I try to stay positive because no one wants to read blog entries that make them feel blue and I’d rather not put any more negativity out there. So let me instead call this a dose of reality: in my experience, waiting for a mate sucks most of the time. Yup, I said it! A human can only be patient for so long before those feelings of unworthiness creep in. I start thinking the reason I don’t have a “plus one” is because I don’t deserve one. Maybe I’m not nice enough, maybe I’m not smart enough, maybe I’m too fat, maybe I’m just plain unattractive!
But just when I’ve decided that I’ve finally discovered why I’m single, I’ll meet someone who’s meaner or fatter than I who is happily married to a wonderful man, leaving me back at square one, wondering what is wrong with me. (And of course I’ll feel awful for judging people and comparing them to me!) Or I’ll meet women far lovelier and kinder than I who are shockingly single and then I’ll realize that things really are not fair for these women either.
If you have ever felt like this, here’s the reminder we need: we are enough, exactly as we are. We don’t need to lose a pound or gain one IQ point to dazzle someone. We don’t need new clothing or more or less of anything to win someone’s heart. It’s tempting to “blame” your singleness on something (It’s my neuroses! or I’m too career-minded!) but I believe that when God matches you with your mate, you will be accepted by that person just as you are. To me there really is no greater gift than for someone to see you for who you are, annoying habits and all, and want to be with you anyway.
So what do we impatient singles need? To (continue to) wait. We need to wait until God’s timing matches our own timing, and trust that one day those two dates WILL coincide. Unfortunately we don’t get to know how long the wait is. At my age (33 in three short months!), having to wait even six months longer feels like punishment, but what if my wait is six more years? Or longer?
I won’t lie to you: if that’s the case, I see some emotional breakdowns in my future. Nothing tragic, mind you, but I will certainly shed more tears of frustration.
So to those waiting far more patiently than I, to those who are dedicating their time to living life and accomplishing their goals, congratulations! You’re doing just what you should be doing because life goes on, significant other or not. To those like me who have gotten caught up in feeling blue and feeling in limbo? Shake it off! Remember those goals you want to achieve, remember that God’s timing is best, and live your life. (Taking some time here and there to be weepy is ok I say…it’s part of being human. Just don’t take too long!)
I’ll try to follow my own advice.
One of the blogs I regularly visit is CAKIES, and Rubyellen, who runs the blog, shared a beautiful letter for her sister who got married this past weekend (I bolded the parts of the letter that grabbed me the most):
Today, you are getting married. Enjoy it. Don’t worry about that extra fluff that makes weddings look pretty. That is what it really is, just fluff. Those things don’t make a marriage. I have seen God’s grace and goodness in your life as I think about where God has brought you. You are here not because of anything you have done, but only because of what God has done. Don’t find your joy in finally being married because if you do, you will be greatly disappointed. Don’t find your joy in Christian, because if you do, you will also be greatly disappointed. Marriage is fun, but it is also hard. Be prepared to work. Don’t rely on feelings because feelings will fluctuate and you won’t always feel like loving your husband. Love God. Above all else, always love God. Trust God. Enjoy God. Your life won’t be better now because you are married. Your life will only be better if you love God more each day. Loving God will make marriage even more wonderful. God is the key.
These words are a great reminder for those of us who can’t wait to be married. I’ll be 33 years old in June and I feel like I’ve waited long enough to marry and have children but guess what? Once I’m married I’ll have moments where I’ll wonder why I was in such a rush to be married, where I’ll forget that I actually wanted to be married and wanted a husband. This letter reminds me to enjoy this time as a single lady instead of impatiently waiting for it to be behind me. Of course I’m also reminded to wait for God’s perfect time for love to find me.
I often think about the love I have to give my future husband, but how often do I think about the love that I should have for God? (Answer: not as often as I think about hubby-loving!) I forget to trust God regularly. I get my priorities mixed up and I’ve got to stop giving God the leftovers of me and instead seek him first. This is so hard to do in this world!
