Society has a way of impressing its expectations on you. Whether you resist it or not, most of us fall prey to certain ideologies or preferences as a result of those around us. Some of the most stereotypical expectations pertain to newlyweds.

If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve probably heard people say things like “Just wait until the honeymoon is over” or “You two are still newlyweds. Give it a few years and…(fill in the blank.)” I have heard things like this countless times, but perhaps the biggest expectation placed on a newlywed couple is “When are you going to have kids?” This is possibly the most annoying and frustrating comment I hear on a regular basis. Even when people don’t come out and say it, they usually aren’t afraid to allude to it, especially in small talk settings. And when people aren’t saying it, so many of them are thinking it.

Sometimes it can be a friend or a family member sincerely wondering when you’ll make the big announcement, while other times it’s a total stranger trying to strike up a conversation. Somewhere along the way, it has become the norm to ask about something so private and personal as making the decision.

But why? Perhaps it’s because that’s the natural way of marriage. Typically after the first year or two, that’s the next major event to happen.

But what about when it doesn’t? When for some unknown reason children aren’t the next step. Perhaps the couple decides the timing isn’t right or maybe they simply don’t feel prepared to make that commitment. Or maybe God has determined that that’s not the path He has chosen for them. Whatever the case, sometimes children simply don’t happen, either now, or possibly never. Whichever end of the spectrum you find yourself, I wanted to dedicate this post to those of us who are childless (but totally content being a family of two). How do you find peace and contentment when God tells you “no” or “wait”?

Find a New Hobby

This has been a huge help and improvement in my own life. Graduating from college freed up a large chunk of my spare time and it seems that ever since then, I’ve been finding new hobbies that I enjoy. Shortly after college, I picked up knitting. For me, I love experimenting with all the different textures and weights of yarn. Once you get good at knitting, it’s easy to sit back and just let your fingers do all the work.

Another hobby that I’ve determined to master is piano. Finally, after all these years, I’m pursuing a childhood dream to learn to play the piano. As any new instrument, the going is sometimes slow, but the reward of finally mastering a song or technique is worth the effort.

Other hobbies that I’ve dabbled in have included crafts, painting, writing, and of course, this blog. Within the last year alone, I’ve focused on learning new skills and finding my own talents. Obviously, these are only a few suggestions. The opportunities are definitely out there, especially with the help of the internet. You can almost teach yourself anything if you have a little time and a strong internet connection.

Improve Your Self-Image

When I went through a rocky place in my life, I found strength in improving myself. Whether it was spiritually, emotionally, or physically.

However, I will admit that one of the most enjoyable changes I made was concerning my style. For years, I had kept to a basic makeup routine, and about a year ago, I had enough. Pinterest and YouTube were tremendously helpful. I learned how to better apply makeup and take it to the next level. I started wearing blush and eyeliner. I experimented with darker eye shadows and lip colors. I still look like myself, but now I have a little extra punch to my look. The confidence boost was a much-needed asset at the time and I’ve enjoyed amping up my game.

Another change I made to my appearance was my wardrobe. After living off a college student-budget for about 4 years, I was long overdue on updating my closet. And so I did. Within the last year or two, I’ve managed to buy some great pieces off of clearance racks or by using coupons. Switching out old pieces for a few new ones doesn’t have to be expensive, and the emotional rewards are well worth it.

Explore Everything

Adventure is definitely out there. All you have to do is look. My husband and I have taken several day trips and weekend trips to surrounding cities and attractions. From Columbus to Dahlonega, from Auburn to Pensacola—we’ve discovered new restaurants, fun places, and shopping destinations.  I get stir crazy way too easily, and I crave these weekend adventures that we so often take.

As a family of two, we have way more us-time and I’ve learned to appreciate that. There have been countless times when we get off of work for the day, only to decide at the last minute to take a 45-minute drive north. With fewer restrictions, we’re able to go just about anywhere anytime we want. There is a certain amount of freedom that comes from not having children, and I have to say we’re enjoying the ride.

Do More of What You Love

Simply put: you will have more free time. For those of you who have children, appreciate the crazy, the messy, and the disorganization. But for those of us who don’t, for whatever reason, enjoy the free time.

Although I just got done telling you about how I enjoy taking trips and exploring…I also have to admit that I really enjoy spending a quiet evening at home and doing whatever I want. Bought a new videogame that I’m dying to play? Play it. Needing to practice that new piece of music? Practice it.

Obviously the more free time I have, the more busy I seem to be. Most days I have a hard time sitting down and doing the things I enjoy. With schedules and commitments everywhere, some days I’m constantly running from one place to the next. But I don’t mind any of that. Rather, I enjoy the busyness. But at the end of the day, when I’m done running, I can take the time to sit down and enjoy my evening as a family of two.

Seek Him

Ultimately, true joy, peace, and contentment will come from God. Turning over your struggles and difficulties over to Him is the best thing you can do. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of what you want and step back, waiting and watching for God to perform His perfect will. Sometimes it’s a process of slowly loosening your grip, day by day, until eventually you find that you’ve let go and let God.

As I’ve found myself on my life’s journey, sometimes I struggle. As I see God’s plan unfolding for others, I want to compare my own life to see how it matches up. But it’s in those moments that I have to stop comparing, stop bending to the expectations of others, and realize that God has His own expectations for me. And those are the ones I need to follow.