When Ethan and I got engaged, I was surprised at how many “Just wait until…” comments we received.
You know the kind. “Just wait until the honeymoon is over…” “Just wait until the excitement of being newlyweds wears off…” “Just wait until you have kids…”
It bugged me that being excited for our new life together was perceived by quite a few others as being almost naive or silly. These comments were almost always from fellow Catholics, acting as if marriage and the family was the end of all happiness!
When we found out we were pregnant a couple of months after we got married, we couldn’t wait to share our happy news. But amidst the many kind congratulations lurked many Just Wait Untils…
“Just wait until you’re huge and uncomfortable.” “Just wait until you’re in labor.” “Just wait until you’re up all night with the baby.”
I also quickly learned that as a new mom, if I ever complain about anything with one child, (and even now with two), it will often be met by the classic, “Just wait until you have x number of kids.”
When we say a “Just wait until…” we are forgetting that the person we are warning doesn’t have the graces for “until” yet. We are given sufficient grace by God for where we are right now. I didn’t have the graces to deal with the trials of marriage until I was married. I didn’t have the graces to deal with the struggles of managing two kids when I only had one. But when “until” comes, God will provide the graces we need at just the right time.
Now, I’m not saying that I think it’s wrong to talk about the trials and tribulations of life with others. Sometimes it’s incredibly comforting to commiserate with a friend and them say, “I understand how hard it is; I’ve been there too!”
I also don’t think people always have a bad intention when they say a Just Wait Until. I think it has become such a frequently used response that we don’t even think about it before rattling a Just Wait Until off at another.
But why are we Catholics so often quick to point out the burdens and struggles of life to newlyweds or parents with less children, instead of the joys? We should understand more than anyone that there are certainly many crosses to bear, but what a gift it is to embrace our crosses, and that they are accompanied by so many blessings.
I even catch myself making these comments sometimes. This past summer when my engaged sister and her fiancé were leaving to go do a spontaneous fun outing, I almost said, “Enjoy this while you can before you have kids…” and I caught myself. They’re in an exciting stage of their relationship, and one where they aren’t called to sacrifice for children yet. Negating the joy of their ability to be so carefree in the place God has them right now doesn’t help them or me.
These Just Wait Until warnings may very well come true for a person. (And they might not, either! Our babies have never given us sleepless nights thanks to cosleeping, for instance.) Whether or not they do come to pass, that person isn’t being asked by God to deal with those Untils now. Let’s not let the trials that will come with marriage and family constantly overshadow the joy.
The next time you talk to a giddy with joy newly engaged person say, “Just wait until your wedding day!”
The next time you talk to a morning sick, first time mother, say “Just wait until you’re holding this miracle in your arms!”
The next time you see a frazzled mom stressed, wondering how she will manage another, say, “Just wait until you have two and watch them love each other!”
And the next time you see a mom ready to cry after a long Mass with an antsy baby/toddler/child, say “Just wait until they are older and Mass gets easier!” (Because it does get easier, right?!)
As easily as we can discourage someone, why not encourage them? Let’s take the opportunity to remind those with less of anything, be it life experience, years of marriage, or children, that God will provide the grace to get through the trials of this life at just the right time, and how many joys He has in store.
Enjoy this post? You may also like this post about embracing our everyday crosses, and this post about how we keep Sundays holy with some preparation.