Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Husband Is Not The Answer

Or a wife. Or a significant other. Or a boyfriend/ girlfriend. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, as the King from The King and I liked to say. (I'll be approaching this article as girl to girl, in terms of pronouns, but I presume men can relate too!)

I saw a #singlegirlproblems post which bothers me excruciatingly - that the girl only wanted a husband, not friends. Without channeling Ya-Ya Sisterhood on y'all, I could not disagree more, and here's my basic breakdown of why: husbands are mortal, friends are backboards, you are irreplaceable.

Husbands, Mere Mortals

In Disney's Hercules, Meg is adamant about not being in love.

In the end, she folds. Okay, she's in love. Thanks, Muses. I suppose we all reach that point: we want to be with the one our soul seeks. We want love, the glory of love, the feelings of love, the need and want to be loved, and to love in return. Think of all the Pintrest projects you could attempt if you were in love! We women want to be the jelly to his peanut butter, the other half of his heart.

But already, you're aspiring to an ideal. You are thinking about your side of the bargain; and what about his?

My husband and I complement each other very well- but we're very different. Different food preferences, different cleaning preferences, different schedules, different aspirations. I know, and understand, that I do not fulfill life for him. I'd be more enthusiastic to exercise, more competitive, a better tennis player. But he's a good sport, and goes swimming with his wife the preggo whale.

I don't know what's happening, but it's silly
I love Will just as he is - which is hardly perfect , but perfect for me. Will is human, which means, for as much as I adore him, he'll never fulfill me. And that is why we go to mass with each other every Sunday, and worship and pray before the only human-and-divine man who could possibly satisfy: our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I do not mean this in a cheesy way. I mean this in a very real way. If you have not found your significant other, you are not being punished. You are just as worthy as the girl next to you. You were made in the image of God, which is to say, your soul contains the logos, a piece of the infinite. God is with you, and he will always be with you. This life you're experiencing? It's a journey. There is no end point until Judgement Day, where we will be able to finally know and understand the awesome love and mercy of God.

Being single is a vocation, and it can be a very heavy cross. In this age of social media, it is hard to see pictures of engagements, marriages and babies popping up on every news feed. But do not forget that people in tough marriages or struggling with infertility are also seeing those pictures, and they have their own cross to bear as well. No one is excluded from hardship in this life. Life is hard, and worth pressing on through - more than pressing on, even: enjoying!

There are small joys everywhere - try to find them in the every day, not the grand gestures.

Friends, Backboards (and sometimes backbones)

Ever wonder if a guy is for you? Ask a good friend. She'll tell you straight. You might disagree with her (just a little bit), and then realize (slowly, sooo slowly) that she is right. Near the end of another relationship, my bestie Julia gave me the same advice I had given her a year or so earlier: let it go, and let God. 

Ug. Let what go? My want to be married, and my frustration that my wants were not aligning with another's stars. 

I began earnestly praying, begging God: please let me bear fruit in my single life. Please let me be happy.

And God totally turned my world upside down. In a strange turn of events, I quit my job, I moved home, I sponsored a girl in RCIA, I met my future husband, I co-started the Bright Maidens. These things may not look connected, but they are through God's grace.

I could have done none of the above without my friends. I was encouraged to quit (and stand up for myself) after being treated badly, I was encouraged to move home when I wondered if that was the best decision (YES), I was inspired to sponsor by friends who were actively involved in other types of Church ministry, I met my husband through mutual friends, and I made two very dear friends as we started a new adventure of online evangelization.

Most importantly, it was friendships which kept me grounded in my growing relationship with Will. He met my friends, and I met his. We all got along, and we all learned different sides of each other. And since Will and I continue to be different people (none of this combining names or FB accounts, etc.! Personal autonomy!!), we will both continue to be better friends to each other, as well as cherishing old and new friendships together.

