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Single or Married – We’re All Just Waiting

August 1, 2011

A few weeks ago I met up with an old friend of mine.  We hadn’t seen each other in quite a while, and with my wedding anniversary coming up she couldn’t help but ask the inevitable question, “so, how’s married life?”  It was a perfectly fine question to ask, but her face couldn’t hide what a loaded question it was.  My sweet friend was beaming, absolutely beaming, with the anticipation of hearing about my married life.  Her hands clapped together in front of her, and I could tell that whatever I said next would transport her out of our actual conversation and send her into her own marriage-fantasy-land.  Her eyes were practically pleading with me to fulfill every Christian marriage cliche with the answer I provided.  She was so hopeful.  I was trapped.

I remember having these conversations with my married friends when I was single.  I remember desperately wanting to soak up everything they said as a way to get closer to the life stage I wanted so badly.  I remember thinking that marriage was everything I had been waiting for.  All the seasons of angst, of uncertainty, of restlessness, of doubt – at that time, in my mind, all of those seasons were leading me toward marriage: the Great Security Blanket.  Like so many other young Christian women, I was taught that marriage was what everything else in life led up to.  I was taught that it was intricately linked with my faith.  I was taught that marriage was the moment when my life would begin, when I would transform, become new, whole, peaceful, relaxed, and safe.  I was taught to expect marriage to be the end of my “waiting periods.”  I would not have to wait on God for anything else after being married.  I thought I would feel so very settled from that point on.

The truth, as I am coming to find out, is that those seasons of restlessness and anxiety and feeling ready for change have nothing to do with marriage, and everything to do with God.  We are all waiting for something.  As a single woman, I was convinced that the one thing I was waiting for was the only thing I didn’t have – a husband.  Now that I am married, I am starting to understand that all those inner yearnings and feelings of slight turmoil are just God calling me forward, urging me on, and refusing to let me settle into complacency.  All those years of longing for a spouse was really a longing for God’s change – whatever that may be.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in the city this past weekend.  It was such a needed change of pace to get lost in the buildings and the people and the movement and the energy.  It was intoxicating, and within minutes I was daydreaming about moving there.  About being a stone’s throw away from trendy restaurants and art museums and city parks.  I mentally took myself inside a huge corporate office where I would work as a PR rep, dressed in a pin-striped pencil skirt and well-tailored blouse.  Within minutes, I thought moving to the city would solve this inner longing for change that I’ve been battling the past few months.  Within minutes, I thought the city was the answer to what I’ve been waiting for.

Turns out restlessness feels the exact same being married, as it does being single.  Marriage does not erase God’s ability, or his desire, to change us.  It does not stop him from moving us forward.  It does not provide an automatic security blanket where everything is safe and static and without periods of discomfort.  I still find myself waiting, desperately waiting, to know what the next step is.  To know if something new is coming up.  To better understand if I am in the right place or not.  Even married, I am still waiting for the “what’s next?” question to be answered.  And that unsettling feeling is the same as it always was.  The only difference is that now there are two people (my husband and I) who feel it in equal measure.  How’s that for your Christian marriage fantasy?

I wish I could have summed all that up for my friend when she asked “how’s married life?” with all her anticipation and excitement.  I wish I could have somehow expressed that all the answers and relief she was looking for from my marriage stories would, in the end, not be all that different from her own.  I wish I could have told her that we’re all going through the same things, feeling the same emotions, even though our circumstances might look different.  So as she looked up at me with big, wide eyes, and a smile that I couldn’t turn away from, my only answer was, “it’s still just a life of faith.  Now I just wait on God with someone next to me.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2011 8:54 pm

    Well done – so true. Thanks for being lovingly honest with your friend. I wish I knew why as women we are taught – in the church and in our homes – that marriage will be the ultimate fulfillment of our lives. Are boys and men taught this? I wonder… Better to say that God will work in and through us all, married or not. Though I will admit at this stage – 45 years in – that I’m very grateful to have someone standing beside me as I wonder about where God is leading next. I enjoy your work – thanks for your thoughtfulness.

  2. Amy G permalink
    August 1, 2011 10:18 pm

    I love this. And so needed to hear it (and I didn’t even know I needed to hear it 😉 ).

    I miss you, dear friend. We should have coffee sometime.

  3. August 1, 2011 11:04 pm

    Beautiful, Lauren – you inspire me. Thank you for your words and for your example. Your writing makes me want to write better.

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