… I am often amused by the question “how do you do it alone?”
The answer is, I don’t.
I have my faith, family, and friends that help me get through the more difficult and overwhelming times. Same as anybody else. It’s funny how people assume just because you aren’t married you are alone.
On the flip side of that coin is the inaccurate assumption made by single people that married individuals are immune to loneliness. The truth no one is completely immune from bouts of loneliness in their lifetime.
I think this fear of loneliness is what drives so many woman to look for a spouse before they are clearly ready. As if finding a husband will end all their woes.
Here are some common misconceptions I’ve come across while writing about being single and responding to readers’ emails …
1) Marriage will solve my loneliness
2) My spouse will be my forever BFF and we will do everything together. Everything.
3) Having a husband will make me happy or complete me
4) You don’t have to try anymore once you’re married
Do you see the common theme?
What can marriage do for me? How can a husband enhance my life?
This very me-centric idea of marriage is my first indication that maybe this person is not emotionally ready to be married or doesn’t have a lot of experience with marriage. I always tell single people to make friends with married couples; to spend time with them and observe their behavior and how they treat each other.
A lot of young ladies my age and younger grew up in single parent households or watched their own parents go through divorce. These folks, myself included, never learned what a healthy marriage looks like or how it functions. That’s why it’s so important for single people to surround themselves with married friends from different age groups. The majority of your knowledge is going to be gleaned from them. Make them your new untapped resource.
I know the idea of a single person spending time with married couples seems counterintuitive… you should be hanging out with other singles, mingling with available people. Or so you think. What are other single people going to teach you about marriage?
There’s an old saying in business, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. The idea is that if you want to be promoted to an executive position than dress and act like you are executive material, even if all you are right now is a lowly secretary.
If you want to get married, than act like you are wifely material. How do you know what wifely material looks like? Do you think your single friends know? If they did would they still be single? You want to know what it means to be a wife, than hang around other wives.
Once you do that for awhile you’ll notice your me-centric responses to basic marriage questions will come less frequently.
You’ll learn that married people can still suffer from loneliness. There will be times in your marriage when work and children obligations will make you seem like your worlds apart from your spouse. Like your co-existing as roommates instead of husband and wife. These moments in your marriage will make the pain of dating rejections and dateless nights pale in comparison.
Your new married friends can help you establish realistic expectations about marriage — like how you should already be happy and complete before you get married, because miserable people only attract other miserable people.
And that sharing everything with someone really means sharing everything.
Everything from toenail clippings to beard hair trimmings and every gross, gaseous thing that most people do when they’re alone or think no one’s watching.
Every person comes with their own set of problems, challenges, quirks and oddities. Just remember that when you say you want to share your life with someone.