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Single and Productive

July 19, 2009 | by Rachel Davids

Marriage is not life's only objective.

I'm single, have been for a long time and, judging from the last guy that showed up on my doorstep seemingly convinced that his outfit belonged in this decade and that sitting in his car in the supermarket parking lot for two hours with a cooling cup of bad coffee is the best way to woo a girl, I may be single for at least another short while.

Now all I have to do is figure out what to do until my prince figures out that I'm the one he wants.

I live in a world where getting married is number one on the list of things I feel I must do to be considered a productive member of my society. I align myself with a community and am committed to a belief system that bases itself on the structure of a family, on building a marriage and home based on the foundation of Jewish values. I really want that for myself, badly.

But the reality is -- I'm single. There are many possible reasons one could suggest for my not being married, but God in His infinite wisdom knows when the time is right for me and it seems that right now is not it.

I can either live for the time when I will be married, or make every moment matter, now.

In the meantime, I have a few choices to make. I can either live for the time when I will be married, pushing off "real life" plans in my career and other relationships, and walk around as if I've gotten the shortest end of the stick and am just waiting for the good times to come -- a real picture of misery (Want to hang out?). Or I can make every moment of my life matter, now and always.

"Singles," as we are called, have endless opportunities to do good that "marrieds" simply don't, and as much as I would like to be married, I often think of the things I will give up once it happens. I love it that my apartment has somehow turned into a hotel over the last few years. A husband may not be as comfortable as I am with 13 teenage girls crashing on every inch of floor space for five nights, and when I do get married, I may have to tone that down a bit. I won't be able to take care of friends' kids while they take a quick vacation together, go on a last minute vacation myself, drive people to airports hours away with no notice to anyone.

In my personal growth I can go to classes whenever and wherever I would like. I have time to study a variety of subjects and get to know different families, learning from them when I spend Shabbos in their homes. The list of opportunities is endless. It's easy to say that I could get so much more accomplished "if only..." but the world doesn't work like that. We have only to look at the gifts and opportunities we have in each situation in order to really feel happy with our lot.

While working on filling my time with meaningful and productive activities, I have to keep my goal of marriage in mind. God meets us more than half way when it comes to things we want, but we must put in our effort. I try to surround myself with people whom I enjoy and love, who can help me through rough times and cheer me up after another bad date. I keep networking, knowing that somehow through degrees of separation someone knows my beshert. And most of all, I keep praying, knowing that finding my other half is in the hands of the Almighty. I will continue to beseech Him and let Him know how painful it is to be alone. I know He is listening and wants only the best for me.

Love is giving and I have to practice.

The Hebrew word for love is ahava, from the root hav, to give. It's a verb, not a noun. Love is giving and I have to practice. I am currently in training for the ultimate acts of ahava, towards a husband and children. I admit I am an overachiever; here is the chance for me to be the Olympic gold medalist!

Ultimately, marriage is not our sole purpose in this world. God gave us marriage as a tool for accomplishing wonderful things in His world and we cannot fulfill our job in this world without it; but it is not the only objective of life. A rabbi once told me that a single person should work on themselves to be the person they envision they will be when married instead of assuming they will automatically become that person once they have a ring on their finger.

People are amazed that I am constantly entertaining, cooking and hosting guests. I always respond that you don't walk out of under the chuppah just knowing these things. I wonder how many of us singles can say that we are working hard now, at this moment, at being the person we want to be at leading the most fulfilling and productive life we can, and not just waiting for marriage to begin living our lives.


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