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Waiting for Marriage is Hard Enough – Instagram just Makes it Worse


I wrote this post on Christmas Eve as I was giving up on the idea that Carl would ever propose to me. (Little did I know he was going to propose the next day, but that's a different story altogether).

December, 24 2013

I’m wrapping Christmas presents and thinking about all the people wishing they had someone to share this holiday with. I know men and women alike who just want to know the person they’ll spend their life with—just wanting to know that there IS a person, and that they’ll like them quite a lot.

I’m not waiting on a person. I’m waiting to get engaged

My phone has buzzed more times than I can keep track of with news of sparkling new engagements. And as I wrapped gift after gift, it happened again. Two sweet friends of mine are getting married.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Or could I?

A slow hurt began to grow in my chest as I saw pictures and heard details. And as I texted back, I began to feel really heavy and really tired.

Because along with waiting comes hope. We have to hope in order to wait. It’s nearly impossible to do one without the other. And hope can be exhausting.

I’m waiting to get married, not because I want a ring, but because I want to marry Carl.

He’s wonderful, and amazing, and all of the things that they write love ballads about. But here I am, still waiting, and my heart is getting tired.

On most days it’s ok. On most days I’m too busy to think about what I’m waiting for, what I am so hoping will happen. On most days it doesn’t bother me, and I really do trust his timing, and God’s.

But on some days, the waiting hurts more than usual, and it’s usually as I get news of someone’s sparkling new engagement.

Last night, as I was about to fall asleep I was scrolling through Facebook. Yes, I know, that’s not the best sleep practice, but it’s what I was doing.

I came upon a video that people had shared. It was a proposal and a wedding all squished into one 30-minute video. The caption insisted that I take the time to watch it.

My thumb hovered over the play button, ready to settle in for a half hour of someone else’s love story. And then something in me snapped.

With the world as it is, we are inundated with images from other people’s lives. We scroll through our Instagrams only to see engagement photos, and snapshots from a romantic Friday night. We get to see wedding preparations, and the infamous honeymoon selfie.

We’re shown over and over again, as we scroll through our feeds, how great everyone else’s life is.

And looking at the still video of someone else’s happy beginning, I realized something important: I don’t have to watch it.

I don’t have to fill my brain with photos of engagements, and parties, and weddings, and honeymoons. I don’t have to watch everyone else’s proposal story, forming crazy expectations of what mine should look like. Watching their story hasn’t made mine any easier.

Yes, I’m waiting, and some days it’s hard, but I’m waiting on something wonderful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want my story, not someone else’s, and not the 30-minute YouTube story that has gone so viral.

And so this is the decision I’m making, right here and now:

I’m going to keep my eyes on my story instead of looking at others’. Waiting is hard enough. Comparison makes it unbearable.

So to friends and strangers alike, I’m so happy for your lovely wedding and wish you an even better marriage. I’m sure your photos will be beautiful; I just don’t need to see them. It’s nothing personal.

Because even in the midst of the waiting, I want to live my life, not be a spectator to yours.

Does social media ever make you feel small? Have you ever considered a fast from certain kinds of photos/social media platforms?

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Add a Comment
  1. Holly says:

    You are after my own heart with this post, oh my word. I have been dating my wonderful boyfriend for six years now. We started dating when I was sixteen, and even though I knew very early that he was who I wanted to be with, you can’t exactly get engaged in high school, so I happily waited. But then came college. And now, I am at the end of college, with three close friends engaged (and more in the works). It has been such a challenge to watch entire relationships form, develop, escalate to engagement, and even marriage. I’ve watch friends enter into and complete the whole cycle, all while trying to maintain composure and have patience in my own relationship. I trust God to write my story, but it can be completely exhausting. For a while, I had to physically remind myself that “Comparison is a thief of joy” with a pretty little bit of word art on my phone background. It didn’t fix it, but it helped.

    I’m so glad that your story was flipped on its head the very next day after writing this. It gives me hope and encouragement. And for the record, as hard as it may be to scroll through Instagram, I am loving the pictures of you and Carl. And I sincerely wish you the best!

  2. Heather says:

    This post is timely in my own life, although I am very happily married. However, if you change “engagement” & “wedding” to “pregnancy” and “baby”, that is where I am now. Thank you for the lines “Yes, I’m waiting, and some days it’s hard, but I’m waiting on something wonderful and I wouldn’t have it any other way… I want my story, not someone else’s… Because even in the midst of the waiting, I want to live my life, not be a spectator to yours.” Amen!

  3. Leelee says:

    This is the story of my life right now. I cannot imagine life without my darling boyfriend. Although I strongly suspect that a ring is in the near future, it cannot happen soon enough. Waiting is horrible, especially when it is almost in your grasp, or on your hand as it may be.
    This piece has been the absolute BEST advice that I have read on being ALMOST engaged. Thank you so much for writing this.

