As we soak in these last weeks of summer, we also bask in golden sunlight, carefree days, and in spending our time with friends and family.
Yet, summer also holds a tradition in addition to endless barbecues and baseball games: It’s Wedding Season. Weddings are beautiful, busy, and if you’ve ever attended one you know what I’m talking about. Watching two people you love make a pledge to live in a covenant with one another is both an honor and a blessing.
For many, a wedding is a time of joy and celebration. But, if you’re a single girl, a wedding can also be filled with a mix of anxiety and depression, compounding all of your fears into an avalanche of self-pity.
Most likely, many of us have watched friends meet their future husbands first hand. We’ve stayed up late listening to the romantic details of their dating life. We pour over magazines, talk about what their “one day” wedding would look like, and we dream together.
Then, it happens. The proposal arrives, we help stake out the perfect spot, toss around a few rose petals and hide behind the bushes to capture pictures as the man of her dreams gets down on one knee. We cry together, dance together, and pop the champagne.
But, somewhere along the way you start to wonder why it hasn’t happened for you, too? Year after year, you watch friends meet the men of their dreams and fall in love. You try to convince yourself that you’ve had incredible adventures and get to be carefree with no responsibilities to tie you down. Truthfully, though, you now long for those responsibilities that involve life with someone special.
… somewhere along the way you start to wonder why it hasn’t happened for you, too?
Perhaps there have been nights where you’ve gotten in your car to drive home after a day of planning or celebrating with a bride-to-be, and you’ve cried. And I’m not talking sweet, small tears that look pretty on movie screens, but that ugly cry that requires you taking the first available exit into a gas station parking lot. An irrational fear creeps in that you, yes you, are going to be the last single girl on the planet. And you sit, and you cry.
What can you do about this? How do you celebrate the joy of others when all you can think about is going through another wedding season as a party of one?
As a nine-times bridesmaid and a single girl in her early thirties, here is my advice.
You take a deep breath. You tell those fears to go away and you stop obsessing about your current state of singleness. Then, you simply start celebrating! I’m a huge believer that learning to celebrate others is the key to living a fulfilling life, especially if what you are celebrating is the very thing you long for.
Stinginess is never a good look on women; we are intuitive, we can tell when someone is being genuine or not. While you might feel like it’s appropriate to be cold or standoffish – after all, it’s how you are feeling – that can actually be incredibly hurtful to the person on the receiving end. It’s easy to let our emotions dictate how we act or respond, instead of the other way around, but we do not have to be victims of our emotions. In fact, we have power over them. We can tell them how to act or behave if we so choose.
And choosing to sulk in no way gets you any closer to your own wedding day. The only thing it manages to do is breed a bad attitude; if left unchecked this can lead to resentment and bitterness. Has a man ever said he was drawn to his future bride because she was bitter? If so, I haven’t heard it. More frequently, you hear the opposite. It’s because a woman was confident and happy that someone was drawn in to get to know her more.
… learning to celebrate others is the key to living a fulfilling life, especially if what you are celebrating is the very thing you long for.
Therefore, when a friend’s wedding comes, I challenge you to be the one in the room who is celebrating the hardest and rejoicing the loudest. Why? Because, when we give, we receive. Honest. So, put down your fears, remind yourself that you are incredible, beautiful and worthy of being loved and celebrate with your whole heart. You are the only one who gets to live your life.
As you give your time, your love, and your energy to another as you celebrate their big day, you not only reap the benefits of learning how to love sacrificially, but you will actually learn how to love someone else when it isn’t directly benefitting yourself.
If you ask me, that’s the best lesson and perfect preparation for a great marriage.
Don’t waste the happy moments.
Images via Brad and Jen