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On Relationships: Finding Yourself, Finding a Place, Finding a Soul Mate

Philosophical Wandering for the Mature and Open-minded

Why get married?

That is a good question! After all, in light of current modern trends in relationships, why bother? It's quite well-accepted in society today to not get married. You get all the benefits with none of the paperwork, right? What's the hurry?

There are several reasons for marriage, some of which you may not agree with. That's fine. I'm not asking you to agree--in fact, I'm expecting you to disagree, since those who hold the same beliefs as Jessica and I are few.

  1. It's Biblical. The Bible constantly refers to marriage as an example of God's eternal love to us; and we wish to follow that example. (As Christians, Jessica and I hold to the Bible as the inspired Word of God, inerrant in its original manuscripts and to be taken literally as the guide to how Christians are to live. We believe in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God, God incarnate, Who was physically born to a virgin and was crucified, died, and resurrected from the dead and ascended to Heaven. This is what many people call "conservative fundamentalism." I prefer the term, "Biblical.")

  2. It's lonely out there. Of all the things mentioned in the Biblical account of creation, only one was mentioned as being "not good"; it was "not good that man should be alone." And I must agree.

  3. It's the safest sex possible. Several health authorities state that the best form of protection against AIDS and other STD's is to abstain from sexual relationships until married, and have one partner for life. Period. Hmmm... common sense would lead one to the same conclusion, strangely enough. Why is it that the most logical things are also the most difficult to accept?

  4. It's fun! Okay, so maybe actually having the wedding isn't exactly the most delightful experience of one's life, but the being married to your best friend--that's fun!

  5. It's about time. I'm over 25. I have a job. I can pick up my socks. I know when to put the lid down. Frankly, I'm sick of the single life!

How do you know "she's the one?"

This question really presses on the minds of those who grow up in conservative Christian circles, since there's a very high premium placed on "knowing God's will." As far as knowing Jessica was The One for Me is concerned.... well, I really hate to sound pragmatic. But it's simple.

I prayed for this: I chose Jessica, and God gave me complete peace about it.

God created me with my own likes, dislikes, desires, skills, preferences, you name it. He didn't say that He'd slap a billboard up along the highway, send me a registered letter, call me on the phone, or give me a vision in the night. Instead, He made me the way I am and expects me to make a lot of my own decisions, trusting Him to take care of the things that I can't decide upon.

Key point: Once my relationship with God is primary, everything else falls into place.

I decided to propose to Jessica. And she decided to accept!

Granted, getting married is one of the biggest decisions--if not the biggest--that anyone can make. Then again, life is too short to agonize over for 45 years, too!

Fascinating indicators I noticed while dating Jessica--and that still hold true...

  • I can not get closer to her without assuming greater spiritual responsibility in my own life, even without her needing to say anything about it.

  • We feel as if we have all the time in the world to get our relationship right and to grow together, instead of having to get everything right now.

  • I want to let all my friends meet Jessica and find out how wonderful she is!

Are you still in love?

Depends on the meaning of "in love!" (Sound like any President we've known lately?) In any case, yes. We dated for over 3 years under very unique circumstances. In that time, we went through the fading of the warm fuzzies, for certain. There were brief times when we didn't "feel" really good around each other.

But every time there have been thoughts of "I don't feel good around you anymore," it's usually because there's something between us or between one (or both) of us and God. When we reconcile those spiritual issues, everything comes right back together.

Aren't you worried about the future? Children? Jobs? Health?

Concerned, yes. Worried? No. The one marvelous thing about being a Christian is that my life is no longer mine to worry about. Sure, I take care of myself. I have insurance. I don't bungie-jump after big meals. I eat my green leafy veggies. I wear my seat belt. But I'm not stressed out over what the future holds.

This is called "the joy of the LORD" or "peace that passes all understanding." It's a lifestyle and conviction that says, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future."

Think about it.

  • If God is Who He says He is, then He's already in the past, present, and future.
  • If He is the supreme personification of all good attributes, then He loves me more than I can understand.
  • If He loves me now, then He will love me in the future and wants the best for me.
  • If He is truly infinite and omnipotent, then I--as a finite being--cannot know everything God knows. Neither do I need to.

So what do I have to worry about? My life is on temporary loan to me; I need to take care of it, but the results are the Owner's, not mine.

What's the most important thing in your relationship?

That's a difficult question to answer with a pinned-down tangible. The bottom line is that my relationship with my wife will be only as good as my relationship with God and my adherence to the Biblical foundation of our relationship. Key aspects are easy to list, though:

  1. Spiritual Leadership. That means you we can't get closer to each other without getting closer to God. If you're not the active spiritual leader in your home, you're not making it.
  2. Communication. Face it, guys are lousy in the natural-born communicator department. Too often we try to fix problems before she's even done talking. Sometimes the best thing is let her cry on your shoulder. (See the "What She Needs" page for a poetic version of this.)
  3. Honesty. Complete honesty. Nothing less.
  4. Love. Not a feeling; a lifestyle that says, "I want God's best for us." It's a permanent commitment, not a temporary situation.
  5. Patience. If you can't wait, then you probably should rethink your motivation. This is the rest of your life we're dealing with here--don't expect to make a great decision if you've been dating a mere 2 weeks.

There are many other facets, but they fall into place quite well on their own if you handle these first few.

"Commitment? What's that?"

EEEeewww... I used that terrible "C" word, commitment. It's probably one of the last words to sink into the typical Gen-X guy's vocabulary, right up there with, "You were right, dear" and "I love you." But it's not just in matters of the heart; it's life in general. What with microwave everything, instant TV, web access, email, Dial-A-Anything, cell phones, and automobile leases, it's not easy to get into the "long-term C-O-M-M-I-T-M-E-N-T" mind-set.

If we're not for commitments, we wouldn't have a lot of things. Like microwaves, TV, web access, email... anything that improves life takes commitment to build. Bigger things require commitment, too. Like the fact that you may be in a country that allows you life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I digress. The warm fuzzy "feelings" of being in love are not going to last without a commitment to go along with them. In fact, there might even be days when I don't feel very loving. But that doesn't change the fact of the commitment I made when, in front of God and bunch of friends and family members, I said I'd have Jessica to be my wife. There were a lot of "richer for poorer, better or for worse, etc" things there too, but in my mind the vows ended with "I, Troy, take Jessica to be my wedded wife." Period. No cop-outs, no pre-nuptial agreement bailout clauses, no "for as long as we both shall love", but "as we both shall live."

I promised, she promised, God witnessed it, that settles it.