Sometimes those of us still in the dating phase of single life can unconsciously view marriage as the end-all-be-all goal. Just in case we need a reminder, that’s not real life.
I turned to some married lady friends for some wisdom for those of us still discerning — in particular, what they really wished single women knew.
Without further ado, here are some wise words from wonderful women who share their experience of marriage regarding what they learned during their time of singleness:
The cross always remains.
“Years ago, a faithful and vibrant Sister of Life and a stunning married woman with children both agreed and testified that there is loneliness in every vocation. I was shocked. It gave me great perspective in the present moment of being single: My heart longs for God, He alone understands and fulfills me, and the loneliness I experienced at times being single was not going to be fulfilled completely within my vocation but would be satisfied in heaven!” — Megan Lewis
“Dating, getting engaged, getting married, or having babies only changes your circumstances, not your identity. That’s found in Jesus Christ, no matter your state in life, and that’s where all joy and fulfillment are found. Crosses don’t vanish; they simply change. Worries and anxieties might lift for a little bit, but they will quickly be replaced by new ones. Your vocation is to do what God asks of you in the present. Don’t lose peace over trying to get to the future.” — Amanda Teixeira
“Your vocation is to follow Christ. Be mindful to avoid pursuing your vocation rather than pursuing Jesus Christ Himself. I wanted to find my vocation so badly that I began to put my pursuit of that above seeking daily intimacy with Jesus. I would be frustrated with God when a relationship didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. A book I would recommend to all single men and women is “Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence.” Once I understood that it’s God’s great mercy at work in asking me to wait for my vocation, everything fell into place. Learning that lesson before marriage is the greatest thing God could have done for me and my husband.” — Christine Sarnow
“Don’t ever settle. Mr. ‘He’s okay and I really want to get married’ would make a terrible life partner. There’s too much life ahead and too many hard things coming to not be in it with the right one. The one you’re supposed to be with will be an instrument of healing wounds that he doesn’t even know you have. It’s true! He might compliment you on something another guy critiqued you on, or he might speak to an insecurity he had no clue you had.” — Caitlin Pride
“It’s vitally important to be able to laugh together because marriage brings with it the potential for the heaviest crosses you will likely ever carry in your entire life. The ability to laugh with one another can carry a married couple through the most painful chapters.” — Amanda Teixeira
“Remember that Satan, the Father of Lies, wants us to become discouraged. He wants us to lose hope. Heck, he’d be delighted if we settled. Resist his lies! Cling fast to God, who has a plan for this time.” — Lauren Smith
Waiting is good.
“Getting married at 30 was the best thing to happen to me. Take heart if you are over 22 and not yet married. Waiting awhile may turn out to be the best thing to happen to you. My husband was 32 and I was 30 when we got hitched, and this has made a huge difference in our marriage. We both had time to learn who we are as individuals and understand ourselves on our own. This has enabled us to be free with each other, not expecting the other to satisfy all our desires. It also really helps practically — we are old enough to not worry about who took the trash out last!” — Christine Sarnow
“Trust that the Lord has a plan for your single years. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t destined you to be a cat lady. Looking back on my twenties, there was a long stretch — several years, in fact — during which I hardly dated. As friends became engaged, married or entered religious life, I had to fight against feelings of discouragement and loneliness. These years tested, but ultimately fortified, my trust in God’s faithfulness.” — Lauren Smith
“Practice being selfless now, with roommates (always have a roommate!), friends and family.” — Caitlin Pride
“Looking back on that seemingly interminable stretch, I see that the Lord provided opportunity after opportunity for me to cultivate the virtues I would need in marriage. Learn how to cheerfully and generously serve, cultivate a rich interior life, develop Christ-centered friendships, and refine your vision for marriage by reading St. John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio. Attach yourself to couples who are living for the Lord by spurring each other on to holiness. This will be time well spent!” — Lauren Smith
There is so much hope.
“Marriage is the best thing ever. There is much to hope for in this vocation and I think that is the important emphasis. Also, it’s delightfully ordinary. You live ordinary life involving dishes, work and bills. But having your lover and best friend by your side makes the ordinary delightful.” — Christine Sarnow
“Our world is in desperate need of faithful, holy couples who embody God’s vision for marriage. If you are called to marriage, you have an amazing mission field before you!” — Lauren Smith
Wondering what a Sister of Life has to say to singles about religious life? Check out this blog post!