Tag Archives: dating

An Honest Dandelion

Children are precious, especially when they’re still in the innocent stage of seeing every colorful bloom as a beautiful flower.  For a few years, those plants we invest hours and paychecks in eliminating, known to us as weeds, are bright perky flowers the color of sunshine, a wonderful way to express love.  Best of all, they’re free for the picking! Yes, my mother joyfully received many dandelion bouquets, and she put them in whatever cup or vase she could find for the hours they would last.
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When we grow up, we look back and laugh at those offerings, and we (ok, some of us) try to do better, in keeping with bigger incomes.  Between Mom and I, I’ve become partial to a tea rose that goes from cream/peach at the base to pink on the petal edges.  We know it when we see it, but it escapes accurate definition.  Others I’ve met prefer daisies, orchids, or any of the other varieties florists keep in stock.  Florists have yet to offer dandelions.

My friend and I were talking one day of how she has become desensitized to certain flowers.  They were presented, you see, by men who were being manipulative and hiding their true intentions (and/or tally of current girlfriends).

There’s a metaphor here that goes beyond flora & fauna.  Most of us would rather get a simple and sincere anything – compliment, note, smile – than the most practiced and cultured (and expensive) display of false affections.  An honest dandelion is worth more than an exotic floral arrangement.  Jesus said the same as He took note of a Pharisee and a Tax Collector praying at the temple.

This isn’t to let you fellas off the hook if you really mean to express yourself with fine flowers.  It’s just an answer for why your half-a-paycheck bouquet may find itself on the same shelf with a dixie cup of dandelions.

The Men I Didn’t Marry

Relax, guys, it’s not a full-disclosure expose, honest. It’s just that, occasionally, I think of each of you, and to differing degrees and for various reasons, I give thanks.

Mr. ‘First Love’ married someone else and had multiple children – now the family is in turmoil because of characteristics I was once too starstruck to see, but have since become familiar with. Many apparently confident people are working hard to keep their closet doors closed, ever fearful of the skeletons that may jump out & attack at any moment. Such people are distracted and fear that they cannot afford to be genuine. I’d rather have someone who throws his closet doors wide open, introduces his skeletons to my skeletons, and we can all dance in freedom.

Mr. ‘Close Call’ had his own issues (yeah, don’t we all). That could have been a real mess, with the control structures in both families and anger management issues in both of us. It would have been ugly. I dated another one with a controlling mentality – let me warn you, ladies, it looks like protection at first…it looks like care and leadership… but do more than scratch below the surface before you give him what he wants, because you may find yourself catering to his wants for a long time to come, and more out of duress than depth of affection.

Mr. ‘Too Good to be True’ is an illustration of God’s amazing attention to our every whisper. I hung up the phone, having been in a pleasant conversation with a fellow…we were in the first steps of the dating dance, and this guy was fairly impressive, so far. I tossed off a simple but sincere “if there’s something I should know, now would be a good time” prayer, and climbed into bed. I had just fallen asleep when the phone rang, 12:30 in the morning, and on the other end I heard the sniffling sobs of a man who was already committed, essentially engaged, to another woman. She & I spoke a few days later, she sounded more like a mom than a girlfriend (make sure you keep the distinction ladies, or it’ll come back to bite you). I don’t want a guy that I take from someone else, because he could as easily be taken from me. Hollywood is replete with examples.

The list of blind dates, well, internet match-ups, could fill chapters… it’s not that I’m such an experienced dater, it’s that these folks, well, if you’ve been there, you know. One was so without a sense of humor that he registered negative on the scale, so badly that it was rather humorous. One didn’t connect with anything I had to say, but tried to convince me he was highly enamored with the unique person that I am….hmmm… I’d rather be understood. A couple made for pleasant conversations with people I would likely never meet & talk to if we’d remained in our normal circles – interesting conversations, those. I’d encourage more pre-screening, and lower expectations – if it’s a fun diversion for a few hours, no harm done, enjoy. Some people really have met their spouses online and couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m one of those who sign up every few years to remind myself why I don’t sign up for online dating.

