Afraid You'll Always Be Single and Disappointed That You're Still Alone?
In my twenties, I just knew I would get married when I met “the one.”
I also knew that when my man came along, that I would immediately recognize him--just like the movie and just like my mentor had told me. After all, I had been praying he’d show up and I knew my love story work out the way I had planned.
But then when my thirties rolled around and my man still hadn’t arrived, I thought, “It can still happen.” But then. . .when my fortieth birthday came knocking, my tears came too and I didn’t stop crying for a couple weeks.
One day I saw a woman at a coffee shop with a baby in a stroller. I asked, “Can I say hi to your baby?” She said, “Of course.” When I bent down to say hi to her cutie, tears unexpectedly started to flow, and I had to run into the bathroom to cry. Grief hit me hard.
Why hadn’t I gotten married like other women I knew? Why hadn’t God answered my prayers? Was I always going to be single?
A Necessary Letting Go
One morning, I went grocery shopping and as I passed several people coming out of the store, I looked at their left hands to search for wedding rings. “Well, they had someone to hold last night” I thought. I grieved the child I would never hold and the young marriage I knew I would never have. My spirit felt crushed.
It was my season of letting go of how I thought my life should turn out—and it hurt a lot.
Looking back, I realize that this painful time of grief was necessary. I had to relinquish my picture of what I thought my life should look like to experience the relational blessing I now have with my husband, Clark.
A New and Different (and Awesome!) Story
Maybe you need to hear that my wonderful husband, who I now adore wasn’t who I had imagined and dreamed of when I thought of walking the aisle.
I wasn’t going to marry a man who had already been married.
And there was absolutely no way I was going to marry a man who had five (yes, FIVE!) almost-grown children.
There was no way I was going to be a stepmom because when I added all of these things up, all that it looked like was a big mess that I didn’t want to participate in.
I had waited so long for my dream of marrying my dream man to come true that I was not going to compromise.
But when my fortieth birthday rolled around--and then several birthdays thereafter—I came face-to-face of the truth that my story wasn’t going to turn out the way I imagined. And if I wanted to a relationship, I had to let go of my version of my story so that a new and different story than the one I imagined could be written in my life.
In ways I can’t even explain, marrying my husband Clark has expanded me on the inside. My heart has enlarged. I am less selfish.
My compassion for others has grown, and I have learned that the things I thought would make me happy, and all the rules I created around how and when I would meet my husband and what he would be like and what his story would be like weren’t what would bring me fulfillment at all.
Instead, marriage has taught me how to give more of myself to others. I decided to love my bonus kids before I met them. I decided to accept them and make them a part of my heart just because they are people who deserve to be loved. I decided to embrace them as family, and this has given me extreme joy. And now, as our family grows, as the kids marry and have children, my love has grown even more.
An Encouragement for You
I’m not saying that your story needs to—or should—turn out like mine. I’m not saying you need to marry a man with children.
What I am saying is that even though your love story may not turn out like you imagined, it can still be amazingly amazing because it’s not relational rules, or having a great-looking guy, the guy without any baggage, or the guy who is younger than you, or the guy who lives where you want to live, or the guy who has never been attached that will make you happy and fulfilled.
Instead, it’s love that will bring happiness into your life and heart.
It’s knowing that you have a friend who will cheer you on that will bring happiness into your life.
It’s waking up next to a man who will listen to you talk about your concerns in the middle of the night that will bring happiness into your life.
It’s supporting one another in your dreams that brings happiness.
It’s being silly and sharing a knowing look that brings happiness.
It’s praying together, laughing together, and working through troubles together that brings happiness.
The other day I told my husband, “My marriage to you is the kind of marriage that I always dreamed of” and I meant every word. Not because it’s perfect but because I feel loved and cared for, cherished and protected.
So why am I saying all of this? To encourage you.
Maybe you’re in a season like I was. You’re looking at the left hands of people that walk by and you feel like you’ve been left out, overlooked, and ignored. You’re certain—or starting to believe—that your dream for love will never happen.
Listen up. It can happen. The dream you have to love—and be loved—is possible. I’m living proof.
It just may not look like you thought, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great. My encouragement to you is to hold onto your values that make a marriage good like respect and kindness and someone who loves and adores you—and let go of everything else.
Drop your type. Drop your rules, like he has to have a certain kind of job, live in a certain place, make a certain amount of money, like a certain type of music, like all the same type of activities, or have a certain type of build. Or maybe even not have children. Because, you never know what man kind of amazing man will come along.
Then, you might find yourself waking up one morning and your husband will say to you (like my husband said to me today), “Do you know that seven years ago today I took you to that little park in Georgia and got down on one knee and proposed?”
And then you say, “I’m so happy that you asked.”
Oh, being loved is so good! And loving is so good!
It’s what we have been made for.
It can happen for you too.
Remember the dream that you have to love—and be loved—is possible.
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