Friday, March 17, 2006


I came across this article today in Relevant Magazine, and thought it was insightful. I particularly liked her advice that the 'right one' is someone who compliments us, not completes us. The article is below.

It's funny how you don't realize the actual truth of things until you experience them yourself. You can observe, you can ponder, you can formulate thoughts from afar, but you don't know truth in its entirety until it is actually you that walk in it.That being said, I've gotten a lot of questions since my fiancé popped the question. They've ranged from, “When's the wedding?” to “Holy crap, what's up with everyone getting married at the same time?” This last one is my personal favorite, because it lends itself to the answer, “Well, we had an executive board meeting and decided to monopolize everyone's summer as best we could; we don't actually love our future mates, we just thought we'd take over your weekends.”But the question that hit me the hardest, the one that broke through my wisecracking exterior was, “So what's engaged life like?”

Now, admittedly, at first I cracked some line about how it was like skipping to the head of line at Disney World and how my professors gave me all A's, I didn't have to do laundry anymore, and I woke up with perfect hair everyday.After I walked away, I took a second and reevaluated my answer. What did I think engaged life was going to be like? Furthermore, what did I think married life was going to be like? And where did those ideas come from?I spent the rest of my day weighing my childish expectations with my present reality. My entire childhood was spent being inundated with Southern ideas of marriage that began practically as soon as I hit kindergarten. Some female relative would tease me, tousle my hair and ask, “So, Jenny, do you have a little boyfriend?” This question, by the way, still gets asked and is not any less embarrassing when you're 21 than when you're 6.So, okay, the necessity of a male presence in my life has basically been at the forefront of my life. But as what? As a complimentary piece or the whole of my identity?I had no clue until I got engaged how messed up my views on it were.

I'm not saying this to promote getting engaged so that you can figure this out for yourself, I'm just pointing out how slow I am to catch on to things and how much I still have to learn about myself.For most of my life, I railed against the idea of the opposite sex as a solution, boys as the better part of life, men as means to happiness. The truth—if I want to admit it to myself—is that I had somehow expected them to still be able to fix me in a covert way that wouldn’t reveal my self-confidence issues. In realizing this, I also realized I'd put pressure on the importance of engagement. I'd somehow figured it would solve things, make life better, make me whole. To admit that to myself was hard enough; to realize that neither an engagement nor a fiancé is the answer is an even more liberating realization. I'd somehow figured an engagement would solve something—what exactly it was going to solve, I'm not sure. This preconceived idea could probably be traced to my assumptions of engaged life from afar—you know, the slight jealous twinge that rears its ugly head when someone gets engaged and you subconsciously figure he or she just acquired a perfect life. My life is not, in fact, easier; my weeks are still insane, I still run around like a chicken with my head cut off, I'm still grumpy first thing in the morning, and I still drink coconut lattes. The stripped down, mostly hidden truth is that my life is more difficult now. I’m balancing learning how to love my fiancé better every day with wedding planning, a full course load, graduation, moving, a job and, well, life. The earlier assumption I made that got me to this point was not based on up-close observation and experience, but on envious speculation and childish thoughts. By realizing this, I’ve had to unearth the root of this lie I managed to tell myself all these years: I keep seeking affirmation and answers in creatures just as broken as myself. When I expect completion, I cannot get it; we were never made to complete each other to the core. When I expect a complimentary piece, however, I do get it; we were designed to compliment each other in a way that reflects the full and complete picture of God. To do this, however, means seeking God for the completion and our loved ones for the tangible companionship.

This steady balancing act of completion and companionship proves to be an every day challenge; however, every day that I wake up and look to God for answers is a day that I adjust that part of me that sought completion in someone else. It’s a day that I find relief in knowing that my fiancé doesn’t have all the answers and neither do I. It’s a day that actually means living life the way it was meant to be lived: Loving people for who they are, not who we need them to be for us.

14 comments:

little timmy said...

Speaking of getting engaged, how bout Boston College barely pullin out a win against Pacific. Or Iowa losin to Northwestern St.? Or Arizona beatin the crap outa Wisconsin earlier today. Or that last second heave by whatchamacallit from Tenessee. What a crazy tournament it's been so far.

Mr. Ed said...

Speaking of relevancy :) hehe, yeah it's been quite a tournament. More excitement to come, that's for sure!

Hilary said...

Anyone see that Iowa game? They lost it in the last second. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

The Iowa game was great. I still can't believe that Dan managed to call northwestern winning I guess the less you know the better sometimes

Leah

little timmy said...

Leah you are absolutely right! We all should stop never watch another college b-ball game the rest of our lives and then just guess the winners in the tournaments. HAHA! Oh and Nate Turner, we're not talkin bout tennis or ping pong. lol.

gmledbetter said...

