Monday, December 12, 2011

Stop Dreaming, You'll Never Get Married

Some of us singles are beginning to think that way. Marriage has become imaginary for many of us. It's in a galaxy far, far away, something that only happens in movies or for the lucky few who find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It seems like there should be more of us getting married but we're not. And then there's that nagging feeling that maybe your destiny is closer than you think. Maybe she is across the coffee shop right now. Maybe, she is looking at you and wondering the same thing.

I have to admit there are some fairly paradoxical Scriptures about the vision for marriage. For instance "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church" but then there is "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife. . . then he cannot be My disciple." Here's another biblical paradox, in one place it says "It is better for a man not to marry" and yet elsewhere it says "He who finds a wife finds a good thing." Ok. . .so I could probably contextualize these scriptures in a way that brings comfort and clarity, but I want to let the tension linger a little.

The point is that marriage and love seem to be messier than most people care to admit. There are so many cute cliches about marriage and about what to look for and what to expect and how it works, and now we as singles are left peering into bottomless idealism. People tend to exagerate things when they talk about something that other people haven't experienced. I have to laugh when I hear someone talking about how being a Christian is "one big, amazing rollercoaster of an adventure!" Maybe they live in Christian Candyland, but I don't. In the real world, I've found that the Christian journey is, for the most part, a series of gritty conversations, conversations with God and conversations with people about God. It's intriguing and fun, but not exactly a non-stop sugar-high. Not only do we glamorize but we can't help but organize. In our minds, we organize the way that things should be and will be, and when things are not that way then we think that something has gone wrong. But maybe we had the wrong expectations in the first place.

Likewise, marriage has become so idealized and organized in our young minds that reality can't seem to measure up. I'm trying something new. I'm trying to imagine myself married and placing myself in very ordinary scenarios. For instance, imagining myself cleaning the house or grocery shopping with my wife. It doesn't sound very fun, but it sounds real. I am also imagining life's hiccups within the context of marriage, like getting a flat tire on the way to church, or one of us getting sick for a week. Sure, there will be romantic date nights and fun get-aways, but there will also be the mundane, the occasional boredom, and the ever-present need for God's hopeful light in the valley. I'm leaving room for the reality that marriage will be different than how I've organized it in my mind. Everything else in my life has defied my expectations, so marriage will probably follow suit. The reality of marriage will constantly challenge the way I think marriage should be. It will go left when it's supposed to go right. Life is like that. Sometimes, it rains on Christmas when it's supposed to snow. But who says it's supposed to snow? Who's making these rules for Christmas and marriage and the way things are supposed to be? Maybe we are. We are all like Pharisees who take a few good principles and turn them into stiff, lifeless rituals. I don't want a marriage like that, I want a marriage that breathes and sometimes bleeds because it is alive.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It seems that great love always begins with an aching, and it ends with an even greater aching. . .ahh love.

I went to a funeral yesterday. It was for Matt's dad. Matt was one of my closest childhood friends. His dad was a good man, and even at 54 he was too young to die. Funerals are the only ceremonies I can think of where the guest of honor isn't there. As I sat through the service in the church that I grew up in, surrounded by people that watched me grow up, I was once again reminded that life promises death, love promises loss. As I looked around the room I realized that as I get older I will lose more and more of these people and then it will be my turn to go. I know this, I've always known this, and yet there are times when you truly know something in a way that you can almost taste it. Where it's not just a passing thought, but it's a gravity that grips your senses.

But this is a blog about love and dating and heartbreak and marriage and everything in between, so why am I writing about a funeral? Well, it reminded me that often we as singles can be so preoccupied with thinking about that one special person that isn't in our life yet, and we can so easily forget to cherish all the amazing people that are in our life right now. They won't always be there. Again, we all know this, but do we really know this? Also, I think about the fact that we aren't promised another day or even another breath. Whoever said that we were all guaranteed a soul mate and a wedding and a family and grandchildren someday? We aren't entitled to anything. We have today, and that's all we have. Even today will soon be in the catagory of loss, we can never get it back. If we don't choose to live a full life today, then we won't do it tomorrow either or next week or next year or whenever. Today is the day to love each other like we've never loved before. To love each other like we are all dying, because we are.

