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The Better Life: Married Or Single - With A Free Essay Review



Being married has always been my dream. My plan, from kindergarten, was to get married; have children; take care of my family and grow old with my husband. I will share how my well ordered plans were challenged when I found myself unexpectedly divorced and single. The reader will see how I had to reevaluate my life and determine whether being married or single was better for me.

Unlike many of my girlfriends, I have had the opportunity to be married twice. For me, this is not a condition I ever expected would happen. Divorce, for a Christian, is not the first answer to your problems. The bible was my best friend and I often referred to it for assistance. (Thompson 541-608) I sought counseling and read many self-help books to try to help my relationship. (chapman 1-214)

My ex-husband and I were very young. I met him when I was 12 years old. I was married by age 19 and we stayed together until I was 25 years old. He was five years older than me and appeared to be very mature and responsible. I was very wrong. We attempted to take care of each other but we were not sure how. I was a better caretaker than he was; however, I was still very inexperienced. We were blessed with a beautiful daughter, and for a little while things were better. Unfortunately, our marriage ended due to failure to thrive. Sadly, growing old together was no longer an option for us.

For the first time in my life, I had to face the prospect of being a single woman. I found myself responsible for paying bills; raising my daughter alone; and entering the dating arena. At first, I was not sure I would like being single. I was afraid to have one salary to attempt to live off. I had never paid bills before and I was surprised to find my ex-husband had left me with a large debt. He had not been paying anyone and all of our utilities were scheduled for shut-off. To make matters worse, my house was in foreclosure. I faced losing everything.

Not sure what to do, I approached the utility companies and they extended me payment arrangements and shared other programs I was eligible for. This is when I found being single did have some benefits. As a single mother, I was entitled to several programs that helped me with my bills, my mortgage and daycare. I was also able to secure child support and this helped improve our quality of life.

My mother played a major role in helping raise my daughter. In a strange way, she became the other parent and helped to balance out my daughter’s life. Dating was new to me and I often found it stressful. I quickly found dating and keeping my virtue in tact required skill and perseverance. During this time, I met some nice men and many creeps. I eventually decided to retire from dating because I could not find what I was looking for.

As life would have it, right on the heels of ending a very dissatisfying relationship, I met my current husband. I was not sure I wanted to date him. I was feeling pretty disillusioned at this time in my life; however, he would not take no for an answer. He pursued me heatedly. My girlfriends were also instigators in getting the two of us together. They advocated for him throughout our stormy courtship. Eventually, I had to decide whether or not I should pursue my early dreams of being married; having a family and growing old with my spouse; or, staying single; being master of my own destiny and possibly growing old alone.

After many trials and much tribulation, I came to the realization, whether married or single, I was okay. I do not need a man to validate me, but it is nice to have one that loves me and that I love. I have successfully raised my daughter and she is now a woman. I have to let her go to live her life and I have to live mine. I have no idea how much time my husband and I have together. It is important, to me, for us to enjoy each other while we can. Growing old together is not a guarantee. (Waite, and Gallagher)

In conclusion, I say, the better life for me is married. When I was single, there were many perks; I had control of the television remote and I could watch Turner Classic Movies in peace. Yet, when my husband is at his best and most loving, I know that being married is the better life for me. There is nothing that I have done single that can compare to this.

__________________________________

ESSAY REVIEW

Your title and first paragraph suggest that this essay will compare the merits and demerits or married and single life, which might have given your personal narrative a stronger sense of purpose, but your essay doesn't really deliver in this respect.

Your discussion of your first marriage is a little too vague to be a useful discussion of the problems that can attend marriage. I understand if you want to be coy, but if you want to be reticent, be reticent; don't cover it up with vague phrases that are essentially meaningless. When you say, for instance, that your "marriage ended due to failure to thrive," that's not saying much more than your marriage failed because it failed.

Most of your discussion of the difficulties of your life as a single mother, however, is articulated with a little more clarity: you had to cope with bills, get help, and deal with creeps. That story is a reasonably good story in itself, even if some of the more intriguing details are (dangerously) left to your reader's (possibly prurient) imagination: "I quickly found dating and keeping my virtue intact [note correction] required skill and perseverance." (What do you mean by keeping your virtue intact? What skills did you develop to accomplish this?)

But making the story less elliptical will not necessarily solve the problem of its lacking a point. You come close to making a point when you say, "After many trials and much tribulation, I came to the realization, whether married or single I was okay." You then make the second point that "being married is the better life" for you. It's difficult to see, however, how these points, which are broad and vague, are the product of the reevaluation of your life that you promise in the introduction. What does it mean to be "okay" for instance, and how does the realization that you are okay stem from your trials and tribulations (you really don't need to use this phrase!)? In other words, what is the connection between what you experienced and what you discovered about yourself? I understand that the expression "I do not need a man to validate me" could be intended as an explanation of the first point, but it's difficult to explain something vague ("I'm okay") with something equally vague ("I don't need validation" - expressions like this aren’t always vague of course, but you’re not talking about parking here!). That doesn't mean you should get rid of that claim. You should clarify it, and elaborate it, and explain why that was a useful thing to have learned. It's a good idea to set your essay up as a story about what interesting things you have learned (that's what makes your story interesting to people other than those with a specific interest in you), but essays that do that successfully usually speak of learning things that need to be learned. Your statement about learning that you didn’t need a man to validate you would make more sense, for example, in an essay that began by clarifying how you initially felt you needed a man to validate you.

Best, EJ.

P.S. I don't understand the purpose of the in-text citations. Why do you need a citation for a sentence in which you claim to have referred to the bible for assistance, or for one in which you assert the obvious truth that there is no guarantee that a couple will grow old together. If there is something that you find interesting and relevant in those texts to which you refer with these citations, then you need to explain what that is; otherwise, just delete the references.
Submitted by: nadinejohn
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