For me the most striking part of the letter is where Rubyellen says that only loving God will make your life better. I know life will be hard even after I get married but I often think that when I get married I’ll be more at peace because I’ll be on the path to have my happy ever after and everything else (kids) will be able to fall into place. I do think that marrying a man that I know is meant for me will bring a lot to my life, but Rubyellen has reminded me that any happiness or sense of “Yes! I’ve achieved this next stage of life!” will pass once I attain it. If I don’t have God in my life those feelings of inadequacy, failure, or constantly striving to reach something that feels out of my reach will overwhelm me, unless I have God in my life, refining me.
Do you remember three months ago when I was supposed to post a letter to my future husband? And then I delayed it? I hope to post the entry soon, but I have to admit I’m not in the same space emotionally as I was when I first started working on my letter. In addition, hearing about what some people are going through in their marriages is making me think even more about what I need from my future marriage, from my future husband, and of course the all-important what I will bring to my future marriage. I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few months about what actually matters in a relationship and what is just nice to have (but is not actually essential).
Also on my mind is something my dad has been telling for a long time. He has told me times without number to pray for a husband: that’s the only method he knows that works because he prayed for God to send him a life partner and he has no doubt that my mom was the answer to that prayer. In the early days of my parents meeting, my dad was talking to another woman, but that didn’t last long! I never asked my dad how he knew that my mom was “the One” but it’s something I definitely need to know.
If you have a strong
gut instinctGod connection, maybe this idea of getting a sign from God telling you who you should pursue a relationship with is a natural occurrence but I have an undeveloped gut instinct (I’m too cautious and overthink e-v-e-r-ything!) and I’m not good at listening for what God wants me to do. Most of the time I make a decision by comparing pros and cons and asking my trusted people for their input. Even though I often pray for guidance, I don’t always know if I’m making the right decision, based on what God would want me to do.
For example, we all know that challenges are inevitable in relationships, but how do you know when the challenge is a sign that you should draw closer and work together to achieve your goals, or a sign that you should call it quits? Sometimes a minor wrench in a relationship can lead to its end, while another couple might experience a severe trauma and end up stronger as a couple for it (though the severe trauma could just as easily end the relationship).
- How do you know whether or not to pursue a relationship with a particular person?
- How do you know who to pursue a relationship with (when faced with several options)?
- How do you know what a challenge is supposed to teach you?
I’m sorry, I’m still working on my letter to my future husband. I had a certain format in mind but after reading it over I decided I didn’t like it very much. I’ll finish it soon and post it when it’s all sorted out. Sorry about that!
I remember the title of this entry being a “trending topic” on twitter sometime. I’ve always been practical about love, so I never had things like “hottie” or “super rich” on my list of things I wanted in a man. My list had things most practical women want in a man: family-oriented, sense of humour, ambitious (but not too much so), employed, educated, taller than I am (um, that is practical, right?), Christian…but I’ve never thought of writing a letter to my future husband, touching on those other qualities I want, or on how I see our ordinary days unfolding.
I’d like to write this letter now and I challenge you to do so as well if you’d like. You can write to your future wife if you prefer. The deadline is two weeks from now, on November 4. Who’s in?
This poor blog has been neglected. The plan is for it to one day be a subsection of my main blog so that visitors to my blog who might be interested in GNG’s thoughts on the single life and (in my case) the journey to find a good Nigerian man, can explore it in one place.
I came across Bagucci‘s post (does he still call himself that?) about four things he’s looking for in a woman. This post would be The List. He ends his post with a question to the reader inquiring if he’s asking for too much. Most respondents including me said we didn’t think he was asking for too much. However, some felt that he might have to seek this woman halfway across the world (something he was hoping to avoid) and I added that his modest list might actually be longer upon closer inspection.
