Hey, single men out there, I want to tell you a story.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I was doing Daddy Daycare at the house with my two daughters when I asked my three-year-old a question.
“How do you feel right now?”
“Happy,” she said.
“Why do you feel happy?”
She smiled and said, “Because I’m smiling.”
“And why are you smiling?”
“Because I like you,” she said, with her eyes beaming.
My heart melted, I smiled back, and I thanked my little girl, who loves me almost as much as her mom does.
I’ll shoot straight with you, guys: It ain’t always like that in my house. In fact, for every moment like that with my girls, there’s a crying fit, some frustrating adventure in discipline, and repeated requests that I play with dolls (I’m sorry, but it really does get old). Similarly, my marriage has its own bumpy patches of frustration, disagreement and negotiating that are far outweighed by the benefits of intimacy, companionship and fun.
Let’s say all the hard stuff that comes with parenthood and marriage is a big turnoff for you. Maybe you’ve bought into the lie that if you really want to enjoy your life, you need to extend your adolescence as long as possible. Well, believe it or not, you’re missing out — big time. The little ones who come with a family, and the marital love that brought them into being, are far better than anything my single days had to offer me. Granted, my single days were excessively focused on me and my desires, so that probably accounts for why it was so lame compared to family life.
But let’s suppose you are interested in getting married. The good news is, in light of all the man-children out there, if you’re a single, male, responsible adult, you might be able to get married with relative ease if you show a little bit of initiative and make a point to engage with eligible bachelorettes. And while you’re at it, consider getting a vision of what marriage and family will mean for you.
Seriously, imagine what it will be like to hear a little girl tell you that she’s happy and smiling simply because she likes you. Picture what it will be like to be married for six years and have your wife look you in the eyes and say, “I can’t imagine life without you.” Imagine the day-in-and-day-out of bill paying, teeth brushing, toilet cleaning, and family vacationing with the wife and children you love more than anyone else in the world. Imagine a life in which all the biggest reservations you used to have about marriage pale in comparison to the benefits you enjoy as a world-class family man.
Have you got that picture in your head? Well, listen up: All you’re ever going to be doing is imagining that wife, those kids, and your a home together if you keep sitting on your hands, paralyzed by the fear of being married to a real woman with real needs, insecurities, and demands on your time. Because a real woman is the only kind of wife God has been providing since He gave Eve to Adam. And real kids — the kind who slow things down, eat up your free time, and make it way harder to hang with your bros — are the only kind good dads seem to be able to produce.
Brother, seriously, unless God has called you to a life of serving people as a single man, it’s time to move forward. So go ahead: Prayerfully begin the process of getting yourself prepared emotionally, financially and spiritually to be a married man. Because if you do, I can promise you this: If you’re anything like I was, having a family will be a challenge, but it will be a whole lot more rewarding than the life of happy isolation you’re living now.
This post originally appeared at Boundless.org.