I met my youth pastor and his wife and darling daughter for lunch today in Colorado Springs. I have to admit, I was very nervous at first. Since he moved to Wyoming over three years ago we hadn’t seen or even talked to each other at all. Add that to the fact that I am naturally very reserved and apprehensive when meeting someone just to “catch up”. I alwasy obsess over what we should talk about, or if I’ll be a pleasant companion, or if there will be any awkward moments when we find ourselves sitting there in silence, wondering what to say next. Fortunately, none of my fears were confirmed.
Jay just has a natural ability to draw people out of themselves, to converse with no fear of rejection, to be honest and have a genuine conversation – even if we haven’t been involved in each other’s lives for an extended period of time. Case in point: within thirty minutes of meeting we were discussing the finer points of Calvinism and Armenianism! All in a friendly, conversant attitude that was focused more on sharing our knowledge and love of the Scriptures rather than vying for the theological high ground.
Of course, one of the things Jay was most curious about was my fairly new (at least from his perspective) relationship with my boyfriend, Daniel. On the drive back to Manitou Springs, I was able to really glean some insight and wisdom from him on the importance of being picky in my choice of a mate. After all, this is the person with whom I will be spending the next 70+ years!
Singleness is the only stage of life where selfishness is a virtue. One should strive to find a spouse who fulfills as many requirements as possible, who is anything she’s ever hoped for in a life-partner, who will be able to have fun with her, to do the things that will give both her and him joy. For example, she shouldn’t want him to snowboard just because he knows that she loves to snowboard, but rather he will snowboard because they share a love of the sport! Otherwise, he would be left in a cast and her in tears.
There are three areas, he said, where it is of the utmost importance to make sure two people are as compatible as possible. One is spiritually. If the pair cannot agree on the essentials of Christian doctrine, there will definitely be some tension. Even in the nonessentials, it is important to try and find someone who is fairly similar in beliefs, although iron sharpening iron is also a good thing. The second area is emotionally. Does the pair share favorite hobbies, interest, and passions? Do they like to do the same things, and can they understand each other on an emotional level? Thirdly is physically. One should be able to look at her potential mate and be absolutely certain that he is the most beautiful thing she has ever seen and that she would never want to be with any other person for the rest of her life. The danger of not satisfying these three areas is if she settles for a partner, with full knowledge that in one or more of these areas there are severe differences in constitution between the two of them, then they are surely guaranteed a difficult marriage. A marriage that will be full of nasty compromise, bitter resentment, and unfulfilled longings. I think we have all witnessed this in the marriages of friends and family members – the happiest marriages are those where the husband and wife have the most things in common. At the end of our “relationship” conversation, Jay passed on a quote that he had heard from an old friend:
“It is better to be single and want to be married, than to be married and want to be single; because you can’t do anything about the second part.”