I got married at 26. I don’t have the experience to speak to a single lady who’s hoping to find the love of her life in her thirties, forties, fifties, or beyond because I didn’t live it. Attempting authenticity here, people. Stick with me. This is me, sneak eating an ice cream bar while my husband watches the kids.
A super-sweet blog reader who is in her early twenties emailed me and asked for forward-looking advice. She’s clever, virtuous, and doing all the hard work of living authentically and developing her best self. I emailed her this (perhaps) shocking list of things I would tell a lady in her position to ponder on, looking ahead to being as prepared as one may be for marriage and kids.
Unsolicited advice to the rest of you! Eat it up! I didn’t do all of these things, but some, and others I watched my friends endure.
1) Do lots of things you want to do, things that are on your heart.
Travel, career, buy nice boots, color your hair, spent an entire month eating dark chocolate every day, whatever. You give up a hunk of your autonomy to your husband, and then the rest is shredded by small kids ;) I joke a little, but truly. Don’t put off anything you feel called to spend money and time on, because those decisions will no longer be your own.
2) Pray specifically for a spouse who can handle your sh*t.
That’s a crude way to put it, but genuinely pray for someone who has the grace to handle the worst of you. Even though you are in a time where you’re devoting a lot of energy to being your best and striving, a bare-knuckle, drag-down, heart-ripping relationship could be in your future: marriage. You want someone who can handle your ugly, too.
3) Heal fractures within your family.
The middle twenties are still such a time for cementing friendships and individuating as much as you can from your family of origin because, please, you moved out seven years ago and as much as you love them, you are not a little kid anymore!
Despite that, whatever hurts lay in your family of origin will only widen if//when you bring a serious boyfriend and then fiancé, and then husband into them. Your mother’s nagging? You complain about it to him because you want to explain who you are and where you come from. He pegs your moms as a banshee and can’t shake the impression.
Your family will be the foundation in many ways for how you family yourself. Don’t underestimate those roots. They’re what you go back to when you’re derangedly sleep deprived and he didn’t wake up to change the baby’s diaper and you want to scream his face off.
4) Get healthy.
If you’re comfortably healthy, then maintain. And I don’t mean lose weight. I mean set your food cycles to healthy habits, your body movements to frequent (not poop, but regular poop is always a good thing!), and your mind to clear.
Developing a foundation of health means when the crazy comes, you have something to go back to. Also, this way, if you love to party a little too hardy or smoke a cig a few times a month just when drinking with friends!, these won’t be insanely hard to break when you’re pregnant and going through withdrawal.
5) Be happy where you are.
I remember gazing with longing into my crystal ball, wanting SO MUCH to know who and where and when I would meet the love of my life.
For many of us it can consume a deep part of our energy. Happiness means happiness pheromones and those exuded from your body attract other happy people. There’s seriously some science behind it.
Remember you get to choose who you fall in love with, to a large extent. Don’t give your heart away if the relationships is fraught with drama (as exciting and sexy as that can feel) or the guy isn’t happy at his core. One happy person cannot hold up an unhappy one for life.
Get your happy on. Find a therapist. Find essential oils. Find the right medication. Find enough chocolate. Find your relationship with God. Whatever will bring on this deep peace & joy.
I wrote more on how my relationship with God took an unexpected turn for the deeper over at Blessed is She today!
Things I omitted: wake up many times a night and sandpaper your nipples. Poop while holding a squirming live creature. Splash urine (not yours!) on your face. Sing children’s songs in a happy tone. Repeat yourself about 38 times a day, in a “calm” voice.
What’s your best advice, sisters?