Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts on Dating and Marriage

The words cut to the core: "You better get all your dating advice out now, because no one will want it after you're married." The thoughts came from my soon-to-be husband, when he heard me giving a friend some relationship "suggestions." At first, I dismissed the thought thinking, "No way, I give legit dating advice! Why would it suddenly be irrelevant after I'm married? That's ridiculous!"

And then it hit me. It was as if all the negative thoughts I'd ever had upon receiving dating advice from a married person came flooding back to me. I'd relate boy drama to some married friend or another, more just to vent (and sometimes I'll admit I would hold back, because I was so certain they wouldn't understand), and then their advice would come. I'd generally roll my eyes and think, "yeah right. You have no idea what it's like. You're married. And you got married when you were 21 (or insert any age younger than I was). You don't know what it's like to be 27 and still dating." And then, "...29 and still dating." and "...30 and still dating," etc. After all, they had someone. I just had myself (which I never thought was all that bad, just to be clear). But, how could they possibly know what it felt like to be my age and still dating. They were clueless in my eyes. Clueless about so many things. While they were worried about what kind of diapers to buy their kid, I was still worried about what party I should go to that weekend. Their advice might have worked for them, back when they were single. But I was me. I was different. It was a different time. And they could not possibly fathom what it was like to be me and still single. Not possibly. (I know, I know...)

I'll admit. The part of me that likes to tell people how it is was crushed upon Isaac's statement. "But so and so needs to know this. Someone has to tell them. If not me, then who?! My input is so useful!"

Well, now that I have a few months of marriage under my belt, I've realized all the more that Isaac's words were right. No one wants dating advice from a married person (at least not unless they specifically ask you for it). It's okay to listen and give encouragement. But advice? Forget it. This hit me even more this week when I learned that a dear friend was avoiding calling me recently because I "was married and wouldn't understand." What?! I wanted to fire back, "But I just got married. How am I any different? I'm still Andrea!" As if suddenly my whole persona had changed and I no longer connected socially with her as I once did (just five months ago, mind you), simply because my relationship status changed. But, I didn't say anything. Because I knew. So, instead of offering the dating input I knew she wanted (just not from me), I told her to go read this blog that an acquaintance had recently written on dating, because the advice was pretty decent. She asked if that person was married. Yes, I sheepishly admitted. And she quipped back with, "Well, then what makes her a dating expert?" Okay. Fine.

I still "get it" though. I do. I'll always get it. At least to an extent. Because I was there. Much longer than I have been here. Perhaps a part of newly wed life, or at least part of mine, has been trying to figure out what it means to not be that person. As silly as it sounds. Because I get that life. It brought meaning, value, strength and faith to my life I wouldn't trade for anything. Though I know the years ahead will bring their own value to my life, this new part of me is still figuring out what married life means exactly (please don't mistake that for being ungrateful, because I am extremely thankful). Though, I now understand that the status of being married makes me seemingly unrelatable to those who aren't.

And no one really warns you about that change in all those dating and marriage prep classes.

So, rest assured, I gave plenty of dating advice to friends before October 20, 2012 rolled around. I had to get it out.
One of my fav pictures of Isaac and I while we were dating, that someone stealthily took at church (ha ha)
Taking engagement pictures in Seattle.
October 20, 2012. What a good day.


Brittany said...

Interesting perspective. I feel/felt the same way (and I sometimes feel like I'm still trying to figure it out). I don't think the "change" and figuring out the "new you" is brought up in marriage prep classes because I don't know if that kind of mental shift happens when you get married when you're only 21 or whatever. I think it's limited to those who get married at a more mature age.

Lauren Kay said...

You know, I'm 100 times more likely to take dating advice from someone who is married and not someone who is single and still trying to find their person. Because OBVIOUSLY they did something right and have a person and I'm still single. But I liked what you had to say too. I like the advice mostly, I struggle when I'm getting it from people who got married at 21 and have been married for 10 years. I tend to zone out during their ramblings of advice.

Also, did I snap that stealth picture? I remember sending one to Amy to get the scoop on you and Isaac...

The Jefferies said...

Females in general are really petty and I ignore them as much as possible. Except for the ones I like :) Store up marriage advice you can dole out at wedding showers. They'll be all ears at that point. Congratulations, again!

Amy Lovell said...

Ha, I remember trying to give you advice one and you got mad at me. I wasn't sure if it was because I'm your little sister, or because I was married. I'll just assume that it's because I was married, because I know how much you love taking advice from your younger sister! :)

Brittany said...

Might I add that the same principle applies to having kids. People who have kids detest when people who do not have kids think the answers are obvious or that they know it all. I thought it all seemed obvious once too. It only gets more complicated when they are your own.