Happiness not wrapped up in a spouse

IMG_3405A few years ago I read an incredible blog post by a woman who talked about how she desired being married someday, but that in the meantime, she was content being single. I could completely relate. And I can still relate. I want to be married someday, but right now, I’m happy. I’m content.

Some troll jumped in and commented something about how single women need to stop lying to themselves. That if this woman truly desired marriage, there was no way she could possibly be happy without it. I jumped to her defense, then she got involved, and a few other people, and it got kind of ugly.

It’s irked me ever since. Even years later. Can you be content and happy even if you don’t have something you desire? You tell me. I desire to win the lottery (even though I don’t play it), but I’m happy without it. I desire the body of a Victoria Secret model, but I’m content with what I have. I desire to work from home and make more money, but I’m still satisfied without it.

What really makes me laugh is when people don’t understand how I can be in a long-term relationship without marriage (for now), and still be happy, and yet many of those people ARE married… and miserable. And yet apparently having a husband and children is the only acceptable way to be happy in this country.

I love my boyfriend, who, yes, when the time is right, we will get married. We’ve discussed it. It’s between us. It’s interesting that I have to keep explaining that to so many people. I should start asking married people, “So, are you going to stay married? How do you know? Can you explain to me what your plans are for the rest of your marriage?” Sounds ridiculous, but that’s how I feel when people pry into why I’m not married yet.

My life isn’t perfect, but I’m definitely happy. I have bad days, I have breakdowns, but most days are great, and I honestly don’t have much to complain about.

Throughout my 20’s and early 30’s, I was just sure that a husband would solve all my problems. I’m not sure why I thought this, especially when I had many friends who WERE getting married, and they honestly weren’t any happier than I was.

Happiness isn’t found in a spouse. If you aren’t happy before you get married, you won’t be after. For me, the greatest happiness and peace I have found is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. (Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about that!)

As I thought about my happiness, and how so many people are skeptical of it simply because I’m single and childless, I decided to reach out to other amazing single women, and see what they had to say about how they remain happy while being single. I also gave them the option of NOT responding, because let’s be honest, there are plenty of single women who are NOT happy. So this post is for them.

It’s also for those of you who don’t understand. You don’t understand how we can be happy with our lives without a spouse. There’s plenty I don’t understand about your lives as wives and mothers, but you won’t find me judging you for it. I’m just thrilled to see you happy and loving life, just as I am.

Here are some responses from some of the women who replied to my request:

The question: You’re not married. How in the world are you happy with your life?

“I know I can be happy without a husband in my life because I always have God as number one. Now on a funnier side, I can eat when I want, can do my dishes when I want (no dishwasher), watch what I want on TV, and not have any one to tell me what to do.” Age: 60’s

“I’m not married, but I’m happy with my life because I am so sure of myself and the strong individual that I am. I am still learning about myself and evolving as a woman in this world. I am (and am becoming) the strong, sensitive, independent, compassionate, fiery, confident woman that God created me to be, and I don’t necessarily need a husband to accomplish all of that.” Age: 27

“I was raised that I can do anything I want if I work hard for it, and I don’t have to rely on anyone else to do something. That includes my happiness. I am still looking for mister right, but I find my own happiness. If it is in God’s plan for him to come along it will happen. If not, I am content with that and won’t just settle with the wrong guy to say I am married. I won’t do that for me and my kids’ sake. It has to be right.” Age: 46

“Being a single women has truly allowed myself to find who I am as a women and learn how to love myself. Through the years I have learned my strengths and weaknesses and that has helped me become the women I am today. Also, I have pushed myself to limits I never knew I could achieve and I achieved those limits without a man helping me get there.” Age: 34

“I consider myself married….to my husband who is my Lord and Savior. I keep busy in His work and I desire only his will in my life. I live content for the majority of the time because I trust His ways for me. I get the same question. I have been single over 25 years and not without asking the same question of God. But he knows best and ‘this is only a sliver of the sum’. I trust…” Age: 50’s

“The reason I am happy and single is because I am happy with who I am in its entirety, I have accepted me and love me. You can not be truly happy in a relationship/marriage if you do not know how to be happy as a single.” Age: 35

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Insecurity, weakness and manipulation: run away quickly, ladies!

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My dad and three brothers – good examples of great men who are strong and secure!

I haven’t always seen my worth. I may have said it, but I didn’t believe it. We all say we are worthy of love and friendship and an amazing career and great life, but we don’t always believe it. When you realize that you are worthy of all those things, everything changes, especially how you see men.

Over the years I’ve put up with a lot. I’ve dated an alcoholic, cheaters, jerks, liars and more. And I put up with it. No one held a gun to my head and said I had to be with men like that, I willingly participated. While not every guy I’ve dated has been terrible, many of them have been. I put up with it because I didn’t realize that I was worthy of more.

But aside from the glaringly obvious reasons to stay away from certain guys (addiction problems, abuse, etc.), there are three, more subtle, qualities that I believe should send all women running. If you don’t truly understand your worth, you’ll stick around. And trust me, it will be disastrous. It will not end well.