I could be completely wrong but I know many of us have lists that are supposed to guide us, but we fail to add things that we’ve taken for granted to the list, these are the things that we’re automatically screening for when we meet someone. For example, a woman might have a list of what she wants in a guy (honest, ambitious, handsome, family-oriented, Christian, good sense of humour) but she may fail to include his nationality, assuming that everyone knows she’ll only date or marry a man of a certain nationality. Or it may be his personal style that she takes for granted because of course he’ll be trendy and can’t be her prince charming if he’s fond of wearing clothing that you see in certain music videos. Or what if the guy who meets every item on her list wears his hair longer or shorter than she expected, or prefers braids or dreads, or is bald, when she just assumed her guy would have a certain look? These might be trivial examples but I hope you see the point I’m trying to make.
In my own case I’ve realized that my list included some assumptions. In my case I assumed that the guy for me would be from a similar background (born and raised outside of Nigeria) so because of that I’d expect him to own a house (or 1/250 of it thanks to the mighty mortgage) and possibly a car. I expected him to have a career, and be more or less free of debt (aside from the house). But there are lots of guys my age who due to different choices they made in their life have a different reality. Maybe they went away for school so they have hefty student loans as a result. Maybe they are the main breadwinner in their family so they are still living at home or they are renting because they cannot buy a house. Again this might not be the best example but I hope you can see what I’m trying to say. In my own case I had to add these hidden items to my list in ink so it was visible, or decide they weren’t actually necessary as they wouldn’t be a predictor of a good relationship.
I also advised Bagucci to give women who have only two or three of the items on his list a fair chance. If he meets them and decides that he really needs more of the things on his list, fine, but what if he meets a lady who scores 2/4 on his list but she possesses three other qualities that he had never listed as important but he now sees how they can complement who he is and enrich their relationship?
Do you know what I mean?
Two entries ago, a few kind readers expressed interest in knowing more about the guy that my great aunt set me up with, the guy I’m still talking to almost two years after our first rather uninteresting phone call. I don’t want to say much because the relationship is long distance. My sister was in a long distance relationship for two years and it had a very disappointing end; that is why I try to not to be in such relationships and why I’m not ready to say too much here. When things work out so we’re able to spend some in-person time together, I’ll provide you with more information than you want to hear.
We started talking in October 2009, we met in October 2010 and it was after this in-person meeting that things really turned from “potential couple” to “I guess we’re a real couple” in my eyes. He’s a Nigeria-based guy and maybe it’s only my experience but he seems to know what he wants and how he feels way earlier than I do, and he’s more comfortable expressing those feelings. I have given him a tough time but he’s still around so he looks like a keeper!
Yes, he’s a good guy, but we’ve had challenges that centre mostly around our different upbringings, and I’m learning a lot about what is involved in being a partner. This is difficult business! It’s been really frustrating to learn that my logic can be considered completely illogical to someone else and vice versa (but mostly the former). The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how hard this business of merging your life with someone, forever, is. Maybe since this is my first real relationship, fear of the unknown is entering my life. Maybe the independence that these last two years have brought to my life (moving out of my parents’ house almost 2.5 years ago and just a week ago buying my first car) have made me into someone who is happier with her “single” life. Now that marriage—something I have longed for and prayed for, something I was starting to think would never happen—could happen if things go well, it suddenly seems like a bigger step than I thought it would be. Questions like “How do I know if he’s the right person?” “How much do you need to know about someone before you make that step?” come to mind, and I’m not close to being engaged yet (if that’s God’s plan for the relationship)!
But one thing that I’d say is I am more optimistic: about love, about the silly “It’ll happen when you least expect it” phrase, about the fruit of hard work. This guy I’m talking to, like most Nigerians, has attended many weddings and he often remarks that he sees many people preparing for the wedding but not the marriage. This is one benefit of a long distance relationship: you can really use it to work on those things that are important in a marriage: communication, time together (even if it’s only by phone or computer in a long distance relationship), and just being a support for one another. Even if things don’t work out as I’m hoping they do, I will have no regrets because I feel I’m learning to be a better person.