Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time to settle down?

So the other day I walked into the gym and when I opened the door I was met by my least favourite gym worker. She’s a spunky, short, blonde haired (with some help) lady who initially was my favourite. What happened you ask? I talked to her.

I actually hadn’t seen her for quite a while as I was going in at a different time than usual (or not at all, who am I kidding?) She immediately asked how I was doing, and how my family out east was (I don’t have any family out east), then we got chatting.

She randomly asked me how long I’d been married. I replied ‘8 years.’ She gave me a ‘You’re too young to be married 8 years’ look. And I replied with ‘I was 21 and indeed too young to have gotten married.’

Well the look of shock that then struck her face was priceless. It was as if she was waiting for me to announce my divorce (or that my husband and I kept things together through a neighbourhood swingers club – and I don’t mean the dancing kind).

Before I could let her answer my retort I explained that I had a great guy that helped make it work. All was good. She asked ‘You really think you were too young?’ I nodded and then said I wasn’t a proponent of people getting married young. She replied with ‘But if you want to have children, blah, blah, blah’. Then she went on to tell me that her 26 year old daughter STILL wasn’t married or in a long term relationship. Still? I said ‘26 eh? She’s still a baby! She’s got lots of time. And if she’s happy then what does it matter.’ This lady wouldn’t give up. ‘She’s not happy though; she’s dated lots of guys and just can’t seem to find the right one. She wants to have children someday and let’s face it, every woman has a clock.’ Something gave me the impression that this mama was the unhappy one here.

I hate a conversation that gets to this point, when you realize that you are obviously not actually a part of it. You know, when you are talking but no one is listening, you are really just there to here the other person’s woes. Don’t get me wrong, some woes need to be heard. The ones that make you go: ‘Ok so my life’s not bad after all’, or ‘Wow, I could learn something from this person’. To be honest if I were feeling overly kind and thoughtful I could probably squeeze out some sort of lesson, but really I just wanted to share mine.

It seems to me that when I share my views on the young people marrying, many who push it immediately get offended. Offended for themselves (as many of the ones who here me say this have married young), offended for Wally (how dare his wife have the gall to say she regrets getting married to such a peach of a guy), and offended that I would basically say that we should all wait until our eggs and swimmers are nearly expired before we commit to someone.

Ok so first off I want people to realize that it is the most honest part of me that is revealing this – I really should be more guarded with my thoughts and feelings. But why? I’m sure there are others out there that wish they’d waited but don’t say it for the reasons I mentioned above. They worry about people doubting their love for their spouse and the life they have. When I say I wish I’d waited it really has little to do with the person I chose to spend my life with and a lot to do with the fact that marriage is a super serious commitment that involves a lot of thinking about the other person. For example, I have always wanted to travel and do mission work, Wally does not share that same desire (at least not the travelling kind). I have to choose how much I care for one over the other. It doesn’t necessarily mean I give up one and chase down the other, it means carefully and prayerfully considering how to balance the two together.

You see when Wally and I got married we thought we had everything figured out. We thought we knew who we were and how we’d live and everything. Then, as I mentioned in my last post, my world got flipped upside down and I felt challenged and even convicted to LIVE the life I was given (Wally too). The old dreams I had suddenly came alive again. I wanted to go back to school, my desire to travel became more apparent and so much more. These things I’d ‘put away’ when we married. I thought they were for single life, not for people that are ‘settled’. In some ways doing those things aren’t for ‘settled’ people at all and that’s exactly why I want to do them. Why is it that when you get married all of a sudden you are expected stop seeking out perspective on the world?

Proof of this expectation to ‘settle’ has just recently become more apparent to Wally and I as many people we have run into from where we used to live have asked when school was going to be done for us. When we tell them that in 6 months we’ll both be done they are so excited for us. They exclaim: ‘The time will go by fast!’ (Um, who said I wanted it to?), ‘You’ll be so glad to have it done and over with!’ (Really? I kind of like school), and my favourite: ‘Soon you can settle down and get on with life!’ (EEK!! Really? Oh no! I was really hoping this was all the beginning of something new!).

For the record … I know beyond a doubt that God has a plan for Wally and I, that it was Him that drew us together and Him that has kept us together (along with our commitment to our marriage). I do not regret marrying Wally, however if I knew then what I know now I may have tried to experience a few more things BEFORE walking down the aisle, just because it would have been easier to do practically. HOWEVER with that being said, I completely understand that it is possible that there may be reasons why we got married when we did and that my life could be totally different if I hadn’t followed what I felt God was really leading me towards.

I guess I feel so passionate about this whole thing because I know that so many young couples don’t have the benefit of having two sets of committed parents (as Wally and I do), they see marriage as a romantic endeavor (fortunately Wally and I never really did and I think that helped A LOT), and they fail to realize that life can alter every part of who you are without you wanting it to (this we were NOT aware of and we sometimes are surprised we stuck it out this far).

So back to what I had originally started this off with… I think a key for people in our situation, who want to live daily a life of openness to God’s leading and revealing of the very cool and very challenging is not ‘setting down’ and saying ‘Ok I’ve done what I was asked to do (whether it’s getting married, having kids, selling your house and going back to school, or whatever it may be) I can sit back, relax and get on with my own plans now’. Instead it’s continuing to use and stretch that muscle of experience - keep trying new things, keep meeting new people, keep seeing through new perspectives. It is saying and living: ‘What do you want to do next God? Should I go or should I stay? Do I build a home here or do you want me to travel with a tent? What is your call for me TODAY?’

It's never time to settle down.


Wally said...

I really am a peach of a guy.

Eva said...

this is exactly why I am not overly abundant with the compliments ...