Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday ~ Don't Rain on My Parade

**This post is long, but it is also something that is very near and dear to my heart right now. I want to know your thoughts - from the marrieds and the singles!!**

We were sitting around the dinner table the other day, eating and laughing as we discussed the news of the day – Scott passing his driver's exam, hurray! That's pretty big stuff! As we talked about his new-found freedoms, Mom said to him “Hey! Now you can be the one to make those quick runs into town when we need something!” Inwardly I grinned – yet another driving-happy brother to hopefully run some of those errands instead of me! Across the table from me, Karis began commenting “I can't wait until I can drive. It sounds fun.” Instantly, I opened my mouth to say it, the thing I always say. Because I always respond to comments like this with the same reply: “Driving is not all it's cracked-up to be.

{OLD PICTURE ALERT!! Me at age 18 **cringe** on the day I passed my driver's exam}

Like I said, I've been a certified licensed driver for eight years. The first few years I was the first person who volunteered to make any trips into town or run any errands...because I just loved to drive! It was freedom, it was speed, it was “grown up,” it was just so much fun! But now, on this side of eight years, I've reached that point where driving has lost a lot of it savor. Oh, I still love it and I always want to be the driver in whatever vehicle I happen to be in...but somewhere after getting my job that's twenty-five minutes away from my home and having to drive that all alone every day, and then getting my own car where I've spent what feels like half of my waking life in all's just not as exciting anymore.

When Karis made her comment about wanting to be a driver herself,  I went to make my usual reply. But something inside me stopped...because I recognized something in my reply that I didn't like. Hang with me.

{the best nail polish brand}

Every American person is expected to drive. You never hear a red-blooded teenager saying “Ah, I don't want to get my driver's license.” Neither do you ever hear an adult telling said teenager that a driver's license isn't necessary. It just what everyone does. Everyone will pursue and ultimately achieve getting their own driver's license.

I say this because....marriage is like getting our driver's license. It's what we do. It's what we work towards, some more passionately that others, but looking at life in a big picture, we're all heading towards marriage. And single girls are like teenagers who want their driver's license – we really, really want it. Because it's what we do.

But so many married people respond to the single girl's desire in the same way I was about to reply to Karis: "Marriage isn't all it's cracked-up to be.” If I had continued in my reply to Karis, would it really have made any difference? Would she really have suddenly decided that “Oh okay, you're probably right. I'll just forget about getting a driver's license.” And when Marrieds or even single people with good intentions, say that “marriage isn't all it's cracked-up to be,” that doesn't change our desire at  all and at times, it can be hurtful and demeaning.

 {current reading...and the fact that all the books are about firefighters, policemen, etc....may or may not have everything to do with it **wink & a grin**}

As a single woman, the issue of “contentment” comes up a lot. It's been so heavily pushed at us single girls that it's becomes a prison, not a liberation. We're told to be “content” so much and so forcefully that when we feel those twinges of marriage-longings, we're slapped with a load of guilt that we aren't abiding in Christ, that we're not seeking Him hard enough and that we're not pleasing Him.

It is important to be content in Christ, and that goes for everyone, not just single women. But this pressure of “contentedness” for single women breaks my heart....because the message is wrong. Yes, I'm basically going against everything anybody has probably ever told you about singleness and boy, let me tell you...does it feel good. Stay with me. :)

First of all, when did wanting-marriage become something to be ashamed of? The desire for marriage isn't like an unwanted disease - why do so many people treat wanting-marriage as something to rid ourselves of? Most especially, why do married people always try and convince us that marriage isn't going to fix our problems? I've considered myself eligible for marriage since I graduated high-school and turned eighteen. That was eight year ago. Why do the Marrieds so often seem to think that in the eight years of being single I haven't caught on to the fact that marriage isn't easy? I'm not blind to marriages around me. I've seen my friends marry and experience the difficulties, I've seen my parents work through stuff in their marriage, I've seen my siblings work though stuff in their marriages, too. Trust me when I say I know that marriage isn't easy and I know that marriage will not solve my contentment issues.

{these babies are getting me back into work on Monday after this entire week being out sick}

But here's my second point and it's very important: the very purpose of the entire female population even being created in the first place on the sixth day of creation...was to be a help-meet. The very core of the existence of women is to get married and have a husband. It's not just something we tend to want to do. It's what we were designed to do. Marriage isn't just a want. It's a purpose, the heartbeat at the very reason for women.

Yet Singles are repeatedly told to deny the very longing that God created them with. We're constantly told to suppress the very purpose of why we're here on earth as created beings. When the truth can't. As in can't. Just like I can't stop being female, I can't put a stop to the desire for marriage.