There’s one that I miss, less frequently now, but again, the starry glasses are broken and I can see both my errors and some of the elements in him that may not have fit me and my life’s path as much as I had convinced myself. It is because of this one that I offer the caution to take things slower than you believe slow to be. We get tired, anxious for the decision to be made, but that gets us a free ticket to broken hearts or worse disasters. He married someone else, and I have honestly prayed that he and his family are happy. This tells me that if he had been mine, we would have worked through the issues that divided us – he didn’t, so he wasn’t, so I give thanks for not marrying the man who wasn’t absolutely sold on the idea of me being his wife. I’m going to be committed to my man, I want him committed to me.

Finally, there’s the one that got away…quietly disappeared into the mist and has been impossible to find. Again, if he’s mine, he’ll find me, or God will put us in the same place at the same time, and we’ll take it from there. Until then, or until I’m introduced to the right one, I’m thankful that my story doesn’t include the issues I could have been facing.  Rather, it has me being free to minister to those who are dealing with them.

Relationships: design & distortion

It’s not good for the man to be alone – I will make a helpmeet for him. (Gen 2:18)

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know there are exceptions, I’ve met several of them. The trend, however, still significantly outweighs the exceptions.
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Guys seem to know this inherently… let a woman get sick, and she’ll hide away under the covers, occasionally coming out to make another cup of tea…. let a man get sick (you know this, ladies!), and he can’t quite reach the remote control that’s laying on the floor beside him – he need only drop his hand from the couch, yet he calls out for his wife. Let death visit a long term marriage, and the widow will more often than not shift into the single life and new (or renewed) interests… the widower, on the other hand, will often remarry in fairly short order. It’s not that he doesn’t miss and grieve for his lost wife, it’s that he’s simply lost without her and flounders until he gets remarried.

We ladies (take note, fellas) also crave companionship – we were designed to respond to, lean into, a partner. We want to share thoughts and projects and dreams and sunsets (maybe a sunrise or two, on special occasions) with someone who is committed to be there for the next one (or at least try). Those who find such a relationship, once, consider themselves very fortunate, and frankly don’t expect to find it again. This is why the widows tend to say “that was good, now for something different”. They have given their whole selves to one man, and it’ll take a lot to find another worthy of a similar gift.

Strangely enough, most people don’t get past the schoolyard mentality when it comes to relationships. The ladies are still anxious to let everyone know that someone regards them as special, and the guys are still blase about the whole thing – “oh her? yeah, we’re together”. Maddening! But it’s so classic that musicals have been written about it – ‘Grease’ comes to mind. Why is that?

Some time after Gen 2:25, the first man & woman made the decision that they should know and decide for themselves what is right and good, without interference from their Creator. We have been on our own ever since, except for those who have gone back to Him for direction. He told the woman, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen 3:16). I had long thought this was part of the decreed penalty, but I’m starting to believe it was a simple statement of fact. The world has been jostled from it’s original design (geek translation: there’s now a bug in the system), and this unreserved partnership will never be the same again. The core is still there, the need for a helpmeet, and the need to be needed… but, like all other things, it developed a protective thorny shell. Now we have this crazy denial dance we go through, so that we don’t have to admit to getting our hopes up in case the relationship ends.

Some of us, especially ladies, deny who we are so that we can appear to be what *he* wants. Some of us, especially men, deny the need for another person by juggling two lives – one still single, and one focused on winning *her*. He finds security in his independence, she finds security in belonging. When we get past the honeymoon, or 10th anniversary (depending on how long the mask holds out), we look at each other and wonder what happened to the person we married and who is this stranger? Eden’s scene plays out again: “this woman…it’s her fault”, “I was deceived” (Gen 3:12-13). Women in every generation since have been wary of another deceit, and men wary of a companion they cannot control – both certain that if they let their guard down, something will go wrong. And in the insistence on protecting ourselves by hiding from others, it inevitably does.

