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I’m getting married in 2 months. Actually, 69 days to be exact. On May 24, 2014, I will make the most solemn vows of my entire life, and officially become Mrs. Clay Selway. I will commit to not only share, but entirely give my money, my possessions, my future, my body, my soul to one man. Forever. No way out.

And he’s not “The One.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love Clay with everything I have. He makes me laugh. He makes the bad days good and the good days better. He challenges me to be a better person, and comforts me when I’ve failed that challenge. He’s the kindest, gentlest, sweetest person I know. He’s my best friend, my hero, and the only man I’d ever want to be my husband.

But he’s still not my soul mate, and definitely not “The One.”

Not that I didn’t spend the first 18 years of my life longing to meet my “One.” Growing up, like any good midwestern girl, I was fed a steady diet of the idealized American romance. One boy, one girl – two star-crossed lovers who fight across space and time to fulfill their destiny of being together. From Disney movies to romance novels, I ate it all up. I had my own copy of “Romeo and Juliet,” that I read until the pages started to fall out. I literally watched “The Princess Bride” so many times I could have recited it in my sleep. I loved it. And I wanted it.

But no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t seem to find it. Even the best boyfriend I had failed my weighty list of expectations. No man in the world seemed like they would ever fulfill the ideal I’d built up. I sat around and lamented to my girlfriends ruefully, “I think God made me a man, but somewhere along the way he got hit by bus.” The humor was a thin veneer for some very thick disappointment.

After wading through the smoking rubble from a broken relationship with someone I thought was “The One”,  I met my now fiance, Clay, through some mutual friends. After a year of friendship, we began a careful dating relationship. 2 years after that, he asked me to be his wife. And in just 2 months, we will become one. But he isn’t “The One.”

You see, Clay will never be “The One.” In fact, I don’t even think there is a “One,” not on this earth at least. The very concept of a “One” implies that there is one, singular person out there that will fulfill every single desire of my heart, meet every single need, and heal every single hurt.

What an incredible burden! Actually, what a crushing burden. No man, not even Clay (and I admit I think he’s the best man out there) could do that. Think of who many needs, wants, desires, and hurts you have – could just one person ever take care of all that?

As a Christian, I believe that human beings have eternal souls. Souls that are filled with an immense, infinite amount of desires and wants. We need to be loved perfectly, to be known perfectly, to be cherished perfectly. But, as the they say “no one’s perfect.” And thus, no one, not even your spouse, no matter how well matched, will ever be able to fulfill you fully.

But our culture has told us this lie, and we’ve ate it up. And so we date, and break up, marry and divorce, all the while searching, searching, searching for someone, anyone to fill this aching hole inside of us. But they can’t. And they don’t. And they never will.

I think C.S. Lewis got it right when he famously said, ““If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

You see, I think we were made for another world. A world with no longing, no sighing, no searching, no pain. No disappointment, no unmet expectations, no broken relationships, no emptiness. A world with a perfect relationship with a perfect God; an Infinite being to fill an infinite need. And though we haven’t lived in that perfect world since Genesis 2, I believe that through Jesus, we can still have that relationship with God. And through Him, even while I struggle through this broken world, I have an infinite source to fill my never-ending need.

This is something Clay and I came to realize before we dated each other, and something we realize a little more every day. Because we both have a relationship with Jesus, we have all of our infinite needs, wants, and desires fulfilled. We don’t have to turn to each other for them.

This means that while I still receive things like love, affection, friendship, and affirmation from Clay, I don’t have to. I don’t demand them, but rather can receive them as a gift. On the bad days (or weeks, or months, or years), I don’t have to receive anything from Clay. Fulfilled in my relationship with God, I can choose to serve Clay when he’s not serving me, give when he’s only taking, and love when he’s nothing but unloveable. And on the good days (which, by God’s grace, will outnumber the bad) I will receive his gentle service, gifts, and love with a sense of undeserving joy and gratitude.

He’s not “The One.” The unchangable, unshakeable, never-failing God is “The One.” And Clay is a wonderful, beautiful, completely undeserved gift given to me by The One.

On May 24, 2014, I will become one with someone I love more than my own body. I will happily join with the one God has given me, and together, as one, we will serve The One.

I’m getting married, and he’s not “The One.” And I’m grateful for that.

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I’m a Christan. And I’ve been single for 1 year, 1 week, and 3 days.

It sounds like the introduction for some sort of support group. A little cheesy, a little rehearsed, and definitely ridiculous. But, according to what appears to be the prevailing attitude in the Christian subculture, it might be necessary.

