Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On (Not) Marrying Young: Reflections of the Yet Unmarried

I started the series On Marrying Young because I was one of the first of my friends (my acquaintances too) to get married and I felt alone.  That hasn't changed.  My best friends are still long from being married, but I've started to realize that they feel a bit lonely too.  This post is great because it's the first in the series by someone who is not yet married and addresses the opposite side of the spectrum.  I've been hoping for a post like this for a while and I'm glad that Amanda is the one who wrote it.


My reality at age 24 is very different than what I had long dreamt it would be.  For as long as I can remember I was certain that I would be married by the time I was 23.  My mom married my father when she was 23 and they have been happily married ever since, so naturally I thought that the perfect (and only) age to get married was 23.  God clearly had other plans for my life.

I am still a firm believer that my vocation is marriage.  I’ve discerned religious life to varying degrees more times than I can count and every single time God’s answer is some variation of, “Thank you for your willingness and openness to religious life but you and I both know where you are called.  Stop worrying about it so much, I’ll send him to you when it is time.”  Sometimes His response, whispered in the depths of my heart, is met with relief and peace.  Other times, if I’m being really honest, it is met with whining and questions along the lines of, “But why God?” and “What if I said pretty please with a cherry on top?”  If nothing else, He is teaching me to trust Him more with each breath I breathe, and that trust is serving me and will serve me for the rest of my life.  

I look around and see so many of my friends married and having kids and wonder when it will be my turn.  In college, my girlfriends and I made lists of who among us would be married first, and I usually ranked pretty high on those lists.  However, now I’m one of the few who isn’t married, while the others are buying houses and raising a beautiful brood of children, and I wonder when we got old enough to do such things.  There are days that the green eyed monster comes out in me and there are days I’m grateful for where God has put me.  

God knows I wish I had some wonderful love story to write for you about how I met my husband and we fell in love and lived happily ever after, raising our ridiculously cute kids.  Perhaps (God willing) someday I can come back and tell you that wonderful tale.  Who knows, maybe I am in the midst of it and don’t know it yet.  What I do know is that God has called me here to this yet unmarried state just as much as He has called so many of my young friends to marriage, motherhood, and fatherhood.  For the record, I much prefer to refer to myself as a “yet unmarried” lady – that “yet” provides a ray of hope and reminds me that God is at work in my life and in my future spouse’s life.  That tiny little word reminds me to keep praying, for me, for my future husband, but most importantly for God to teach me how to love as He does.  

The goal of this yet unmarried state isn’t to wallow, nor is it to constantly complain about not having my future husband yet.  The goal is not to compare myself to my friends and people on the street and assume their life is better or worse than mine.  Even as I sat down to write this guest post (thanks, Mandi!), I found myself looking through the other posts in this series.  The comparisons began and I wondered why I should even write this post.  My story is different, and I didn’t marry young but I’ve learned that comparison will kill a girl stone dead.  I’ve found that to be true on both sides of the marrying young fence, further proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  Some are called to marry young and some aren’t, and there isn’t anything wrong with either route you take, because where ever you are is where ever God Himself has called you to be.

The goal of this state of life is to learn, to prepare, and to grow.  Isn’t that the goal of our lives whether we are married yet or not?  My daily prayer has become, “Lord, prepare me to love my future husband as You love me.  Soften my heart, dwell within its walls, flood my soul with Your grace, mercy, and love.  Teach me to love as You do.  Guard my heart with Your jealous love.  Grant me patience and perseverance to run well this race as I fall deeper in love with You.”

A woman after the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, Amanda is also a Colorado native and can hardly imagine living anywhere else. She graduated from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina in 2009 with a Bachelor's in Theology, as well as minors in Psychology and Philosophy. Amanda works as a youth minister, and also has a heart for women's ministry.  Her personal blog can be found at worthy of Agape.

Please check out the other posts (including some great guest posts) in my On Marrying Young series. 


  1. What a wonderful post! I know several of my friends who feel the same way. I felt that way when it came to kids... I KNEW my vocation was to be a mother, but it seemed that all of our friends had kids long before we did, even if we were married first. We're now expecting our first (yay!), but it took years before God decided that it was time. Patience is the hardest thing in the world!

