Today I’m excited to share with you a guest post from my friend Natalie Borton. It’s a beautiful piece about how she met her husband Brian – and the stereotypes she had to break through on her way from single to married. To read more from Natalie, check out her blog! (Also check out the guest post I wrote for her yesterday!)
On April 16th, 2011, I became a new woman. I married my best friend, went on the most perfect honeymoon to British Columbia, and got a brand new last name. It sounds like a fairy tale of sorts, and while I’ll be the first to say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, it’s also a decision I never anticipated making.
I never imagined I would be married at age 24, let alone ever! I had never been in love the way that I understand it now, and I couldn’t imagine a desire to commit so much to another person for, well, forever. I knew that getting married was something that people eventually did in their adulthood, but never being one to do what the crowd does, I didn’t want to fall into a life choice because everyone else was doing it. Determined to only marry if I met someone I absolutely could not imagine my life without—and feeling doubtful that a person like that even existed—I put marriage out of sight, out of mind, and off of my personal radar. I legitimately planned to be single forever, by my own choice.
But then out of seemingly nowhere, as all of the best things usually come, I fell in love with Brian. We had quite the awkward relationship to begin with, but his good character is what kept me hanging around. He wasn’t smooth and charming in the way that some of my past boyfriends had been—he was cautious, intentional, and committed to learning about who I really was and what made me tick. Most importantly of all, he loved Jesus and lived his life accordingly—two absolutely musts for me. Through my friendship with him for several months before we dated, I saw how kind he was to everyone around him, how generous he was with his money and time, and how loyal he was to his friends and family. As we began to date, those qualities kept me curious about this man I only knew socially, and they kept me interested in digging deeper into who he truly was, hoping to uncover the real man hiding under all of those well-thought-out questions and good manners.
Sure enough, that man inside eventually showed up, and for the past two years, I’ve been a Mrs. to the guy I could have passed up if I hadn’t been tuned in to the qualities within and to the potential of our relationship. I like to say that Brian is my diamond in the rough—and truly my favorite human being in the entire world. And while I’m forever thankful that he and I found each other, I also really feel for those of you who are single. I’m fully aware that it can be a really strange season for some, and I want to take a moment to encourage those of you who find yourself in one of two positions: (1) desperately hoping to get married ASAP, and (2) happily single and frustrated with cultural expectations (like I was).
To the first group, I urge you to pray for your future husband, but otherwise put your efforts toward other things: working hard at a job that you love, investing in close friendships, serving in your community, getting connected at church, building your character, etc. Focus less on what you want God to be doing—sending you a guy to be with forever—and really tune in on what you’re doing in your life right now.
To the second group, I feel for you! I was in your boat for so many years, and I hated the way people talked about marriage as if it were the only way to have a complete, purposeful life. (I bet you’re really sick of people asking if you have a boyfriend or if they can set you up with someone, and tired of people telling you your future husband is out there somewhere, but you just haven’t met him yet.) Let me assure of one thing that I know to be true: marriage is not the end-all, be-all, it’s not the only thing that will complete you, and it’s certainly not something you need in order to be a real, godly woman. We often neglect the reality that Jesus—the person many of us model our whole lives and actions around—was never married! I urge you to stand firm in your convictions, and also know that God does what he wants, and he may one day change those convictions.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it’s not the only thing in this life that matters—and it’s not something to sit around at home waiting for. Life is about love and kindness and community and giving—all things that we can do without husbands on our side. If and when that guy finally does arrive in your life, I can assure you he’ll be really glad you weren’t just sitting around waiting for him.
What are things that you’ve had to wrestle through in thinking about marriage?