Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Noah's Ark

This weekend, I spent some time with my friends whom I've known since 8th grade. We're an eclectic group - we might not have as much in common as we once did, but we've stayed close nonetheless. We hold jobs as teachers, med students, business women, and volunteers. We differ in our political and religious views, we hold different values, and we can be very different people. We are liberal, conservative, idealistic, and cynical. Yet, somehow, when I start talking with one of them, I fall into a natural rhythm of conversation. We have our friendship in common and sometimes that's enough. The familiarity of another can be comforting.

While with my friends, I realized something: we're undeniably pairing off.

In that little group of five girls, my closest friends growing up, two of us are married, two are engaged, and one is single. Of my five college roommates, one is married and two are engaged. (AND ONE HAS A BABY. Which probably freaks me out most of all. After she had her baby, I started babbling: "A baby! A freaking baaaybeee! What a commitment! A baby!! She's MY AGE! MY AGE, Mike!!")

Looking at it, it seems a little crazy - marriage! So big! Big deal! To me, it's just normal that I have Mike - we live together and hang out and are married. It's natural and right. I have fun with him, I love him, and we work well together. It doesn't make me feel like old and settled down, just like I have a buddy who likes to do the same things I do. (And sometimes bicker with...or okay, pick fights with. You'll have that.)

It got me thinking though: if I were single and all my friends were getting married, I might feel odd. I know being single in a group that seems to be "settling down" can be difficult. I recognize the loneliness and feelings of isolation being single can bring. Some even express a sense of desperation: "I'm 25! And single! I'll never find annnyyyonnne!" {If I were single, I'd probably be the same way. Heck, I don't have a real career and I get all anxious that I need to decide RIGHT NOW or I'm bound to be penniless and unsuccessful my whole life and my parents will be ashamed and my siblings will all be so much more successful than me and I'll be homeless. I'm a bit dramatic like that sometimes.}

I wish I could say one thing to those 20-somethings who aren't married: If getting married is your ultimate life goal, you will be dissapointed.

I wish someone had told me this.

{Sure, it's easy for the married lady to say that! She's already found her Mr. Right! However, this is not like when I was a 100 lb high schooler telling my friend dieting was stupid. No, I am much older and less insensitive now. I hope.}

Marriage is a beautiful, wonderful thing. It's fun and an adventure. But, it's also freakin' hard. It's so much work. It makes me a little wistful when people okay, women declare complete and utter unhappiness at not being married yet.

I wish I had known that marriage isn't a magic pill. It didn't make my insecurities go away, it didn't make me any less likely to feel sad, it didn't make me have more friends, and it didn't solve all my problems. I wish I had known not to spend my time hoping that I'd get married, hoping he'd ask me, and thinking marriage would fulfill me completely.

That's not to say that it isn't fulfilling and wonderful - but my life didn't stop with marriage. And I think I foolishly thought it'd get easier after I said, "I do." The only thing that's gotten easier is never having to say goodbye for more than a few days. I delightedly bid farewell to our awful long distance relationship.

I hope this doesn't come off as some 23-year-old spouting off her "wisdom" and unwanted "assvice" or for me to seem ungrateful for this gift I've been given. I'm unexplicably thankful for Mike. Marriage has made me so happy, but all my happiness cannot rest in it alone.

We're so hot.


Psst: I went SHOPPING!! this weekend and I have pictures. Stay tuned for my new clothing and SHOES. :) The only thing that would be better is if I could have broughten you all with me to help me choose!


  1. This is just one of many examples of why I love you so dearly.

    This is so true, heartfelt and honest. I can relate to every single thing you said and I feel this way all the time. Yes, being married is great, yes it is nice perks (frequent sex, companionship, lifelong friend, trust, etc.) but IT IS HARD! You see the good and the bad and the ugly and you continue to remind yourself that no marriage is perfect, no man is perfect and nothing is ideal. It is all about finding happiness in your specific situation no matter what that might be.

    Awesomeness sista!

  2. I like your comment about marriage being the ultimate goal will leave you disappointed. I think that's definitely true and I'm glad you brought it up. More people need to read that.

  3. this was fantastic. i loved it. so honest and important to say.

  4. I definitely agree in that it is hard work. But the most rewarding hard work. It is hard to learn that there is someone else whose feelings matter and who may not want to do what you want to do, or may be used to things being done in different ways, and even though we'd love to think so, cannot read your mind. Marriage is a lesson in communication, in grace, in patience, and in caring.

