first, let’s address the obvious: i am not single.
second, let’s address another obvious fact: i am married.
i hope that one might not write me off because i am either married or single. i write this blog to address something i have witnessed a lot this year in the world of weddings. i also understand that faith and religion play a huge role in how one might approach this topic and i hope that i am able to address the majority of you all within the boundaries of respect for your beliefs.
this blog is addressed to the women who have come up to me at weddings and anxiously tell me “one day you’re going to shoot my wedding…i just have to find a boyfriend first!”
this is the sad reality:
our culture doesn’t celebrate you.
one day, when you have a ring on your finger, we will.
or the day you finally announce that you are pregnant.
well, then we will celebrate you as a woman.
how often do you go to party city and see a balloon that says “congrats! you are where you are supposed to be!” or “happy decision to not marry the wrong person!” we laugh at the thought of such a silly helium balloon.
the truth is that culture places a ridiculous amount of emphasis on finding the one, getting married, and starting a family. and although these things are not bad at all [because these are all blessings in and of themselves], they are also used to make you, the single woman/man, feel less than significant.
the truth is that singleness, no matter how long or how short, is a blessing. please don’t throw tomatoes at your computer screen. it won’t hit me and it will only make you more upset.
singleness is a blessing.
it is a time that once taken away, cannot return unless through unfortunate circumstances. it is a time of life that many skip out on and regret later. it is a time that many fear because of its unpredictability or longevity. it is a time in my life that i treasure so much.
tk and i had longer periods of singleness than a lot of our friends had at our age. before i was married, i had a dear [married] friend who told me the truth of singlehood – it was to be celebrated. [side note: it was because of this friend and her zeal for the blessings of singleness that i moved alone to a different country [and where i embraced my passion of photography] before i was married. and it was because of her wisdom that i eventually married tk. but at the right time.]
singleness isn’t just the next step to “real life” or the bridge to finally being happy. i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but marriage doesn’t complete things. it is not a magic potion that makes all things better. if you are married more than a few months, you are shaking your head, waving your hanky in the air and screaming “amen girlfriend, preach.”
marriage is a celebration, and yet it is a challenge. sound familiar?
because likewise, singleness is a celebration, and yet it is a challenge.
parenting is a celebration, and yet [as i have heard and assume] is a challenge.
being a teenager, senior citizen, etc.
every stage in our lives is a celebration and a challenge. so please do not let the ignorance of our culture tell you otherwise. do not let the fact that there are a bazzillion weddings and baby showers all around you tell you that you are insignificant.
so, for you beautiful, bright, sweet woman who wants me to shoot her wedding one day. this is my reply to you:
i would absolutely be honored to photograph the day you get married. between then and now, i hope you embrace the beauty of being single. pursue your passions – no matter how unrealistic. travel to a foreign land – even if that just means vancouver. figure out who you are as the woman God created you to be. understand what makes you tick and what makes you laugh. celebrate this time you have and do it now. your future marriage will thank you for it.
and for the married woman who has a single friend:
ask for their advice. there may be things you forgot about yourself or about life that someone from the outside can remind you of. be careful how many times you ask them if they are dating or have found someone. and never, ever make your single friend feel less significant.
me, somewhere in asia, 2010
Couldn’t be more beautifully written!!!!! Miss u girl! Was at Gypsey den today and remembered a couple of our coffee dates there talking about the deep things going on in our lives… One being single and wanting to find the right one!!
Ahhhh! I miss those days – and you! Thank you for your sweet comment, too!
This brought tears to my eyes SIL. Thank you for an awesome post! Love you xo
Love this so much. So good to hear. I’m in a relationship, but feel like this applies even to me when all I want is to be married!! Love your writing style, too. So endearing and easy to read. xoxo
Beautifully written Bethany! I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen several sides of this getting married and divorced and being a single mom for 6+ years now. I’ve found me and God in these years of ‘singleness’ and I’m so thankful that I’ve been on this journey! I would have never known ‘me’ had I jumped into a relationship. Of course I’m ready now, but I know in good time God will reveal that special man to me. <3
Bethany– God used you today in my life. I’ve been waiting for Him to reveal my next step. My wedding photography experiences mirror yours and they frustrate me tremendously. I think I have a very clear idea of how He wants my business combined with this cultural issue used for His kingdom. Thank you for being so open! -Stef