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Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

Disclaimer: I discuss my political beliefs in this post more than usual. I’m not trying to argue any of them, I’m just using them as examples and illustrations and, as always, you are all totally free to disagree with me.

This is one of the few posts that I wrote for my personal blog that, after it was published, I thought, “Hey, I should share this with more people.”

If you’ve read my sometimes-sensical ramblings for a significant length of time, you know that I’ve waffled over the will-I-won’t-I get married, or do-I-don’t-I-even-want-to. After several church sermons, some prayer, and reading How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk, I’ve decided that I do want to get married … eventually. Not next week, obviously. Not even next year. But definitely some day in the however-distant future.

This has had an interesting effect on my prayer life, how I see guys, how I see myself, my spiritual desires, and what I think I’m looking for in a life partner.

For one thing, after mentally rejecting a guy who is my polar opposite when it comes to politics (and economics), I began to wonder, Am I being too picky if I reject guys who significantly differ from me when it comes to politics?

I’ve casually mentioned before that I am really into politics and economics (especially the theoretical/principle side), and I have always been especially attracted to guys who share my libertarian ideas. And if they’re libertarian Christians, then hooooo boy—instant chemistry!

Now, I am particularly extreme in my libertarian ideas, and many of my beliefs are rare in general, and especially so for a Christ-follower. So if a guy who is extremely different from me when it comes to economics is still interested in me, should I just shrug off such differences and say “Well, we can agree to disagree?”

After thinking about this for a while, I came to several conclusions.

First of all, let it be known that I do not expect to marry someone who is as extreme as I am. I know that such people are relatively rare, and I’m completely reconciled to the idea that I’m not going to marry someone who agrees with me 100% when it comes to politics/economics. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I just know it’s improbable enough not to expect it. (Also, I’m not trying to be like, LOOK AT ME AND WHAT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE I AM! I HAVE NO EQUAL! BWA HA HA! Well, I mean, in a way that’s true, but … look, I’m just not trying to brag about it.)

I also know that a lot of people aren’t that interested in politics and/or economics. Which is also fine. And there are people who ARE interested, but not in a way that affects how they see the world. I am perfectly willing to concede that two people with vastly different political beliefs could create a very happy marriage, depending on how deeply those beliefs run.

However, my political and economic beliefs are right up there with my faith in shaping how I view the world and how I live.  Therefore, I can’t imagine being happy with someone who significantly differs from me when it comes to those things, because it affects so much about me—how I take in the news, how I perceive society, what I consider a social right/wrong, how I like to spend my time. This is one of those things where a little difference is well and good, but a lot of difference makes for complete incompatibility.

Allow me to excessively drive my point home by creating a secular, hypothetical example. Let’s say we have a casual vegetarian—maybe for her health or simply for taste preferences. That person is more likely to tolerate a common omnivore than, say, a strict vegan who is so because of her beliefs regarding animal rights. The strict vegan may cultivate a lasting relationship with someone who is a casual vegetarian, but she probably wouldn’t be able to marry, say, a hunter. They could say that they’ll “agree to disagree,” but ultimately these differing beliefs affect so much of their lives—not only what they eat, but what they wear, how they see the world around them, and how they spend their time. It’s unlikely that they can be easily reconciled. The more casual vegetarian, however, may be perfectly willing to accept hunting and meat-eating, because their “brand” of vegetarianism is not a deep-seated part of who they are.

Let’s say, metaphorically speaking, that I’m the meat-eating hunter—I may be able to forge a lasting relationship with a casual vegetarian, but any further differences beyond that is probably just not going to work, based on my set of values.

Maybe Hypothetical Future Husband Guy believes that government should be tiny, but should still have more powers than I think it should. Maybe he likes Sarah Palin way more than I do (read: at all). Maybe he believes in a Fair Tax, or that certain people should be restricted from owning firearms, or that some drugs should not be legalized. As long as we can agree on major things—smaller government = better, and free-market capitalism is the best economic system available—even if he’s not as enthusiastic as I am, that’s a better recipe for success than someone who subscribes to Keynesian economics and believes in high corporate taxes and strict gun control.

