“I would give anything to have to a man’s dirty clothes left on the floor to pick up!”
A friend of mine who’d been divorced several years had that reaction to an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” in which the character Deborah calls her husband, Raymond, an idiot as she picks his underwear up off the floor.
“I can’t stand wives that don’t appreciate their husbands… you never know what you have until you don’t have it anymore!” my friend complained.
During the seven years after my divorce I spent as a single woman, my hope to remarry was a constant theme in my life. I was actively seeking a new relationship and rather impatient at that.
I would go to 7 am Mass each day and soak up the glorious silence of the post-communion reflection moments, offering God my day and asking Him to use me as He saw fit (hoping that would include bumping into the right man). In fact, all my prayers included that wishful interjection: “Lord, I am ready to meet him whenever you are ready to introduce us.”
One day at Mass, a family of six came in and the mother was holding the youngest, most precious1-year-old with a beaming smile that was hard to ignore. I begged God that day to please end my single days and bring someone into the picture who I could share my life with.
And then He did.
Four years, a husband, and three children later, there were no beautiful silent moments at Mass with rich reflections. No, the peacefulness of Mass turned into wrestling matches with unruly children. I got more exercise at church by walking in and out with loud, crying children and leaky, poopy diapers that had stained my favorite dress than I did going to the gym. I was lucky if I got any prayers said beyond my morning offering — and daily Mass was a luxury. Honestly, all I really wanted was a nap.
But don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t be more grateful for the second chance God gave me to experience marriage and motherhood after surviving a terrible divorce and defying the medical diagnosis of not being able to have children. I am grateful every second! But with that sense of gratitude comes a bit of guilt and sadness over the lack of gratitude I had for the blessings that came with being single because I was so focused on wishing I was married.
Marriage is wonderful and something everyone who wants to be married will hopefully experience. Yet there is no perfect marriage. There is a lot of suffering and sacrifice that comes with it. Much like Robyn Lee wrote about in her article Letter From A Young Bride a few days ago, it’s important to count the blessings in the midst of the trials.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, we learn that there is a time for everything:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
You might as well add to that “a time to be married and a time to be single.” And God’s timing is always perfect!
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