There’s a huge gorgeous thunderstorm outside my window, and I can’t sleep. A clap of thunder woke me up and as I awoke, and I realized my arm was sore and red. I stumbled to the bathroom, turned on the light and recognized I was having an allergic reaction. I popped a Benedryl, put on some Cortizone cream and cool pack, and laid back in bed. As I’m lying here listening to the rain and watching the flashes of lightening light up my bedroom walls, I have one overwhelming conviction.
I don’t believe I am meant to be married.
I do very well on my own.
And suddenly my whole life makes sense.
As a kid, I just assumed when I got older I would get married and have kids. I assumed because , well, doesn’t everyone assume that for everyone? I don’t believe any other path was ever preached or shown to me. People who are old and alone are always pictured as outcasts, oddballs, and miserable. Which is inaccurate. Even the Bible, Paul urges people to remain single. “….But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (Corinthians 7:28) I have never been good at fitting in. Nothing about my life has been average. Along the way, I guess I thought if I got married I would be normal. At least that would be something normal about my life. So I pursued marriage – hard. I convinced myself that it would make me happy, that it would fill some unspoken need I had within me. In actuality, I am most unhappy when I am in a relationship, historically speaking. Things are good for about a month, maybe two – three tops – then I don’t know. I stop taking care of myself, I’m anxious, sad, frustrated – I stop making myself a priority, (which is exasperated when with someone who also does not make you a priority. ) Friends asked me if maybe I’m gay or asexual hoping to give an answer for my lack of relational success. And either of those things would provide an easy explanation – except I’m not gay or asexual. I’m a hopeless heterosexual.
I’ve become very proficient on being alone and enjoy it very much. I moved out of my parents when I was 17. I didn’t even have a roommate in college. I was the first out of my circle of friends to get their own apartment. The thing too is, I don’t think I would know how to be married. I need my space and lots of it. I have my routine. Right now my place is my place. Everything is exactly how I want it, (although the windows could use a good cleaning.) I enjoy this control, my home is my escape. It’s my sanctuary full of soft blankets, my favorite DVD’s, teacups and scented candles. The fridge has food that I want to eat – and I know nobody else is going to steal my restaurant leftovers. I have friends over when I want. I can take as long of showers as I like. I don’t have to ask permission, or give a courtesy if I want to go anywhere to do anything at any given time.
I am so grateful the time I’ve spent alone, too. I’ve had to learn how to depend on myself and learn what I’m capable of doing. I’ve learned so much about myself. I pity those who have never been alone. I think of those people who jump from one serious relationship to the next. There are people who have only lived with their parents or their spouse. Most people do go away to college and that does count for something, but even then you are in this protective bubble. We all know that one person who seems incapable of being alone. They are always in a super serious relationship – and go from one right to another. Each one being the love of their life and headed for marriage. Instead of experiencing life on their own and taking time to grow up and gain independence to just enjoy life – they marry right out of high school. They are so desperate to be married and so afraid to be alone they lose sight of being the right person, and finding the right person – that it all becomes about the wedding and playing house. They go from depending on their parents to becoming dependent on a spouse.
“Mrs.” is not a job title. And love doesn’t actually pay the bills. But when you’re raised to believe that marriage is the end all to be all, it’s hard to realize there’s beautiful alternatives. Instead we have people who are marrying instead of dating because they want to remain “sexually pure” (another post for another time), marrying before even really knowing themselves or their spouses, and the divorce rate remains astronomically high. I had time to know who I am without first or only knowing myself as a daughter, then as a wife. I am grateful to know that I can make it on my own and have the strength not to depend on another, and have for about a decade. We need to stop presenting marriage as a mandated milestone that one should and has to do – and instead view marriage one option for life. A choice to make when you’ve become the right person, and meet a worthy person. Maybe if we stop using marriage as a one size fits all destiny, the divorce rate would decrease.
I think there is this stigma too, that if you’re single, you’re lonely. Alone and lonely are not the same. When I’m alone, I’m always in good company. People who can’t be alone must be very boring. Do I get lonely sometimes? Of course! But then I call up a friend or start a new project and meet new people. We all get lonely sometimes. I’d much rather be single and sometimes lonely, than married and lonely ever, at all.
I’m more than happy alone. I know, because I am. I’ve also become very good at being on my own. I enjoy the adventures, the freedom, the wide open spaces. Yeah, I like the control. Why would I ever give that up? When I’m around married women, they seem to complain alot. (Not all the married women I know are like this. Or married men. These are only generalities. I know married couples who have a very healthy and supportive relationship. These are also the marriages that weren’t rushed into or commitments that were made prior to the legal drinking age.) They complain about how clueless their husbands are, or how wild their kids are, and how stressed they are because of these things. Then they will complain about feeling judged by other married women and mothers, and compare. And in the same breath they’ll ask me if I’m seeing anyone or if I’ll ever settle down. And I’ll hear men make subtle or not so subtle implications that their wife won’t let them buy or do certain things. The conversation comes down to these topics, without doubt, every time. I understand, and I don’t entirely blame them either, society has conditioned us this way. (FYI friends – these kind of conversations bore me. Can we please discuss anything else – Literature? Politics? Scientific Research? Dinosaurs?) Honestly, matrimony sounds like a real drag. Again, these examples are only generalities. I do have one friend who didn’t get married till her thirties, until she met someone who complimented her life and respects her alone time. They have their own independent lives that they choose to live together out of love, and not out of co-dependency. I have other friends who met in college, and after years of dating and preparing for marriage, got married. They took the time to grow in the same direction with common goals, and support one another to grow. In both these examples, marriage wasn’t a goal, but a natural occurrence of two people who genuinely love each other.
I plan on spending my life blissfully single – spending money on traveling, adventures, a beautiful home and yes – really cute clothes. I’ve never done things like everyone else and I’m starting to love that about me. If I do meet someone who fits with me ,he’s going to have to make life better than it is when I’m alone. If we don’t add and make one another’s lives better – what is the point? So he’s going to have to be a pretty incredible individual – or I’m not falling for it. And that’s a powerful position to be in.