We’re all familiar with the “for better or worse” promise made at weddings, but this single girl over 40 discovered these wise vows make life beautiful for everyone.

It happened every June. I would attend a wedding—and an old, sad question would get stuck in my heart. “I wonder if I’ll ever marry.” Although I would be sincerely happy for the new couple, the melancholy would sneak in around the time they said their vows, “For better or for worse . . . for richer or for poorer . . . in sickness and in health . . . to love and to cherish . . . for as long as we both shall live.”

Year after year I would hear those promises and ponder how extremely significant they were to a happy marriage. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized how wise those vows were to every single girl . . . married or not.

These promises came alive to me when I realized that I must make these same commitments to myself—to see life for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish for as long as I live. Day by day those vows are leading me to a full, unexpectedly fulfilling, happy life.

“For Better or for Worse”

Life is sweet and life is hard for both the married and single girl. It’s the truth.

A single woman is often tempted to blame everything that makes her feel helpless or unhappy on the fact that she doesn’t have a man around. My married friends have laughed when I’ve complained that maintaining my car would be a whole lot easier if I was married. One resourceful girlfriend even changes the oil in her husband’s car. “It’s just not his thing.”

You know it too, life happens to us all for better and for worse.  A woman who spends her time thinking about what she doesn’t have and what she can’t do will soon be like a sieve. Everything, no matter how lovely or good, will fall right through. Nothing will benefit her very much. She will believe the lie that real life is for other people.

I choose to think better.

Never having married, I’ve had my own set of joys. I’ve tasted the freedom of riding out waves of opportunities. I’ve known the surprises that come from meeting my own financial needs (and getting someone else to change the oil in my car). Sure, I’ve been kissed less than I should have been and I’ve carried more than I’ve wanted. But when I’ve needed help, I’ve relied on a good God and his good people—just like we all need to do from time to time.

Life can be better; life can be worse and most of it has nothing to do with marital status.

“For Richer, for Poorer”

Will I have enough?

We all worry at that question. Usually it’s about money, but we also fear not having enough time, energy, love, or some other precious resource.

These worries can easily undermine a single girl’s security and whisper nasty “what ifs.” Fear will put her in a cage by convincing her to hoard everything she has—even when what she has is enough. What I learned at 40 opened that cage.

I have always wanted a daughter.

I was a good daughter to my mom and have missed her every day since she left the earth in 1998. I look in the mirror at my mother’s eyes and smile when I see her live on in me in good and quirky ways. I am my mother’s daughter.

I was standing in a store’s check-out lane one day last year when I saw a kiosk for a children’s relief organization. Paper-clipped on the sign were three pictures of children who needed help. All had AIDS. All lived in impoverished Ethiopia.