We live in a world where we wait for the right one to come along. ‘When you know you know’ is the advice offered to the singles of society.
We had been dating for about four years when we had a major fall out. One night, I remember vividly sitting in the passenger’s seat of Justin’s car with my feet on the dash parked outside of my apartment. Things had been weird for the past few weeks. I kept bugging him about what was wrong and why he seemed so off. He was quiet. Every word he said was very calculated. And then finally it came out. ‘Mer I’m just not 100% sure I want to marry you.’ I stared back at him, I didn’t utter a word but in my mind all I could think was ‘what the hell?’
While we weren’t looking for rings and we didn’t have wedding dates in mind, we had been together for long enough that if we weren’t going to get married, I wasn’t trying to stick around and invest anymore of my life and time into this thing.
Surprisingly, I didn’t respond angrily. In so many words I told him that we had been together for four years and that I knew that wanted to marry him and that if he didn’t want to marry me, that was ok but I would just like to know sooner rather than later so I could get on with my life.
We talked through our options of breaking up and then getting back together if something changed, staying together while we figured things out and everything else in between. We ended up staying together while we figured things out (and that obviously worked out well because we’re now married).
A few months later I was sitting across the table from my dad at the bagel shop that he always took me on daddy daughter dates growing up. He knew that Justin and I were having a rough time and asked how we were doing. My dad, I’m convinced is actually a saint. He and my mom have been married for over thirty years, he’s raised four daughters and some how managed to maintain his sanity through it all so I figured he may have some words of wisdom on this matter.
‘How do you know if you’re supposed to marry someone? How do you know if they’re the right one?’ I asked. He was quiet for a minute, as all wise men are, thinking before he spoke.
He responded with a question; ‘What do you want and what are you afraid of?’
‘I want to marry Justin but I’m afraid of marrying the wrong person’ I said.
‘I don’t think there is such thing as a right or wrong person to marry.’ He said. My jaw hit the floor. What in the world was he saying?!
‘You love Jesus, Justin loves Jesus, you both are walking in the truth and because that’s the case, I think there’s a whole lot more that’s gray in life rather than being black and while.’ He said.
‘So you’re saying you don’t think mom was the ‘right’ person for you to marry per se?’ I blurted out still grasping to wrap my mind around this conversation we were having.
His response is still etched into my memory six years later. ‘As Christians we can get so hung up on God’s will for our lives wanting to make sure we don’t do something outside of his will. We stress, we lose sleep and we fret over making sure that decisions we make are inside his will. If you are walking in the truth and in communion with the holy spirit there is so much in life that you can decided, you get to choose. We think of things like who you marry, your chosen profession, where you live, how many kids you have etc. as ‘God’s will’ but if you’re walking in truth, he gives us the freedom in Christ to make decisions.’
That day, I began to see life in hues of gray, not all black and white, and it radically reshaped the ways I approached life and my relationship with Justin.
When you’re walking in the truth and if they are walking in the truth, there is no right or wrong person to marry. In God’s providence and loving kindness he gives us that person, our person, to spend the rest of our lives with.
It’s a scary but freeing way to live, when you see life and love and marriage in hues of gray rather than it being black and white, right and wrong.