Dear Lucy: I have been dating the same woman for three years now and I am thinking about getting married to her. But each time I get ready to pop the question, I see something about her that I don’t like ...
Dear RC: Now before any readers get upset with you, I have to say that this letter could be written by a man or a woman. There are women who feel this way. The way we live today and the freedoms that our culture allow make it easier to avoid commitment to the hard work that goes into having lasting, loving relationships.
Maybe the question is not one of being afraid to get married. Maybe it’s the fear of the hard work that is required within relationship. There are lots of folk using lots of excuses for living alone. Yet, I am convinced that the marriage commitment is all about having someone to partner with in the human need to learn and to grow. You just can’t do that on an island by yourself! Do you have to get married to do it. No. But there must be something to it.
The good news is that you seem to understand that being married is serious business. When I finally met the man of my dreams, I had been married and divorced more than once! Why? Because before I met him, I got married for the wrong reasons. I prayed diligently to God to teach me how to choose with wisdom. When my Prince showed up, I was so intent on listening for God’s OK that the poor man almost got sent away!
I want to tell you what I did to help myself during our courtship. We dated for three years. During that time, I found lots of things to criticize or try to run away from. But, I also knew that he was probably seeing some of the same in me. Once I knew that he was the one with the spirit, the values, the love of the Lord, and a man who genuinely liked women as a species, I made a commitment to ask these questions when I didn’t like him or what he was doing at the time. So here they are.
• Does this cause me to change my mind about who I believe him to fundamentally be?
• Is this behavior a deal breaker and are we both clear on the boundaries of our values or is this a chance to clarify something?
• Am I speaking and acting my truth and allowing him to do the same?
• Am I expecting him to be a wimp and not a man? Is he expecting me to not have an opinion?
• And this is the most important question of all: What if I was married to him? What would I do? What if I had made a commitment before God to be with him, to support him, to love and care for him, to listen to him and to allow him to do all of these things for me as well...what would I do?
The purpose of these questions is to put your will and your imagination to work helping you to create the life you can love. To will means to exercise the power of choice and choosing. In every moment we are called to choose. We may do so consciously or unconsciously. But, either way we are exercising our freedom to choose how we want our lives to be. Imagination is the power to use the visioning capacity of the mind to “see” how we want our life to be and then using our will power to hold to that vision instead of a vision of what we don't want in our lives.
Learning to do the work that it takes to choose, to visualize and to commit to creating a life with another person is the most important decision you can make. In fact, why don’t you both agree to use the “what if” when differences arise instead of running away? Maybe it’s time to take the game to another level. The level of honest intention. What are your intentions?
Intending to succeed!
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)