One good thing about remaining single long after my friends got married is that I get to observe. I get to silently watch them navigate worlds before I myself land there; I learn from their mistakes so that I don’t have to make them, I see them falter and get up, and sometimes falter and not get up; but I see.
And I’m sorry, Friends, for the intrusion, but you’ll give me this much, won’t you? After all, it was me that you complained to when you were getting ready to drive 600 miles to visit your in-laws for your twice-yearly visit. I don’t blame you really, it isn’t very easy, but did you have to grumble in front of your husband who was so excited to go home finally, to be a son for a few days, to show off his beautiful wife and adorable children to his family? You didn’t see how his face fell, but I’m an observer, so I did. And I learned that not everything has to be shared in marriage; that sometimes less is more.
And then there’s you, dear friend: you cried to me a day before your wedding that you don’t want to walk down the aisle the next day, that he doesn’t treat you properly at all, and then…you did anyway. You went through a horrific, degrading engagement and then married him, because you chose to listen to your parents instead of to your gut feeling, you chose to see the “here and now,” instead of looking at the signals and seeing the future. And now you lament your self-imposed blindness, because your gut feeling was right and years of marriage haven’t changed him. So I’m so, so sorry that you had to learn this all on your own but I most certainly intend to learn from you.
Fortunately, observing doesn’t preclude noticing the positive, because there is plenty to learn from you, my first friend to get married. After years of marriage, you still greet your husband with a smile, you thank him for everything he does, you respect him and he in turn, respects you. When you were feeling tired and worn out, he started making you breakfast every morning so that you feel appreciated and pampered. I file it all away, because though to you it may seem small and insignificant, it once again boils down to…sometimes less is more.
And so, though I was a bit disconcerted after the feedback that my last post garnered via comments and emails, I know I’ll be okay. The prevailing opinion was that getting too comfortable means really settling in for single life, by choice or not , so much so, that when marriage actually becomes within reach, it’s seen as a colossal change and something to fear instead of to look forward to. But forget not that I have the advantage of observing and of the many, many lessons I’ve learned over the years, and that should balance out the “too much” of anything I’ve done in my single years.