Married's will tell us single women that marriage is a beautiful thing...but then turn around and tell us that we need to die to that desire and serve God only. This is wrong – because our main service to God, by right of purpose at creation, is to be married and be help-meets to our husband. There is nothing wrong with wanting marriage. There's nothing shameful in admitting it, nothing shameful in praying for it, there's nothing shameful in telling someone that marriage is your goal. What's shameful is denying the very reason God created us. To suppress the desire for marriage as an unwanted disease, is to say God created us with a wrong desire. That's saying God goofed and God never goofs up.

{Poof in the grass}

Anyway, this word “contentment” - who started that? Because it's wrong, at least the common understanding when relating it to Singles is wrong. Because being content doesn't mean letting go of our desire for marriage. I used to think it was and so I'd continually be sacrificing my desires on the alter of God's good pleasure, trying to do the right thing...when it was a no-where road, because it was impossible to let go of that desire to the point where I no longer wanted marriage AND all it got me was guilt and shame that I wasn't being a good, “content” Christian single woman.

I will tell you a truth:
When someone says they are longing for marriage, that doesn't always express a discontent with their life; someone can feel the dull ache and loneliness of singleness without be discontent. When I blog about those days that are kinda hard because I want to be married, that doesn't mean I'm expressing discontent or that I'm not finding my fulfillment in Christ – it merely, that I want to get married!?! Nothing more, nothing less. I can be content in Christ to it's fullest potential and still long for marriage. There's nothing wrong with wanting marriage. There's no hand-cuff between “content” and “wanting marriage” that keeps them always together; they can be two separate entities. I can want to get married, plan for that day, hope for that day, even ache for that day...while still finding my satisfaction in Christ.

{"my one weakness"}

I dearly, dearly long to go to Europe some day and when I tell you that, the last thing you'd even think about telling me is “Europe isn't as wonderful as you think it is. I've been there. I know. You'd be better off learning to be satisfied with the United States.” That's ludicrous. The issue of being content where you are doesn't even cross our minds.

But when we single girls say “I dearly, dearly long to be married,” it' s like the world rises up against us with pitchforks and branding rods, backing us up into a corner saying “Marriage won't fix your problems! You'll still struggle to be content! Marriage is hard!” You want to know what I want to say when well-meaning married's say that? This is what I want to say:

“I KNOW marriage is hard, I KNOW marriage will not take away my every longing, I KNOW that I will still always be striving for “contentment” even as a married women. But did that stop you from wanting to marry your husband? Did that stop you from getting married?”

That's what I want to say. And I want to say it with tears in my eyes. Married's forget so quickly what it's like to be single. They see the hardships in marriage, and forget that there's hardships in being single, too. Either way, there's going to be hardships. But God created me for marriage, so isn't it natural that I should want to get married and face those hardships myself?

{flannels in the wind}

Being satisfied in Christ is vastly important and being content in Christ has no lesser value. But here's this: I am content today, while wanting and longing someday for marriage. There is nothing wrong with them co-existing. Especially as He admonishes the one and created us for the other. They go together in blissful harmony.

So, if you've had people tell you that to be content means that all thoughts and desires for marriage are inappropriate and should be exterminated...that's not true. If you are a married person and you find yourself falling back on telling single people “Marriage won't satisfy you,” you don't need to. I'm not looking for marriage to make me happy, fulfilled and content. I'm desiring after the very purpose of my creation. I know marriage will be hard, a husband won't fill the God-sized hole in my heart and that I will still have to work to be satisfied in Christ. But I will be doing that all my life anyway...and there's nothing wrong with wanting to be married/fulfill your created calling while daily learning to do all those things.

{sticky note reminders}

Bottom Line:
My sister wants her driver's license and I want to go to Europe someday (the sooner the better!), but I'm content today in the United States. I want to get married (the sooner the better!) but I'm still content even in my longing today. To want marriage is not to be discontent. There is nothing shameful or wrong in wanting to get married or even aching for it.

Bottom Line #2:
To anybody married...rather than give advice to a Single from the perspective of a Married, instead give advice from your experiences as a Single yourself. Remember. Remember what it was like for you as a Single. That will go a much farther way in encouraging us.

**bonus thought: how come when there's a young married woman at church who wants to have children, but is having a difficult time conceiving, the women of the church will rise up around here, praying for a child? But when a single woman wants to get married, all they get from the married women is “you should learn to be content.” You'd NEVER tell a woman trying to have a child to “just be content, it may not be God's will for you to be a mother,” but it's the “right answer” to tell a single girl “just be content, marriage may not be God's will.”

I smell a rat.


  1. Beautiful post and spot on! Nobody ever tells me that Ireland isn't all it's cracked up to be when I express a desire to go there, but I hear that all the time about marriage!

