For those of you who don’t know, it wasn’t very long ago that I was single, writing to a bunch of other people about what it was like to be single. Now that I’m married I don’t want to stop writing to singles. In fact, I think I might even have something more valuable to share.
I definitely don’t have it all figured out. Not even close. But I can tell you what I’m learning.
There are quite a few things I wish I would have known before I was married. I’ll share five with you today, and five tomorrow so stay tuned for the rest of the list.
1. That “hooking up” would come back to haunt me
There is no such thing as a “meaningless” hook-up. There are no free passes. By the grace of God I have found forgiveness and freedom and healing, but healing takes time. Lots of time. I wish I would have stopped messing around much sooner than I did.
2. A husband wouldn’t fix the way I felt about myself.
I was really insecure about the way I looked, and about what I was capable of doing, so I spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince everyone that I could do everything on my own and that I didn’t need anyone.
I also spent a lot of time exercising and “eating healthy” and worrying about my body.
The thing I found about being married is that marriage, or a husband, or a husband’s husband’s affirmations haven’t cured me of my insecurity. In fact, just his simple presence (despite affirmations) tend to make those insecurities more pronounced. I wish I would have faced my insecurity, and dealt with it, while I was still single.
3. My sin really hurts people
When I was single I used to think my sin was just a private issue that I could deal with on my own. You know, as it was convenient for me. I knew I had sin, but we all had sin, right? I was working on it, getting around to it.
It wasn’t anyone else’s business really.
What I’ve found in marriage is that my sin is not just my own business but that it hurts anyone and everyone who is around me. With this understanding I approach my sin with a much more dramatic sense of urgency. I wish I would have known that when I was single. I could have spared myself and others.
4. I am responsible for my own spiritual life (and the rest of my life for that matter)
To be fair, I had a fairly thriving spiritual life before I met my husband. I read and studied the bible daily. I prayed. I was closely connected to a small group of other believers in intentional community. I attended worship services at my church on weekends.
But I think I had this idea that, once I met my husband, I could just let my guard down.
I think I thought, “Okay, that’s it. We’re getting married. Go ahead. Lead me.”
The truth is my husband is a strong man of God and a really incredible leader. He leads me spiritually in many ways. But marriage is maybe the worst time in life to throw up your hands and give up the good fight for your spiritually vitality.
In fact, in marriage, more than any other place in life, I’ve needed my own personal connection to the Lord to help inform me, heal me and minister to me so that I have what it takes to even “show up” as a wife.
(And, heaven forbid, to at times lead my husband.)
5. I didn’t need to try so hard to “get” someone to love me
I spent nearly twenty years of my life laboring for 40 minutes each morning, blow drying and flat-ironing my hair. In fact, I’ve added it up and discovered that I could have potentially spent over 3,000 hours making my hair look the way I thought a man wanted.
You know what my husband said the first time my hair naturally curly?
He said, “I like your hair better that way. You should wear it like that more often.”