My conclusion: While “agreeing to disagree” on politics is the best approach when it comes to coworkers, friends, and family members, I don’t think it’s the proper stance for me when seeking a future life partner.

So no, I’m not being too picky. Well, I am, but reasonably so.

So what about you? Are there any non-negotiables or barely-negotiables that sound superficial but may actually be fundamental for a future relationship? Think about what’s really important to you—in a godly way.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have real-life examples that would shoot down my inexperienced theories. I’m just waiting to hear someone comment with, “Actually, my uncle is a meat-eating hunter who runs down roadkill for fun and his wife is a raw-food vegan who doesn’t wear leather and they’ve been happily married for 30 years.” If you know of a couple like that, please share. I would love to hear that story.

Additional disclaimer: Just so we’re clear, I’m only talking about non-salvation related issues that truly are a matter of opinion, biblically speaking. Obviously there are things that the Bible makes perfectly clear are non-negotiable, such as the Christ-follower’s calling to marry only another believer and not be “unequally yoked.” I’m not talking about anything quite that serious and deep-seated. This is just good, clean, hypothetical fun.

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I’m doing a classroom-style Kay Arthur Bible study at my church on Sunday nights. So far it’s been educational, exciting, overwhelming, and challenging, and tonight I learned something at the class that was unrelated to the lesson. Actually, it was something I overheard the instructor telling another young woman as we waited for the class to begin.

She was telling my classmate about a man who was praying to God about the “future wife” he was looking for. But he eventually came to the conclusion that he first needed to pray about whether or not it was even in God’s plan that he marry at all–which would change his perspective on dating and the kind of woman he sought. It was only a snippet of a conversation that I overheard, but it was enough to turn on a light bulb in my head. Here was something, I realized, that I needed to be doing as well.

Lately, I have really been questioning whether God even has it in His plan for me to be married someday—but I haven’t been praying about it seriously. This hasn’t changed my desire for a boyfriend, or heck, a date next Friday. But I have been learning a few things about myself that have made me question if I’m supposed to be married someday.

For example, I am an introvert who needs alone time to recharge her batteries and stay sane. This doesn’t necessarily mean I am shy or that I have no social skills, but I do thrive on alone time. The #1 thing I hate about living in the DC metro area is that it’s too expensive for me to have my own place, because I desperately want to live alone. Although I have friends that I treasure and I absolutely love to make new ones, I’m not really a people person in general. And my things that I enjoy about being single haven’t really changed. Also, I don’t really want to have kids, and 99.99% of Christian guys that I have met … well, they want them.

And yet I have some qualities that seem ideal for being married someday. Firstly, if I may be honest and yet put it lightly, I’m not crazy about the idea of lifetime celibacy. Aside from that? Well, I may hate sports, but I like sports bars (mmm, bar food) and I wouldn’t begrudge a man his Sunday-night game (unless that interfered with church, and God gave us Tivo for a reason). I couldn’t care less which way the toilet paper comes off the roll. I don’t need jewelry or flowers, I can carry my own purse, and I would never ask, “Does this make me look fat?”

Some people know that they will get married someday, it’s just the when or to whom that remains to be seen. Other people, as Paul writes in I Corinthians 7, know that they are called to a life of celibacy and singleness. I’m in a strange state of limbo and could see myself going either way. Hence the need for serious prayer about this issue. In the past, when I said “IF I get married,” or “IF I find someone,” it was followed by a wistful sigh of self-pity. Now I use “if” seriously, genuinely not knowing that marriage is in my future. Sadly, some people, who have been conditioned to do so, jump at the chance to say things like, “Of COURSE you’ll find someone! Don’t be silly! Guys are just stupid and don’t know what they’re missing.” Then I have to correct them and say, “No, really. I really don’t know if I’m going to get married!”

