Growing up, I was taught that getting married and starting a family was the most important thing I could do with my life.
When I graduated High School, I headed off to college at BYU where they promised me my perfect husband would be waiting. For the next five years I would watch my friends get married with varying degrees of happiness, and then came the day of graduation when reality hit–I was about to do the unthinkable. I was going to graduate BYU single…
As I moved far away from the land of Mormon men to pursue a career, I wondered if something was wrong with me. I’d tried to date in College! I’d made friends, I’d been nice, I did my hair most of the time! So why hadn’t it worked?
People told me, “Don’t worry about it — when you know, you’ll just know.” But I am not a girl who has ever really “just known” anything.
I have always known that I have a weird name, that I have a good family. But most every other thing in my life has involved a sort of worry-stress-freakout-over-analyze, and fret ‘til you can’t fret anymore type of process.
Others told me, as though the mantle of marriage had descended upon them and bestowed some sort of supernatural wisdom, “Marriage is so wonderful, you should try it!”
Or, “your problem is that you’re too picky.”
Or, “why don’t you marry so-and-so, you guys are friends right?”
And I “just knew” that I wanted to strangle them.
I kept going with my little single life, and long, someday-to-be-told story short, I came to love it.
I made friends who were different than me, I travelled, I got involved at church. I worked hard for a few years, saved up all my pennies and all my courage, until finally I got up the guts to quit my job to pursue my dreams of being a writer. (Aka to figure out what “being a writer” even means.) I was going to freelance all over the country and meet all the boys in the land. I was finally and completely content with my single life.
But then something strange happened — I met a boy.
It’s funny because people tell you it will be different than you imagined it. And I always took that to mean it would be even more like the movies than I had imagined it! I had kept an eye out for my Captain Moroni, my Abercrombie model with a testimony, who would sweep me off my feet.
But I met a boy, and it felt better than all that.
It wasn’t like time stopped. I didn’t feel like a Disney princess or someone from the romantic comedies I’ve had the misfortune of watching. I just felt like me.
Only now I had someone to be me with. I had someone who got all my jokes, someone who I found infinitely interesting.
I talked about my dreams and he didn’t get scared. I talked about the possibility of being a working mom and he didn’t flinch.
I knew before I was ready to admit it that I was going to marry him. It was so easy, and the ease was so confusing. I was ecstatic at the thought that maybe, just maybe, I was one of those people who would “just know!”
My excitement was short lived, however, as the day after I realized I just knew it, my real self kicked back in. And the worry-stress-freakout-over-analyze, and fret ‘til you can’t fret anymore type of process began yet again.
I knew that I wanted to be with Scott for the rest of forever, but the idea of marriage caused somewhat of an identity crisis. Because marrying him meant I would no longer be single.
Call me crazy, call me selfish, but I worked hard for this happiness!!! After all those stupid years of feeling like something was wrong with me, I finally came to like being single! I came to love my independence and ambition. It’s weird, but I came to love proving that you can be a young single Mormon and also a happy, functioning, non-pitiful person.
I wondered who I would become once I attached my life to his. Did I have to forget about my writing dreams? Must I now blog about being married?!?
Now I am well aware that singleness is riddled with moments of loneliness and insecurity, but it also brings with it so much possibility. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want to. You can flirt with your co-worker, you can take a weekend trip on a whim. It’s not a deep happiness, but its fleeting highs become intoxicating.
I spent three ridiculous days wondering if I should put off marriage because I wasn’t ready or because I still feel young. I wondered if it was fair to attach my life to someone else’s when I am currently living every millennial’s dream of semi-funemployment. I wondered if I deserved him at all, given the fit I was throwing.
But the problem I kept coming back to is that he’s perfect for me. For so many strange and wonderful reasons. Some that really matter and others like the fact that for Halloween of 2013, we both dressed up as Garth from Wayne’s World.
I met a boy who is funny and smart and handsome, but above all, kind. He tells me I am beautiful but he loves me for my brain. He makes me think and he makes me laugh. He makes me the best me I’ve ever known.
I have never felt like I could get married because it felt like signing up for a life where I had to be someone else.
I have dated guys with big egos who made me feel stupid and guys with big muscles who made me feel very small. I have dated wonderful guys where I’ve come out of the relationship feeling flawed for not wanting it.
But then I met a boy who made me feel complete. And I don’t have to give up my identity because, shall I say it again? He wants me!
Me, the funny girl. Me, the fatalist. Me who is loving and impatient and thoughtful and selfish. Me with my good parts and my bad.
So in answer to the question who I will be with him… I’m not really sure. I suppose I won’t really know until I try it. But my best guess is that I will just be me.
And as my hero Nora Ephron said via When Harry Met Sally,
“…When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
The rest of my life can’t come soon enough.