Autumn itself is something of a poetic funeral. Death falls from the trees. And we too will pass from this world like a wandering leaf. Without warning. Without a sound. We will be carried away by a brisk wind never to be seen in this world again. And it is only those who have truly loved, that will have truly lived.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pursuing or Stalking?

In my relations with girls, I've always felt that there is a very fine line between pursuing and stalking. For instance, throwing pebbles at a girl's window at night could be interpreted as magically romantic or just plain psychotic. A series of letters from "a secret admirer" could be a girl's lifelong fantasy or her worst nightmare. You just never know. When it comes to sweeping a girl off her feet, it's difficult to know if you are trying too hard or not trying hard enough. And let's face it, if you try to sweep some girls off their feet then you're bound to get a face-full of pepperspray. Cavemen never had it this rough.

As a guy, you never know if a girl perceives you as a gallant pursuer or a creepy stalker. Girls, give us guys a break sometimes, will ya? If you don't want to be chased then just tell us, we can take it. We don't like paradoxical signals-- it feels like the old game "Red Light, Green Light." But if you do want to be chased then make it a little more obvious, we'll give you a headstart, whatever. If the cat-and-mouse thing isn't clear to us then we feel that if we go ahead and chase you, then you're going to tell all your girlfriends about us-- the creepy guy who won't leave you alone. And we don't want to be "that guy."

Unfortunately, I realize that this is all wishful thinking. The dance of dating is never this choreographed. Fortunately, most guys are risk takers. If we waited to figure out a girl before pursuing her then we would be celibate for life. Girls are an unsolved mystery, it's just one more thing that makes them captivating.

Plus, it's a good learning experience for us guys. Someday, my future wife will want me to understand her on a deep level. And that process begins when I first meet her and try to figure out what she needs and wants. Does she want more attention or does she want some space? Lesson number one: Timing is everything in everything. I could be frustrated with all of this mystery or I could appreciate that it compells me to look deeper into her heart. Thus, bringing us closer together in the end.

The way I see it, if Jesus is our male role model, then we must pursue our bride as madly as Christ pursued his. So boys, be men. And girls, maybe hold off on the restraining orders.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All The Single Ladies

I am constantly amazed that so many quality girls end up with not-so-quality guys. With frogs actually. Did they meet in the dark? Did they lose a bet? Maybe they thought that the frog would transform with enough tender loving care. And yet each day they hear the same ol' words-- ribbit ribbit. Why are their standards so low? Perhaps they've never had a man in their life who showed them a better way. Who showed them what it feels like to be treated like a lady. Girls who have higher standards usually had good dads. Dads who cherished them in a way that would ruin most girls' tolerance for amphibians. Some girls seem to gravitate toward the bad boys. The sad thing is that they get exactly that, and they are treated badly. What did they expect? I wonder how many gentlemen they passed up because they didn't know what a gentleman was.

It's interesting that the way a worldly guy picks up on worldly girls is by devaluing them. Instead of honoring the girl and rising to her level and reinforcing her dignity, a "player" will bring her down to his level by treating her like a cheap object and not as a prized princess. If he treats her like a princess then she is less likely to sleep with him, because he would only be reinforcing her precious worth. And her self-worth is what will prevent her from giving herself to the man in a cheap way. On the other hand, a real Christian guy will treat a woman as a daughter of God. And if there is any Father to fear then it is surely God. A godly man will treat her as if he is her older brother, zealously protecting her purity from the mangy wolves. His goal is not to get her to sleep with him, but to honor her in such a way that her high standards are maintained until her wedding day. Ladies, both kinds of men are out there. If a guy doesn't treat you like a princess then he is not a prince. Choose wisely.

So what is the true test for whether a man is indeed a man? Well, is he like Jesus? Pontius Pilate was right when he pointed to a bloodied Jesus and said "Behold, the Man!" You see, a real man lays down his life for the one he loves, because the one he loves is his life. Fortunately for us, Jesus didn't just send us flowers or chocolates or write us a poem or take us salsa dancing. But He actually volunteered to be our blood donor, when we were lying on our death bed. That is real sacrifice and that is real love.

In some of my conversations with top-notch Christ-like guys, they've talked about some of the fickle, non-commital, ambivalence that they've been experiencing with Christian girls that they are interested in. It only confirmed my suspicions. I used to think that there were so many quality girls who were still single because the guys weren't making an effort. But many guys are taking the initiative and yet they are getting stone-walled. And I'm not talking about losers, I'm talking about really great guys. But I'll be fair, both sides are responsible. Now, if people want to be single for the rest of their life then that's fine. There is nothing ungodly or unbiblical about that. But just don't blame anyone else for your singleness if you are passing up gems.

