On March 14 I opened a draft for post about being a single woman. Its been done dozens of times before. I had thoughts about focus, purpose, goals, and priorities. They were good thoughts, but one sided. I thought that a certain frame of mind, knowing the right verses, and being focused on the tasks before me would prepare me when the time came for a relationship.
This was what I was thinking about May 15 when a friend of mine, a godly man, asked me to dinner. I was surprised and my very formatted ideas quickly flew out the roof. A relationship turns everything you think you know upside down and backwards. The basics are all the same, parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers, but they move differently. Problems you thought you had dealt with suddenly come back to haunt you and it always seems like your bad side is showing. Sometimes things you’ve never dealt with before come in to reek havoc.
So, for the last two months I’ve been thinking about what I should have paid attention to when I was single and how I could have prepared for this. The easy answer is that I couldn’t have. I did the best I could to be godly myself, invest my time in my family, and keep working toward goals that didn’t meant as much to me as working on a farm does.
The difficult answer starts with two statements.
1) The base of every relationship is the same.
2) Being in a relationship is completely different.
Does that make any sense at all?
The goal of any relationship, familial, friendly, or romantic, is to draw all involved closer to Christ. It is about doing what is best for the other person even though it might be uncomfortable for both of you at the time. It is a constant risk and a constant reward. There is always sacrifice, failure, forgiveness, trust, and growth together. The things you struggle with in one, you will probably have to deal with in another. With someone you like it is easy at first to not be obstinate or rude, sarcastic or manipulative, but over time the best relationship will test your mettle and either refine or burn you.
I wish I had really looked at where I struggle in a relationship. It may not be a big deal. I may just be socially awkward and fine with talking about dead bodies over dinner, but it isn’t normal. I can be a show off, tell really obscure (insert lame) jokes, quirky and a little warped. My family teases me about my quirks mercilessly and my friends tolerate them. Now I wish I had paid attention to their subtle (and not so subtle) advice.
Being in a relationship is different though. You don’t spend your time worrying about your quirks much. Its nice to be liked, but its even better to find someone you can learn from, grow with, and who is willing to put up with you. Quirks and flaws come into play when you realize you want to be the best because that person deserves the best. In my case it means taking care of myself, so he doesn’t worry, not that he would worry, but he might, so I’m careful.
There are so many wonderful things about a relationship. I am learning so much, growing so much. It is wonderful to have someone to laugh with, lean on, work with, serve, talk to, and know what he’s thinking just by glancing at him from across a pool table.
Here we are two months later and I was finally able to finish that post. It is a lot different than what I originally intended, but hopefully better for the differences.
I think I finally broke my writer’s block.