So many great games, not enough TVs. The Iowa-Northwestern St. upset has been the best finish so far, with the Tennessee win not too far behind. What's in store for the evening? Hopefully Kent St. taking down Pittsburgh. Although technically not an upset, UAB might take down Kentucky.

Basketball is back on now, I really need to go. I can't multi-task during March Madness.

EC

Jeremy Ratliff said...

I am still excited about the Kansas loss...Iowa doesn't affect to many brackets, especially with West Virginia waiting next, but there are still the few Kansas faithfull who continue to push their beloved teams deep into their brackets. Bucknell and now Bradley...it's a beautiful thing. And Tim, we are not talking about....tennis or ping pong.

Alissa said...

Well, to be the first to actually comment on the engagement article :)... good things to think about since all of us singles are pretty much wrapped up in getting married at some point. And what's with family and friends constantly rubbing it in our faces that some of us are no where near "walking down the aisle"? These asking people know that society is pushing us to get married and also know how hard this issue is on every single countable. Maybe we should start a protest against marriage... will that get the word out to just "give us time?" It probably won't do much good, but at least we would have been proactive. Huh, go figure a generation X-er being anything.

Mr. Ed said...

It is interesting that life can bring surprises and give you what you've waited for a long time when you least expect it. THe pressures are not pleasant in and of themselves, because we end up putting pressure on ourselves too. The last thing we need is for other people underscoring it even further.

I speak as one who was single for a while, and came close to getting married, only to lose it. It brought the issue of singleness to the front of my mind and made me miserable watching all of my friends move forward while I went back to square one.

I never expected God to bring Windy into my life, and I was literally looking the other way when it happened. And it happened quickly! (8 months... we beat Jeremiah and Amy!) I find that most of the blessings in life happen in all sorts of ways, but usually comes in a way we never planned.

My biggest lesson? Plan as though everything matters, then watch God unfold it in his timing completely outside your expectations.

I don't mean that plans don't matter. But God has other reasons, other routes for my journey I can never quite understand at the moment; I understand them later.

"A man plans his way, but God directs his steps." In other words, there's nothing wrong with planning your way, but expect God to direct how you get to where you planned; don't be discouraged by the turns.

I know its a little different take on something we've always heard talked about before... but that's my belief based on my own walk the last 5-6 years.

Anonymous said...

Being single has its perks, like being able to do whatever you want without having to be really accountable to anyone but at the end of your life do you really want to be there alone? The best part of being in a commited relationship is the companionship that it brings. I don't think that anyone should pressure you to get married, but at the same token I don't think that you should look down on others who do choose to get married either....

Mr. Ed said...

That was remarkably true :) I would say though that I found out (While I was still single) that "being able to do whatever you want without having to be really accountable" is not only non-rewarding but against God's plan for each of us. I found that it only served to make me more selfish, and actually made it harder to maintain that pure "companion"-ship once I WAS married.

Keep in mind that marriage is more than just about having someone there to keep you from being alone. It's God's way of helping us reach the next step in our lives, often by showing us where we're the weakest. Though it's not all about friction. I find Windy and I enjoy mostly peaceful days because we are both seeking to serve each other.
"Accountability" never becomes a major issue.

But when they do come, I find the challenges cause friction for a reason... God wants us to grow and embrace someone else's cares... not simply avoid loneliness. Those that marry simply for that reason often find it very lonely after all.

Psalm 37:3-6
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the..."

little timmy said...

Ed I'm so proud of you! You're exactly right in your last post and I think Psalm 37: 3-6 are a few of the best verses in the bible. Personally in my life I have enjoyed being single more than being in a relationship, but that's only because I've always been a very "independent" person. I'm not opposed at all to hookin up with someone and getting married down the road, but as for the 3 years that I've been single and however long I will be single in the future, I'm gonna have fun and just enjoy life and the blessings of God. I think it's a shame when single people get down on themselves and "pout" cuz they haven't found someone. If we simply put God first in our lives, or as the verse says delight yourself in the Lord, then he WILL bless us and give us the desires of our hearts. Ok that's all I got to say bout this. Peace out.

wes said...

This article is rather truthful. There is something odd beneath the surface - the girl's ideas focused on the love she could receive, not the love she could give. The two bonded 'helpers' should be helping each other find completion and fulfillment in Jesus.

Mr. Ed said...

I totally appreciate that post, because I think it's very easy to look at marriage in what we think is a humble, selfles manner. In truth we very subtly have selfish desires and need to be aware of that tendency. Not paranoid, but aware, so we can curtail it.