Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Happily Ever Afters: A Single Girl's Advice Guide For Marriage
For a girl that hasn't had a lot of experience in relationships, I've apparently been given enough wisdom to be thought of as someone people can come to and ask for advice on the subject. To tell you the truth, I am very judgmental and have always been skeptical about entering relationships. I don't know where that attitude came from, but I am thankful for it! I have had several married friends ask me how I could be so happy and content with my life and not searching for love to make me happy, and well, that isn't the full picture. I've always had a crush or someone to love in my mind and in practice. Someone to pray for, talk about/with, and even ponder about how practical it would be for us to be together. I have decided that my basic want in a relationship is for a man to love me despite life's circumstances. During my high school years my youth pastor gave us advice that always stuck out in my mind. To paraphrase his words - When looking for a relationship run towards God with everything you have, and look from side to side and see who is running along side you. That just clicks in my mind as practical advice that can work no matter the circumstances. I'm not here to dole out words on how to have a perfect relationship, but I want to give a clear, fresh perspective about love. Now, when you're single you have to learn how to live for yourself. You learn about your own likes and dislikes and how to be happy on your own. You know that someone is out there for you to be with, but that doesn't stop you from living as usual. It's not like you pray to God and say "God give me my prince charming, yeah I'll be the one watching TV on the couch until he comes along!" You continue on and probably even search him out, and there is nothing wrong with this! Now once you find the one, you plan the wedding of your dreams and live in wedded bliss, hopefully for your entire marriage. That's a perfectly realistic goal and don't ever let anyone tell you differently. But what if that isn't how your relationship turns out? What if you and your love have some struggles and become distracted with life? This is unfortunately a common scenario. If this ever becomes the case I want you to think about this thought - You were single before your married life and knew you weren't complete by being alone. You needed someone to be your life partner, to love and care for and that loves and cares for you in return. You would do anything to find them and make them a permanent fixture in your life. Now you have them, now they are permanent.. what's changed? You are probably going through a legitimate disagreement or circumstance that separates you both from the oneness of your relationship. Don't let these temporary struggles deceive you into thinking that life will somehow be perfect by disconnecting from them emotionally, mentally, or even physically. Take a step back and realistically think about how you would be able to handle all of these struggles without them. That thought should be unbearably painful to consider. This is where the "for better or worse" part of your vows should be taken into account. Go back to your wedding day and remember how you felt when you said those words, probably completely blissful! Somehow we think that not talking about the problems will make things better and somehow make the problems go away, which is totally bizarre in my mind. Now I'm not saying to scream, yell and argue about it, but legitimately discuss the issues. Instead of pushing all of your relationship's struggles under a rug and holding a grudge about them, take a deep breath and examine the big picture through a different perspective. Try to look at it through their eyes with their feelings and talk to them about it over and over again until the problem is settled. This process will probably be painful, but resolving problems instead of avoiding them is a freeing experience that develops personal growth. Think about how much stronger your relationship will be, and how much happier you both will be! Don't think of marriage as one big happily ever after, but as constant happily ever afters. Remember why you married each other and rekindle that unconditional love that you both are capable of having, because you both did - on your wedding day and that should just be the beginning of your love. Be thankful for your struggles, because they bring "after-the-struggle" strength and happiness. Have faith in your partner's willingness to work through life's circumstances. Have faith in God to take care of your relationship's circumstances. Remember the commitment you made when you said "I do" is permanent, and be thankful that is so! I wholeheartedly wish you the best in your relationship.