    1. That's funny, Caitlin--I feel like you having kids happened "quickly". (I think you've been married 2 years?) I guess it's perspective.

    2. We were trying for over a year and a half before we got pregnant, so I guess if it had happened right away, you'd definitely feel like that! Lol. Most of our friends a) didn't take nearly as long to get pregnant once they started trying and b) are all closer to Ryan's age (28ish) so they all had kids long before we did! :)

  2. Great post, Amanda! I am from the Charlotte area and I went to a camp at Belmont Abbey College and a couple of other events. I always loved the setting and would have loved to go there, but I wanted to be a nurse :-)

    I can tell that you share sooo many thoughts with my best friend who is also not yet married. You are still young though and marrying "young" might still happen--as you said, you could be in the midst of your story right now.

    1. Thank you! Charlotte is such a beautiful area, and I absolutely loved my time at the Abbey - I visit as often as I can!

      Marrying young may still happen, but it might not. It has taken me a long time to really be at peace with whenever I end up getting married and to trust that God really does know what He is doing!

  3. Thank you for sharing this post! It is great to read the perspective from the other side, and Amanda, I love your attitude of preparing and growing in the waiting. Great post!

  4. The dangers of comparison never ends, even once marriage begins. I've struggled to have children, and have admittedly gnashed my teeth when scrolling through albums and albums of happy families on my FB wall. Every time someone asked us when WE were going to have kids, my head would nearly spin off, as they should know that WE didn't get to make that final decision! Thankfully, I'm over that feeling of jealousy and am now just happy with our family of us and only us, while still remaining open to the possibilities.

    Just keep praying, girl!

  5. I had this same experience, Amanda. I felt so called to marriage and motherhood, and remained single while friends who were not that excited about marriage were marrying off and having babies. It was a little hard to watch and be a part of. But, like you said, in God's time! I met my husband in the middle of my 24th year and we were married last year when I was 26. It happened fast, and sometimes I am still amazed. I remember sitting there around my 24th birthday thinking, "God, WHY am I alone?" because I thought I'd be married and a mom by that point. But when you meet the man you are meant to be with, it will all make sense! I'll keep you in my prayers, and thank you for sharing this!

  6. Amanda, you are awesome! Thanks for sharing. I wanted to be married by 21 (It's like we just get this random age in our heads and hold on for dear life) and then I look back at who I would have married and I PRAISE the Lord for his wisdom. I think we all aspire to be like our parents in that sense- maybe those of us who had parents that married young secretly have that ambition.

    Anyway, thanks for the post.

  7. Amanda, girrrl! You are sooooo young!! Praise God for all your wisdom! Cindy

  8. Love that a yet married person wrote a post. That is my new term. I wish I could put that under "relationship status" on facebook LOL. MAN I'M REALLY bad about letting the green eyed monster get to me! I try to say this is where God wants me...over and over again but yeah there are rough patches.

  9. I know this is primarily written to women, but I just wanted to let you know that there are young Catholic guys out there who feel the same way.

    I'm 22, and after being blessed to realise my dream of living in Paris last year, I'm back home and feeling like it's time to get going on getting married, especially since so many of my friends and acquaintances are doing so. It's especially frustrating when I see guys who take advantage of women or couples who don't understand the first thing about dating and marriage, and I ask God why he hasn't sent me someone yet when I'm so willing to do it "right." Though, I have to say after reading that last statement that I suppose I might still have some pride issues to purge in the meantime. ;)

    People often tell me, "You're SO young, you have plenty of time!" which is true, to an extent. On the other hand, if I had lived in a different era, I would have likely had a couple of children by now. On the OTHER hand, I also wouldn't have had the opportunities and privileges I've enjoyed in this life I've been given to live in the 21st century, so I suppose I'll just stop sighing at God and keep working on being patient.

    I just wanted to reassure you Catholic ladies that there ARE some Catholic men in the same boat out there, so don't give up hope!


I'd love to hear what you have to say! You can also contact me directly by emailing me at messywifeblessedlife@gmail.com.