On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray for men to become godly leaders, for women to be softened with godliness and for godly marriages to be created and sustained.
My job and my personality lend themselves to creating structure and finding patterns. So it is no surprise that I have attempted to apply the same analytical rigor to my dating life that I’ve applied elsewhere in life. This led to a spreadsheet of the men with whom I’ve ever gone on dates, complete with data points such as how long it lasted, why it ended and the funniest story I got from it. When viewed as a whole, it is a slightly embarrassing testament to both my dating disasters and my weird need to document life. Publicly admitting that the spreadsheet even exists is a small feat, since I was hoping to just delete it once I met WHI, and pretend like none of that ever happened. Oh well. Too late now.
One of the things I have been seeing this year, especially through the prism of things like my dating spreadsheet, was how much I assumed I would “just get married.” I felt that I had a good dating “resume” and was doing everything I could to live my life fully and make sure I was in places to meet lots of solid guys. I did my research and knew that the demographic stats were in my favor for getting married, and so it was just a matter of time. As the time stretched out beyond my ideals and then beyond my demographic research, continuing to think marriage was my inevitable or deserved future looked increasingly illogical.
I was walking home from work two years ago and thinking about some of these issues, and suddenly realized, “Wow. It will require an actual miracle for me to get married.” I had assumed I would need a little of God’s help, but most of this would be me doing the right things. Suddenly, I saw the equation flipped – this was going to require Him to actually show up and to work in big ways. All my analysis and hard effort were nothing in the face of both the larger cultural realities around marriage or my internal heart idolatry of the institution.
The heart issue is that I don’t have to trust God as much if I have my spreadsheets, my research and my dating resume. I could check the boxes on my own strength and wait for the marriage results, which I assumed God would obviously bless since He is all about marriage. The idea that God’s primary goal for my life wasn’t marrying me off was somehow lost in the shuffle.
My gradually developing prayer since then has been this: God, you know my desire to be in a married partnership with a godly man. If that is your plan for me, You have to create him, You have to open my eyes to see him, and You have to propel the relationship. I have tried to do each of those things on my own, and I can’t.
I have tried to “create” WHI by being strategic in my geographic and social choices, or by doing lots of analysis. I have repeatedly thought I “saw” some awesome guy I was supposed to marry and have found out I was apparently mistaken. I have also tried to force relationships which I thought were right, only to find out that it doesn’t work very well either. I know that I can’t do this – I can’t “just get married.”
This Monday, I want to open my heart to acknowledge my deep desire for marriage and simultaneously open my hands to let God be God. He is enough – marriage or not – and I know He loves and cares for me. If marriage is in my future, it is only because He is crafting and planning it. And if it isn’t, I know He is still crafting and planning a future for me that is for my good and His glory. No spreadsheets required.
Praying with you,