What’s the solution? Well, society tells us to keep putting on masks, maybe changing the color or texture from time to time in a frantic attempt to be attractive and fresh. It also gives us ways to pursue independent interests and suggests that we can satisfy some of those companionship needs outside of the Designer’s blueprint. The catch-22 spins around and the marketers profit from leading us through our own shortcomings. We try to emulate the airbrush models that hold his/her attention, while scooping up another magazine or TV show to safely partake in other peoples’ lives as though it were a spectator sport, all the while desiring to know and be known fully in a secure relationship with someone who will not leave on a whim nor take abusive advantage.

God tells us to stop hiding, and find our security in Him, confident that He will guard what is entrusted to Him, and fit persons together to their greatest potential. Take as an example the story of Ruth and Boaz, great-grandparents to Israel’s famed King David, or the tale of Esther, who through circumstances became Queen of Persia and was in the unique position of opportunity to save the Jewish people from genocide. History is full of such pairings that seem to have happened serendipitously, and worked out to great advantage to the couple and/or society as a whole. God has the best view of each life, and knows when & how to best combine two. Go about your days, be real with yourself and others, and trust Him who knows you inside & out.

Rollercoaster Day

This term, I believe I’ve attended chapel less than five times – there are a variety of reasons, not worth getting into, for the low count.  On this day, it was not my intent to attend, but, if you’re going to visit with someone all the way to the doors, it seems rather rude to turn about at the last moment.  The presentation was a testimony of one young couple’s love story and Divine matchmaking.  Charming, just what a never-married hopelessly romantic woman on the edge of 45 really wants to hear.

When they finished showcasing the many ways God’s still small voice (and occasional 2×4) spoke into their lives, I reviewed (as usual) my own list of almosts and near-misses, in reverse order, of course.  As though timed perfectly (when isn’t it?), I received a text message from one who I’m rather thankful got away.  (no offense, ol’pal, but we’d have never made it)  The  list isn’t complete without remembering the almost offhanded prayer that one guy looked too good to be true, and if there was anything I should know… followed within 20 minutes by a phone call and confession that he was already engaged to someone else.

Determined to redirect my focus, I chose to sit in my car and listen to a couple of radio ministries, interpreting one of them (my steering wheel was suitably impressed).  I headed for lunch with some new insights.

Interpreting class went well, it’s good to know that I’m showing some improvement (old habits die yard, y’know).  A little visiting, some packing, missed Bible Study, shopping for nibbles, filled the gas tank for $3.13/gal, a last quick stop and a 6 hour drive rounded out my day.  (arriving at 2am is my excuse for not remembering what else I was sure I’d remember to put in the post)

Even with a rough spot or two, it was a good day, and it’s nice to be among the folks and the dog, get the car checked out, laundry done (professionally), and have someone else in charge of menu & nutrition for a little while.

 

Third Date

While watching 1980’s TV in syndication, and a few of the more current offerings, I’ve discovered an important piece of cultural doctrine.  Unlike the days of courting in the family room under the watchful eye of grandmothers & little brothers, we are now expected to be in bed (ahem) on the third date.   From Seinfeld to Friends to M.A.S.H., in Two and a Half Men, Bones and CSI, the third date is declared the time for the ultimate commitment.  That is, says our culture & media, unless you’re one of those few weird people.

Once upon a time, and in a few other cultures, the bedroom was a perk of being married, right up there with the big party and three shiny new toasters.   It was the last bastion of privacy, surrendered between two people who have sworn before God, family, and friends that they will share it with no others.   But, that’s old hat these days.

It crossed my mind this morning, if we’re to behave as a married couple as of the third date, there are a few other items of business.  Starting with the third date, my boyfriend should start carrying groceries up three flights of stairs and help me put them away.  He needs to take over the responsibility of keeping both cars maintained and full of gasoline.  The quarters from his pocket get dumped into the container I keep for laundry money.  Oh, and that paycheck? Yeah – it doesn’t get spent on 3 other cuties at the bar next Tuesday, it goes into the joint account for the payment of utilities, groceries, rent/mortgage, and student loans.

After all, if we’re gonna break out the marriage perks on the third date, there are a few things I’ve been looking forward to.  (Sweetie, you might as well buy me those two rings, and you better believe we’re going to have the big party, and you’re gonna dance – with me.)