dating and singlehood · random robin

the marriage questions: until you know, you don’t know

So a few people have been asking (hounding really) me about my comments the other day on this excerpt from Tim Keller’s book about marriage. You can read the excerpt here…

My initial reaction to the excerpt was STOP telling single people what to do! Haha. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with everything he said. For sure! Right on, as usual, Keller. I agree that when you are married you need to see that person as flawed but redeemed and love as Christ loved the church, etc. etc. All well and good.

It’s getting to that point where you actually can commit to a flawed person and the process by which you decide  that this is the best fit for you – THAT’s what married folks forget about.

Married people are rad. They always have such great advice. And are always super helpful. Just get out there and date. Just be open. Just wear pretty clothes and always wear makeup. Just shut up. oh wait, no that last one is from me.

I love hearing couples’ stories of how they met and when and why they decided this was The One. Sometimes the stories are really super sweet and sometimes – often times – they are really painful and ridiculous. I think, and very very rarely say out loud, are you kidding me? THAT’s what made you marry? I mean, I get it – it’s not ever just one solitary thing or moment. But sometimes the way married couples talk about it in reflection on their history together, they make it sound like that scene in the movie where everyone goes awwww.

And that’s just it, we are, by and large, waiting for that scene in our personal movie. Where everything is perfect and the soundtrack is kicking and the fireworks go off and it’s magical. We may even be waiting for handwriting on the wall to say, YES! This is The One. All in, baby. Let it ride. Etc.

And stick with me here kids, I actually believe… that’s EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS. I do. I think when you know, you will know. It will come together and if you are open and hopeful and you want the same things and you have that mutual sense of this is it… yes! Go for it. It’s awesome and I wish you well. (But don’t ask me to play for your wedding because I totally do not do weddings. They stress me out.)

But that’s just it. It hasn’t happened for me yet. And I can’t force it to happen and I wouldn’t even if I could – and I’m pretty sure I could bulldoze some poor dude if he’s not paying attention.  But I have been in enough failed relationships to know that if I’m doubting it seriously, then there probably IS something wrong. And if I’m not willing and strong enough to work through those things, then guess what, this isn’t The One. Not now. Not probably ever.

Some will argue with me on this. And I’ve seen others who had to take a break, some for years, and then came back together and realized their mistakes and wanted to be together and now they are. Good for them. I wish them well too. And I’m still not playing weddings.

But for ME personally (and we are still talking about me surprise surprise) there’s a reason things don’t work out with someone and I dont see the point in trying again. Unless something really really really really big has happened to change something. But that hasn’t really applied to anyone I have dated… um, to date.

Love is funny or it’s sad. Every relationship has its goofy phase and its dumbly goofy phase (a new phrase that I am stealing from a friend because it makes me smile). And there comes a point where you have to fish or cut bait. Poop or get off the pot. Laugh or punch the joker in the face. You just have to make a decision on what the next step is and if there’s something holding you back, there’s a reason.

This is where people go, oh Robin, there will always be *some* thing and there will always be commitment issues. I have commitment issues in abundance. I could loan out a hundred copies of my commitment issues and still have some in storage.

And that’s just my point. Could I find someone, anyone, tomorrow to marry? Maybe. Probably. Will it be Mr. Right? Who knows. I’m not really willing to experiment just to validate this here blog. I strongly believe that any two people who have the same strong values and beliefs about life and what they want out of it can make a relationship work. Throw the concept of Grace and Redemptive work of Jesus in there and you should be totally set for life.

But my issue is still getting to a point in the relationship where I think, yep, this is the guy. It’s kind of like picking socks. I have lots of great socks for all different reasons, but if I had to pick just one pair for the rest of my life I’d be in trouble.

(I don’t really mean to compare men to socks. It just made me laugh and then groan.)

Look, all I’m saying is that you don’t get to be in your late 30s and single without realizing that you have really high standards. But that isn’t something to be ashamed of and you shouldn’t try to talk me out of them. And it isn’t about someone being “good enough” for me as if I think I’m all that and a bag of 50% less salt Lays (which are the best potato chips ever)  – it’s about knowing and understanding who I am, what I want in life, where I think I’m going and finding someone who is All In. I am not going to MAKE that happen. Someone else is and I hope that when the time comes I’m really aware of that. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m just trying to play with the cards I’ve been dealt and take advantage of the free booze. Wait, that’s not the right analogy. You know what I mean. I’m just doing what I think I’m supposed to be doing, meeting great people along the way, living as responsibly as I can, helping those I can help and whistling a happy tune. Except I can’t actually whistle.


3 thoughts on “the marriage questions: until you know, you don’t know

  1. I think women are socialzed (unfairly) to have insane expectations about some dude rappelling out of a helicopter with a bouquet of roses while fireworks go off in the background and a banner scrawling across the sky: “HE’S THE ONE”.
    Not happening.
    I also really admire married people.
    Good luck out there. I would say, don’t lower your expectations – just pick out the ones that REALLY matter, and let go of the rest.

  2. There’s so many things I want to say and agree with that if I actually did list it out then it could count as my own blog post! So in a shell….a nut shell?…whichever, I forgot the actual phrase… don’t change or lower your expectations because that’s just a set up for a let down later on! No need for me to say anything else really because you’ve got it right from the get go.
    oh, and practice whistling…I promise it’ll come in handy one day.

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