The Line of Compromise

If you ever want to render your mother speechless, ask her how she knew your dad was “the one.” Ask her how she knew—even realizing that he had habits and tendencies that would drive her absolutely crazy—that she could spend the rest of her life loving this flawed human being. Go ahead and ask her. If she’s anything like my mom, she’ll open her mouth at least a half dozen times before she finally forces out, “Well…”

But, you see, I had to know. I had to know because a few weeks ago, Cassi Clerget wrote the most beautiful letter to her future husband and, in light of her confession that she’s not ready to meet him yet—that she’s afraid of who she might become and what she might try to make him become—I had a startling realization of my own.

When I envision my future husband, I don’t picture him with flaws. It’s not like I don’t know he will have flaws, it’s just that I never really thought of what they might be. On those days that I sit down and dream about who my future husband might be, I tend to imagine that he looks something like James Garner (or Rock Hudson—I’d totally settle for Rock Hudson) and he’s patient and gentle and loving and… well, he’s perfect, actually. Nothing less than perfect.

And to be honest, that’s not really fair to him. Because no matter what he is in my fantasies, he’s human (just like I am) and he’s going to have flaws (just like I do). Or, as a friend of mine so eloquently stated when talking about his own dating relationship, “She’s got so many things going for her, and yet she likes Twilight.” Well, I’m not sure that’s a deal breaker (though another friend jokingly advised him to “dump her now”), but it does make me wonder about the line of compromise.

You’ve been told not to compromise in relationships? That’s funny, I grew up hearing the same thing. But when I look at it realistically, I find that there is going to be compromise. Let’s face it. They don’t make guys like James Garner anymore. Nobody’s perfect. And if I spend the rest of my life holding out for that flawless character I’ve created in my mind… well, I’ll spend the rest of my life holding out for that flawless character I’ve created in my mind.

So what I asked my mom on that infamous day she struggled for answers is, “How do you know? How do you know where to draw the line? At what point do you accept that a guy is flawed and human and at what point do you hold out for someone better?”

Because, thanks to Cassi and her beautiful, vulnerable heart, I’m left wondering if I’d force my guy to be something more than he was meant to be. I’m left hoping I’ll never settle for someone who is close to good enough only to live the rest of my life wondering if there was something better. I’m left pondering a question my mom couldn’t answer.

How will I know?
How will I keep from demanding too much or expecting too little?
And more importantly, how shall I live in the meantime?

love like this

be amazed

I Just Haven’t Met You Yet… Or Have I?

I have a confession to make: I really like Michael Buble’s song Haven’t Met You Yet. I think it’s something we all think about without even being aware that we’re thinking about it. We have all these ideas about our future husband and the life we are going to share with him, and we start dreaming about the day that we will meet him. We get this notion that we are somehow going to instantly know that he is the one. Perhaps the reason we set our minds on that man we’ve yet to meet is because it’s a little disconcerting to think that we may have, in fact, already met him.

What if I’ve shaken my husband’s hand at church on a Sunday morning? What if I cheered him on as he sang karaoke to Brittinay’s favorite song? What if I engage him in casual conversation on a regular basis and I don’t even realize he’s the one? I suppose that’s why we sing songs like Haven’t Met You Yet. Maybe that song could be more appropriately titled Haven’t Seen You Yet. What if I have met him, but I simply haven’t seen him for who he is?

Now, by all means, I am not trying to get you to take a closer look at all your guy friends, nor am I hoping that you’ll develop some kind of paranoia every time you so much as see a man. Is it him? Is he the one I’m meant to spend the rest of my life journeying alongside?

Hold your horses. Just calm down. There’s no rush to discover his true identity. If you’ve been engaging him in casual conversation, just remain casual about it. He may not be the one. And if he is, he will still be there when it’s time to do something about it. Personally, I’m not going to get all worked up about it. I’m simply going to trust that “wherever he is, whenever it’s right, he’ll walk out of nowhere and into my life.”

…I just haven’t met him yet.

What’s the Rush?