    Or when I say I want to get published nobody tells me not to bother because it's hard and will take lots of work and that I should just stay content unpublished and find another dream. But just let me say I want to be a wife and mother and watch people haul out the judging/contentment stick and whack me over the head! =P

    I can be content state side and single (but if I had to chose I would pick marriage over Europe....sorry Ireland, but that's just the way it is!) but I still can desire and plan for the day when my dreams come true! =)

    *sheepishly raises hand* I was a reluctant driver, I HATED it, so much so, I didn't get my license until I was 23! But now after having both of my jobs be at least 20 minutes drives with lots of driving involved while working (I was a nanny, so pick ups and drop offs, ballet/swim lessons, etc etc etc) I learned to love it!

  2. {Just sent you an epicly long text as my "comment".} ;)
    *HUG* Love you girl--boy you've NO idea how much I needed to hear this!

  3. This sounds like a fab post, Kellie - sadly it's far too late to read it in its entirety. :/

    Just have to say that your choice of reading? Yep, it totally rocks. ;D

  4. This is soooo true. I had never really thought of this as you're writing it, but it's good to see it written by somebody who is living the same (pretty much) situation than mine...And it's true that our purpose is to be help-meet...
    Thank you so much for writing this, I appreciate you took the time to put this down, and it's something I'll try to remember on the day where I see my older brothers and sister married and happy, and I wonder "When ?"
    Have a blessed sunday

  5. KatySue: Girl, have I told you how much I appreciate your transparency?? You encourage me so much! :) Maybe we should "plan" a European trip together sometime!! I didn't realize that you write - what books are you working on??

    Meghan: Gral, you're text really made my evening - I'd posted this and was somewhat trepidatious about what peeps might say - you're comment was the first thing I got in response to it and it was SO encouraging!

    Rissi: Haha, yes, it is long! And I'm glad you approve of my reading choices - I've a sucker for detective/forensics/fire-fightin' fliks. :)

    Marie: I'm glad that this was encouraging to you, Marie! The whole concept is something I've been thinking about alot myself and the older I get, the more I "smell a rat" in so much of the well-meant common thinking pertaining to single women. Hopefully there will be a turnaround soon amongst us women, where we can feel free in our feelings, rather than suppressed and confined!! :)

  6. Ah, who cares about long? I'm sort of big on that. (Trying to improve on that though! LOL!)

    You make some interesting comparisons here, Kellie. I think as the younger generation, we should take into consideration what our elders (those who have been married) may have to teach us. Similarly while I don't think it is wrong to *want* marriage (I want it for myself... someday) I also think that in our single-ness we should look at this time as a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. As cliché as it sounds, we will never get back this time in our lives because in marriage, our life will be different. Still wonderful mind you but different.

    Having said that, I agree that it's not wrong to desire that only when it becomes a "desperate" one, that is when I think there is a danger sign. For example, so many of the home-schooled girls who I once knew married immediately following graduation because a.)that's what they felt they were "prepared" for and b.)any guy who showed interest in courting them immediately equated to... love? That just doesn't compute for me. Marrying because you meet Mr. Right is one thin but marrying for "desperations" sake is wrong.

    Who wouldn't want to someday see Europe?! It may not live up to romantic expectations but it'd still be awesome. :)

    1. Ah, Rissi! You've nailed the other half of the proverbial coin! I've actually been thinking about exactly what you just said the past day or so, after posting this. Because if it's one thing I can't stand (or agree with!) is those girls who pine away wishing for marriage and who's whole existence revolves around wanting marriage. I've seen too many dour faced single girls sitting at home, who's whole life is focused on getting married...and then, when it doesn't come, they fall into depression and despair, etc. I firmly believe in getting of our backsides, getting jobs, getting out, and living life to it's fullest as single girls, amen and amen forever! I'm not an advocate of the "stay at home daughter" at all and I do believe that marriage isn't the only thing in life.

      But for those of us who really truly desire marriage, I find there a lack of "liberation" in Singles being able to express that without being slapped with a "discontent" card these days. It's okay to want marriage, it's okay to let that be our ultimate goal, it's not something to be branded for or labeled as "unfilled in Christ" over. The point that I mainly hope to make through this post is that 1) wanting marriage is okay; it's the ultimate purpose of what God created us for and that 2) wanting to be married doesn't necessarily mean we're being "discontent" and lastly 3) sometimes Married's forget what it's like to be Single.

