I try not to live my life based on 4am thoughts. But sometimes that’s when my mind is the clearest. In my dreams I lose Joel. In my dreams we drift apart. In my dreams I see my perception of reality taken to the extreme. I see my fears clearly— fears that often include t-rexes and marriage to Joel.
I’m touched by your response after I shared my late-night fears. Messages. Comments. Emails. Even a couple phone calls. Thank you for caring and making it possible to experience life together. I write in the moment—what’s happening right now—and what I learned from my past mistakes (and the few times I got it right). Despite how it often sounds, I’m not afraid that marrying Joel might be wrong—and it’s not necessarily right either. It’s a choice. So while I look forward to possibly being together as husband and wife one day, I wonder if I want to marry Joel for the “right” reasons.
I love Joel, but I’m selfish. I love that Joel loves me more than anything else, even though I know we’re supposed to love God above all—which includes our spouse. I love the way he loves me, but Joel is a growing Christian and when he commits his life fully I’ll be bumped to second place in his heart. I’m learning to be okay with that—no—I’m learning to desire that.
As you probably know, a lot of relationship fears bloom because of distance. Right now I spend 40 hours a week in an office, and another large portion as a full-time online student. I babysit. Housesit. Help others self-publish. Keep track of friends. Attend local small groups. And try to run a blog.
When I shared my fears with Joel he was surprised, and he was hurt. He thought he was being supportive and letting me do my thing—after all, the main reason we don’t see each other is because I literally plan it that way.
I made myself so busy that I fall into that category of “don’t have time for a relationship.” But I need and want to make time.
I’m moving closer.
Doors are closing.
Hearts are hoping.
Every marriage will have troubles. That’s why the bible specifically says “it is good for man not to marry.” I’ve watched marriages between two practicing Christians burn. Seen marriages between believers and non-believers fail, too. And a couple who “weren’t supposed to make it” will celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, still happily in love. Yet what ripped the veil over my eyes the most—what made me see that it’s impossible to guess the success or failure of marriage—came through the heart-breaking reality of my friend’s friend.
You might think, “Sure, another story where someone’s friend’s friend’s friend’s goldfish won a million dollars,” but I know the person whose friend this happened to very well. I don’t think this person would lie, and they only shared this story to ask for prayer.
My friend’s friend—we’ll call her Karen—married her high school sweetheart. They went to the same youth group, the same college, and they were both active in their church. Karen had many health problems but she was frugal and had thousands in savings to help cover the medical bills when they came up. The pair had planned a wedding but when Karen’s health problems got worse, they eloped so she would be covered under his healthcare plan.
Some time later, Karen tried to make a payment on a medical bill and the transaction failed. Turns out the account was empty. She called her husband who confessed that he was addicted to sex, and had spent their entire savings on prostitutes. They were both Christians. They did everything right. Everyone thought they belonged together.
Yet Karen found herself pregnant and broke, and she filed for a divorce. But after praying and going through therapy, she believed her husband was finally being honest. She believed he honestly wanted to change. The last I heard they were “still working things out.” Although divorce was still on the table, it didn’t sound like Karen was going to go through with it.
Do I love Joel like that? If he blew all our savings on hookers would I be able to stay and love him? I want to say yes but I honestly don’t know. Do you know what you would do?
All of this to say that I’ve read the books. I’ve read THE book. I’m open to advice. I listen, and I consider. I’ve watched series after series of what people send me to help me avoid “the trap” (marriage), but if it’s a trap, I want to be in it…Hmmm. That reminds me of a scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2…
I’m not afraid to be married. I’m also not afraid to be on my own.
I’ve always felt alone.
That’s not something marriage can fix. Only my relationship with God lets me know I’m not alone when life is tough. Sometimes I forget that…Alright. Usually I forget that.
But I know I have nothing to fear because I trust God with everything. But I wonder if I’m missing something. Why does it seem that everyone I know is split down the middle. They either love us together or want us to break up yesterday. I don’t know which side you’re on, or if you’re on a side at all. But if I marry Joel it will probably go one of two ways: either it’s as great as Mary and Joseph, who were so loyal, loving, and obedient to God their love story is remembered every year, or I’ll quickly understand how God felt loving Israel. (Unrequited love in a nutshell.)
I hope it’s more like the first one…Is that too much to expect?
I’m ready to dive!
This song came to mind while I wrote this. Hope you enjoy this great, seriously-underrated band.
Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.
Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)
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