As a member of the Christian subculture, I am part of the problem. This I will openly admit. So please, in the post that follows, don’t misunderstand. I am critical if only because I care.  I’m seeing (and experiencing) the damage that this subtle attitude does to our young men and women, and it makes me sad.

At the surface level, the preoccupation with relationships is natural.  Christianity is a faith that emphasizes relationships above all else.  At the head of our lives is our relationship with our God and Savior, Jesus.  Through his love, we are enabled to form rich relationships with others – spurring them on to turn to a relationship with Christ, or further one they already have. All relationships, whether filial, familial, friendly, or romantic, are beautiful and enriching when centered on and formed through Christ.

The subtle tendency to emphasize marriage relationships, and therefore dating relationships, though, has somehow crept into American Christianity.  Maybe it’s a backlash to the tragically high divorce rate.  Maybe it’s a reflection of our secular American culture, which emphasizes the idea that without a significant other, you have nothing of significance.  Most likely, it’s a combination of both.

This idea of the “hurry up and marry so you can have a family and be a ‘Proverbs 31 Woman’ ” is a trap that I have fallen into over and over again.  I lose sight of my love for Jesus because I’m so focused on finding a man to love.

But here’s the truth. The “Proverbs 31 Woman” isn’t blessed because she has a husband and children to serve.  She’s blessed because she serves. She serves with skill, wisdom, strength, courage, and humility.

And whether single, married, widowed, or divorced, those who have been covered by the blood of the Lamb are always blessed.

I may be single. But I’m not cursed. I’m blessed.

Last night I had a “girls night” dinner.  A few freshmen girls that I am friends with walked to the nearby off-campus apartment where one of our Bible study leaders lives, to cook a meal, escape dining hall food, and chat.  It was a blast, and I am so excited to get to know all of these girls better throughout the year.  We spent much of the night telling our testimonies, how we came to meet Jesus, and, of course, boys.  However, the course of our conversations wasn’t so much who we thought was cute or anything that you would typically think, but of our failed relationships.  Many of us have just recently ended relationships upon coming to college.  Most of those relationships failed due to deeply rooted sin.  And we can’t even claim that they failed because it was before we knew Jesus – we were all believers who messed up in this way!  No excuses.  This really got me to thinking – how many young Christian women out there have had or are experiencing the same failures in romantic relationships that we had? I think it’s a lot.  More than we’re comfortable admitting.  Why is this? Why are we, believing Christian women, failing so regularly in our relationships with men?

I think the root of it comes down to this – our culture has us absolutely starving for love.  We’re raised on fairy tale Disney stories, spoon-fed the idea that love is a whirlwind emotion that is as easy and natural as anything.  And I think this damages us.  Why are we teaching our children this?  Because I know, speaking from experience, that the real problem is when Christian women start looking for love other than the love that Jesus provides.  And the questions is why?  The love of Jesus is perfect, full, and unfailing.  Jesus will never break up with us because he “needs to find himself”.  Jesus will never flirt with us and then take another girl to the prom.  Jesus never forgets to call.  So why are so many girls searching for love that we think a romance could fulfill?  Maybe it’s our culture.  Maybe it’s the media.  Maybe it’s how we were raised.  In any case, we are the only ones who can fix it.

Now, I’m not going to throw out advice here, because I really don’t feel that I have any room to speak – I just ended a year and a half long relationship that I only recently realized was terrible for me.  It was deeply rooted in sin, had no basis in God, and, I think, sometimes, I even loved my ex more than I loved God.  So for the time being, I’m not dating.  Sometimes (ok, a lot of times), I find myself longing for the comfort and warmth of a relationship with a boyfriend.  I want that feeling of love, of being wanted and needed.  But I just have to remind myself – Jesus is all the love I could ever really need.  And when (or maybe if), I can finally truly say that I could live my whole life single, satisfied with the love that only Jesus Christ can give me – maybe then I’ll be ready to find someone to spend the rest of my life with.  Until then, I’m gonna be doing the “Single Ladies” dance I guess! (Go ahead. Sing it. You know you want to!)

I’m sorry if this has been a long and somewhat rambling post today – it’s a complicated subject that I think I have only begun to understand.  If you have any further advice or thoughts, I would love to hear them!  All I know is that I need no further love than Jesus because, as the song goes – “Love is here. Love is now. Love is pouring from His hands and from His brow.”

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Past Musings