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Intersection of Life and Faith

Did Getting Married Compromise What You Could Do With Your Life?

  • Elora Nicole
  • 2012 7 Jul
  • COMMENTS
Did Getting Married Compromise What You Could Do With Your Life?

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on the Good Women Project. Used with permission.

“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?”

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.

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 were 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.

My name is Elora Nicole. Sunrises are my love language but you'll rarely see me up early enough to catch one. Plus, I've realized sunsets off the Congress bridge in Austin work just fine.

For eight years, I spent my days in the classroom as a high school teacher and instructional coach. Now, I'm a full time writer and {soon-to-be} mother learning how to share my story and helping you find your own. I believe in Beauty, playing in the pain and leaning into grace. You can learn more on my blog and find me on twitter and facebook.

 Publication date: July 12, 2012