Hair and Make Up: Mack Stylist
Vintage Lace Bell Sleeve Wedding Dress: Polina Ivanova
Eric’s Suit: Nordstrom
Flowers – Kathy’s Flowers
If you are reading this I want to take the time to thank you for visiting my page and sharing in this special moment with me.
I thought I would use this post as a small opportunity to share my ‘single story.’ You see, the fact that you are looking at pictures of me in a long sleeve lace wedding dress with a groom next to me and a vintage Pontiac convertible is nothing short of a miracle. Statistically, I should not be married. Not many people know the hard work and what I had to go through to get here. Most of us see pictures of a happy bride and groom in the present, but few of us really know what happened before that.
Why am I choosing to tell you this? Well, a lot of the time I use this blog as a platform to showcase my passion for cute outfits, but as time goes by I want to use it for more than that. You see, there was a time when I was single, sad, and desperately searching on the internet for a girl in my shoes now to tell me in some way to ‘hang in there’, that ‘my time will come’, and that I wouldn’t be single forever. Dear single girl, if you’re reading this, this is for you.
I was 23 years old, just graduating college, and I had all the answers. (That’s what happens when you hit that age, right?) I had just broken up with my boyfriend of three years, and knew FOR SURE I would replace him at the snap of a finger. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be on the market long, and the next guy I met would be better than my ex and then some, that he would treat me like a queen and we would skip off into the sunset together.
That never happened. Then I woke up. Abruptly.
Well, experience woke me up. It didn’t take long to realize how dependent I was on a guy. When you go without something you depend on for a long period of time you start to feel and to hurt. Deeply. That’s what happened to me.
So for the next 2 years or so I began the dating cycle. I was trying desperately to fill the void in me that wanted to be loved. Meet, date, break up, get depressed, get back up and try again, get hurt some more, get disappointed some more. Rinse, recycle, repeat.
What amazed me about myself was how unbelievably upset I would get when something wouldn’t work out. Yes, it is normal to feel sad when you lose something, but I am telling you I took this to another level. The depression I would feel was overwhelming. I couldn’t focus. I became obsessed with my negative feelings. I was riddled with fear. I was holding my friends hostage on the phone regularly to talk about me and my problems. It took an experience of literally not being able to get out of bed before one in the afternoon that made me realize I needed to do something about this, that this was not normal.
I decided after this revelation to do something different for a change. I stopped dating for awhile and started working on myself. I know, I know, that phrase is so overused, but it’s true. It was a conscious break, though. At this point, I was intrigued – why was I getting so upset when someone would leave me? I needed the answers, so I sought them out. At this point, my journey to self discovery was full blown. I was attending church regularly, and my relationship with God was starting to grow. It was something I never had before in my life. I liked what was happening, so I kept going.
Once I let God into my life the pull to get better on the inside grew stronger. He challenged me to look deeper inside myself and face the possible reasons why I was so paralyzed by fear of rejection, abandonment, and low self esteem. At this point, I was really digging in. (Remember I mentioned earlier the hard work I put in to get to this point? This is it.)
I read every book I could get my hands on that would give me insight into my emotional and spiritual condition. I began attending small groups with women who could relate to me, and who understood what I was going through. I began seeing a counselor who helped me face my fears of rejection and abandonment.
I cried. A lot.
Someone used to say to me all the time, “there’s healing in tears.” This is the truth. At the time you feel overwhelmed with grief, but after enough crying sessions you truly do begin to feel healed.
During this time I finally admitted to myself I really did want to get married one day. Up until this point, I lied to myself and said I didn’t want to because the truth was I didn’t believe I had what it took to make a marriage work. I believed failure was my destiny. My parents divorced and didn’t make it, so why would I? I soon realized this was a lie I was telling myself for years to protect myself from getting hurt.
Once I admitted I did want to be a wife one day, I also had to admit I didn’t know how. So, I started looking for answers. What makes a relationship work? I found lots of answers in many places, and almost every time it came back to my character and maturity. What I found was the less of it I had, the less of a chance I had at being successful in a marriage. (There is so much more to it than that, but for the sake of this post not being too long I am summarizing here.)
One of the biggest mountains I had to conquer in my single journey was to learn to be content exactly where I was, by myself. This was incredibly hard for me, because the older I got, the more afraid I became that I would never find anyone. To make things worse, I was getting closer to 30, and my friends were getting married and starting families! Do you know how HARD it is to be happy for someone that is getting blessed with the very thing you are still praying for? This was such a struggle for me. Every day I woke up I had to put my feet on the floor and face that fear. To be completely honest, I can’t say I ever conquered that feeling but I was determined enough not to give up on my journey. So I kept going and kept trusting God.
At this time I thought I was feeling better enough to get back into the dating game, so I did. By this time it was pretty commonplace to meet someone on an internet dating site. I had about three rounds of internet dating in total over the course of about four years. Every time it didn’t work out I had to trust that God closed the door for a reason. I didn’t understand why God was making me wait so long, but again, I kept going. At this point there were people in my corner (and me) praying for my husband, asking God to set him aside for me. I remember talking to one of my friends about my future husband and the fact that he wasn’t in my life yet. I will never forget her saying to me, “I wonder what he’s doing right now!”
Toward the end of my dating journey I read a book called ‘How to Get a Date Worth Keeping‘. In this book they talk about not looking at your date as a potential husband. They encourage you to change your outlook on dating and see it simply as a meeting with another person and an opportunity to get to know them. It was hard, but I started looking at my dates this way. It was during this time, when my mental, emotional, and spiritual condition was cleanest, that I met Eric.
The funny thing is, when I met him I really wasn’t hyped up to get into a relationship. I had just started a new job and was making a conscious effort not to obsess over my dating life. I went into our first date thinking what I mentioned before – that this was just an afternoon lunch, and a chance to meet someone new and possibly learn about them. I had a new outlook, and I had detached from outcomes.
Something weird happened the second I met Eric – I had such a peace in my spirit I had never felt before. People had told me all my life “when you know, you know.” Have you ever heard that before? Well, I can’t say it was EXACTLY like that but what I can say is suddenly I had this feeling that everything was going to be ok.
This may not be the case for everyone, but we really did know right away we were right for each other. There was never a question from the beginning of “Is this the one?” Eric has so many amazing qualities, but the icing on the cake is that he too believes in God and I don’t have to hide that part of myself (the biggest part) from him. Our spirituality is something we get to share in and grow in together. There were so many times where I could have continued dating someone who lacked this, but my gut always told me it wasn’t right, and to keep going. Today, I am so glad I listened to my gut and followed my instinct. The patience has paid off.
Is this the end of my story? No, it has only just begun. There is always something new to learn, a new way to grow and be better. Dating happens to be one of the biggest vehicles God has used to get me to seriously look at myself. To all the single girls out there, I hope my story has helped you in some way to keep moving forward in your journey. I hope you have found just a little encouragement and comfort in knowing that it is ok to be right where you are. In fact, you are exactly where you are supposed to be today. If God wants to change that, don’t worry. He will change it. Until then, enjoy the journey and be open to what God and the universe is trying to teach you so that one day you can be the type of woman a man will want to spend the rest of his life with.