Oprah Winfrey
Photo: Michael O'Neill
Too many people believe marriage is about flowers, candy and rose petals in the bathtub. Women want the big day they've been dreaming of since they were girls—the princess dress and ring, the perfect cake, the handsome beau, the fairy-tale Camelot.

What I know for sure is that if you're looking for your happily-ever-after in the arms and eyes of another person, you will always be disappointed. Even in the most mature spiritual partnership, a mate is only there to give you back to yourself. In the end, you're the only person who can satisfy the deepest craving that every one of us shares: the need to feel significant. If you don't already know you have significance, the process of discovering that is the very work you were put on this earth to do—whether you've been married for 15 years or single your entire life. As our columnist Martha Beck notes, nothing a partner can say, do, or give you will completely assure you of your value if you aren't sure of it yourself.

Married or single, if you're looking for a sense of completion, I encourage you to look inward. For every one of those moments when you find yourself desperate to join up with someone who doesn't respect or value who you are, remind yourself that man's rejection is often God's protection—and then say "thank you" and keep steppin'. If all that you're longing for is a wedding, and you know you're not ready for the work involved in a lifelong commitment, save yourself a lot of money and anguish: throw yourself a fabulous party.

What Oprah Knows for Sure