Dear girls (my nieces included),
Don’t ever settle.
Whether you’re 8 years old or 35 years old, there are probably people in your life right now saying things to you like, “when you get married” and “when you’re a wife” and “when you’re a mother.” These things might make you feel like the most important part of adulthood is walking down the aisle. You might feel like getting married is THE thing that will make you a complete person. THE thing that will make everyone proud.
It could be your parents encouraging you. Or your church. Or maybe you’re old enough that all your friends are saying I Do and you feel the pressure to fall in line with your peers.
But marriage isn’t the most important thing. Becoming a bride isn’t what matters.
The thing that matters is finding the right person. Why? Because you deserve him.
You deserve to be with someone who treats you like a precious gem. You deserve someone who respects you. Who wants to make you happy. Who leads a life that makes you happy. You deserve to be with someone whose stories you’re proud to tell. Not someone who you construct an intricate façade around to conceal his behavior or his true identity.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many of your friends or family members are attached. You should wait for the man of your dreams.
If you waffle back and forth on whether or not he’s the right guy, he’s not the right guy. If he makes you cry on a regular basis, he’s not the right guy. If you find yourself keeping secrets about who he is or how he acts, he’s not the right guy. If you’re hoping he’ll change after you get married, he’s not the right guy. If you hope he’ll change at all, he’s most likely not the right guy.
Find someone who you don’t want to change. Find someone who you’re so proud to call your own that you want to climb up the Empire State Building and scream off the top that you love him. Find someone who worships you and makes you feel like the funniest, smartest, most beautiful girl in the world. Find someone who embodies your dream.
And if you don’t find him at 23 or 29 or 36, wait for him. Don’t marry someone else who is okay and makes you relatively happy but doesn’t light your fire and make you want to stage a celebration rally in Union Square on his behalf. Don’t settle.
You deserve the best. You deserve the guy who you truly respect and love. The guy that makes YOU want to be a better person. The guy who fits the bill on who you always imagined yourself with.
Don’t walk down the aisle until you find him. It’s not about getting married, it’s about finding him—finding the happiness—that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And if that happiness doesn’t arrive in your twenties, it’s okay. Stick it out. Because the rewards of being with the right person will far, far outweigh the joy you’ll experience the day of your wedding.
Mel Heth (aka Auntie Lissa)