They Do Exist.

Ask A Married Woman: Did Getting Married Compromise What You Could Do With Your Life?

Editor’s Note: This month we are answering questions from you readers directed to married women (!!!). Today’s question is by an 18-20 single girl, and she asks: “Did you ever wrestle with the feeling that you could do more for God as a single woman even though you knew you had the desire in your heart to be married and have a family? How do you feel about that now that you’re married?” Elora Nicole has answered this question below! – Lauren

ELORA: Our second year of marriage, I read a book popular among young, single Christian women. It was part of a small group curriculum, and I was asked to be the “married woman” in the group of teenage girls.

By the third week of the study, I’d thrown the book across the room no less than five times.

Photo by Branden Harvey / / Design by Lauren Dubinsky

There’s this pervading lie in some Christian circles that you need to do all your ministering, all your mission trips, all your education before you get married because once you’re married, your primary service will be to your husband.

And while I agree with part of this statement, I do not agree with all.

It wasn’t until I married my husband that I became fully aware of just how much I am capable of as a woman.

I enrolled in graduate school after I got married. I wrote my novel after I got married.

And a huge reason for both of these accomplishments is the belief my husband has in my dreams.

We push each other. I made him enroll in culinary school. He constantly asks me if I’m writing. I won’t let him pack his guitar into the closet. He plays songs he knows I won’t be able to stop from singing.

Also? Since marrying him, my sense of adventure has skyrocketed.

Our first year of marriage, we spent Christmas vacation in Biloxi, Mississippi at a hippie commune in order to provide relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. We spent days tearing down walls and clearing houses of mildewed and moldy belongings so residents could start over. At night, we slept on the concrete floor with strangers and showered in a make-shift shed out in the parking lot. If you looked up, you could see the stars while washing your hair.

Our third year of marriage, we traveled to San Diego for Invisible Children’s Africa is Not a Country conference. That summer, because of friends who felt like family, we packed our bags and traveled to North Carolina for a youth camp focused on social justice. At night, we’d gather with our friends, the atmosphere electric with hope, and talk about community and what it looks like to change the world. We didn’t really have money for either of these trips, but we went anyway, and it made all the difference. Why?

Our fourth year of marriage, we heard about this thing Invisible Children was doing called The Rescue. Because we knew what it looked like to take risks and breathe life into each other, Russ quit his job and flew to Boston where he drove the Rescue Riders to Harrisburg and then to Richmond and finally, to Chicago. They called themselves the Beast Coast Rescue Riders and I watched on the live feed as my husband sent me pictures of senators and dance parties and Gavin Degraw and cupcakes from Oprah’s best friend, Gail. They ended their trip in song and dance, all in the name of love, and landed on the big O’s set – stealing ten minutes out of Hugh Jackman’s interview. And even though I wasn’t with him because of my responsibilities at work, I was with him because we never leave the other person behind. And two days after he got home, we packed up all our belongings and moved to Austin – the biggest step of faith we’d taken together so far. We didn’t know anyone and we had no idea what we were doing outside of Russ’ classes at Le Cordon Bleu, but we knew it was right and true because it was an adventure and made us feel alive.

And it was right and true because a year later, after some of the deepest heartbreak we experienced, we boarded a plane to Africa with a few other adults we didn’t really know and twelve high school students we loved as our own.

And then one of the boys who was supposed to be on that trip became our son when he asked me to be his mom, and he wore a shirt that said brother in Amharic when we decided to adopt from Ethiopia, and he fist pumped and did a little pop and lock when we told him we switched to domestic adoption from Houston.

“I don’t care where you adopt from moms,” he told me, “I just want a little brother or sister to harrass.”

I smiled when he said this, and felt my mom-heart burst a little at the seams, and wondered at this strange path my life had taken since marrying Russ.

On July 2 we’ll be married for seven years.

Seven years of risk taking and faith steps. Seven years of learning what it means to breathe life into the other. Seven years of last minute trips, publishing deals, second degrees, and incredible adventure.

What I do know is I wouldn’t trade our story for the world, and I know with every fiber of my being that believing you cut yourself in half when you get married is sinking your teeth into one of the biggest lies out there.

If you feel God telling you to do something now as a single woman, do it. But don’t think it’s because once you get married the adventure will cease.

Take it from me. If you let it, the adventure will be waiting for you when you walk down the aisle.


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25 Responses

  1. Courtney

    Thank you thank you thank you. I have so many big dreams flying around in my brain. And while me and the boyfriend are contemplating marriage, my biggest fear has been "Will I have to give up all the big crazy dreams God has given me?" despite the boyfriend's reassurance he would never want to hinder those. I couldn't put words to it, but yes I thought that I would be required to become just like every other married woman, just because a "Mrs." was added to my name. I know ultimately, it's God's reassurance that matters most but to hear it from the other side is what I needed today.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    • oh, girl. those dreams are SO important. i think you found yourself a good man if he's reassuring you that you won't have to give those up – don't buy into the lie that you'll be less of a person when you get married. it's just not true!

      July 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      • justsaskia

        "Will I have to give up all the big crazy dreams God has given me?" Courtney – this thought has haunted me so many times! I often fear that once I get married the adventure will stop and all the beautiful things on my heart will have to be put to rest. Elora, thank you soooo much for sharing your story and reassuring that marriage can just add to the adventure.

