Yesterday David and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. In light of that, I’ve been trying to think of something meaningful to write about marriage. Some women can write these flowery posts about how their marriage is a dance or whatever and I’m just not that kind of writer. I am, however, a consummate list maker so here are important truths about singleness, marriage, and parenthood from my life.
I am thankful I dated other men before I met David.
I didn’t date a lot, but I dated enough to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that David was The. One. almost immediately. I learned a great deal about myself and men through the experience of dating. I learned what I wanted and what I definitely didn’t want. It made it that much easier to identify David as someone who was right for me.
I’m glad I married my best friend.
There were no huge fireworks when I met David. I was excited by the possibility that he was finally the one I had been praying for all these years, but it wasn’t this overwhelming emotional display. And I’m glad. I married my best friend and our love and friendship have been constant. There wasn’t this “high” from the sparks of dating that wore off. We’ve always been best friends and it has given our marriage a great deal of stability.
I’m glad I listened to my girlfriends.
I had a few girlfriends who told me things about myself that I needed to hear. Like one friend who told me one guy was completely wrong for me because he was too high maintenance and I was already high maintenance enough for a marriage. LOL! And she was right. I needed someone who was pretty easy going and able to deal with my intense personality. I am thankful I had girlfriends who talked frankly with me to prepare me.
I’m thankful we both waited.
We never have to wonder or deal with memories of other people. To all the people who say that is unrealistic to expect young people to wait when they are delaying marriage now I say not so. We were 33 and 29. You can wait.
I learned early the value of communicating.
God clearly taught me in the first week of marriage that David cannot read my mind and I need to communicate with him. I learned that vivid lesson right then, took it seriously to heart, and I’m sure it has saved us a lot of heartache.
We give each other the benefit of the doubt.
We are both completely for each other. We always assume the best. We have worked very hard to be trustworthy in our marriage. I cannot imagine how many disagreements we have been spared because we give each other the benefit of the doubt and choose to assume the best motives.
We see each other as a gift from God.
Because we prayed for so long, we see each other as a specific gift from God and an answer to those prayers. Because we see each other as a gift directly from the hand of God, I think we treat each other with an added measure of respect.
Singleness is better than marriage.
It is absolutely true that a single person can focus on his/her relationship with God, has more freedom to serve Him, and is unencumbered by the necessary restraints of a marriage relationship. There are days I miss the freedom of being single as it relates to my faith.
Marriage is better than singleness.
Marriage is wonderful and given the choice between singleness and marriage, I would always choose marriage. Having someone to walk through life with is such a blessing. The loss of freedom that comes with marriage is a worthwhile trade-off in every way.
Being a couple without children is wonderful.
We were childless for almost ten years. We truly loved being a couple. We enjoyed the freedom of not having children even though we always knew we wanted children. We formed such a deep bond when it was just the two of us and it has been a huge blessing to have that in place after having a child.
Being parents is a blessing.
We are so thankful God gave us a child. It is a blessing to be parents. Because we prayed and waited so long for this child, it has given us a greater appreciation for her than if we had just decided we wanted a child and immediately got pregnant. Again, we clearly see her as a specific gift and answer to our prayers. God used that waiting time to prepare us for parenting this particular child.
God kept us from many mistakes.
David and I have both remarked many times that God prevented both of us from making some monumental mistakes as singles. My prayer was always that God would protect me, keep me from making a mistake, and make it very clear when the right person came along. He graciously answered that prayer time and time again.
For us, the battle for a great marriage was won as singles.
I truly believe that David and I have a happy, peaceful marriage because we worked very hard as singles to be ready for marriage. Before we ever met each other, we were laying the foundation for a solid marriage. We prayed for our future spouse. We trusted God for our future spouse. We learned about marriage through books and observing good (and bad) marriages around us. We invested heavily in our spiritual lives so we were mature in our faith. We dated carefully. We didn’t lower our standards even when the wait went on much longer than we wanted. We were about as prepared as we could reasonably be. And all of that effort paid off with a relatively smooth transition to marriage and beyond.