I’ve dealt with only a few guys since I returned from a year in Uganda, but I have been proud of myself for not allowing myself to deal with any of the following types of guys, especially those who embody all three:

An insecure guy

It’s possible to have insecure moments without being flat out insecure. But a full-blown insecure guy is something you don’t want to deal with. This can be tough because often the hottest guys are the most insecure. Their entire lives they’ve been judged by their appearance, and even though it’s because their appearance is good, it makes them question people’s motives.

Whatever he looks like, an insecure guy won’t trust you. Wanting a healthy dose of affirmation is understandable, but a guy who constantly asks if everything is OK, if he did something wrong, and if he constantly apologizes when an apology isn’t necessary, you might be dealing with someone who is insecure. He’s afraid he’ll mess up, he’s afraid he’ll lose you, he’s afraid you are interested in someone else. It’s exhausting to date someone who is constantly insecure.

A weak guy

A guy who is weak cannot handle stress. He’ll often turn to alcohol, drugs or other unhealthy things in order to deal with life’s tough moments. Granted, tough times will come, and people make mistakes in dealing with hurt. It happens. But a guy who is weak will take any little argument or bad day and turn it into something much bigger than it is. It’s almost like he’s a drama queen.

You don’t want a man who is weak. A man who can never deal with his feelings is pretty depressing to be around. Of course your job is to support your man when he has moments of weakness, but if he is constantly weak and not handling it like an adult, you’ll feel like you’re dating a child.

A manipulative guy

Chances are, if he’s insecure and weak, he’ll probably be manipulative. These guys are the worst, and this is probably my biggest pet peeve. A weak woman will fall for a manipulative guy. She’ll take the manipulative things he says and take them to heart. She’ll believe the things he says. She’ll feel bad. She’ll get herself into a terrible and sad situation.

Manipulative guys love to make you feel bad. They thrive off of telling you lies that make you believe you have hurt them in some way. In doing that, they have complete control over you. If you aren’t ready, you’ll fall for it. If you don’t see your worth, you’ll stand for it. And that breaks my heart.

Just a heads up, it’s actually quite entertaining to call out a guy who is trying to manipulate you. Once they realize their tactics won’t work on you, they’ll stay away. And you’re much better for it. Just like a strong man wants a strong woman, a weak man wants a weak woman.

At my age, the first signs of insecurity, weakness and manipulation send me running, and I wish more women would do the same. Sure this means I go on fewer dates. It might prolong my singleness, but I’d rather be single than dating a guy who is any of the above types.

Do you know your worth? If you do, you’ll realize that you deserve someone who is secure and strong, and someone who won’t try to control you. Those aren’t unrealistic qualities to desire in a man.

Life is not a word search… stop looking for love!

I was just starting to dig into my adult mac-and-cheese when the 23-year-old sitting across from me sighed.

“I just don’t know where to go to meet a guy. I’ve tried church, the gym, the bar scene, everywhere! I can’t find anyone!”

I remember being in her shoes. I remember that ten years ago I used to feel the same way. Almost everything I did was in hopes of meeting a guy. My friends were getting married, starting families, and all that other stuff you’re “supposed” to do in your early to mid-20’s, and then there was me: single.

Ten years later, and that’s still me: single. But oh-so-much has changed.magnifying-glass-967211-m

My young friend’s frustrations with being single reminded me of how so many women are missing the boat on finding love. We can’t force it to happen, and we certainly can’t live our lives constantly in search of it. Life isn’t some giant crossword puzzle where we’re all looking for the word, “Love.”

“They” say when you stop looking, that’s when you’ll find love. While that hasn’t happened for me yet, it’s not changing the fact that I live life for other reasons now. I don’t do anything simply to meet a guy. And I’m completely ok if it hasn’t “paid off” yet in the form of a boyfriend or husband.

When I was in my 20’s, practically everything I did was in hopes of meeting someone. Not just any someone, but someone who would transform my life, make me happy, and give me butterflies! I tried different churches, joined the gym, went to trivia nights at the local pub, joined a “Christian Single’s Group” in town, etc. etc.

Obviously, nothing came of any of that.

And why would it? No guy wants some chick who is spending her entire life waiting on him. Guys want a woman who is living her own life, without him, because he’s likely been doing the same without her.

I go to church now because I want to stay close to God and learn more about His word. I go to the gym to work out because I know it’s good for me. I watch football at Buffalo Wild Wings because I love football (and wings!). I volunteer at the homeless shelter because I love helping people- not because I hope there will be a cute, single guy volunteering with me.

Single ladies- just live your life! Stop looking for something that you can’t make appear. You can’t rush God. He won’t bring the right guy into your life until HE says it’s time. So in the meantime, why not love the life you have? God has lots of great things planned for you. If you’re living in His will, He won’t let you miss out on that perfect guy because you were too busy and not looking.

sand-heart-2-1421655-m“If it seems slow in coming, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:3

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
Psalm 27:14

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:3-4