I'm not sure what the answer is to this stalemate, feelings are difficult to sort into black and white conclusions. These days, you can pick petals off of the proverbial flower and recite "She loves me. . .she loves me not" all day long, but in reality it's no longer that simple. Now you have to add "she's not sure if she loves me. . .she's not ready for a relationship. . .she doesn't know what God's will is. . .she loves me but not like that. . .it's complicated" and on and on it goes. There aren't enough petals in the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weddings: 'Tis The Season

I have a love-hate thing for weddings. On the one hand, I dread them because they nag me like a thorn that I'm still single. And if there's any lapse of awareness of my single status, then I am soon corralled into a mob of chest-beating dudes competing for a flying garter belt. And yet there's a part of me that delights in weddings because they silence the skeptic within me and remind me that fairy tale love stories are absolutely true. That the magic of God-breathed love still peeks into the darkest of worlds. It reminds me that there is more to life than what I often live for, and much more to savor than what I often see just in front of me. Weddings are always proof positive that there are many more miracles to be encountered in my life. So, if there is anything to celebrate with extravagant dining and dancing, it is surely love finding love.

Yesterday, two amazing people became one. On the outside looking in, it seems like tying the knot is the closest thing to being born again. I know that life doesn't start when you're married, but it certainly seems to redefine life itself. To go down that road with someone is to embark into sheer mystery. It's a unique road that nobody has ever travailed, because no person is the same. And what's more, no combination of two people are ever the same. You two are daring to write a story that's never been written and will never be erased. For us who are single, we wonder what chapter of our love story we are currently living in. Every love story begins with singleness. It's not the prequel, it's an intricate part of the love story itself. It establishes the plot which makes for an epic romance in the end.

It's always amazing to me that it takes years and years for someone to arrive at her wedding ceremony and then it's over within a matter of minutes. I always wonder what is pouring through the couple's minds in those fleeting moments. Me being the skeptic, I find myself looking for signs of doubt or disappointment, but all I see is a deluge of blushing joy with a little terror. I wonder if those moments are like dying, in that a person's whole life flashes before his eyes in perfect clarity. Perhaps, the ghost of the past shows up at that wedding altar and smiles with a smug look of accomplishment. I'm sure that in that moment, looking back on your life's script is like discovering gravity, it was there all along and yet now it makes more sense.

The thing about running after love is that you never know if you're running in the right direction. It's very elusive. I can't think of anything more elusive. And I can't think of a better reason to pray. If God is love, then He no doubt has it all figured out in a way that I don't. I don't want to force something that isn't meant to be because something always breaks when I try to force anything. I don't think it's really a miracle for two people to get married just because they're bored of being single. But it's certainly miraculous for someone to get married because they found that one person in the world that makes them want to live life in a whole new way. That's my prayer, both for me and the girl I will marry. It is always weighty to realize that my prayers and decisions about my love life are affecting atleast one other person somewhere in this world.

Not too long ago, if you would have asked me what kind of a girl I'm looking for, then most likely I would have listed off a set of noble qualities. But now I realize that it goes deeper than that and that I'm actually hoping for that acute feeling of finally being at home with someone. A glass slipper moment. Indeed, love is an ocean and God is my breeze, and someday this weathered ship will happily crash into another that has been flying the same flag as mine through sunshine and storm for all of these years.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Path of Purity

So, I've been meditating on purity. I'll share with you what God has shared with me. I've found that there are five essentials in the path of purity, and they all conveniently start with the letter P. To walk in purity demands more than reading a good book or attending a conference. It demands more than information or scare tactics. We are holistic creatures and therefore purity is a holistic discipline. The battle must be won on all fronts, in our mind, body, and soul. Compromise in one area affects all other areas of our life. The path of purity is both spiritual and practical.