I want to know what the world has against being single. I honestly want to know why it seems like everywhere I turn, someone is encouraging me to get married. Why is it that people look at you as if you are somewhat less of a person because you don’t have a spouse? What’s wrong with being single? Why is there such a big push to get married? Don’t get me wrong. I definitely want to be married someday. I simply don’t understand why people act as if I have to get married right now.  

William Booth wrote: “Don’t instill, or allow anybody else to instill into the hearts of your girls the idea that marriage is the chief end of life. If you do, don’t be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool they come across.”

William Booth died in 1912 and I guess his words died with him because this is exactly what I see in our society today. It would appear that people think the purpose of a single girl is to find a husband. The single girls feel this way because the rest of the world is all too eager to play the matchmaker. And because of this mentality that has been instilled in our hearts, we are settling far too easily.

I’ve seen many girls give their hearts away to “empty, useless fools.” Somehow, they don’t see that the man is, indeed, a fool. You know the old saying, “Love is blind”? I think the more proper wording would be “Desire is denial.” We’re willing to overlook serious character flaws simply because we so badly want something to work out. I think that accounts for the ridiculously high divorce rate in our country. Denial only lasts for so long. There comes a day when you tire of lying to yourself. And instead of living with their mistake, most people call it quits.

So ladies, don’t let anyone instill in your hearts that marriage is the chief end of life. This isn’t a race to marry before “so-and-so” does. There’s no rush to find Mr. Right. Our season of singleness is meant for so much more than finding a future husband. I’d love to be able to tell you what that purpose is, but the details are something only God knows. Your purpose will be different from mine. Our callings may vary greatly. But you are called to something in this moment. Right now. Please don’t miss that calling because you’re too busy looking for a guy. Mr. Right will come in God’s perfect timing. You must first fulfill the purpose God has for you right now.

Before You Make Him Mine

It has been over ten months since I’ve prayed a heartfelt, in-depth prayer for my future husband. That may seem crazy to you as it does seem to go against every book you’ll find on waiting for Prince Charming. I thought I was crazy myself, at first. But it can’t be any more crazy than how crazy I felt back when I was faithfully praying for my knight in shining armor. I didn’t stop praying because I got the impression that the man I will one day marry is above falling, but because I know how prone I am to fall myself. When I was consistently praying for my future husband, I was constantly thinking about him. And because I thought of him so often, I got to a point where I wasn’t content with living without him. That’s why I dropped the specific prayers. That’s why I shredded the list of things I wanted in a husband. Maybe it’s the novelist in me, but when I write a guy out on paper, he becomes real and eventually becomes all I think about. But he shouldn’t be all I think about during this stage of my life.  That’s why when it comes to this delicate subject of waiting, I decided to, well, stop waiting. If I’m going to live in this moment here and now, I can’t be dwelling on a future with him.

I told my mom that she is simply going to have to pray twice as hard because I can’t offer those deep, intercessory prayers that I’ve been advised to pray. I find them to be detrimental to my emotional health. Yes, I have those moments like the one I had ten months ago. Sometimes I get the compelling urge to pour my heart out in prayer for this man I have yet to know. I don’t ignore those urges. In those types of moments, I pray long and hard. But as far as the daily moments when I find my mind turning to thoughts of Prince Charming, I offer this simple prayer: “God, make him the man You want him to be before You make him mine.”

That’s it. I think it pretty much covers all of the basics. God knows the heart behind that simple prayer. He knows what it truly means. He knows that it is so much more than that simple statement. He knows that, truly, it’s a repeat of the much longer, specific prayer I prayed ten months ago. When I whisper that one simple line, I believe God hears the 28 other lines I had penned leading up to that closing statement. And because I know He hears the words I choose to leave unspoken, the thought of “happily ever after” drifts from my mind as quickly as it came and I am free to embrace the moment that has been handed to me here and now.

This is how I’ve been able to dance through the moments of my life as a single girl. It works for me. And it may work for you. Then again, it may not. After all, dreaming up a list of who I thought my future husband should be certainly didn’t work for me. But if you’re really struggling with the fantasy playing on repeat in your mind, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Shred your list, quiet your mind, and whisper these words:

“God, make him the man You want him to be before You make him mine.”