Friday, August 10, 2012

(Not) Looking for Love

I'm weird in that I read a lot of blogs written by women who are married and/or have children. One of these is Modern Mrs. Darcy. This week she's doing a link-up post on love and marriage stories. Since a lot of her readers appear to be at a similar point of life to her, I thought I would offer a different perspective to the link-up, as someone who is not anywhere near ready for marriage.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, a 21-year-old, and a fellow senior in college, updated her Facebook relationship status to Engaged. There were romantic pictures, plenty of likes and comments, a wedding date set for June 2013, and the realization that we are all getting older.

That last one was just me though. I think.

I am 22 years old. I feel like my life is just beginning. I don't know everything. For all my boasting of being a grown-up, I don't truly know how the real world works. Life is easy when your parents pay your rent.

Shortly after this engagement announcement, my brother and I made a late-night run to Jack-in-the-Box. As we ate our burritos, I pondered.

"How can she get married? She doesn't even know what she's doing with her life yet!"

My brother, older and wiser at age 25 with a broken engagement under his belt, replied, "Marriage is about saying I put you first no matter what. She'll make her life plans adapt."

There are obvious reasons why I'm not the one getting married next summer. No boyfriend for one. But more than that, I want time to myself first. I have to learn how to "do adult life" before I add another person to the mix. I want to pay my own rent, have my own cat, buy my own car, go on my own vacations, and start saving for my own house before I share those responsibilities with another.

Right now, my future plans are more important than my future husband. Is that bad to say? Going to grad school and getting a job consume me right now. My husband is merely a abstract figure that I sometimes dream about and pray for. And while I pray for him, I don't typically pray to find him. I pray for grad school exams and entry and for job opportunities, but not to find my husband. I think this is because I really don't have strong feelings about finding him right now. But I know that I'm too focused on my perceived goals. I need to also be keeping my eyes open for the possibilities of something else. And it's unrealistic to think that I'll be 100% settled when I marry. Part of marriage is going through the unsettled parts of life together.

I've always been independent. It's thanks to my mother, the Montessori mom who, while getting married at age 23, still got her law degree and waited 10 years to have children. My mom was a working mother who taught her daughter that marriage was not a requirement. 

I think a lot of women are afraid of not getting married. I'm afraid of the opposite: getting married and finding out it was a mistake. I want to be absolutely sure when I get married, and I don't think I would have that certainty right now. 

As for being alone, I'm used to it. I spent my high school years being the girl who ate lunch in the corner while reading a book. I'm an introvert. I like choosing what to do and where to eat and making important decisions.

At age 22, I've never been kissed. I'm certainly not actively looking for a boyfriend. It isn't that I've stopped looking really, it's that I've never seriously looked in the first place. I've had crushes before obviously, and I even have certain requirements for my husband. I may even have too many requirements. I don't worry about when or if I'll get married. I figure if I'm meant to be a wife, God will send the right man my way. 

With this logic, I already realize that there's a high probability that I'll end up a cat lady. But it's OK. My brother has ambitions to be a husband and father. I'll spoil my nieces and nephews rotten if I don't have my own children. Heck, I'll spoil them even if I do have my own!

Matthew Paul Turner has written that humans were made to have a spouse, that life was designed that way. I definitely get that. No doubt my future adult life would be easier with a husband who could do home repairs and open jars for me.

Another deterrent is the divorce rate--I worry about getting involved with something that only has a 50% success rate. But I can't let that stop me either. If I meet the right man, then it's not going to be about the "institution" of marriage, it's going to be about him and me and the work we do to keep our marriage going. I do think humans as a whole are too independent. Society tells us that we should be happy ALL. THE. TIME. Which in a relationship with another human being is not going to work. People have to be wiling to struggle in a marriage sometimes.

So Dearest Husband, I'm waiting for you. But I'm not mindlessly waiting I assure you. I'm getting my college degree, and going to grad school, and paying my own rent, and buying a car, and when you show up (or at least make yourself known), we'll do life together.

So, after all those words, here's my story: Girl lives independently for as long as she needs to, Girl meets Boy, Girl and Boy date for at least a year, Girl and Boy have proper engagement and small wedding, Girl and Boy face the ups and downs of life together forever. And Girl gets to still be independent at times. Also Girl gets to always have cats. 


  1. "Right now, my future plans are more important than my future husband. Is that bad to say?"

    No! But I think you already knew that :) And I love the love story you've written for yourself (even though I'm not really a car person. Can I still read your blog?)

    Thanks so much for sharing YOUR perspective!

  2. What a great post! You are so right where you need to be! God will bring him along when the time is right. There isn't point in sitting by, just waiting! Keep going and get all those degrees and career and car and vacation and the CAT!

    I did want to say this, don't think that your marriage has a 50% chance of failure. I would say you have a 100% of success, if you are willing to do the work to make it 100%. It takes a lot of effort to get a 100% exam grade or level of success. If your commitment to each other and to your marriage is 100%, then you boost that level!

    Good luck on your exams and getting into grad school!

  3. Emily, this is a great post! After I broke up with my ex, I decided I wanted to put the energy I had been putting into the men in my life (or the search for a man) into myself and what I wanted. I am no closer to marriage, perhaps, but I am getting what I want out of my experiences!

    Also, I think Matt's words are wise. And as your older and wiser cousin, I think finding the right person has a lot more to do with luck and timing than anything. And that comes earlier for some of us than for others. Instead of feeling sad during the wait (which, as you mentioned, might lead to never marrying or having kids), we women should experience as much as possible. We will know ourselves better and have a stronger sense of what we want in a partner.

    <3 Alison