I’ve become the butt of a joke among my friends: move in with Beth, be married within a year. But the thing is it’s true. Every year since 2008, I have moved in with a totally single roommate, and within that year she would be engaged, married, and moving out. I kid you not, this happened with six roommates in perfect succession. It started off as a very joyful season, being able to be part of my friends’ lives in that way. But after a while, it wasn’t funny anymore. My heart became deeply discontent, bitter, envious. I felt like I was missing out on all the fullness life had to offer. I began to idolize marriage in pretty unhealthy ways, which was obviously not God’s intent for my heart. I had to let the Lord work on some extremely tender wounds to get to where I am now.
I moved to Chicago right after college, and I really enjoyed the first few years of being single, largely because many of my friends were single as well. We had a blast going out for dinners, having girls’ nights in with sweatpants and pizza, and enjoying summer days at the beach. We spent hours at a time laughing and talking and dreaming. It was the stuff cheesy movies are made of, and we watched plenty of them.
As time went by, though, many of my friends started dating, then getting engaged, then getting married. The fact that social media makes everyone’s big life changes seem so perfect and in-your-face (thanks to a constant stream of ring photos and wedding countdowns) made me feel like I was suffering from a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I couldn’t help but wonder, When will it be my turn? There were certainly moments of peace and joy throughout this time, but more often than not, I felt like a spinster compared to my married friends. I experienced a lot of loneliness, feelings of abandonment, and actual periods of grief over some of my friendships. I knew my dear friends would always be in my life, but our relationships changed when they got married. While I understood that would happen, it didn’t exactly make it easy to deal with.1