  4. Julia says:

    Comparison truly is the thief of joy. I was thinking this morning about how I feel like I’m waiting on the Lord in so many areas right now. While I’m taking steps to move forward (examples: going back to finish my graduate degree in a couple of weeks, actively looking for my very first studio apartment), it’s easy for me to get into the mindset of, “Life will be so awesome when…”, instead of being thankful for all that I have right now.

    Today I have the day off. The sun is shining and it is warm here in good ol’ Oregon. I have so much to be thankful for RIGHT NOW and it’s important to take a step back from Instagram and Facebook and remember that just because someone else’s life looks better doesn’t mean it is.

    Thanks so much for writing this!

  5. […] Waiting for Marriage is Hard Enough – Instagram Just Makes it Harder, The Lipstick Gospel. I stumbled across this blog completely by accident a couple days ago, and […]

  6. purpose says:

    One of the reasons why we find ourselves so miserable is that we cannot or refuse to find joy in the success or blessings of others. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own bubble that we fail to realize that life is not just about us, but that whilst we may be waiting others are getting the very said blessings that we hope and pray for. The challenge comes to all of us. We have a choice to make in situations like these, will I be selfish and focus on me alone or can I genuinely be happy for someone else, even whilst I wait? We should allow other people’s success to ignite hope for that which is coming in our season. Rejoicing with others multiplies the good times we get to celebrate. Celebrating with others creates an atmosphere so that when our time comes they would want to celebrate with us. In life we are sometimes called to be spectators, at other times we are called to be participants. If I’m a spectator in this season of my life, I’ll buy the pom poms and unselfishly cheer on at the side lines. If I’m a participator, then I’ll rejoice in the blessing and be an example for others!!!

  7. Emily says:

    I love the way you share your heart, Stephanie! Instagram sure can make the wait worse. For me, Facebook is more of a struggle, though. 🙂

  8. Elle says:

    Glad I read the comments above before leaving this comment! Seems we’re all waiting for something. In my case, it’s being single forever, trusting God’s protection for me from the wrong men (all of them great, godly men!), and now I’ve met someone super amazing and we’re both so shy nothing is happening. So I wait. I wait because I don’t pursue men. And now I’ve heard a rumor he’s moving away, but he has yet to tell me. So I wait on God’s timing but underneath sometimes is this heart that’s hurting, wondering “why now, God? We’re still getting to know each other!” Even if he wasn’t moving, I still wait for him to pursue me. I told a friend this week, “I’m not good at waiting.” Her simply profound reply? “No one is.” Ahh..good point.

    You describe it so well when you said, “Because along with waiting comes hope. We have to hope in order to wait. It’s nearly impossible to do one without the other. And hope can be exhausting.”

    In my case, I still have hope until God tells me to not have hope… even with some potentially discouraging rumor-news. (My friends who are praying for me are like “Oh well, maybe the next one is The One.” But I continue to have hope. I too love that your situation was flipped on its head the very next day! We never know when/how God will work, do we?!

  9. Denise Ross says:

    Loving how you open up your heart and share it all. I do have fasts from fb when I feel myself filling with discontent with my life and envy at others. It’s time to sit back and take stock and be thankful for where I’m at. God has me here for a season and a reason, so I need to be thankful for that, even when I don’t feel like it, ugh – hard.

  10. becy says:

    Imagine waiting with no prospects or a guy lol! Love this sooo relatable especially what I’m going through right now, thanks for this, thanks Stephanie 🙂

  11. becy says:

    Think I’m taking your advice I can’t look at your pics lol, teasing, I love this post aswell x

  12. Alannah says:

    Thank you so much for this timely post! I’m in my second-to-last semester in Bible college and am being bombarded with the “Ring by Spring” phenomenon. While I’m so glad my best friends are moving on with their lives, I’m sitting here facetiming my boyfriend who is currently 8,000 miles away. Sometimes I find myself becoming very discouraged with where we are in life. I’m learning to be content, though, and enjoying this beautiful dating season with him as we grow in our relationship with Christ. Thank you for this, friend!

    • Stephanie May Wilson says:

      Oh Alannah, I totally hear you. I’m so sorry your boyfriend is so far away. Just rest assured, everyone’s story is different. That’s what makes it all so beautiful!

  13. Natasha says:

    Wow, this really hits home. Luke and I were just talking the other day about how we’ve seen so many couples meet, start dating, get engaged, and get married in less than the year and eight months we’ve been dating. It’s so crazy! It’s so hard to be present and enjoy our dating relationship when so many of our conversations are “when we get married…” On the plus side, it’s definitely a “when,” not an “if” and I think that helps my heart.

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