    So for your single friends, the bigger picture is that you have to find someone who is worth all that hard work and who is willing to work just as hard because otherwise you are giving more than you are reaping and that is not a fun marriage

  5. This really is such a great post!! I too loved how honest and open you are!! It's a breathe of fresh air... And we all find ourselves in situtations like this!! Remember everything happens for a reason!

  6. Ashley, i loved this post and I really needed it read it. i'm so anxious to get married and start a family that it's somewhat sickening. i always think to myself, i wouldn't be so insecure about this or that if i were married. thank you for sharing. your relationship sounds beautiful :)

  7. you're so mature and you're only 23??!!

    hell, i'm 22 and still stomping around in puddles and dropping ice cream on my clothes.

    thanks for this post, the honesty was much appreciated (as you always are) since i'm beginning to mildly freak out about the whole "marriage" thing.

    can't wait to see the new purchases!!

  8. Great post! So true that marriage is a lot of work - but totally 100 percent worth it. After being around the other person for so long you can't take them for granted and have to continue to appreciate them and show them how much they mean to you. And visaversa. I like this quote -- "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. -Mignon McLaughlin" -- Hmm, I think I like it so much I might put it on my blog!

  9. What a wonderful entry! I love this. And I love you. (Strong words, I know. Heehee.)

    I have to say, my favorite part is when you explain how your married life is just so natural and light. It's not some big, explosive thing. It's just...comfortable and natural. It reminds me alot of how I feel in my marriage. Makes me happy to hear someone else describe it as such.

    Before getting married I had this vision of marriage being pretty much IT. However, when reality hit, it was less of a huge deal and more of just another step in life. There's always something else to wait for, to look forward to.

    But, then again, it's always human nature to want what you don't have. (i.e. ME WANTING BABIES AHHH.)

    What can we do?

  10. Being that single girl with the majority of her friends married, engaged and/or having babies at times I feel like I am behind. BUT I also know that I could have settled for a man that I would not be happy with, so I didn't. I've also come to the realization that I don't need a man which is extremely liberating. Granted, I still do have my days where I just want to meet the one I'm going to marry.

  11. Good stuff. Good person.

    It makes me think of the folks in my life. It seems all the people I care about are off and married. Puts me in an interesting spot, but content knowing marriage isn't a wonderful pill to make all the shit smell like roses.

    I'm going to keep looking for that fit for myself.

  12. I think I really needed to hear that. I'm so antsy he's going to propose soon and it's all I can think about... but I need a reality check. My life is going to be the same, I'll just have something to brag about. Haha.

  13. Haha, this was very entertaining. I will say that I LOVE your baby steps on your page. I want to do that! Can I dare ask if I may use that as well?

    Thanks for finding me! Looks like I'll be frequenting your blog! ;D

  14. I'm an old lady (34) and married. Our 8 year wedding anniversary is this year, and we've lived together for almost 12 years.

    That being said, I was never the "oh, I hope I get married right away" kind of person. Deep down, I knew it would happen when it was supposed to happen, and I was okay with that.

    I loved my time as a single woman, and I love my time as a married woman.

    My frustration comes with some of my friends and acquaintances who are unhappy now (and married) and say they wished they would have lived a little before getting married. These same women were in college to get their MRS degrees, and did. These same women were SO unhappy that they weren't engaged yet and the world became SO MUCH better when they finally got engaged and married.


    So many people think marriage is the end, but it's really the beginning.

    Okay, I'll be quiet now. :)

    Great post!

  15. I'll keep it simple and just praise you for your use of the word(?) "broughten".

    My husband makes fun of me for saying that all the time.

  16. O.K., first, I have to thank you for your incredible empathy b/c YES it was incredibly rough when all my friends from college got married. I really stopped hearing from most of them after they had kids. And I was ashamed to send Christmas cards signed only by me and not enclosing any family pictures or talking about who hit what milestone this year.

    I'm almost ten years older than you (and most of your lovely readership), and still single, so it's hard not to want to wallow in that "I thought I'd be married by now" mud puddle. But, I have a wise friend who has observed that (a) there are people who wish they were still single like me (hah), and (b) I'm running about ten years behind, life-wise. (Good thing I look young.) Right now I'm taking all the advice/assvice I can get and storing it up.

  17. I really, really want to pass this along to the friends of mine who are completely obsessed with getting married soon.

    This is a really interesting perspective. I guess I never really thought about it this way before, and it definitely makes sense. I'm loving it. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Wow that was a lovely post. Great blog; I can't believe I just discovered it.

  19. so true! Coming from a lady who married young as well, you are right. Marriage is just the beginning of the journey.


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