A slightly belated post in honor of Valentines Day — a reminder for all the married ladies out there.
Time and time again, I hear spouses talking about how they miss being single and all the different aspects of singleness. They miss their independence, the ability to be spontaneous, to travel, and to pursue hobbies. But I really can’t relate to any of those grievances. I haven’t lost anything by getting married – in fact, I maintain all the same (godly) benefits of singleness but with so much more added on.
1. I have had no problem pursuing my hobbies.
Let’s be real here: when it comes to hobbies, Dave and I are as different as night and day. He is all about skydiving, firearms, nuclear physics, and tracking his car. I am all about cooking, dancing, writing, Disney, and shopping. Our “things” rarely coincide, but neither of us forces our will on the other, so no hobbies take a backseat. Of course, there is give and take: sometimes that means I go shooting with him, or he goes ballroom dancing with me. But it also means that sometimes he goes skydiving while I go shopping. Or I go to Disney while he goes to to a physics workshop. If either of us has the opportunity to do something we love, the other person not only encourages it – they do everything they can to make it happen. I honestly feel like I have more freedom to pursue my passions now than I did when I was single because I have someone in my life encouraging me to “do me” and helping me put my plans into action.
2. I didn’t lose my independence.
I think society has placed this really unfair expectation on married couples that they have to do everything together all the time. I personally prefer doing everything with my husband because he is my best friend and makes every experience even better — but that isn’t always possible. I have “work from wherever” privileges and unlimited PTO, so I have a lot of room to take off and explore. As a service member, my husband obviously does not have that much flexibility. I don’t just sit back and pout if he can’t take off with me. I take advantage of my work freedom, whether or not my husband can join. For example, a couple months ago I found a cheap ticket to Orlando and flew to Disney the next day. My husband wasn’t able to go on such little noice, and that is okay! He can travel alone whenever he wants. I have found that work schedules and other commitments are more significant hindrances to our independence than marriage ever could be – but that’s just how life goes when you are a responsible adult.
3. I have continued to build my identity.
I got married young…there is no way around it. I was 21 years old, and I had so many people tell me I needed to stay single longer in order to “figure out who I am.” And excuse me for being harsh, but that is such a load of garbage. My identity is not staked in my hobbies, my life experiences, or my relationship status. My identity is staked in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is the identity I build and examine and explore every day. And the little preferences outside of that? My likes and dislikes, hobbies, talents — those are constantly changing and evolving, regardless of my age or relationship status. Because I am a dynamic human being, not static. Because that is just what happens as people age, right? Personalities and preferences change. And while that change can be due in part to your spouse, that’s just because your personality is always shaped by the people around you. Family, friends, colleagues, church family, professors, boyfriends and girlfriends. If you are surrounded by good people, your changes will hopefully be good. If you are surrounded by bad people, your changes will probably be bad – or positive growth will be more difficult. But if you marry the right person (dare I say, someone whose identity is equally rooted in Christ) then “finding yourself” as God intended will be just as easy as it was when you were single.
And this is NOT at all to say that being single is bad – of course it isn’t! It just hurts my heart that so many married couples feel like they have lost something. It really shouldn’t be that way because marriage is the ultimate illustration of Christ’s love for us.
Marriage done God’s way takes all of the joy and beauty of singleness and enhances and multiplies it. I know not every relationship is there yet – and heaven knows I have been in relationships in the past that made me miss being single. I dated guys that acted more like parents, trying to control what I could and could not do. I was that girl who totally changed to fit in with a guy. I was that girl playing Call of Duty regularly, wearing Star Wars t-shirts, and camping (ew). I thank God every day that I married a man who loves me for me and encourages me to always be me. If you’re married to someone who makes you miss being single – maybe it’s time for a heart to heart. Being single is great when you are single, but if you are married and missing the “good old days,” then something needs to change.