I believe in marriage and that’s what this post was supposed to be about, and this is how it started originally:
“I want to speak to multiple audiences. Those who are happily married, those who feel unhappily married, and those who aren’t married. I’ve been in two of those positions at least and I’ve witnessed the third. Here’s me in my single days.”
But… when I got to my “single days,” I couldn’t stop looking through the pictures that I wanted to share. There are so many moments that were an integral part of developing into who I am today, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t have the marriage that I have today if I hadn’t had those experiences. I had a blast and I grew up so much! (Sing it with me: “Now I…had…the time of my life…). And so… the topic of my post has changed. “I Believe in Marriage” will have to wait for another day because
I Believe in Being Single First.
I’m going to photo-blast you with the building blocks of the young adult years, also known as The Decade of Decisions, that shaped me. Look for the captions because they fill in the gaps.
But as many young women, coming into their own, she did sometimes struggle, especially once she graduated school and began working without knowing the future. This is what she learned.
Okay! Switching back to first person!
When one by one, my friends started getting married, I learned that independence and self-reliance even more, which has really paid off. By the way, you can play I-SPY in these photos. Find me! (There were plenty more I could have added too.)
Being married to a medical school student requires a lot of independence, so it’s a good thing I started working on it early!
Now I understand that we all have different paths in life and we probably have them for a reason, but I needed those times before I got married. There’s a cheesy song that I love from the musical Wicked that says “we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them, and we help them in return.” Those lyrics are true of not just the people in our lives, but in our paths as well.
I needed to step forward through a tunnel, not knowing what lay ahead all by myself so that I could develop the faith to keep stepping forward. I needed that, and my faith did grow.
Margaret Nadauld said, “The world has enough [men and] women who are tough; we need [men and] women who are tender. There are enough [of us] who are coarse; we need [men and] women who are kind. There are enough [men and] women who are rude; we need [men and] women who are refined. We have enough [men and] women of fame and fortune; we need more [men and] women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” Those are the types of characteristics, I was working on in that phase of my life and that I continue to work on.
Kristen M. Oaks, who married at 53, received a blessing where she was told, “if you cannot bear the difficulties and challenges of single life, you will never be able to bear the difficulties and challenges of married life.” I believe that was true in my case as well, and I loved hearing it when I did. She called herself the poster child for Single Adults.
While most of the above pictures are of the moments that uplifted me, I also had challenges and disappointments. Funnily enough, I don’t have pictures of them. We as human beings of the Social Media age don’t typically take pictures of the inner worries and fears or setbacks. But Oaks is right. The resilience I learned while not in a relationship, has been such a blessing in my marriage today.
And so, though I am happily married a decade after that young adult adventure began in 2005 and though I believe in marriage, I believe in being SINGLE first, even in a community where many people marry younger. I wouldn’t trade those formative years. I would have missed out on some of the pieces that I personally needed to be ready for life’s next big adventures: marriage, medical school, teaching in the South, having kids, and so on. And aside from helping me grow in my faith, man, it was fun!
God does have a path for each of us, and our choices affect that path. That continues being true and will be true for all my life.
Thanks for joining me on my Throwback Photo-jam! I hope you are enjoying your own ride! This One’s for the Girls. (Stay tuned for Part Two next week: I Believe in Marriage.)
*Note: this post was not intended as a brag-fest, simply a statement of gratitude for the lessons learned.