The first essential is Passion. By that I mean, the quest for purity begins by having a strong passion for purity. You've got to want it. You've got to see the precious value in it. To be dragged along by sexual impurity is to remain outside of God's will which means that we will miss out on God's dreams for our lives, we will be less than who we were meant to be and we will not know God as joyfully as we could. Passion for sin robs us of our passion for God. For most of us, we've tasted the dirt of the darkness enough to know that we crave something far better. We are not willing to settle for anything less than the wholeness and peace and ecstasy of God's purity. More importanty, it is enough to know that God has placed eternal value on purity.

The second essential is Prayer. We need God's strength to fight for us. We need to pray daily "Create in me a clean heart, Oh God." We need to be so full of God's light that there is no corner or crevice left for darkness to spread. We need to pray that our pleasure in God would incinerate all other passions. Prayer turns our eyes to God and off of the temptations of this world.

The third essential is Partners. "Two are better than one." We need other people to have victory in this quest. We need brothers or sisters to fight with us. James says "Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you can be healed." Identify a friend of the same-sex who is equally passionate about purity. A friend that you can meet with weekly and discuss in explicit detail your tempations and stumblings and victories in the last week. Consistency and honesty is vital. This essential will bring sin into the light. Sin dies in the light. Everyone struggles with assaults on their purity, freedom comes in being reminded that you are not alone in your struggle.

The fourth essential is Promises. Meditate on the promises of scripture that pertain to purity. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." That's a positive promise. But there are sobering promises as well. Scriptures like "Without holiness, no one will ever see God" Hebrews 12. God takes purity very seriously. As we fill our minds with these cleansing realities then they will transform the way we think. Eventually our thoughts become more inclined toward pure thoughts.

The fifth essential is Position. We must position ourselves to minimize temptation. The Lord's Prayer tells us to pray "Lead me not into temptation." The truth is that some roads lead us into more temptation than others. We must be wise about the movies we watch,the internet sites we visit, the music we listen to, the places we go, the people we look at, and the kind of people we spend time with. We must setup practical safeguards so that we are not putting ourselves into a situation where we are constantly tempted by sexual sin. Many temptations are self-inflicted. Identify what exactly is triggering your temptations and seek out ways to minimize your exposure to those triggers. This essential is not based on fear but on passion. The New Testament tells us to "Flee youthful lusts" just like Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife. He put himself in a better position by getting out of that dangerous situation, it was his passion for purity that compelled him.

So there you go. . .Passion + Prayer + Partners + Promises + Position = Purity

If you are weak in purity, then it's because you are weak in one or more of these five essentials. Identify which one you are weak in and make a change. Purity is our true birth right.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Ahh summer lovin'. Today, I walked past a couple who were holding hands and strolling along with that saunter in their step that said "Everything is awesome." They stopped and stared at a concrete pillar underneath a bridge. I must admit, I spied over their shoulders to figure out what they were looking at. They were just gawking at an ordinary concrete pillar. Apparently, even the pillar was awesome. It never ceases to amaze me how lovers can find a captivating piece of art even in the most mundane objects. They are able to see wonders that are invisible to those among us who are romantically-challenged at the moment. And one thing is for sure, they feel something and they feel a lot of it.

There seems to be an ongoing discussion about whether love is a feeling or a choice. It sounds as if many assume that it can't be both. . .or can it? Are feelings and choices really mutually exclusive? I've been watching a series of sermons by John Piper in which he postulates that throughout the scriptures, God commands us to feel certain ways. Now, if emotions and choices are completely at odds with one another then those would be unreasonable commands. Piper references verses like "Weep with those who weep." That's a command that involves us feeling something for a broken person. It would be very difficult to weep without feeling some sort of empathy. There are other verses like "Abhor what is evil." Abhor is a strong word, which means that you loathe or detest something, once again, it involves some emotion. "Rejoice always" is another command that requires us to feel something, and that something is joy. God commands our emotions with other statements like "Do not fear," "Be anxious for nothing", "Do not lust." Those are all matters of the heart. These kinds of verses are everywhere in the Bible. They decimate any sort of theology that portrays obedience as a flat-lined, apathetic, passive, heartless duty.

Granted, we don't have absolute control over our emotions, but apparently we have enough control over them to justify God's commands to stir up godly feelings. I find that I can choose what to think about and which thoughts to take captive. My thoughts are accompanied by feelings. I can choose to dwell on thoughts that make me anxious, depressed, discouraged, angry. Or I can ponder things that put me joyfully at rest. The point is, I'm not a slave to my emotions, I'm in the driver-seat.