So, all my single ladies: Do you know for sure you want to get married and that someday, somehow, you will? And if you are, what are you praying? Perhaps that God will not only prepare your future husband for his new life with you, but that you will be prepared as well. And for those of us who don’t know, are you praying for God’s wisdom, that He will show you what you are to do and be? I think in either case, it’s also good to remember to pray for patience, and for the peace to be content in our current circumstances, whatever they are.

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I deserve to marry Josh Groban more than his average fan.

Why?

Because I find him unattractive.

Huh?

Yes. And yet I adore him. Because I love his music and his voice. (Cheesy? Indeed, sometimes, but I’m rather fond of certain cheeses.) And his Twitter account is absolutely hilarious. Therefore, my love is not based on something shallow like appearance. … Plus, he has a doofy charm about him.

(Please, no one email/comment to tell me what a jerk he is in real life. I don’t want to know.)

It’s kind of like a mild version of Phantom of the Opera — physically unattractive with a beautiful singing voice. Though I hope that Josh Groban doesn’t kill people with magical lassos and trap them in torture chambers. That is, I’m assuming he doesn’t, but you never know with these celebrity types.

But if I may be serious for a moment, listening to his music actually does makes me think, “I should keep Josh Groban in mind when I think of my future husband.” Not that I’m going to marry Josh Groban — just that I should remember that I’m probably going to marry a man who is not 100% my ideal, physically. But, just like my job, and Josh Groban, he will have a number of qualities that will more than make up for it.

There. That’s my not-entirely-sober thought for the day. Tomorrow’s Friday Frivolity will actually make more sense.

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Can I tell you a story?

Of course I can.

Would you like to hear it?

Of course you would.

Once upon a time (yes, we’re going with this intro), there was a young woman who moved from the MidWest United States to the Nation’s Capital to seek her fortune. She targeted many positions at some glamorous companies and organizations, attending interview after interview, constantly searching for her perception of the ideal job. Friends, former coworkers, former employers, and college professors recommended her highly. It was an exciting place to be at one of the most exciting, freest times of her life, and she was determined to see her dreams come true.

Unfortunately, time after time, her applications were so often denied, or she reached the top of the interview process only to be passed over for someone else who had just a liiiiittle bit more to offer. After months of such disappointments, the young woman began to wonder if anyone would ever want to hire her. She had a variety of talents, recommendations, and passions, although perhaps she lacked experience—but that could be changed, if she were only given the chance! Maybe there was no place in existence that could use her set of skills. Perhaps she had made a terrible mistake by moving there in the first place. Perhaps there was something wrong with her approach, or her resume, or her interview skills.

Then, one day, this young woman went in for an interview at a small, unassuming company she had never heard of—except for an ad it had placed in an unexpected location, seeking someone with just the sort of skills she could offer. She liked the people she met there, and the office had a nice atmosphere. Over the course of the interview, she began to think she liked the sound of this job. There were a few things that made her balk—a start time of 6:30am, for one thing, and a low starting salary. It definitely was not the sort of work, or sort of office, she had anticipated when she had first begun to seek adventure. But she liked her would-be boss, the work sounded interesting enough, it matched her skills, it would give her experience, and after all, she didn’t have to stick with it forever, right?

Suddenly, the young woman woke up and realized that she had been at this job for well over a year. What had happened? Well, she had made friends there, and learned new skills and new information, received raises and bonuses, and learned to appreciate the shift of 6:30am to 2:45pm—especially in the winter, when she could leave the office and still have daylight left. She had more than enough money to get by, and an easy commute, and a job that provided somewhat interesting dinner-party chatter. Of course, there were things she did not like about her job all the time, such as a 10pm bedtime and 5am wakeup call, but they were simply part of the whole package, and she considered it well worth the trouble. She was not too far away from friends and family, and had weekends and holidays free. Of course, she had made some sacrifices, but her life was far from over, and she knew that other adventures would soon come her way. Some days she would wake up and think, “What am I doing? I hate this. I’m so bored,” but that would change after a while, and she would realize she was right where she was supposed to be, and that it was all going to be okay.

