If you survived your mid- to late-twenties without going to a lot of weddings, and you are in your 30’s, you better guard your loins and brace yourself like Braveheart and his crew.
I’m starting to get a bunch of save-the-dates, as some of my dear friends (mostly male though…but that’s a whole other post) are finally making their way to the altar.
I’m very happy for my friends. Most of the folks I know getting married over the next two years are folks who have been in very long-term relationships. They’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, they’ve been able to watch each other change and grow, they’ve had serious battles and challenges, and they’ve decided to keep on choosing each other for the rest of their lives. It’s really beautiful. I’ll probably shed a tear because I know the behind-the-scenes stories. These couples haven’t always had the fairy tale, and for that reason, them making the conscious effort to choose each other over and over again, every day for the rest of their lives, is what makes these new unions magical. They put real thought into the huge life decision they are making. And for that, I applaud them and can be confident in their futures and really relish the celebrations.
But I had a thought as I was talking to a friend. It’s nothing new that a lot of women place their value on being proposed to. Simply being asked elevates them.
And I’ve even had the thought that being asked was in direct correlation to my value.
I had even said on a number of occasions, the reason I’ve kept my engagement ring is because it was physical proof that “someone loved me that much, someone wanted me to be his wife.”
Well, I’ll have to tell myself now after about four years of healing that in the illustrious and oh so truthful words of Brandy, almost doesn’t count.
I understand now that simply getting “chose” as my southern friends would call it, isn’t a reflection of your value. There are so many amazing single people who are amazing, period. If they got married tomorrow, they’d be amazing. If they were single forever, they would still be amazing. There are people who are just really great at being a human. They do it well, regardless of being involved romantically. And I do believe in my heart, because they’ve been so excellent at being a human, they will attract an equally amazing human, decide to be together and save the world by creating more awesome humans.
In my biostats class, we talk about independent and dependent factors. If an independent variable changes, the dependent variables are studied to see how much the independent variable effects them.
I think of marriage, relationships etc., as independent variables. They can change the other dependent variables about you, but those dependent variables you always had, your intellect, your ability to care for other people… you get the picture.
So for people thinking getting selected by someone makes you better than all of the other “pitiful” single people (something must be wrong with them) out there, or if single people believe married people or people in a relationship are “better” you’ve got it completely wrong.
Maybe I need to do another post about something that’s taken me a long time to figure out. I kept wondering why some people never got married or why they are still single. I’m learning it’s a bunch of things.
You know yourself too well to settle, even if it means turning down people who seem to be really amazing (on paper, or physically).
You trust how you feel first, even if it makes no sense to other people.
You know that you can be selfish sometimes and you’re just not ready to share anything, your space, your food, your time, your life…
You still have big decisions that you want to make and only want to have yourself to consider. Do you want to move to another country? Do you want to change jobs? Do you want to buy a house or sell it? Do you want to take out $60,000 in student loans to go get a degree? Do you want to take a significant pay cut for a dream job?
Do you just want to opt out sometimes? Being single gives you the space and freedom to say fuck it and it doesn’t affect anyone else but you. Want to take a few days off and go away? Book the ticket, you’re gone. Want to call in sick? You aren’t squirreling away days just in case a kid gets strep, you can take your mental health day and not slave to make it up. Wanna stay in your sweatpants all day and eat pho? No one is going to tell you no in your own house. Compromise isn’t something you have to consider in the single life. Doing you is not only allowed, but encouraged.
Entering into a relationship can make you a better person, because that person can bring out the best in you or challenge you to be your best self, but you’re relationship status alone doesn’t make you better than anyone else, especially those who aren’t attached.
Entering into a relationship is just a mutual decision between two people. Let’s be together! Ok! Whooo hoo! So is getting engaged and getting married. Let’s make this thing legal! Ok! Whoo hoo!! It’s the decision to choose each other for an undetermined amount of time, based on if you want to continue the relationship or if one of the parties expires. (Singing Fantasia’s Free Yourself, or Mahalia Jackson’s Upper Room) That’s it.
So people in love, even though you feel like it, you didn’t cure cancer, or create wrinkle-free clothing or the cronut.
You were simply able to match hearts at the right time and right place, which is quite a feat, but not one to place you on a perch.
Single people wanting to be in a relationship. Take some inventory of the luxuries and freedoms you currently have in your season of single and be that excellent human. Because it will sustain you when it’s time to really dig in, compromise, love and give freely to your future love.