All of this is relevant to our understanding of love. Look at this verse: 1 Peter 1:22 says "fervently love one another from the heart." This verse takes love beyond the realm of hollow duty. It uses the word "fervently" which signifies warm, intense pathos. And if that's not enough, it drives the point home by telling us to love people "from the heart." It is a command to feel as we act. And we must never forget that it was Paul who said in 1 Corinthians that it's possible to give everything you have to the poor and yet not have love. God not only calls us to be givers, but cheerful givers, emotional givers, heartfelt givers. Givers who feel deeply.

The verdict is in, love is not to be faked.

Believe me, I realize that for some of the saps among us, love is all about feeling and nothing else. That is an unfortunate extreme that neglects the value of commitment and sacrifice. I'll be the first one to sound the alarm that love is much more than a feeling. However, there are others who need reminding that love is never to be divorced from feeling altogether. That is an equally unfortunate extreme.

Moral of the story: If we find ourselves hollowed out and bankrupt of feeling, then it's time to ask our Divine Lover to perform one more good ol' stinkin' resurrection on our behalf.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Love's Stage

My mom said that she always thought that I'd get married when I was 35 (I have some years to go). She didn't mean it in a bad way. She meant that I've always been very independant and so I'd probably opt to join forces with someone later in life. I'm beginning to think that her prediction isn't that crazy of an idea. Sometimes, I'm not sure if I want to get married because I'm supposed to or because I really do want to. I'm the kind of person that likes to sift through every iota of data with any decision, analyzing all of the pros and cons. I never did very well on multiple choice tests because I would take too much time scrutinizing and philosophizing about all the answers before filling in a circle. And even then I was never pleased with the wording of the answer, I could always find holes in it. Not only that, but I was never satisfied with how I filled in the circle.

Anyways, this is how I think about marriage. I weigh the pros and cons, and they in turn weigh me. Some of the pros of marriage seem to be: companionship, intimacy, maturity, and help. Another pro might be kids, but for some reason I'm not looking forward to having kids right now. I feel bad about saying that but it's the honest truth. Maybe that will change later on, maybe it's a desire that just hasn't been awakened yet. Anyway, some of the cons of marriage seem to be: less freedom, less space, and less time. Another con might be that I will never feel like I'm doing things right. I'm not sure that I want to live like that, with the feeling that I'm always failing. My fear of failure makes marriage seem so omenous, because so many marriages fail and men get such a bad rap these days. I have a fear that my wife will expect things from me that I just can't give her because I am only human. More than my fear that I might be unhappy is my fear that my wife would be unhappy. It's the most draining thing in the world to try to make someone happy who is determined to wallow in their unhappiness. I think I want to marry someone who is happy in their singleness. That way she won't expect marriage to make her happy, she will already be happy. So. . .why would she get married if she is already happy? Well, I am also happy in my singleness, so the question is similar to why would I get married? Well, if I believed that marriage was only about being happy then honestly I would not get married, because I am already happy. So, there must be more to marriage than that.

With marriage, I'm believing that there will be a point in time when my will coincides with God's will. When I will really want to get married and feel as though God really wants me to get married. Those stars have not aligned for me quite yet. I can't think of any other reasons to get married than those two. I can't imagine God forcing me to get married if I didn't want to. It would be like a dad trying to force feed his son with chocolate ice cream. Can you imagine that? "Son, if you don't eat this chocolate ice cream then you're going to get a spanking!"

There are those who believe life begins once you're married, and those who believe life ends when you're married. But I think that marriage is just a slice of life. It's one of the many wonders in this world. It's beautiful but it's not beauty, it's glorious but it's not glory. It is love's stage, but it is never love itself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nudity and Nakedness

You gotta love provokative titles. But this really is going somewhere. I've been meditating on the first love story in the Bible--Genesis 2. And the last line seems to unveil a divine element in marriage. It says "they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed." This was before sin. It's interesting how sin came into the world and redefined nakedness, affiliating it with shame. To be naked is to be exposed for who we really are. Nakedness is openness, and we have a hard time being open with people. We show our best side and often hide our blemishes and imperfections, not only with our body, but also with our character and personality. Most of the time we are even apprehensive to really look in the mirror, staring into the depths of our soul and owning up to who we really are underneath the surface. It is a strange and alluring odyssey to undress the truth about who you are.

