marriage

“You could write about your real thoughts on marriage.”

One simple sentence caused an explosion of my inner monologue.

There couldn’t be a worse topic for me to write about.
How is that even helpful?
People don’t want to hear my cynical thoughts on marriage.
I have absolutely nothing helpful or positive to say. 

So I didn’t say or write anything.

After a few days it started to eat at me.  It started to creep up in my day, invading my mind while making dinner for one.  It filled the empty space in my bed that I attempt to fill with a cozy cocoon of pillows.  As subtle as those reminders are, nothing makes the ache more evident than the season of Christmas cards. The glittery notes with hastily written addresses that unintentionally scream look what you’re missing out on.  Those cheerful red and green envelopes that land in my mailbox with updates from college friends, pictures of their beautiful families, and wishes for a happy 2015.

Why don’t you write about your real thoughts on marriage?

What are my real thoughts on marriage? 

It’s not a safe answer.  It’s not a pretty answer.

As a single 26 year old, life is more of a balancing act than anything else.  Balancing between two completely different worlds and attitudes:

  1. The bitter and single female who refuses to start a life without a husband. AKA: The girl who complains about being single so often, everyone is constantly irritated by her.

OR

  1. The overly cheerful cat lady who swears that being alone is an incredible gift from God and makes sure everyone knows how happy and content she is.

Like a pendulum, I’m constantly trying to find equilibrium.  I want to be confident in an adventurous life without a spouse while at the same time being real about how miserable it can be.   And then someone has the nerve to ask about my real thoughts on marriage. And it begins again.  Back and forth.

The deepest part of my being believes in marriage.  I believe in what marriage represents – love, commitment, and a promise between two people who want to do this whole life thing with an adventure buddy.  I believe marriage is one of the most creative ways the Lord describe His relationship with us.  I believe there is a good way to do marriage and a bad way to do marriage. I’ve witnessed both.

My real thoughts about marriage?

Marriage hasn’t been very nice to me.

Marriage dressed up in a fancy tuxedo and a beautiful dress and made life really complicated.

See, when two people get married, they start something new.  They have a first dance, celebrate with friends, go on an expensive vacation, eventually come home and decorate their first home, spend quality time together (let’s be real… quality time and sex), and life as they know it is forever different.  It’s hard. It’s a transition. It’s an adjustment.  But it involves two people dedicated to making it work.

So what happens to everyone else in that couple’s life?

I think it’s easy to forget that everything changes for them too. 

I understand that newlyweds need to focus on their marriage and be intentional on where they spend their time, money, and energy.  They’re adjusting to a new life that looks, sounds, smells, feels, and works differently than it always did before.  It SHOULD be a priority. It SHOULD be different.

But I also think it’s easy for married people to forget what it’s like to be on the other side.

They forget what it’s like to go home to an empty apartment after a wedding.  They forget what it’s like to be single in a group of happy, hand-holding couples.  They forget what it’s like to invest in someone that eventually chooses to love somebody else more.  They forget what it’s like to continuously receive gorgeous wedding invitations for their dearest friends yet dread showing up alone.  They forget how hard it is to fight off the presence of jealousy. They forget how unbelievably INSULTING it is to hear “just give it to God,” implying that single people obviously don’t have the ability to trust Him enough.  They forget how much it hurts to be demoted from “best friend” to “just a friend”.  More than anything else, they forget what it’s like to not have a number one person.  The one human  being that gains the closest access to the deepest parts of a heart.  The person that would, without fail, tackle anything in the world to make all the bad things disappear.

A really good friend of mine wrote a blog post once about how much it sucks to be left behind.   She wrote about how she was happy for those people and their life changes, but while celebrating with them, it was (and is) still painful to be left. She mentioned how sometimes it’d even be nice to do the leaving.

It’s similar to how I feel about marriage.  It steals my friends.  It makes me feel like a third wheel and causes nights that involve me crying myself to sleep.  Marriage makes me feel unworthy, misunderstood, unknown, and damaged.  Marriage makes me feel forgotten by the people who promised to never change.  Marriage reminds me of a guy from the past who promised me the world but eventually decided he wanted something different for his life.  Marriage looks at me and gloats about the friendships I was forced to give up and surrender in the name of their eternal love and happiness.  Marriage infuriates me when I think of the people who wanted it so badly and never got it… yet divorces and broken families happen all the time.  Marriage exhausts me through the messiness of transition and working through new boundaries of “appropriate” relationships. The word marriage makes me feel more alone than the word single.  That doesn’t seem okay to me.

What do you really think about marriage?

After reading all of that, it might be hard to believe that I think marriage is incredible.  You might think I’m lying when I say I am constantly amazed at what the Lord can do through people who have dedicated their lives to each other and to Him.  Marriage is a powerful gift and I hope that one day I’ll get to say “I do” to some crazy cool guy.

Unfortunately, I know part of my heart will be breaking that day.

There’s a good chance someone I love will be feeling sad, lonely, and completely left behind.

wings

a broken and shattered loneliness
covered with words of depth
to hide the emptiness that you caused

paralyzed between the choice
fight or flight

the gloves of a weary warrior
become tattered and torn

the fragile wings of flight
still whisper possibilities
of the wind’s power

fight for a possible future
or embrace the ultimate freedom of soaring

 with each powerful movement
unsteady ligaments stretch for clouds
as the broken and dark portions are
hesitantly left behind

 unforced
undaunted
unwilling to believe
the sky was the only acceptable route

                                       -mp