October 7, 2015
The following is a post written by monthly contributor Alexa. 

I’m a woman approaching her late twenties and I'm surrounded by childhood friends who are married with children.  The eldest person to get married in my childhood group was 22, just so you get the idea.

I get being single.  I get being alone.  I get being the third, fifth, seventh and even the ninth wheel (seriously, I have been a ninth wheel).  I get the evenings watching chick flicks and eating chocolate, wondering if the only one to find your dead body would be the next door neighbour, and only because of the horrible smell of decomposition.  (Sorry, terribly morbid.  Ridiculous I know.)

For a while there I had bought into the idea that the worst fate I could imagine was never to get married...until I told myself to get a GRIP!  So before we address the fact that I need to stop talking to myself, lets first talk about marriage.

Marriage is a beautiful vocation, but it wouldn't be the worst fate on earth to not get married.  Marriage is only as good as the people who marry each other. What I mean is, marrying for the sake of having a ring on your finger would be just plain witless. Why would any woman give up her independence, extra shoe money and her whole self, body and soul, for a man that was not going to help her get to heaven?  Marriage is only as good as the two people in it. Sure your Facebook feed may show engagement photos, weddings and babies, but that is all they are.  Photos. What's more important is what happens when the camera is turned off.

I can only speak from what I have seen. I know women who have left their husbands; one because he did not share the same faith and had problems with addictions, and another woman who left her husband after many years of marriage and several children because he was impossible to live with.  Yes, there are unhappy marriages, but there are also happy ones.  Yet even the happy ones are not all flowers and chubby-cheeked cherub children.

I know women who get terribly sick when they get pregnant, they can do next to nothing for months, yet they still must care for their other little children on top of everything else.  That is a huge cross. 

I know women who are consciously - and constantly - thinking about the family budget.  Another cross. 

I know women who never seem to socialize anymore because they no longer manage to make the time and let friendships die away.  It's sad, really, for them and for their friends. 

I know women who have been terribly mad and resentful of what they call their "current petty day to day life" as a wife and mother, even though they have good marriages and wonderful kids.  These women still have unfulfilled desires. 

I know many married women who have no confidence, peace or happiness because they have not allowed Christ to become the centre of their lives. 

See marriage is not the answer to all life’s problems.  In fact it will more than likely bring problems into your life. Marriage is not an end, it’s a beginning. It’s the beginning of self-sacrifice, it’s the beginning of laying down your life for another, it’s the beginning of love and responsibility.

I know I may sound like a bitter, old spinster.  Marriage really is a great vocation. I am not saying all this so that women will be afraid of marriage.  Rather I'm saying this so that we women will see marriage for what it is: a means to Heaven, a vocation that is beautiful, yet really tough.  If you want to enter into it then make sure it’s God’s plan, and not your plan for yourself.  That might mean waiting longer than you thought you'd have to, and trust me when I say that I know it’s hard to wait.  But it’s worth it if it means you will be living out God’s Will for your life.  Because if you enter into the vocation of marriage with the wrong person, it is not going to be a happy or holy one. And what would be worse than not getting married?
  • Getting married and then wishing you were single? 
  • Being in a relationship with an abusive husband?
  • Being in a relationship with a husband addicted to porn, drugs or anything really? 
  • Being in a relationship with a man that takes you away from Christ, instead of bringing you closer to Him?
  • Getting married because you don’t want to be alone, because you can’t control your desires, or because you want someone to solve your problems or boost your ego?
Marriage is forever - there is no take backs.  As Chesterton once said, in his tongue-in-cheek way, marriage is a “duel to the death.” 

That all being said, I myself would like to get married and have kids. However, I refuse to be all 'debbie downer' if it doesn’t happen. I am not going to ruin the present moment by worrying about the future. Being single is hard. It’s hard going to weddings, to graduations, and to married people's parties without a plus one. It’s hard always answering no when someone asks “Is there someone special in your life?” It’s hard when the Catholic world expects you to be married, while the secular world expects you to at least be living with someone. The idea of being alone is not man’s natural desire.  We're meant to be in community.  

But being single is not being a hermit. I have a job, and, God be Praised, the last three years I have been living in a city on my own.  I have built a really lovely community through friends and through Church communities. I have a lot of peace and time for Christ, which makes my life very happy and grace filled.  I am very contented and happy to give my will to God, because I know He has it under control. 

Do I still struggle?  Sure!  But I know that I am really blessed to be living the life I am living. Would I like a husband and kids? Sure I would!  But I want the man I marry to be the right man for me, and I want to be the right woman for him. I want my future kids to grow up in a safe, happy, secure and holy home.  I don’t just want some "nice Catholic guy who sort of makes me laugh".  I want a best friend, a man who can make me smile and one who gets me to heaven (and one for whom I can return the favour, by the grace of God). 

I don’t want marriage for the sake of posting pictures on Facebook.  I want a marriage that will be full of grace, or none at all. As Mrs. March says in Little Women “Better to be happy old maids than unhappy wives, or unmaidenly girls running about to find husbands.” The single life has challenges: it’s hard to support yourself, it’s hard to live alone sometimes, it’s hard to have no one special in your life. However, the benefits of single life are pretty good too. You can have wonderful weekends and can do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.  You can take a trip whenever you want, you can spend money on that new dress or that extra pair of shoes or new book. You can take a long hot bath with a glass of wine for an hour or two (heck you can take one for three if you like) and not feel an ounce of guilt. The vocation of marriage won't necessarily make you holier in and of itself.  God makes you holy in whatever way He deems fit. You become holy by giving over your will to God’s will and His plan for your life. 

So ladies, sit tight and enjoy the moment because there are a lot worse fates than flying solo. God is in your corner and He’s got your back, and you are loved, cherished and chosen by Him.  Never forget that.


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