Here is a friend we both have, who always reminds me of why friendships are so important, in addition to marriage and familial relationships - he makes us laugh, he makes us cry, and he reminds us why friends are the ones who love us no matter what (even if we have abrasive personalities):

You Are Irreplaceable

Cue a Michael Buble song. It's so easy to be envious. It's so natural to want to be in the next stage of your life. But you're being given a gift right now: it's not a man, it's an opportunity. Pursue yourself. Pursue your dreams, goals, desires. There is nothing holding you back, except the time it takes to prepare.

I recently stumbled upon a couple interviews I did for my Theology of the Human Heart class in high school. I interviewed my cousin, my aunt/godmother, my mother, and my grandmother. The two that especially struck me were my aunt's and grandmother's - my aunt got married in her later 30's, and loves how much she was able to pursue her career and travel. My grandmother got married in her low 20's, and said that if she could have pursued a career path, she would have enjoyed being a t.v. anchor. My own mother got married at 25 and pursued a Master's instead of an M.D. She made that decision so that she and my Dad could have a bigger family with a more flexible schedule. Everyone made the right decisions for them, even though they came at different points in life, and for different reasons.

Photo credit:
As for me, I've had to overcome being envious of not working for a regular publication full-time. Instead, I'm starting to take freelancing more seriously because that is the path I am currently on, as well as continuing to write book reviews and cultivating my pet projects. My current focus is supporting my husband, keeping house and finance control, and - soon enough - taking care of my little one. I'll be where I want to be eventually, and I'm learning to enjoy a different pace of life. I'm happy, even with the lumps of life. They certainly add perspective and reasons to stay grateful.

When I was single, I worked multiple jobs and I traveled, because that was my post-college plan. I also audited a class at the local seminary, spent time with my family (who I miss terribly right now), wrote, and prayed for my future spouse. This last part is especially important for me, because as much as I prayed, I was extremely humbled to hear that my future MIL had been praying for me as well. Never underestimate the power of prayer, or the miracles that can happen within when you spend more time with our Lord and less time consumed with pettiness, envy, sadness and anger. I'm working on this too, and dear reader, I am praying for you.

God works in mysterious ways, but we are all part of his glorious tapestry. Today, I continue to pray for my spouse. Life is better with him, but not easier. Everyone has challenges, and it is too simple to wish them away by adding in another person. No one can make you happy except you. More money will not make you happy. A different job will not make you happy. If you cannot find happiness within yourself, and accept your circumstances, and work every day to be a better person and a follower of Christ, then having a husband will be like a band-aid over a gaping wound. You need stitches. You need hope. You need to believe that life is an adventure, and you're in for a ride. You need to know that you are worthy of wonderful things happening to you.

A husband is a wonderful companion, but you are irreplaceable, and your happiness is contingent on you.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hid from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40: 27-31)


  1. Oh, Julie...this is wonderful! Thank you!

  2. I am a single male in my mid-20's, and this definitely applies to us as well. Thank you so much for sharing and for the encouragement.

  3. I am in my 20's, and everyday it gets harder to scroll through my social networks and see that someone new is engaged, in a relationship, or having a baby. It makes me question when is my time? My heart has been heavily burdened with recent events, and so naturally I decided to go to adoration today. This post was definitely an answer to some of my prayers from adoration today! Thank you for being an instrument of love! I really needed to read these encouraging and eye-opening words. Your post is a sweet reminder to "pursue myself."

  4. What a marvelous post! Thank you so much!

  5. LOVE this - and that toast is so sweet and hilarious! You are so wise and grounded :)

  6. I am in my early 40's, still single, with an MBA and fabulous career. This post brought me to tears... what insight you have given us today. Thank you.

  7. I think you've stumbled on a really important myth our society has about love: that another person is supposed to "complete" you or "Be your other half." The idea is that when you find your life partner, you will no longer have that inner restlessness, that searching for something greater. You will no longer have any dissatisfaction. This is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but namely 1) people don't realize that what they're searching for is better found in a spiritual life and through self-fulfillment and 2) people leave excellent relationships because they don't fulfill them, only to realize that it's impossible for a relationship to fill your whole life. It puts so much undue pressure on the other imperfect individual, so it really messes with our ability to love.