I admit that I struggle with the general idea that one has to “qualify” in order to get married. There’s this list of things that single women are given and expected to accomplish before they are ready to get married. We tell our girls that boys will always be there and to get their education first. You’re expected to work on yourself, do fun things, finish school, pay off debt, and get a decent job among other things before you qualify for marriage. Now granted, my story is different in that while I’ve always wanted to get married, I had a feeling that I would be on the road less traveled for a long time. I just didn’t anticipate how long it would be. I was hoping for 25 but now I’m pushing 30 without any actual potential mate on the horizon. I find it frustrating when I’m told that there’s something that I’m doing wrong or just haven’t done yet that makes me unqualified to be married. I see people all day, I’m a good listener, I can hold an emotionally safe place and challenge the perspectives of others in a way that is non-threatening and supportive. I’m the sole provider of my household of one and while I’m not rich, bills do get paid and I travel once in a while. I recently completed the highest educational level one can achieve (PhD) and yet the Universe still apparently sees me as unqualified for a mate. I’m all about doing the work but shit, being alone gets old after a while. I’ve learned how to self soothe and what to do to calm myself down but there are times that I’d sell my soul for a hug and the knowledge that someone has my back. Yes, I’m approached by guys but so far they aren’t ready for anything serious or want me to finance their lives and take care of them. Neither is an option I want to live with. It sounds corny but I want to matter to someone. Really matter. I haven’t found that yet and the older I get the less optimistic I am. It’s just exhausting and tiring doing it alone all the time and while I’ll always do what I have to do, I wish things were different.
I think that if you ask a millennial what their dealbreakers in a relationship are, the chances are high that you’ll get quite a list. The truth of the matter is that marriage isn’t what it used to be. More people are getting married and changing their minds about it afterwards. There’s also the trend of getting married later in life so marriage is not seen as the only avenue to financial stability. We see better examples of co-parenting and amicable splits. Our parents and grandparents may have stayed married because they felt that they had to but millennials don’t feel the same way. We know that life is too short to be with someone that you can’t stand and that you can’t put a price on peace. It’s one thing to be married but another thing entirely to be happily married. No relationship is worth keeping at your own detriment just to say that you “hung in there.” Lately, I’ve met quite a few middle-aged people who are staying in relationships where their partner is actively sabotaging their goals. Their sole reason for staying is because “Jesus hates divorce.” And at the end of the day they have to make a decision for themselves or for the relationship. I personally believe that being alone is better than being alone in a relationship ESPECIALLY when it’s not healthy. Regardless of age, it’s important to put yourself first because no one else ever will.
God & ManLet me tell you about people who love deeply. They are wells of feeling. Storms of hope and heart that never know when to stop the downpour. People who love deeply are both soft and strong, they are whirlwinds of rarity that will only ever know how to empty themselves out for the…
I ran across an interesting blog post that has also been making the rounds on various social media outlets. If you want to read it, you can find it here. Just the comments alone are off the chain. The author tells her story of being a pregnant unmarried woman who is also a pastor and is not stepping down from her leadership position in the church. Oh the outcry! People are shocked that she would “dare” not publicly be repentant and spend months hiding away in shame due to an unplanned pregnancy. But she is clear in her article that she made her peace with herself and God and is moving on and enjoying the moments. It’s always been interesting how women are treated versus how quickly some people are to sweep a man’s indiscretions under the rug. There’s some type of righteous indignation that seems to follow pointing the finger at someone’s supposed “sin.” She’s not a young pre-teen. She’s a grown woman with a career and a stable home and yet people are riding her about her personal choices in her own life because she’s in a leadership position in her church. I understand the expectation that those in leadership uphold a certain standard of “acceptable” behavior. However, why is being sexually active and getting pregnant on the same level as adultery, stealing, or exploitation? There are plenty of men who have committed actual criminal offenses in leadership positions and have been allowed to get off scot-free with the “we all fall short” excuse. Life is short and can end without warning or reason so why exactly is abstinence before marriage still considered a sign of a “real” Christian? Don’t get me wrong, there are people who have chosen that life of abstinence for themselves and are happy and content with their choice. But there are others who it doesn’t work for. Of all the things to do in the world that are bad, why are the bedroom activities of two consenting unmarried adults judged so harshly? There’s literally so many other legitimate things to be up in arms about in this world we live in. A pregnant unmarried pastor is a non-issue (or at least should be). Next.
