Most of us hate to wait. When we learned the adage "Good things come to those who wait" in grade school, we assumed the teachers meant waiting for recess, or snack time, or summer vacation.
When waiting involves months, years or even decades, we begin to wonder if anything good will ever come.
Growing up, P.S. assumed she'd marry right after college and have at least five babies. "I always knew it, but once I started helping with my nieces and nephews, I thought, well maybe I won't have five," she said. (P.S. asked that only her initials be used to preserve her privacy.)
After leaving her home in Alabama, she moved to Tennessee and enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where she majored in psychology. After a year in New York City, she returned to the South, preferring the pace of life in Chattanooga.
Settling into adult life, P.S. enjoyed the company of men (a relative describes her as very cute). Yet, somehow, something always seemed to prevent her from walking down the aisle. Things would go wrong in the relationship before a wedding date could be set, or the situation would crumble before there was even talk of marriage.
"I came close several times but I knew it wasn't the right person. I never wanted a divorce, so I was always very selective and cautious. I never got a ring," P.S. explains.
After coasting through her 20s without matrimony, she pushed through the 30s (when she really wanted to marry), and struggled through her 40s (when she really, really wanted marriage), until she finally reached age 50.
Once on the other side of this major life marker, she assumed that marriage must not be her destiny. Her time had come and gone. She had a good life, full of travel and loving friends and a close-knit family.
She spent her free time gardening, working around her house and loving people. "I realized I could have a life without being married," P.S. remembers, and finally settled into a place of peace and contentment.
When she began dating her current beau, she wasn't thinking of marriage. In fact, she says, "He came into my life and I told God I was fine as I was. It was weird to think of marriage." He had other ideas, however. A widower, he'd been married for many years prior to meeting P.S. and truly cherished the institution of marriage.
He proposed. She said yes. She has played the waiting game and won. Now, her feelings heading in a totally new direction, she states resolutely, "I believe he is The One beyond a shadow of a doubt. God has set everything up and I just accept it." Her voice takes on an admiring tone as she describes the qualities of her fiancé. She looks forward to spending the next wonderful half of her life with a man she describes as a godly, hard-working family man. "I'm grateful those other times didn't work out. My advice to single people is to just enjoy life. Forget about what you don't have and enjoy what you do have. Live today to the fullest. Count your blessings."
In just a few days, P.S., age 57, will walk down the aisle for the very first time, a beautiful and radiant and eager bride. Her story proves that good things—even great things—really can and do happen to those who are willing to wait.
Tabi Upton, MA-LPC is a therapist at New Beginnings Counseling Center.