The journey of being single the past sixteen years has been a priceless journey for me to embrace. When I first divorced, I “told” God He had two years to “fix” whatever was wrong with me because I hated the single life. Two years was the deadline for me to become perfected as to what He designed me to be as a wife. Well……maybe I had a lot more junk in my trunk that I envisioned. I realize I will never be perfect, yet I will continue to strive for my personal best! I now have a pact with God. Like He isn’t sitting in Heaven laughing at me, but nevertheless….My pact is simply this: If I can fulfill the plan, purpose, & destiny He created me to fulfill as a single adult, I will live my days as a single bringing honor to Him. If that plan, purpose & destiny can only be fulfilled joined in marriage to a man with a specific destiny, plan & purpose, I believe in His time, that man will be exposed. I also submit to changing, growing & developing into the person God has designed me to become. So far….I am content.
It actually took me ten years to “date.” I wouldn’t even use the term date because it was way to serious for me. I referred it to simply “going out” with someone. As I have been involved in a world-class leadership development organization, my entire perspective in many areas of life has changed. I truly believe that is what had to happen. While I have been single this amount of time, I wouldn’t take a second away from it.
One thing I have been aware of lately is the fact that I believe the wedding vows we recite are deceiving. How? As I spend time in the living rooms across America, I have noticed that the vows taken during the matrimony service somehow excludes a persons right to fulfilling their dreams as well as the respect of their mate’s dreams as the marriage progresses. In the bliss of developing a relationship where did the fact that the bride or groom has explicit dreams, goals, ideas, etc. disappear? Let’s take for instance the bride desires to be a writer. She has manuscripts tucked away and elusive dreams of seeing her books in print. Perhaps it is children’s books or novels, that since early childhood, she has envisioned the pictures on the pages and book signing events. Or the groom wants to invent a gadget he believes will revolutionize the way we grill. You fill in the blanks!
During the wedding ceremony as they are gathered in the midst of friends, family, loved ones (as if those are separate from friends & fam right?), the vows begin. The norm is said, but is this what they are truly saying? “Dick, do you take Jane to love, honor, respect, cherish, esteem highly above yourself, as long as you both shall live? In sickness & in health, for richer or poorer, til death do you part? Do you vow to work 40-60 hrs. a week or more, jump when the boss says to, volunteer for overtime, require that Jane does the same? Do you vow that when you begin to have kids you only allow her to take off for six weeks or less, then place your children, one by one, in a daycare with people who will experience their “firsts” before you do? Do you vow to buy the big house you can’t afford, the cars you can’t afford, the toys you can’t afford, and get in debt just as your friends, family and loved ones do? Do you Dick vow to suppress Jane’s dreams of becoming a writer because there won’t be enough time and certainly not enough money in the budget to allow her to pursue her creative abilities? Do you Dick vow to become unbearable around year three because the insurmountable stress begins to weigh heavy on your mind and oozes into your relationship? Do you vow to compare your wife to the other guy’s wives because they can’t blame themselves so they naturally blame their wives? Dick do you vow to become involved in extracurricular sports teams on the weekend because you would rather not be the father you need to be to your children? Dick do you vow to Jane that instead of discussing with her problems as they arise, you will discuss with the bartender of the local pub or better yet….your stylist? And when the laundry list of “Do you’s” end, Dick say’s, “I do. Then the person performing the ceremony turns to Jane and proceeds to ask her the same questions in female gender related contexts. Of course these probably include the incessant shopping trips based on entitlement reasons. Jane would vow to hide said purchases or get the red pen and re-mark the items even more discounted. Vows to ignore Dick’s love for designing a patent whereby allowing him a passive/residual income to where they could retire early from corporate America. Or the vow to become emotional after childbirth begging Dick to take on a second job so she can stay home or even purchase an even bigger house? Catch my drift? When one is gazing into the eyes of the person they feel in their heart they can’t live without,what happens? We suddenly find ourselves passing as ships in the night and somehow that is acceptable. Are the words, “For better or for worse?” self-fulfilling prophecies?
Subliminal messages are powerful. The above scenario is the American way, not the American DREAM. Our forefathers risked their lives to make America the land of the free. They were entrepreneurs who forsook all and everything to make sure their families were taken care of. What happened?
The revelation of subliminal wedding vows have influenced my decision to enter the dating scene again. I have concluded that if those are the vows I am expected to repeat once the relationship gets serious enough for marriage….I DON”T! I will remain single, get a dog or even better….a Betta fish!
The greatest thing on my side right now is that I have the honor and the privilege of mentoring with husbands and wives who are not OK with this either. I regularly encounter marriages on the brink of divorce because of the subliminal vows above. Once husbands/wifes are allowed to dream again, embrace the message of hope, begin to respect each other for who they originally fell in love with and looked into the eyes of on that glorious day, they are resolving to do what it takes to stir up the passion lost. They have chosen delayed gratification to enable them to get out of debt. The develop long-term vision to plan their now bright future as two parent homes instead of two parent incomes. Most importantly, they are discovering the family unit again. I virtually live through those encounters.
If you are married, I challenge you to take some time this weekend to remember what you saw in your bride / groom. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder-apart, divide, disjoint, or become independent. No man, no debt ratio, no lack of vision, no “keeping up with the Jone’s, no death of dreams, no ‘American way”, let nothing divide. If you decide, renew those vows without any destructive subliminal messages. Reprogram your thinking to include the thoughts you once believed for and about each other. There are countless other marriages waiting to hear your testimony of renewal.
If you are in the engagement phase, I challenge you to truly think about what you will be saying to each other on that day of commitment. Perhaps you should counsel or discuss with a successful married couple who have overcome the devastating blows of what some label as normal. There are also some amazing financial awareness programs available to educate yourselves on what not to vow to each other!
If you have chosen to live the single life, I completely understand. If, however, you are still bitter because you didn’t survive the subliminal vows, I implore that you do not impose that onto others. Instead please embrace your life now, search your soul for peace, determine & pursue your destiny as a single adult.