I believe singledom-hood is a very important and unique time in one’s life that should not be taken lightly, because it is when we are able to experiment the most with identity formation, without too many harsh consequences. It’s kind of like being in teaching school–because teaching requires so many in the moment judgements and decisions, it is important to spend time building philosophies, reflecting on practices, discussing topics prior, so that, when you have split seconds to act on those gut reactions, you know you are doing so in a moral way.
For example, I remember in teaching school, we spent a whole class, revolved around the philosophy of “praise in public, punish in private”; we read articles on it, participated in class discussions, did some role playing–so when the moment came for me to enact the philosophy in my own classroom, although I didn’t necessarily have time to reflect on the process, since I already had the schema built, I could effectively enact it, and because we spent so much time in teaching school covering it, I could trust that my gut reaction was accurate.
The same is true during this period of singledom-hood; we try on different masks, place ourselves in different situations, test out different waters, so that we can one day, prepare ourselves for marriage. This is certainly not a time we should just “throw away”, because, I believe, the work we invest in now will set the foundation for the rest of our lives (I, for one, want the rest of my life to be happy and meaningful).
So, To My Future Husband, This I Vow to Thee Today:
I vow to eliminate my baggage: I can’t guarantee that I won’t come equipped with any baggage at all, because we certainly all have our downfalls, and I can’t guarantee that I’m aware of all my baggage, because some of those things are burdens I’ve been carrying my whole life, and I’m not aware until you point them out. Yes, you will probably have to suffer through our family feuds. Yes, I probably will get overly emotional and you will roll your eyes when I cry about the pizza being under cooked based on an experience with a former boyfriend. Yes, I will be resistant to things based on something that happened in college, but I vow to you that I will try to eliminate as much of that as possible before I meet you. I will go to yoga, and meditate on forgiving those who wounded me, so that I am able to live in the present with you, and not be stuck in the past. I will go to counseling, and bring up repressed memories so they don’t turn into bad habits later on. I will read books, attend seminars, give myself time to reflect, to dream, to slow down, so that I can be present for your entrance into my life. As humans, I understand that it is hard enough to just simply live–and because I plan on loving and caring for you someday, I don’t want to make your living any more difficult than it already is. So, during this time of waiting, I will eliminate my baggage. I will go to church, seek out wisdom from elders, spend time journaling, put on sappy music and cry–so that, whenever you do come along, and my baggage also becomes your baggage, what I’m adding is not hindering on our relationship with each other.
I vow to build good habits: Work habits, cleaning habits, financial habits–habits for when I get stressed, habits for when I have to deal with conflict, habits for when I need to apologize–hygiene habits, driving habits, scheduling habits, goal setting habits–habits for when bills come due, for saving money, for putting gas in my car, habits for packing on trips, habits for interacting with new people–we build habits to make our lives ‘easier’; it would be very tiring if, every time I brushed my teeth, I had to consider, “should I brush with my right hand, or my left hand?”, “should I stare at myself in the mirror, or go pick out my outfit?”, “should I brush, floss, or floss, brush?”. While I won’t be perfect, I vow to be aware of my habits, and to build good habits, and hopefully your good habits will also become my good habits, and instead of spending time, correcting my bad parking habits, my bad body perception habits, my bad cleaning habits, we can spend time, investing in and learning about each other.
I vow to protect and to maintain my body: That whole section about “until death do us part” and “growing old together”? Yeah, yeah, I hope to do that with you (I’ve been single long enough that I don’t particularly want to do it again), and because I hope you don’t ever have to live a life without me, I vow to protect and to maintain my body. We only get one body–the vessel, the container that we must carry with us until those final moments–and I want mine to be as healthy as possible. I vow to make exercise a daily routine, so that my muscles are tone, my heart is strong, and my lungs can be full. I vow to eat healthy (Chick Fil A is healthy, right?) so that my immune system is competent, my moods regulated, my body perception positive. I vow to refrain from harmful substances so that you aren’t cleaning up after me, I’m not complaining of self-induced aches and pains, and I am alert on Sunday morning, to enjoy your presence for the many years to come.
I vow to check off as many items from my bucket list as I can: There certainly will come a time in our lives where we will be limited to traveling due to our commitments, limited to social activities, due to financial restrictions, limited to time we can spend building relationships with others, so that we can build our own. I never want to be in a position when I am 45 that I look back and say, “I wish I would have written that book”, “I wish I would have gone on that Euro-Excursion”, “I wish I would have done grad school”, and then I start resenting and regretting you because I feel stuck. So, while I’m waiting for you, I vow to spend my time checking items off my bucket list so I can get those things out of my system now, I never have any major regrets, and so that one day, we can create our own bucket list together.
I vow to explore the flip out of my Faith: One day, I hope that we have little Britanys and little [Insert Future Husband’s Name] running around, and one day, I know they will ask us questions about God, and who Jesus is, and why we celebrate Christmas. So right now, I vow to you to explore my Faith–to read books, go to Bible study and church, talk to mentors, go to conferences–so when that day does come, I can provide knowledgeable answers to our future children–so that I can be sure I’m creating Christ-like schemas, so when parenting gets rough, and we have to make those in the moment decisions, I can trust I’m coming from a place of love. I vow to ask questions, to familiarize myself with the Bible, to contemplate my own thoughts on praying, on the afterlife, on discipleship and mentoring.
To My Future Husband, this I Vow To Thee–
Love (in the future),