Someone got engaged today at church. No, it’s not me, and no, I didn’t know beforehand. It seems like everytime I think I may run out of things to talk about here, something else happens. Either my life, or the lives of those whose lives intersect mine in some way, are more interesting than I thought, or now because I’m looking for the gems in the day, I find them. Either way, I lucked upon this one.
Tis the season for longterm couples to get married, I guess. Last year it was the Singles Ministry Leader, and this year it is another of the ex-singles ministry participants. They have been together at least as long as I’ve been attending the church, longer than I’ve even known Mr. Perfect, and who knows how long before then. After service, as everyone was going around fellowshipping, a ripple of excitement makes me turn my head in time to see the gentlemen go down on one knee and fumble madly for the ring box in his pocket, right there in the sanctuary in between the pews! Of course she said yes and all the women gawked. Then, unexpectedly, Mr. Perfect and I were attacked.
It wasn’t enough to have one couple embracing the idea of matrimony, but they need us to get engaged soon as well. One of the elder’s wives swatted me hard several times in her excitement, wondering aloud when Mr. Perfect and I will get engaged. I was searched like a criminal for a ring, and my empty hand was clucked over. I can’t count the number of times I was asked when I was getting married, what I was waiting on, where was my ring? It was as if they expected since one person had gotten engaged, another ring would materialize and the spirit would sweep Mr. Perfect up and put him on bended knee.
This is a hard thing for me to answer. It isn’t that I don’t want to be married, or that I don’t know what my answer would be if Mr. Perfect asked. It isn’t that I’m waiting for him to ask, either. I can’t say enough how averse I am to anyone asking me to marry them for any other reason than because they want to. Marriage is hard enough when both people know they want to be married, and the other person is who they want to be married to. I don’t want to make anyone do anything they don’t want to do, and I don’t want to be settled for or accepted in the fear you may not find better. I know it’s slightly unrealistic and romance novel-esque, but I want someone to have the certainty they will not find better, that I am what they want. At the very least, I want them to make up their mind that the 80% of what they want that I possess is worth more than the 20% that I don’t, that they believe that I have more of what they want than anyone else they’ve met and they believe that we can spend our lives together in love and companionship. I don’t need all consuming, I can’t live without you love; I need slow burning, long enduring, Musiq Soulchild’s “Dontchange” love. If it’s not that, I don’t need it walking up to me with a ring, talking about let’s give this love and marriage thing a try. I can get a roommate to split bills. I can get love and companionship from friends, family and a pet. If you don’t have a special love connection with me, want to share a life with me, then I can’t accept it. I’m better off without it, especially if I’m loving and giving with all and you aren’t sure. Mr. Perfect isn’t there yet, and I am perfectly content not to have to answer a question he isn’t ready to ask in all seriousness. Trying to force the fit is how some women end up in relationships in which, after a while, they feel underloved, as if the other person no longer loves them. Maybe the other person doesn’t and they leave. Diana Ross and the Supremes said it best. “You can’t hurry love; you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy; it’s a game of give and take.”
Mr. Perfect thought that church was an odd place to propose, but I see the foresight in it. Everyone is there to witness it, which not only saves phone calls but shows seriousness. Church is where you make the most important decision of your life, to become a child of God; why not make the second most important decision, with whom to spend your life, there? You walk down the aisle, confess that you believe this is the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with if she’ll have you, and a little later you get to walk down the same aisle and take her as your wife. It has symmetry, circularity, and a great statement of intent. And it is all in the sight of God (So yes, I know He’s everywhere, but there’s a difference between knowing and acknowledging). Clearly this means that the gentleman means for God to be an important part of their lives together.
So this entry is dedicated to the future Mr. & Mrs. Richards. Congratulations and many blessed years ahead! God bless you both.