      I've been contemplating a follow-up post on this, to address exactly what you were concerned about, because I see exactly what you're saying and I'm right there with you. Wanting marriage doesn't necessarily mean we're "discontent," BUT when all we think/desire/dream/live for is marriage, without anything else in life, then it starts getting wonky on us. Desperate single females is NEVER a good thing and yes, I've seen hasty marriages based on what appears to be that very thing, which is SO SAD. It's okay to desire marriage, but rush into it just because it's what you're made for? Never. I came very close to marrying who I thought was Mr. Right, only to have it end before the vows. In retrospect, I am SO grateful, so thankful that it didn't happen. It would have been a miserable marriage, not because he wasn't a good guy, we were just immature and VERY DIFFERENT. And my drive for marriage, my own fancies, and our youth was rushing us towards something we were very not prepared for or even suited to face together. So I definitely know about "hasty marriages," and it's the last thing I'd ever want for anyone. So, yes, you're so right! Making marriage the only point of our life is a wrong move - and "discontent" CAN happen in singleness, of course, when it becomes the consuming though of our life, to the exclusion of all else in life. I prefer to say, rather than "we need to be content in our singleness," that we should "accept our singleness." I accept the fact that I'm still single and I'm (hopefully) living my life without marriage being a Gollum-like obsession (because you're right! there's load to be done as a single woman that can't be done as a Married!), but I still do long and sometimes ache for marriage. I think it's also important to realize that all females have varying degrees of "wanting." I know some girls who have honestly never really thought about marriage all that much and then girls who can't STOP thinking about marriage with such frantic obsession until it's tiring to be around them. And then there are average, normal girls like me, who really want to get married, but also see that there IS more life to live than solely getting married. So, each of us with have different levels of "wanting," which does require some flexibility amongst us all.

    2. Thank you for bringing this out! I'd never want to be misunderstood as condoning the "desperate female" complex, because I most certainly do NOT. Perhaps I'll start composing "Part Two" to continue the discussion on the blog! I appreciate SO much your response! This is the kind of feedback I really hope for and it's honestly to refreshing to get the brain juices flowing in good conversation with other females!

    3. Feedback is a wonderful thing, Kellie and I am so glad you are enjoying that. :)

      My biggest thing is when it falls into "desperation." I think wanting marriage isn't a bad thing just so long as we *live* in the interim. Like anyone, I look forward to the day but I don't obsess over it nor do I desire it so much that it interferes with, well, life. Part of it could be I've not met anyone with whom I'd want to date/court/marry yet it still seems a poor prospect to readily accept marriage when you are in a "desperate state of mind" or feel as if that's what you were raised for. Sorry about your experience but as you say, looking back, it's a wonderful thing that no vows were spoken. It hurts a lot less that way.

      Well said and I'll be on the look-out for "part two."

  7. Two things.
    1) YESSSSSS! Me agrees. And it was good to hear again from your distinct perspective.
    2) I got the Lark Rise reference. ;)

  8. Thank u for sharing! Your post is how I've been feeling.....and Europe us least the part I've been to (Germany as and Austria).... I dream of going to England to see the places Jane Austen wrote about and Paris! ;)

  9. LadyM: Hehe, I knew you'd be right there with me, Michelle!! And hehe, gotta love Dorcas and her "one weakness." ;)

    Rebecca Page: Thank you for reading! I hope it helps to know that you're not the only person feeling this way! I'm beginning to see that here is no such thing as a single who has feelings that nobody else shares - we all have so many of the same insecurities, worries, suppressions, etc! It's good to get out and talk about them and help each other out! Ooh, I envy your Germany/Austria experience! And Paris would be divine! :)

  10. Amen! :)

    I've been thinking lately that I should make a list of bad things that people should never say to Christian singles. Things that are honestly funny but can sting when they're said to you.

    P.S. I found your blog through Kellie's blog party. It's nice to find another Lark Rise fan! :)


  11. SINGLENESS is the BEST. And seriously...too many married people just complain about being married and how much they dislike it. I think they've just grown comfortable, and that if they were single again, they would be miserable. My sister goes on and on about marriage and how I should stay single, and then complains because her husband played video games all day...AFTER MAKING HER BREAKFAST IN BED and washing the dishes. *eyeroll* Such drama. Anyhow, I'm learning to love being single and just enjoying each moment as it laying in bad all day reading because I live alone and don't have to work til late. :D

  12. Thank you so much for this post! singles get a lot of flack either you are desperate if you want to be married or something is "wrong' with you if you are not married by a certain age. How does that work?
    "I'm desiring after the very purpose of my creation" wow such a great sentence my desire to meet someone and get married are completely normal!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Meg! It blesses me. :)


Oooh, you're about to comment! How exciting! Know that you are SO MUCH MORE than just a name and a comment to me - you're a person I'd like to get to know! Make sure you check back, as I reply to each comment. I love getting to talk/correspond with each of you!