Religion is one of those things that qualify as a touchy subject. It’s off limits if you’re talking to a group of strangers at a dinner party and not the best first-date conversation material. I remember hearing quotes about religion being the opiate of the people and how it’s a psychological crutch, etc. All the arguments, pros and cons aside, there’s always some inherent danger in allowing someone else to think for you. There are people out there that live and die by the words of their faith leader. There’s a dangerous dynamic that happens when an entire group of people trust one person to guide their lives. It almost sounds like the makings of a cult. While blind faith may be admirable to some, to others it’s an opportunity to take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation. Hope isn’t a hard thing to sell when it’s exactly what people need. Everyone wants to hear that they’ll rise to the next level and become healthier and happier. There’s value in genuinely believing that your life will turn around and that the next breakthrough is around the corner. But there’s also something to be said when these promises of a better life, financial stability, a spouse, and a nice car are tied to how much money you donate to the cause. When you’re inundated with promises of prosperity if you’ll give your last dime and demonstrate your loyalty, it’s time to consider the role religion is playing in your decisions.
As my birthday draws a bit closer I thought I’d do a throwback story from way back in the vault on one of my first romantic interactions. Growing up, I was homeschooled so there wasn’t a lot of time for meaningful interactions with the opposite sex. While my parents were active in a church, dating was highly–and I mean HIGHLY discouraged. Needless to say, nothing notable happened on the romantic front during high school. Fast forward to the summer after my first semester of college. I did a youth scholarship program to raise money that consisted of going to the DMV area to sell books (door to door, parking lots, and businesses). While I learned a lot, it wasn’t easy being rejected on an hourly basis but I survived. I went with a group of other college students that included a few guys. There was one in particular who was interesting. He was very headstrong and not the most mature like many 18 or 19 year old freshman. Living with a group of people for two months straight has its pros and cons. We all got to know each other really well. The guy and I became pretty cool. Not close, but cool. We had some good conversations but nothing remotely romantic in nature. Fast forward to the end of the summer. The group disbands and we all go our separate ways. Not too long afterwards he contacted me. We talked for a while and then he confessed that he had had a crush on me during the summer when we worked together. He talked about wanting to get to know me better and spending more time together when we went back to campus in August. I was surprised but somewhat agreeable to the idea. He got off the phone with a promise to call the next day. The next days rolls around and I get a call from him as promised. This time it’s a very short call. He’s made a mistake and he’s sorry. He wants to take everything back about getting to know me better and doesn’t know why he said that but he still thinks I’m a good person.While it was surprising, it wasn’t crushing. I didn’t have much of a reaction. I pretty much said “have a nice life” and hung up. And as expected, I never heard from him again…
I admit it. I’m a hopeless romantic. There’s been plenty of times that I’ve followed acquaintances on social media and “liked” all the mushy gushy tributes to their new significant other. The declarations of love and unending devotion and professional pictures have warmed my heart. But then there’s a change. All of a sudden one or both people start posting self-empowerment posts and about leaving when you’re not being appreciated. Then slowly but surely pictures start to be deleted or taken down. Married names go back to maiden names and this is usually followed by a social media break. While it’s certainly none of my business, I feel like asking “what happened?” These individuals put their whole lives online and got people emotionally invested in their relationship. I feel to some extent that they owe us an explanation when it fails. Of course I understand the right to privacy and how emotions can be involved but it would be nice to see the same level of transparency as there was in the beginning when they were in love. I think there’s a feeling of failure that is attached to the demise of a relationship. No one wants to talk about stuff like that. I know I don’t and my relationship ended months ago–but that’s another post. But it’s disappointing when you see a seemingly good relationship bite the dust. Of course you can only see what people post and I think many times the fairy tale is faker then we would like to think.