Reading Time: 5 minutes
Earlier this week, a tweet started circulating in my circles of Twitter and it exploded. And it made me explode as well. I know people say that unfounded, dumb takes shouldn’t be shared, as it only gives them more views, and yes, while I agree with this - I’ll probably do it in hopes that maybe that person will see my words and gain a new way of thinking that maybe will make them pause and reconsider. Naive? Probably. Because the likelihood of that person caring is probably very slim.
But I do care what others reading their words think.
And so, I’ll share mine, in hopes of encouraging, not shaming. Here they are.
Reading your tweet that I should “just get going” on married life struck a nerve deep within me. Your response was in regards to another tweet that gave some stats on marriage. Particularly that in 1978, 59% of 18-34 year olds were married. And by 2020, 69% of 18-34 year olds had never been married. Now, here are some things single women in 2020 could do that single women in 1971 could not:
The list of what a woman could do on her own grew greatly in the 70s, so it makes sense that more younger women were married then. They needed a partner to do, what are now, basic things; and still, most jobs for women (those that had one outside the home) were to serve others or strictly the family they came to have.
This isn’t me bashing marriage…or men. But maybe it helps shed some light on why singles, women in particular, are waiting later to get married. Marriage isn’t needed as much as it was then…
And that leads me to my next thought. Marriage is not a requirement, or something that I must do. It is a gift. If you find yourself married, be blessed by it and of course enjoy it, but do not shame or guilt those of us who are unmarried. It’s your opinion that marriage “is the best thing in life” and that as a single, I’m “missing out”, but that’s all that it is. An opinion. Your words continue the narrative to singles that they are missing out on something they should be doing to have a fulfilling life.
Marriage is not the end all, be all of life. I’m not less than you, or less fulfilled, because I’m single. Not only do I think singles are waiting later to get married, because they don’t need it as much, but also, I think we are recognizing marriage is hard work. And we are doing what we need to now, on our own, in hopes that if marriage comes, it will be successful.
Marriage is not like me picking out an outfit in the morning. Too many want the wedding, the party, but don’t want to work for what comes after the recessional or sparkler exit - the actual marriage. There is a lot of work, in people as individuals first, that needs to happen before they “get going on nuptial life.” For some that’s working through trauma - of seeing ugly divorces in their family, domestic violence, or any of the other traumas that life throws at us. For others fear - that they won’t be enough for someone to stick around when the hard parts of life happen. Or that years pass and suddenly one day they find themselves abandoned, because they weren’t wanted anymore.
And society tells us that’s okay, to just quit, and move on to the next marriage. But it’s not. Marriage is so much more. It’s not something to “just get going on.” And this isn’t to shame those who have been divorced. For some, there are deep hurts and deep wounds. We all have our own guilt and shame we are working through for a myriad of reasons, we don’t need others to help pile that on. Me as a single, or you as a married.
Both marriage and divorce rates are falling - showing that some just don’t want to deal with it, whether that’s getting married or staying married. Society sees it as a disconnect from the idea of marriage, and maybe so. But marriage has become an idol. Perhaps that is why you stated it as being “the best thing in life.”
And I’ll end with this - if you truly believe that marriage is the best part of life and that I’m missing out, I know you are missing out on something as well. What marriage is a picture of - Christ and His church. It’s a beautiful gift, that should point you and others, back to Jesus. As a man and woman sacrifice for each other, Christ sacrificed for us in the ultimate way. He died for us. And as a woman is called to submit to her husband - we are to submit to Christ. And as a man is called to love his wife as much as he loves himself - we are to love Christ that much.
So, plot twist: I actually am a bride because I’m part of Christ’s Church.
And that may be cheesy. But what wedding doesn’t have some sort of cheese - both in puns and actual snack?
If Christ being my Groom and I His bride is cheesy, give me all the cheese. If it’s the only marriage I ever get to be a part of, it’ll be the longest nuptial ceremony you’ve ever been a part of. And I do hope you’ll be a part.
But not because it’s required of me, but because I’ve welcomed the gift after knowing I didn’t deserve it in the first place.
A single gal, learning to love and like herself (and others), and live fulfilled, outside of marriage.
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