Now for, as Paul Harvey would say, the “rest of the story.”

Yes, that young woman is me, and yes, I went through all of that in my process of moving to the DC area and getting a job. Occasionally I think, “How did I get here?” and it’s pretty clear that God’s grace was fully involved.

So, what’s my point? Why did I tell you this?

Well, I started thinking how my job search is kind of like my “search” for a boyfriend, a husband, a significant other. Of course, I’m not actually ready to be married, and I don’t intend to be for a while. But most days, I think that I would at least like a boyfriend. Some days I think, “Why would anyone want to be married? Being single is ridiculously great.” Other days I think, “When will this terrible season of life-sucking singleness end?”

The thought that dominates in these times, though, is: “Where is he, and why haven’t I found him yet?”

I often forget this, but I believe that, if I do get married, or enter into a long-term relationship of some kind, it will be similar to how I got my current job. I had no idea what was going to happen and I was about to give up, and it just kind of worked out over time, often in unexpected ways. There are things that are difficult about it, of course, but it has benefits that go hand-in-hand, and other great things that I never even expected.

For example, I’m not a morning person, and I hate that I can’t go out too late (at least not often) and I hate that it’s difficult for me to sleep. I hate waking up before dawn every day of the year. BUT … if I had the option of starting later and getting out later, at 5:30pm with everyone else, I wouldn’t do it. I like being able to have a couple hours of daylight left, even in the winter. I like being able to go to the bank, get a haircut, or go to the dentist during normal office hours without having to take off work. And I love being able to leave and drive to visit family and get there at a reasonable hour, and not having to deal with the brunt of rush hour either in the morning or evening.

The scariest part is that the 6:30 start time had not been posted in the ad. If it had, I would not have looked twice at it, and would have kept searching for something else. Not until I was at the interview did I find that out, but by then I realized that I did want the job, and I was going to have to make it work somehow.

When I think about that, I remember that God has it all worked out, even in the boyfriend department, even in the lifetime-single-or-not department. Even if I have an idea of what I want to do, it may not work out that way. What does happen is not going to be perfect, but it’s going to work out in ways that I didn’t even fathom.

If I am going to get married someday, he is probably not going to match my idea of what is perfect for me, and he may not be someone to whom I would otherwise give a second look. Maybe he will be. But ultimately it’s in God’s hands, and he knows what’s best for me, and how it’s all going to happen. It will probably not be what I thought I wanted, or should have, but it’s going to be fantastic in ways I hadn’t considered. There will be things I don’t like about him and our relationship, but taking the bad with the good is what life is all about.

ULTIMATE LESSON(S):

1. Trust God.

2. Don’t give up hope, but keep an open mind.

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I’m posting this in a quick-like hurry because I get to leave work early today and head across several states to pay my native state of Ohio a little visit. Of course, I couldn’t neglect FF again, so here is one of my old YouTube favorites: Wonderful British instruction for women who want to keep their virtue and find a suitable husband (AS SHE MUST!).

Now you know what to do—have a Happy Friday and a great weekend!

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As a perpetually single supporter of Health at Every Size and Fat Acceptance (which I’ve discussed before), I was thrilled to see this: The Museum of Fat Love. The pictures are cute, but be sure you read the stories, too. They’re all unique to the couples involved—they met each other through different means, planned or not, and at different ages and stages in life. It’s inspiring and validating and just lovely to see.

And lastly, because I neglected Friday Frivolity AGAIN, here’s a blog post that Bethany will not be happy with, but which cracked me up: 5 Reasons I HATE the Grocery Store.

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Can I please just take a moment to say how much I hate my work computer?

Thank you.

And now, your Friday Frivolity (which was skipped last week, alas). If this is the typical experience, not only am I glad that I decided I will elope to Vegas if the time ever comes for me, but I’m also thinking of changing this blog’s tagline to a simple, “Thank Goodness!” (Don’t tell Bethany.)

Wow. Such…joy?

Happy Friday!

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