I look forward to nakedness in marriage, both the physical and the personal, the sharing of secret places within ourselves. I know that will take time but marriage seems to provide a safe place where two people can pry one another open and unearth gems within each other's personality. I think that self-discovery is overrated, it doesn't seem to lead anywhere. I think we long for someone else to discover us, to undress us. To really know us, the real us, and to be honest with us about who we really are. . .without shaming us. And of course this can only take place if there is mutual trust. I don't trust everybody, that would be dangerously foolish. I don't share the real me with just anyone. Trust is earned with the testing of time and shared trials. There is a part of me that remains covered and locked away for the one that I will marry someday. Only she will be entrusted with the key to that garden within me. That is one of the many good reasons to get married. To be commited to knowing one another more and more profoundly, the good and the bad and the messy. To be absolutely naked with someone and to be unashamed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where Romance Meets Reality

Romance. Reality. They are two seemingly separate worlds, posing as the north and south poles of life, but every so often they meet like an ocean lapping the land, like the split second between dreaming and waking. Maybe romance and reality are not such a paradox, maybe our eyes are crossed. Maybe we need both. Both to dream and to simply live. Even so, romance reminds us that there is more to this life than what we've lived, compelling us to turn the page. Romance sees promising beauty in the grit of reality. Romance takes the cadence of the mundane and composes a song. They are not so far apart. Reality is brimming with romance if you look close enough and long enough. It is most unfortunate that a realist is labeled a pessimist and a romantic is labeled an idealist, and the two don't get along very well. I need a steady diet of both. I want to be someone who doesn't live in denial of reality, but someone who is realistic enough to admit that there is a mystery below the surface of everything, a cavern deep enough and dark enough for romance to thrive. Experience is not always the best benchmark of what is really possible.

Question: Is God a realist or an idealist? An idealist sees the world as it could be or should be instead of simply accepting the way things are. In that regard, I would have to say that God is more of an idealist. He sees everything as it really is and yet he doesn't allow reality to lower his expectations. God thinks in terms of the impossible and the miraculous. It's interesting that God knows the future and yet in His communication with humans He still speaks in terms of what could be or should be, even though He knows what absolutely will be. If that's not idealism then I don't know what is. And if God is more of an idealist then He is closer to being a sanguine romantic rather than a dour realist.

God still surprises me. You wouldn't expect to find erotic literature within the pages of a Holy Bible. And yet there it is-- the Song of Solomon, holy pillowtalk. It's hard to believe that our God is the same God who invented kissing and sex and breasts and then published a book about it without blushing. It's impossible to read that book and conclude that God is against romance, in fact He seems to take it rather seriously. But of course, romance is much more than all of those things. When we think of romance we may even think of candlelight dinners and sparkling wine and delicate music and poetry and dancing. And yet romance is more than the sum of its parts. For me, it is even more than being with a girl. Romance is an invisible sun that kisses the heart. Be that as it may, some have given up on romance altogether while others are drunk on it. Excessive extremes are seldom ever healthy, even though people often gravitate to one or the other. Secular culture has exagerated romance to the point of eclipsing reality, so in turn the church has responded by writing off romance and relegating it to the scripts of Hollywood. But why should Hollywood have custody of such a divine treasure? Hasn't God come to "make all things new?" Could even romance be redeemed by Jesus? I hope so, because although my faith in romance often wanes, I must admit that romance revives my spirit, quickening my senses so that reality seems more real. Not that feelings are always an accurate compass, but feelings certainly accompany a soft heart. To divorce ourselves from feeling deeply is to stop being human. When all colors fade, romance restores my fascination with the universe. Without romance, the moon is just the moon, but when I look with romantic eyes then that silver ornament becomes a captivating work of art, worthy of poetic appraisal. You see, romance is not at odds with reality, romance savors every bit of reality, while appreciating its higher meaning and raving about the Artist.

Anyway, I don't mind being called a romantic, but I don't think that I'm a hopeless romantic. Afterall, romantics seem to be the last people on earth still clinging to hope against all odds:)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Arranged Dating

Truth be told, I wrote most of this about 3 weeks ago but hesitated to post it. Mostly because I was becoming increasingly concerned that this blog could be mistaken for some sort of personal ad or cry for help, which couldn't be farther from what I set out to do. I wondered if it was an omen when I noticed that even an online dating company had left a comment under one of my posts. Oh well. . . .

