, It's what I know... that doesn't last -- As hard as it was, I didn't pick Dan based on his buff body, blue eyes or blond hair... I chose him based on his integrity, work ethic, beliefs and values, his reputation in the community, if my dad approved, how he respected me and my dreams, his stability and responsibility toward life issues (and so much more) -- These are the things that will be there when the mushy gushy flies back to la la land --

If there is anything I want you to hear in this post, it's this: DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH A MAN'S POTENTIAL -- Are you hearing me? YOU WILL NOT CHANGE HIM -- It's another picture that you've created... Reality is what's happening today, in your face... not what you hope for tomorrow --

Ladies... Enjoy your freedom while you've got it and continue being confident in becoming all you can be -- It's the most attractive aphrodisiac out there... I promise :)


Twenty-Something said...

I'm newly engaged and I am going through so much of what you talked about. I get so jealous of my single friends sometimes because I can see the things that singlehood brings and I miss it so much sometimes. But you are so right about waiting once you find the one to get married, for some reason people are rushing to marriage nowadays and its crazy!

I'm glad I found your blog! It's a good read!

Miss Caught Up said...

Very sound advice. :) Thanks for the read!

jsprik said...

good stuff! these are all great pointers!! God has a plan for everyone and if it includes a man...He will "place" him in your life. i met my husband at a campground...i was only 14 and he was 19. he told me the day he met me that he loved me...i said you dont even know me, you cant possibly love me...5 years later we were married. he said he knew from the day we met we would be together...we have been through more than anyone else i know and we have been married 15 years in oct.!!!

Mary De Bastos said...

I always say you have to have 4 seasons and a road trip before you can marry him!

Rebecca said...

well written


Liz said...

I just found your blog and it's a great read. I also got married at 29 and I am happy I waited...I had fun being single but was ready for a committed relationship and to start a family.

I did not lose myself in the process. My husband (like you said) does not complete me but compliments me. He encourages me to be myself and to do things I enjoy. He is my best friend, my lover, and my companion.

Abby said...

My father told me after a bad break up in high school, you should never be with someone cause you think you can make them better.
The best advice ever!!! There were guys after that I turned down, because I would have only dated them because I thought I could make them better. You need to know who you are and then find someone that compliments you. A relationship shouldn't be a struggle it should be enjoyed. NEVER EVER expect anyone to change. Get into it and know and appreciate their flaws. Its the only way it will work. I love your blogs.

NewlyWed07 said...

Abby -- Your dad sounds like a smart guy ;) I was lucky enough to have a great dad, too -- Thanks for your compliments and for reading!

Me! said...

Great blog! #1 and #2 on your list are dead on -- read it, believe it, stand by it, people!

Oh, and make sure you're on the same page about kids before you get married -- this will be a bigger headache than money, the TV remote, and backing his car into a light post.

NewlyWed07 said...

ME -- A big "YOU ARE SO RIGHT" about the kids thing... it really isn't a subject that can be left to fate (ugh!)

I'm Just Me said...

What a great post. All wonderful advice and so true. So glad I stumbled here! We all need to hear time and again that learning to be yourself first is what you can bring into a successful partnership.

NewlywedCentral said...

IJM - Thank you and thanks for reading :)

Sue said...

Oh my gosh, you just made the lightbulb go on over my head..."DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH A MAN'S POTENTIAL" is dead right. That's what I did, fall in love with his big dreams. Now the reality is deafening. Great advice for all those who think marriage is what theknot makes it out to be...