Typical Misconceptions Single People Have About Married Life…

… 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.

Look at all this romance.

That’s amore!

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    As the great “philosopher” Oscar Wilde said: “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

    Witty cynicism aside, it’s just too easy to ignore conflicting traits and to let one’s dreams about romance smother yellow and even red flags. And there are few things worse than repeating the same miscalculation.

    • Philippa Martyr

      Not if you step back and think hard, and read rabid and gung-ho websites like Baggage Reclaim. (Although it’s resolutely pagan, it really helped sweep the stardust out of my eyes, without at the same time making me a cynical and mean old witch.)

  • smk629

    Well said, Ms. Kat. The best antidote to loneliness and self-centeredness is taking a wholesome, kind interest in others. If possible, it is also worthwhile to volunteer at one’s parish or another good organization. It is impossible to force someone to love you, and it is not healthy to obsess or to crave constant attention from another person, either. There is a lot of good advice in what you wrote.
    Happy Lent, my friend – Susan from Akron

  • Digital Hairshirt

    This is why I love you.

  • I don’t wanna go to Hell

    Toenail clippings … oh boy, toenail clippings … my husband had a massive stroke at age 51, and guess who gets to clip the nails now? I hate feet and toes … just a thing for me whoknowswhy … and now I get to clip all those nails. Not to mention everything else I “get” to do for this handicapped man. No one ever thinks of that when they’re planning the wedding reception. Fuggitabout “he completes me.” Love is a choice to donate myself every day no matter how I feel physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      There is so much beauty and truth in your comment.

  • St. Martha

    “2) My spouse will be my forever BFF and we will do everything together. Everything.” Psst ~ this is what girlfriends are for. Stop expecting this from ANY man.

    • Philippa Martyr

      Precisely. This ‘completion’ attitude can wreck a marriage pretty much before it begins. It would be good if more women learned about what men really are, and what they’re not, before they get married. Men in general, that is. You know, the ones that are the OPPOSITE sex?

    • Quittin’ time at Tara!

      My husband and I are BFF’s who do everything together. We have had a loving, hilarious, tender, marriage of twenty years. We are as thick as thieves. I thought intimacy was the whole point.

      I just want to guard against the opinion of marriage as some self- immolating slog, where you continually are disappointed and lonely and need to go outside marriage for deep intimacy. No! It can be heavenly, even after a long time. After much sickness, scads of kids, bodies going to pot, the culture of death always winking though the keyhole, it is the BEST. A lovely heaven on the earth.

      Amigoes! Buddies! Pals!

      • http://platytera.blogspot.com Christian LeBlanc

        Same for me and my wife. At 63, she’s still my best friend and the most desirable woman I’ve ever seen.

  • Therese

    Marriage isn’t ” me – centered. “, that is selfishness which will kill the marriage. It is a sacrament of sacrificial loving – other -centered. Dying to self. Our culture promotes the ” me- centered ” ” soul mate , whose going to “complete me and be my everything ” model of marriage. It’s not designed to be. God alone is perfect and should be our everything. Thank you for showing the difference .

  • Philippa Martyr

    It’s so spot on, it’s downright scary.
    I am hugely grateful to God for showing me how to be a happy single person, and it’s been by doing EXACTLY what you suggest above. I had asked God for a spouse for a long time, and then – contrary to most of the advice given to me about persevering in prayer – I prayed instead to know God’s will.
    And whoops – God sent me, in the space of a couple of years, a number of very good, orthodox, practising Catholic women, all of whom were going through really bad patches in their marriages.
    So I listened. We had hot chocolate. I listened some more. I listened over weeks and months. I’m still listening. I took on the duty of going in to bat for these marriages – all valid, and all with kids, and all worth fighting for – and I realised that I’d been watching the very up and down marriages in my own family, and learning from these how a couple can survive absolutely years of bad patches, and come out the other side still married.
    So I learned to count my blessings. And this led me to realise that actually I wasn’t all that lonely. I had a family. I had friends, workmates, people at church, and a whole pile of things that kept me busy and happy, if only I chose to be happy.
    Burl Ives was right. “As you go through life, make this your goal – watch the donut, not the hole.”

  • Jesus Christ

    I was just fine by myself

    • TMJC

      You sure were…because really, You were never alone. You were right there with Yourself.

    • Quittin’ time at Tara!

      Dear Lord,

      I lost my keys. Hints?

      P.S. Tell Johnny Cash hi.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Heard as a snippet on the radio last night: Marriage is the sacrament of friendship, and true friends don’t get divorced.

    • http://platytera.blogspot.com Christian LeBlanc

      Why would I separate from my own rib?