From the day we are born, we are automatically enrolled into competing in a long list of races that we haven’t decided are worth winning yet. You probably don’t remember the first ones to hit you but I’m sure your parents still treasure and bring up at family soirées. There’s the race to taking your first steps, growing your first tooth, losing your milk teeth and making room for all your adult gnashers, learning to ride the bike you’ve been given for Christmas…, the list is endless. As we cross the various finish lines, most of us remain indifferent to the milestones are parents are intent on sharing with their friends, colleagues, and the rest of the family, who seem to be in some sort of mini-competition. This is all fun and games, but the stakes get so much higher for the races we begin once we’re finished with education, and suddenly, we as individuals are invested into reaching the milestone at the end of the track. We have swapped mastering our potties and being able to recite the alphabet for the races to get married, have babies, and the one to step up onto the property ladder. So many of us leave university ready to take a few strides down each of those lanes but feel incapable of making any achievement because we have not yet found ‘the one‘ (or they haven’t found us, depending on how you want to look at the dating scene). Just over a week ago, I took a huge step into a race I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to participate in.
On Sunday 19th July the one, for me, proposed under my favourite bridge and I said yes! *Squeals* I still can’t believe I’m actually getting married! I’m running towards one of the hugest milestones of my life, and a year and a half ago, I didn’t even want to speak to a single guy. Cray. Since Sunday I have been hit with a plethora of questions that have not been as easy to respond to as the one I was asked on Sunday. There’s been a mixed reaction but I figured where better place to answer everything than here?!
How can you marry someone you haven’t lived with?
I used to answer this question with the “I’m a Christian, we don’t really do co-habitation” and hoped that would suffice but this response has been met with, “but we’re in the 21st century” and “but Sally, and Jane and Jill and *insert long list of other Christian friends* live with their partners.” Then I’d have to go into a tentative, “I can’t really comment on Sally’s faith, but I don’t feel comfortable with co-habitation.” Now I save myself the trouble and give an honest answer: living with my fiancé is not conducive to the ‘no sex before marriage’ mission that I’m on. The questioner is always shocked at this point, but at least they kind of get it.
You are 22, how can you be getting married?
I can’t count the number of people that have highlighted how much you change as you grow older and questioned how wise it is to make a decision this young. I too am surprised that I’m getting married so young but that’s alongside the excitement and eagerness to cement the relationship I began just over a year ago. We will never stop evolving as we grow up, I just think it’s exciting to find someone you can’t wait to grow with.
Then the questions get a little trickier…
What do you do while you’re waiting for the one?
I think firstly I have to address my unbelief in the idea that there is one person out there that you’re supposed to be with and until you meet them there’s no-one worth speaking to. There’s a lot of prayers being said, asking for God to highlight that ‘oh-so special’ person that they’re supposed to marry, but I think a more useful prayer would be for God to show you the things about yourself that need to change in order for you to be ready to marry. If you’re a 20-something-year-old-girl, you’ve probably entered into number of conversations about the absence of males in your life, and how depressing singleness is, and what age you need to be married in order to keep to your schedule of when you want to have your first child. These conversations used to always make me anxious and my childhood fears that I would never get married would start niggling at me again. Last year, I decided to change how I thought about my single status and started praying for God to make me content with the situation. I’m clearly not anti-marriage, and the Bible does say ‘He who finds a wife, finds a good thing’ but I don’t think that means we should spend all our free time dwelling on the when and worrying over the ifs and the buts, when we consider our prospects of meeting someone. Before I met my fiancé I would pray ‘God, if I never get married that’s ok, you are enough for me,’ and I found so much peace genuinely believing that. It is lovely and life changing to meet someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, but in the absence of that, nothing compares to that awesome and incomparable relationship you have with Christ.
And then the questions got a bit ugly.
Why you and not me?
This question had never been phrased so harshly, but you can hear it in the undertone and selection of words in other questions like ‘but you’re x many years younger than me…*insert long silence followed by awkward half apologetic expression on my face. Or ‘You’re engaged?!… But I’ve been with my boyfriend for x amount of years…’ I never really know what to say to the why you question but I remember being a part of the clan asking it at various points in my life. When I look around and see people embarking on their grad schemes and I think back to being dropped from mine last year, there’s always a tiny voice whispering: Why you…? Or when I see people buying their dream houses and I wonder how I’m going to save for mine, I’ve thought: Why you…? Even when I see girls with thick hair that hair that has grown past their shoulders I can’t help but think, Why you…?
Well, why not me and and why not you?
We are all on our individuals paths, we can’t let the fact that we can see someone getting closer to achieve the milestone we are so focused on reaching that we get discouraged. The same person you were wishing you could swap successes with is wishing they could swap with you for something you’ve forgotten you achieved. I can’t guarantee that you’ll meet ‘the one’ this year, or buy that house you’ve seen on Zoopla in the year to come or that you’ll have the exact number of kids you’ve been dreaming of but I can confidently say that God has something great lined up for you. I wrote a post about the bitter sweet of 2014, losing a job and falling in love, who knew that I’d be engaged by 2015. We can long for someone else’s story and not realise that the very race we’re running is perfect for us.
Thank you God for allowing me to be so head over heels in love.
Thank you Jude for loving me despite my crazy.
Thank you all for for reading.