Many times when I was bemoaning my single status, some well-meaning soul would say, “God is still working on your future husband!” or an iteration of “God is still preparing you for one another.” After a while, my response to that oft-given, comfortless placation was, “Well, he must be a huge fixer-upper to be taking this long!!”
I have journal entries dating back five years ago about my now-husband, wondering if there could be anything between us. In one entry, I was very skeptical and considered us far too different to be a good match and myself far too screwed up to be attracted to a “good” guy. We started dating, much to my surprise, at the end of 2012.
The other night my husband said something I’ve repeated multiple times since we were married last fall: “I wish we could have done this ten years ago.”
Marriage has been a gift to both of us. No, it didn’t make all our dreams come true, but longings within each of us that have been unmet for 15 years have now been fulfilled in each other.
Sure, it’s fun to imagine going back to our meet-cute story of two blogging buddies turned to Mr. & Mrs. And while that is a nice thought, we both concluded that we may have never considered each other or even have been a good match ten years ago.
In the last decade, both of us have been through a lot. We’ve endured our share of hardship and suffering, or to use a Christianese term, “the refiner’s fire.” We wouldn’t want to go through any of those things again, but loss, grief and the confronting our inner demons has changed us for the better. It was in the hard times that many of our impurities were removed, our rough edges became liquefied, and the priceless treasure of our dependence on God was revealed.
We are two totally different people from our 26- and 24-year-old selves. I would say we’ve matured with time, we’ve grown up, we extend more grace and forgiveness, and we know how to ask for help. The cocksureness of youth and selfishness has diminished, making us better companions and friends. We even realized that had we tried plunging into the murky waters of dating a decade ago, we might have had a very unhealthy relationship. Can you say codependent?
Single friends: I know you want to smack the next person who says, “God is still preparing your spouse.” You want to sarcastically respond with “God needs THAT much time?! Yeah right.” I feel you. You’re right; it’s not necessarily about preparedness.
It’s not like there is a Boy Scout-esque program for pre-marrieds. Or maybe there is. It’s called life. Life makes us bitter or better. The things you are struggling with right now are building the future skills and tools within you that have the potential to make or break your marriage.
Recently I told my pastor that I’ve heard from so many couples that the first year of marriage is the hardest. If that’s the case, I’m loving how easy this “hard year” is shaping up. My pastor noted that all the things I’ve been through have aided me in being a good wife to my husband.
We are not static, and neither is our future spouse. You may look back and realize the very things you are crying out to God to deliver you from are the things that equip you the most in your future marriage.
What a difference a decade makes.
If you know someone who is struggling with his/her singleness, would you email them this post?
Photo credit: Heather Bradley