Waiting or Preparing?

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I really love Verily Magazine. I miss their print version, but nonetheless enjoy perusing their online articles daily. Invariably I get sucked into titles that have anything to do with taking advantage of your twenties and not just waiting for life to start when you get married. In fact it was this article that convinced me last summer that I am worth spending money on and to plan a solo vacation to the beach – drink cocktails, sleep, and read a good book. I knew I would either have a great time or be terribly depressed, but either way I was sure it would be a learning experience.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with an individual involved in running a dating website. This particular one happens to be religious in nature. And I promptly informed him that he needs to pray harder, because the site just isn’t working for me.

He asked if I had read his latest post on their blog. (I hadn’t, despite all my good intentions to do so.) He also asked if I had any suggestions on what he should write about. A few days later I ran into him again. Having given some thought to his question, I told him that I personally was interested by anything that talked about what to do with this time before marriage or anything that talked about the beauty of marriage and God’s vision of marriage.

The truth is I am dying, longing, waiting for the day when I will get married. Yet, without fail as soon as a guy so much glances in my direction – I FREAK OUT! (Ok, maybe not quite that dramatic… maybe…) I believe God is calling me to marriage. I think I am ready (at least as ready as I’ll ever be and definitely not “not ready”). I value marriage. But relationships are work. When possibility becomes reality and I have to start adjusting my perfectly-under-control single life, it can be more challenging than one might expect. (Don’t get me wrong, I think it is totally worth it. But there is no denying that there is an adjustment that has to take place.)

So there I was standing in a hallway at work, pouring out my dating woes to a total stranger. I was impressed. He not only thanked me for my input, but he gave me some advice that possibly changed my entire view of where I am right now.

He told me a story of a young couple that lived in Houston. They had been married for three years and were very happy, but were longing to have children. The mother received advice from her parish priest, “Pray to love and practicing loving with the love of a mother.” She did so and shortly thereafter they conceived their first child.

He looked at me and said, “Pray to love and practice loving as you will have to love a spouse.”

What an absolutely beautiful way to look at this moment! I am not waiting. I am not getting ready. I am not being patient. I am not trusting that God has his time. (Okay, yes, maybe there is a little of all that going on too.) For so long I looked at myself and thought I wasn’t ready because I was such a mess. It was a negative view of preparation, getting my s*** together so I could be ready for marriage. But from that conversation forward I am also preparing and practicing. I am forming my heart to love my spouse with all the love that he deserves.

And maybe I’ll have to take another solo trip to the beach too… because my brother and his girlfriend tagged along on the last one. And with this paradigm shift, I’m almost guaranteed not to be depressed.

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