I’ve been thinking during my time away from all things love about whether or not I’m really ready to take that next step. I watched a couple YouTube videos where people describe their deal-breakers, and the male perspective stuck out to me. It wasn’t just the particular things that he focused on that stuck out but how I would have measured up on his scale.
To be honest, this guy isn’t my type (great since he’s married), but the things that he said sound a lot like Mr. Perfect. Ignoring a perfect opportunity to branch out into how men are simple creatures (which is the truth wrapped in a lie sealed in an enigma in itself), I focused in on whether or not I could meet those things for Mr. Perfect. Then I thought about if I would want to.
One of the things that has come up a lot is the purpose of getting married. We’ve been hearing a lot of messages on the fact that marriage is not to make you happy. It’s not for you; it’s for the other person. It’s to illustrate the relationship between God and his church to the world. It’s for having and raising children to be God-fearing adults who model Christ for the world. All of which is wonderful and true, but none of which speaks to why anyone in their right mind would sign up for yet another thankless task like being a wife and mother. At this point, with this criteria, I could marry any guy that loved the Lord, wanted to get married and tickled my fancy. Marriage may not be about my continual happiness and may be intended to show Christ’s relationship to His church, but it should mean something to me that makes the trials and hardships that accompany it worth it. There should be something that sets my husband apart from everyone I could have chosen to live out this life with, that makes having to consider and care for him more than showing me how to submit to Christ’s will. I can be an example for the Lord single. I can be content single. I can help raise children in the Lord by teaching Sunday School, working with youth, speaking at youth conferences, and a multitude of things that have nothing to do with getting married and having babies. We can be good Christian men and women single. So when I think about if I’m ready to be married, I first think about why I should be married at all, or even if I should be married.
But I’m beyond that hurdle. I desire to be married. I want to have that one on one relationship with someone where I can love on them, care for them, pray for them, grow with them. I want the spiritual, emotional, physical and material benefits of such a relationship. But am I ready for it? Am I ready to be a submissive wife to my husband, to refrain from using manipulation to get my way? Am I ready to concern myself with another’s needs and wants, to buy into their dream and support them in it even when I don’t know how it’s going to work out? Am I ready to keep a house, both in a spiritual and physical sense? Am I ready to look the part, to be a beautiful crown? Am I ready to commit to someone else and their life decisions? Am I ready to be provided for to the best of his ability, to budget much more rigidly than I currently budget in order to ensure our family is financially fit? Am I ready to agree to go where he goes? Am I ready to be his biggest cheerleader? Am I ready to deal with family and friends and well-meaning associates who try to track their timelines, agenda and discord into our home and family? Am I ready to tow the party line and present the united front even if I disagree on the final decision? Is anyone ever really ready for all of that?
Maybe it’s best to get married when you are certain that the two of you can do life together and are confident this person is the right choice, not when you have all the answers to all of the questions. I used to be certain and optimistic, but having all of these years to consider, and all of this time to grow used to living to please God and myself without sharing my home and body have added dimensions to the discussion that weren’t present before. I believe that certainty and optimism, coupled with a strong faith and a certainty of being in God’s will for your life is so necessary for making a marriage work. I’m not saying go into marriage with rose-colored glasses, but I’m finding the longer it takes to make a decision, the harder it is to make. I think some of the areas I worry about my abilities in would be just fine if I were married. We’d figure it out together. It’d be a funny story to tell, one of those misadventures that start new chapters in your love story. As a still single person, they can turn into just another reason you’re still single, something you have to fix and perfect before you get married. I’m not sure if I’m even making sense, but these are the things I think about.
The biggest worry it’s hardest to fight at this point is the “what’s wrong with me?” worry. If you last five years on my job, you get an extra five days of vacation a year (which I will achieve this year in June!). If you are with Progressive’s auto that long, you get diamond status, where they’ll forgive minor accidents, lower your rate, and treat you like royalty. Longevity is positive in these arenas. But being in a relationship for six years and not moving for to marriage when you both agree that marriage is something you want is not a good thing. The thought continues with the observation that there’s obviously something that’s holding up progress. And what if that something is me, or something about me? What’s big enough to keep us from moving forward yet not big enough to break us up? That’s not to say that the problem has to be me or even my problem, but after all this time, it feels like it is. If we were both happy and content with where we were, then it wouldn’t be an issue that we aren’t moving forward. If I wanted someone to go to the movies or eat an occasional meal with for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have a problem not moving forward to marriage.
But I’m honest enough with myself to concede that I want to have sex, to snuggle in bed on Saturday mornings, to make a house into a home, to cook and clean for my family, to go on vacations and plan a future together, to help my husband achieve his life goals, and maybe have a child or two somewhere along the way. An if this isn’t that, then there’s no need to continue down this road.
I bought Baggage Claim on blu-ray/DVD. In it, Djimon Hansou is a wealthy businessman who charms Paula Patton’s character. He’s funny and charming and well-traveled, and he wants her to travel the world with him. But he doesn’t want marriage. In the end she knows he’s not going to give her what she really wants and she lets him go instead of wasting their time. He respects her decision. I love that many of the men in the movie aren’t wrong, they’re just not right for her. There’s nothing wrong with going after the love you want and the person you want it with. I need to love the old geezer in the rocking chair beside me as much as I need to be all in with the seven pack wonder with big dreams and stars in his eyes.
I’m going to stop now. I am going to step away from the rom-coms and the keyboard. But I would be interested in hearing how you all have dealt with similar issues. What’s your two cents on marriage, how long you should date, your reasons for marriage, or story of a love you left behind because you knew it wouldn’t ever be what you needed it to be?