Just so we’re clear, I want to get married. I would love to meet the bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh as soon as possible and by that, I mean right this second is good for me! I can most definitely take a break from writing this blog post to meet my boo…y’all can wait. But also saying that I also exist in this space where I enjoy my singleness, I enjoy the freedom and flexibility it comes with. In fact, let’s take a moment to praise Jesus for this season of quiet. For anyone who has family members with kids or has kids of their own, you know what I’m talking about.
And before I move on, I’d like to point out that existing in both these places isn’t strange and or an oxymoron. I don’t have to want to be married so badly, that I hate my singleness, nor do I have to love my singleness so much that marriage isn’t even on my radar. I would go so far to encourage us to inhabit this space in all areas of our lives. In everything, have your desires for the future while still enjoying your present. Don’t let the job that you want rob you from enjoying the job that you have or don’t let your weight loss goals rob you from loving the “all kinds of fine” that you currently are. Whatsoever it may be, pretty please enjoy your today while working towards your tomorrow.
So here I am enjoying my singleness, but I’m also aware that I’m 28 years old. Long-time readers will know that when I was 22, I was already getting the where’s my husband questions and 6 years later it's not surprising that the pressure to be married has not reduced. What is different now is that while I was blasé about it then, I’m most definitely less blasé about it now as established by the opening sentence in this post. This is also made more interesting by the fact that I don’t tend to date. And yes, you read correctly. I want to meet my husband right now, but I don’t date. I’ll explain this further in a different post (feel free to drop your questions and opinions in the comment section), but for now I’ll summarise my viewpoint as I don’t casually enter into relationships without knowing where it’s going, but I do take the time to get to know people.
Well this year, I decided to try online dating. There were various reasons I tried it. Let’s start with the most obvious one, I came into the new year all like “if I meet my man in early January, maybe we could be engaged by October”. Well, October has come and gone. The meeting has not happened yet, let alone the engagement, so I decided to help myself a little bit. This thinking was also supported by people in my life who reminded me that most couples don’t meet IRL (In Real Life) anymore and most relationships start online. Then there’s the fact that I know a happily married couple who met online even before online was mainstream and who have spent years lovingly encouraging me to try it. And that isn’t sarcastic, it was very much a loving encouragement with no pressure. It’s a hard balance to strike and I thank God for the many people in my life who walk that line graciously.
There was also a less obvious reason. Long-time readers or those that have gone down the rabbit hole of my blog archive will know that the last few years have not been the easiest for me. I haven’t really talked about it apart from on the “This Girl in 2016” page where I explain my disappearing act by the fact that "life happened". I’ll be honest, I’m still not ready to delve into it yet, but I bring it up to say that I had spent so much of the last few years simply trying to keep my head above water that to an extent I closed my mind to a relationship. Yes, I’ve wanted to get married, but I’ve also been mindful of where I’d find the energy for a relationship. I've been focused on solving the problems in other areas of my life. At some point, in those years I’d stopped looking at men around me as possible suitors and started viewing them as just members of the opposite sex who simply took up oxygen and released more carbon dioxide into the world. Basically, they existed, but I wasn’t paying attention to them. In my mind, I’d decided that once everything else had settled down then I could focus more on getting a man, till I was reminded that I don’t get to decide when God will bring someone into my life and it isn’t the wisest thing to close my eyes to the “opportunities” around me. So, there was a part of me that hoped online dating could jolt my mind into looking at men as possible suitors again.
Even with all those reasons, the decision to finally try online dating was not an easy one. I couldn’t get over the fact that it felt like I was trying to help myself or even worse help God. I kept going to back to Abraham and Hagar, wondering if I was in the process of creating my own Ishmael (Genesis 16 & 21). Saying that, I did finally try it. I didn’t love it, but that’s a conversation for a different day. For now, I’m still hoping, praying and enjoying today. What about you?