I feel so humbled that so many women said that I had provided words for their thoughts.
That to me is an amazing thing - because when I have come across writings that speak what I have been unable to put into words - I feel a kindred spirit and recognize the blessing. I am overwhelmed.
I want to stress that of course I am not speaking for ALL single adults - but I do know there are plenty who feel the same pains and struggles.
In fact, there were about 100 comments between Shannon's blog and mine - and only one dissenting comment. I addressed her on Rocks - but I wanted to share it here.
Happy Woman said:
I understand her point of view. I really do. In my entire life of dating, I have been frustrated by the fact that I've dated some really great guys. Nary a loser in the bunch!
I think I could have married just about anyone!
Now maybe I am saying this from the position of having lucked into a really great guy. Or maybe I settled. Personally I think everyone "settles". To me "settling" for someone means giving up some fairy tale images and working with the real person I am and the real person my partner is.
Looking back on how miserable I was being single and looking back on all the boyfriends that for one reason or another didn't work out....I think any one of those boyfriends would have been better than missing out on partnership. I think whatever the problems, working through those problems with somebody would be way better, for me, than staying alone.
If I were still single I would say to myself: You have tried being single. Now, go out and get married. To just about anyone. Work it out. And if it doesn't work out, then you will be divorced which is better than never having been married.
from, a now very very happy 41 year old woman who was married at 38 and became mother to twins at 39
How is that frustrating?
Because when every guy you date is a really wonderful person, but not 'The One' - you feel terrible rejecting them.... because after all there was nothing really bad or wrong with the person. It's just not 100% right. And that's when you second guess whether you are being 'picky' or if settling is 'settling'.
On the upside I have always felt, if God is providing me good men who are not my husband - imagine how wonderful the man He does have for me must be!
Here is my response to Happy Woman:
While I appreciate your point of view - I think we come from very different places. I (and many women like me) don't view marriage as casual as furniture placement. ie. you've had the sofa against the wall for years, try it someplace else.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment and to say that one would be better off divorced than never married is exactly the attitude that I wrote this article to dissuade.
There is a difference between settling and 'settling down'. Settling down is giving up the fairytale - and accepting life in it's real and imperfect form. Settling - would be marrying someone who doesn't love you as you need to be loved, someone who doesn't take joy in seeing your face when you arrive.
That would not be a marriage - that would be a roommate with legal ties!
I just let go of a man who I loved very much. I was willing to accept that he didn't love me fully - we would still have a satisfactory marriage - but God showed me that He has more for me. God wants me to be with someone who delights in me --- and if that is not a husband -- that is why I have a great circle of friends who do light up when I enter a room or their home.
It's okay to expect the same reaction from a man. In fact - it's worth waiting for - God has assured me of that.
That's why I was convinced that Mr. Burns was the one for me for so long. For once, there was a man who shared my faith, expressed his faith. Got my sense of humor. Understood the sort of patience I need. Shared my commitment to abstinence. And had so many other great qualities.
But looking back, he didn't love me completely. And that is no place to start a marriage.
Now Mr. Burns and I are both jokers and occasionally he would tease me (I wish I could remember an exact example) that if we were going to do something, he might expect me to do this or that. That's a lousy description, I know, but basically he expected me to disappoint him.
On those occasions, I would laugh and say, "You think so little of me."
Finally, one day he said, "I don't know what you mean when you say that."
I explained, that I felt he was saying he didn't think very highly of me, because he expected me to disappoint him. Basically, he was just waiting for me to be a pain in the tush.
When he understood what I meant, he laughed and admitted in his joking way that yes, he was sort of expecting me to be a pain in the tush.
But that's when I realized that he didn't appreciate me. A man who truly loved me would have said, "Is that how I make you feel? I am so sorry."
From the beginning of our relationship I told him that I would not be the stereotypical woman that men complain about. I do not nag. I don't expect you to read my mind. I communicate what I want and expect you to do the same.
A few months into our relationship he asked, "Are you real? I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. You're so cool. I'm waiting for you to be like all the other women."
Fill in the blank with "all the other women who disappointed me."
In the end... he was so expecting to be disappointed that he couldn't relax and realize that I wasn't like the other women. It's as if he wanted to be proven right so badly that he couldn't appreciate the gold standard right there in his arms.
The worst part was that he didn't know if loved me. I waited a year and a half for him to figure it out and all he had was doubt. I finally had enough. I realized that this man did not delight in me. Instead he was guarded. Expecting me to be a disappointment.
I still believe that if we had gotten married, we might have been okay. But I would always know deep in my heart that he didn't love me as Christ loves His bride, the Church. There would always be an emptiness.
And that would be settling.
God wants so much for us as His brides. God doesn't want us to settle for less than full unbridled love.
I know He doesn't.