NOTE: I am discussing a concept from a book I haven't read. This is because said book hasn't been released yet. I have no idea if this is the meaning behind Mr. Thomas' book or not, so if I'm out in left field and come across as two sandwiches short of a picnic, don't blame him and still read his book because Gary Thomas is THE MAN!
But you should still read my blog because people who are two sandwiches short of a picnic are frequently highly amusing!
Gary Thomas has a new book coming out in January. Sacred Search, written to the unmarried crowd, basically deals with this question: what if it’s not about who you marry but why?
This idea has been rolling around in my head for about six months now.
Not about *who* but *why* . . .
I don’t spout opinions about marriage because I’m not married. And I don’t think about marriage much because if I did I might discover I really want to be married and then I’d have to put forth some effort, i.e. finding a dude to marry, who can handle that I am bossy, and messy, and chatty, and can hear everything, and take things far too personally, and procrastinate, and sometimes border on irresponsible. I also lose my patience with the snide, the hypercritical, the angry, the moralistic, and people who think they know everything because, after all, don’t they know I KNOW EVERYTHING???
Oh, and I completely flip out if I feel controlled on any level. And although I don’t like flipping out, it will happen inevitably. Good luck with that.
And for someone as extraverted as I appear, I really am so much of an introvert communication regarding anything which matters is incredibly difficult.
And I’m this weird combination of liberal and conservative most people don’t “get”. And when I vote, I have this personal litmus test for candidates, which doesn’t really value platforms (another topic for another day, my friends). And I don’t care to argue about it either. I don’t like to argue because I want people to like me far too much.
Oh, and I don’t want to be bothered for about an hour after I get home from work. And don’t initiate discussions with me regarding anything irritating between the hours of nine in the evening and seven in the morning. It simply is not safe.
I am shocked and appalled at my awfulness upon proofing the above. But I think it’s pretty accurate, except I’m also funny and kind and generally patient and hard-working and giving and not particularly materialistic and slow to anger and above and beyond helpful and concerned for people in addition to all the other crap.
Plus, at times, I am suspicious I might be incredibly brilliant.
It’s a package deal my friends. This is because I’m human.
So basically, what I’m getting out of this concept is in a marriage both people are bringing in a mountain of “stuff”—good, bad, and otherwise. The sacrifice is both parties have to learn to deal with the other’s “stuff”—good, bad, and otherwise. The benefit is gaining the companionship of someone who is willing to deal with your “stuff”—good, bad, and otherwise.
At least in theory, anyway—I’m assuming the system isn’t perfect.
Now granted, I haven’t read the book because it hasn’t come out yet, but the whole idea is just something I haven’t considered, well, ever, in regards to marriage. I’ve just always assumed it would be incredibly difficult for me to be married because I’m not perfect, a fact which isn’t thrilling, and since everyone seems to have it far more together, they have perfect marriages and relationships with ease.
I, on the other hand, shouldn’t even try because I would fail. And I can’t fail because I just simply don’t like the idea I’m not perfect, because, after all, everyone else is.
At least that was the lie which tumbled in my head for many, many years.
A while back I was talking to a friend about the book of Ruth. She said it possessed advice on so many things, including dating and relationships. For a while I disagreed with the statement because personally I can’t get behind the whole threshing floor scenario (again, another story for another day my friends), but maybe that isn’t the advice embedded in the book of Ruth. Maybe it’s bigger.
The reality is Ruth needed a “kinsmen redeemer” in her circumstance. And so do I. Maybe I need to be neater, more responsible, develop a level of assertiveness, and a sense of what I value beyond the values of the group. Maybe I need to learn to accept people for who they are, as opposed to feeling offended for how they've offended my sense of value. Self improvement for the sake of another person would be painful, but a stagnant life isn’t what God intends for us.
And now, more than ever, I am confident love is a greater picture than a giddy feeling or a jolt of sheer electricity as he runs his hand down your back . . . that, my friends, is hormones.
Or static electricity. Sometimes it's hard to tell.
I’m not saying I’m confident marriage is in God’s plan for me. I’m just saying at 38 the idea isn’t quite as daunting as before.