        July 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm

  2. THIS. is fantastic! love it! thank you for sharing so wonderfully elora!

    July 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm

  3. Adela

    So good Elora! And while some dreams may get put on hold for a season, it doesn't mean they are denied. It means they are getting bigger, changing shape. I think the biggest key is marrying a godly man. When girls get married just to get married, sometimes they do lose out. But a man who seeks the Lord and will do whatever He says – the adventures just keep on coming!

    July 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  4. sammmbam

    Ah. Thank you so much!!
    I am 19 and getting married in March. I've gotten lectures and condescending looks and arrogant questions when I tell people. Questions like, "So, you're going to finish school, right?" "So, you're not gonna have kids till you're out of school, right?" and the general attitude that I am "too young to be making such a life decision".
    To make it worse, my dad has always told me, "You should finish school and get your career established. Travel the world while you're still young, before you even start looking at boys. Because you'll be tied down and you won't be able to do any of that."
    It's pretty discouraging, to say the least. And it sometimes makes me scared that I'm somehow missing out on something. But in the end…I would SO much rather be married to this man than to just wait. He's such a godly man and is so supportive of everything I do–and I am supportive of him, too! I can't wait to be with him; he always takes me out on adventures, and it's awesome to know that it won't change once we're married.
    So, I'll say it again: THANK YOU. This is so reassuring and exciting for me. I so, so needed to hear this.

    July 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

  5. This post was directly aimed at my still-singleat-27-but-hoping-to-be-married-and-have-my-own-wild-adventures-someday heart.
    Thank you for sharing this with me!
    ~K

    July 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm

  6. And…amen

    July 4, 2012 at 12:58 am

  7. Helen

    Brilliant post! I married when I was 20 years old, and so many people were convinced I was "giving up my life too young". I have never seen it like that though… I wasn't in the happiest home situation before I got married, but now… Me and my husband, like you, have so many adventures. I encourage him to write, he encourages me to paint… We believe in each others dreams and will help make them happen. Our marriage is like a springboard, pushing us both to bigger things, but with a secure base to return to. For me, marriage gave me more possibilites than I could have had as a single woman.
    Thanks for sharing your story :)

    July 4, 2012 at 6:22 am

  8. glory

    I dont understand why marriage is such a big deal to people….marriage is a blessing that god puts together weather children are in volved or not weather career is there or not god gives us free will to choose our lives and make the best out of it weather u had plans or not….cause only god changes oe plans and our future….make the best of your marriage or in your single life…cause i would hate to stand before god and he tells me …I gave u life why didnt you enjoy it? what would your answer be? God gave us all a mind and only we control our thinking on what we want in our lifes…..

    July 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm

  9. This makes me tear up a little with joy because this was seriously one of my biggest fears ever about marriage. I'm engaged now to a man who, if anything, wants to support my dreams like crazy. His love for me is amazing, and makes me want to support his dreams too – a constant building-each-other-up in the Lord. I'm so excited. This article is a blessing – it needs to be spread more! This lie needs to be banished and broken. Thanks goodwomenproject. <3

    July 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a 17 year old girl on the start of her senior year with some serious wanderlust in her veins, this struck a chord. As I look to the future, my heart has mixed feelings about marriage. On one hand, I see so many selfish relationships around me (even from Christians) and so few that are actually focused on serving others, especially in the dating stage. I want my life to be a brilliant adventure that does this world some good and only time will tell if/when that involves a husband along side me. My heart both longs for that to be sooner rather than later yet also is content with the ride right now.

    July 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm

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  12. Yes! This post is great! Your awesome life does not end when you get married. At the same time, life does not START when you get married. I used to think that being single was just some stupid period of life that I'd have to live through and then FINALLY I'd get married and my real life would start. Because Christians talk about "waiting" for the right guy, etc. Well I'm not waiting. I do awesome stuff and I have a fun, full and independent life.

    July 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm

  13. Elora, this.is.good. Praise God!

    July 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

  14. very true says

    first, you have to meet the right person to begin with. that is certainly very hard nowadays.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    • true – but I found it to not be as hard as I imagined. as soon as i let it go and just lived, russ came along. and really, i realized he'd been there the whole time – it just took us awhile to realize we lived parallel.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

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  16. This is a good article because she points to things she did for her husband and his dreams as well as hers. Too many GIRLS (not women) these days are so concerned with their own dreams and "will I get forgotten if I let him follow his dreams?" That is a very selfish way to think. Your life will change when you get married. If it doesn't, you aren't truly joined as one. You both should help each other reach goals. She let him go on a trip while she worked. She sings while he plays his guitar. Sure, she mentioned things she did but in helping him, she realized many wonderful dreams of her own.
    Be careful though, especially newly married women or about to marry, that you don't compare your lives to others that post. Your husband may not be the adventurous type so when he isn't all excited about a trip such as mentioned above, it doesn't mean he is crushing your dream. My husband is the strong, steady, silent type and I love that about him. We may not have adventures like this but our lives are what God intended for them to be. Know who you are marrying and be okay with who they are…

    August 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

  17. Amaya

    AWWWW THIS IS SO STINKING EXCITING!!!!!!!!! <3

    November 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm

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  19. Samantha

    I LOVE this! My husband of 8 months has been my burden bearer with me and without him there's NO way I'd be graduating with my degree right now or have the financial stability we have to care for my little sister who lives with us. Praise God He gave Jacob to me! I am fulfilling my purpose now just as much as ever when I was single. May God see fit to allow this to continue.

    March 30, 2013 at 12:35 am

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