* * * * *

Sometimes the idea of an arranged marriage is very appealing. Like in the good ol' Bible days. Back when people married less for love, and more for socioeconomic advantage or for diplomatic reasons. Couples would be betrothed to each other at a young age, via their parents, and then groomed for their predestined wedding day. What a relief that would be to have those hair-pulling decisions completely out of your hands. Who to marry? When to marry? There is a part of me that likes control and there's a part of me that loathes it. To be completely in control of your life means that you are the only one to blame if things don't turn out well. In the land of liberty, sometimes freedom of choice feels like a curse to the picky and the fickle among us. To be perfectly honest, I am terrified of marrying the wrong person. Or being the wrong person for her. But more than that, as much as I pray about it, I'm wary of missing the right person. Yet in a way, all of this is not just up to me, because ultimately there will be a girl involved who has to make a lifelong decision as well. And then you have friends and family and even random strangers who are glad to offer their omniscient opinions on the matter. Still, an arranged marriage sounds inviting. Someone might say that God is arranging my marriage and I would wholeheartedly agree. And yet it's not quite the same, because alas, I still have a big decision to make.

It's interesting that psychologists have found that the more choices we are presented with, the more unhappy we are. The reason being that when we choose something, we worry that we didn't make the right decision, which causes stress. So the more choices we have then the more opportunity we have for mistakes and regret. So, we are actually more happy if we have less choices. Hence, the appeal of arranged marriage. However, the irony is that we love our freedom of choice, and we love to keep our options open. Hence, the aversion to arranged marriage.

The funny thing about my trepidation is that I'm not even dating someone right now. It's a classic case of putting the proverbial cart before the horse, and in this case, my horse is actually a winged unicorn that was last spotted flying over Nevada. Nevertheless, I've always felt that it's not right to date unless you're considering marriage. Hmm, maybe the answer is arranged dating. Maybe, arranged dating is the only hope for our gridlocked generation to jumpstart our love lives. All of the matchmakers out there are now pumping their fists and chanting "Amen!" But wait a minute, in order for it to be true arranged dating, then you'd need a fair and balanced liaison (and I'm not talking about a Fox-news reporter), someone who is a trustworthy friend to both parties involved. Otherwise, they'd have a one-sided agenda. Or you could have two liaisons working together, one representing the girl and one representing the guy. That would be closer to how an arranged marriage functions. In the case of an arranged marriage you have two sets of parents involved, which provides a system of checks and balances and equal representation. So. . .how much do you trust your friends? How well do your friends know you? Enough to let them decide who your next boyfriend or girlfriend will be?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An Apology To Married Folk

1st Ammendment or not, I would like to apologize to my married readers for my post entitled "What Is The Point of Marriage?" But I'm not exactly sorry for writing it. I was simply posing some questions and processing out loud, which was the point for me starting this whole blog in the first place. I think it's a shame when people can't openly discuss otherwise taboo questions. Asking questions is the only way to learn. And I like to learn. But here's where the apology comes in. I'm sorry that I didn't complete my thought and I left some married people with the wrong impression. The challenge for writers is to get their tone right, and apparently I didn't. I came across as blithely disrespectful to people who have worked hard at their marriage and have stayed together for a long time. That definitely wasn't my intent. It seems that miscommunication is not always in the words you say but in what you leave out. I was simply trying to probe deeper into the meaning of marriage and what it means to have a good marriage. I was kind of poking fun at some of the platitudes, but I think some people took it personally. And rightly so, because marriage is a rather personal thing. Not to mention the fact that all of this is coming from someone who is single and has zero experience being married. Which is why I write as an inquisitive student, not as a teacher.

Anyway, I would like to honor my parents who have been married for 32 years. I was there for most of their marriage because I was the firstborn. I witnessed the whole 'happily ever after' firsthand. It wasn't perfect, but it was real and alive. When I look at their marriage now, I see lustrous gold that has been refined in life's fire. I think their marriage is better than it's ever been, filled with a tempered peace and joy that had to be fought for. God's fingerprints are all over it. I know that many married couples stay together for the kids and I am so grateful that my parents loved us enough to keep us all under one roof. I truly believe that they have a successful marriage, a marriage that is about staying together but also so much more than that. It's about love.