Formulas for marriage

Singles know that there are plenty of well-meaning suggestions to help you get married. Some single people pray to God and to saints while others consult the stars.

What Single People Wish Married People Knew has some good thoughts on this.

In the very thick book of popular theology that is not actually in the Bible, a book I like to call “First Assumptions”, we have this formula:

“Not letting go=being single.
Letting go= being married.”

Yep, if singles would just “let it go” and “leave it to God” then “love will come when you least expect it”.

Back to the article:

I have a theory about why it frustrates us so much. At the root of this formula is the idea that all single people have done something wrong and all married people have done something right. Married people, I know you probably never meant to make us feel that way, but it is the nature of that formula.

Bridget Jones introduced the concept of Smug Marrieds; many Single people have encountered married people who give well-meaning advice that leaves the single feeling patronized.

These formulas makes us feel like our being single has nothing to do with God’s will or our choices or the enemy or any other theory you have on why hard things happen. It has to do with our lack.

We humans who live in the West like to believe we are in control of our destinies. And we certainly don’t like uncertainty. “Will I ever get married?” is a torturous game to play because it can go one of two ways and we are sure we won’t like the answer if it’s negative. But it’s the not knowing that drives Singles up the wall.

The fact is this: Getting married is not just up to us. There at least one other person involved in the process, the future husband or wife; not to mention the families being joined together and the larger community that is affected as well. Perhaps right now your future spouse is in a relationship with the wrong person. Perhaps you are not ready for them, yet. Whatever the reason we are not married, we are not in control of what happens to us, and that is scary.

So what are we in control of? Our thoughts and behaviors. We can choose to dress provocatively or classy. We can be self-piteous or cultivate happiness by putting others’ needs first. Women can choose to chase men or let men come to them. Men can sit at home and play video games, or they can go out and meet women. Women can choose to believe “there are no good men left” and men can choose to believe that “all women are sluts”. In short, you can choose to develop a mindset and a way of behaving that will increase your chances of meeting and being a good spouse, but you can’t control other people falling in love with you or not.

Come to think of it, “let it go” is pretty good advice. Just don’t assume by doing so you will gain a spouse. Aim for peace, not bargains with God.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Formulas for marriage

  1. When a long-term Single gets married, she gets a new perspective on the other side of the conversation. If a married woman is thinking clearly, she will never engage a Single woman on the subject of her Singleness. But if a Single woman complains to her about her singleness to a married woman, than the married woman is going to have to make some kind of reply. If she gives the wrong reply, she is in danger of being dubbed a Smug Married. And then the Single woman is in danger of never seeing her married friend again, which leads to further Single’s sorrow.

    • Anna

      It’s all fraught with potential emotional landmines. In general, I think what it comes down to for singles is that they would like to be given the benefit of the doubt and to not be patronized. Single women in their 30s don’t want to hear about how they should just settle down with someone because they “can’t afford to wait too much longer”. I’m not sure what advice married women should give; that’s your job 😉

  2. Ha! If they are smarter than me, they don’t give any advice at all unless asked!

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