Changing Times

It was my lunch hour some weeks ago. The tiny restaurant was filled with hungry customers so I was relieved and surprised when I spotted an empty table near the entrance. I plopped my purse on the seat next to me and was just about to take a bite of a sizzling hot French fry when I saw my cellphone light up. 

It was my mom. 

“I just want to say that you are such a good daughter. You’re always giving, you always show love, you care about others. You never gave me any trouble. I’m sure you’re a good friend too.”

It was an unexpected boost. I smiled as I soaked up her praise. But then, her voice tinged with concern, she said,

“I just don’t want you to be alone.”

I spent the latter part of the call reassuring her that my solo life will turn into a duet soon. But a part of me saddened when she said that. 

Whether she will admit to it or not, my mother has a very simple equation for a good life:


I think a lot of women in her generation know that type of math by heart. 

My mother was born in the 1950s, an era where the minute there was a Mr. to your Mrs., you were set for life. 

In that time, a single woman in her late-twenties was as rare a sight as a unicorn galloping in Times Square. 

Which is why it’s an enigma to her why a woman like me is still untaken.

Times have changed. 

For the large part, the need for marriage is gone but the want still remains.

So out of those that want it, there’s a section of us who want to do it with God’s help. 

Out of that population, there are some that have a not-so-minor prerequisite.

Out of that portion, there are some that have an additional requirement.

Such ratios don’t make dating and finding a mate impossible.

But they do make it difficult. 

Not good news for eager and concerned mothers.

During another similar conversation, my mother mused, 

“I’ll sure be glad when you bring home a beau.” 

I laughed silently at her use of the dated term and thought, 

I’ll be glad too, Mom. 

All That

Everyone has an unwritten (or secretly written) list of attributes, features, and assets that attract them to the opposite sex. 

Some men like women with long legs. 

Some women drool over men with goatees. 

Some men are driven by women with pixie haircuts. 

Some women are captivated by men who can croon and vocalize with the best of them.

For me?

 I think I’m pretty easy. 

I have no real preference. I’ve found myself attracted to men who range in height, education, complexion, weight, vocal talent, etc. 

But one thing that I find attractive is something that I can’t compromise on. 

It’s a nonnegotiable. 

A must-have.

A deal-breaker.

A relationship with Christ.

Someone who won’t look confused when I ask him to pray for me.

Someone who places His will at the top of his daily To-Do list. 

Someone whose relationship with Christ is so important that he knows Him before he even meets me. 

Not a perfect Christian. Not a perfect man. But someone who has a real-life relationship with Jesus Christ. 

And because of this, I was told that I want too much. 

“You have to be willing to give chances.”
“Men aren’t as spiritual as we are.” 
“As long as he believes in God, he should be all right. “
“You can’t expect ‘all that’.”   
 The feedback was unexpected and dumped me into a sea of thoughts. 

Am I requesting too much?

Maybe because I’m not as familiar with relationships as they are, that’s too much to ask. 

But if I’m doing “all that”, why can’t he?

I felt alone. 

Like I was swimming against the current. 

Going against the grain. 

Hiking up a hill while everyone else was sliding down. 

But after shedding a few tears and praying about it, I came away with a measure of resolve and assurance. 

I shouldn’t apologize for desiring someone whose walk with God is in unison with mine. 

can expect all that. 

And will. 

Strangers Again

It seems like love stories always happen the same way. 

Two strangers who…

by mutual friends…

mutual interests…

attend the same school…

work at the same place…

use the same gym…

eat at the same diner…

or just by chance…

meet and begin a conversation that leads into an encounter that trails into a relationship. 

But once the shiny pink paint is rubbed off and the burnt brown of rust begins to show, a relationship will go through changes and stages.

A friend of mine sent me this video that I feel does a superb job of illustrating this truth. 

My takeway from it:

It’s what you do at certain stages that determines how it will end. 

Who loves you more?

The worst kept secret in my 7th grade class was Jimmy’s crush on Raquel. His infatuation with her was public knowledge, from the skinny buck-toothed class reject to our math and homeroom teacher. His cheeks would flush red whenever she’d speak to him. He’d spoil her with sodas and Crybabies from the corner store. A natural comedian, he would turn his talent on high to hear her laugh and see her smile. 

It was equally evident how his attraction to her was not exactly returned.

Raquel was beautiful. She knew it, Jimmy knew it, and the entire male body of our 7th and 8th grade classes knew it. But chubby Jimmy was only good enough to hang out with, take gifts from, and become distracted from the uselessness of middle school classwork. He wasn’t considered worthy for entry in her circle of suitors. 

I remember watching Jimmy trail after Raquel, shamelessly fawning after someone who would never fully reciprocate his actions. 

And at 12, it seemed off to me. 

It still does at 26. 

But I hear that, in a way, that’s how it should be. 

A friend of mine said, 

“In a relationship, the man should love the woman more than the woman loves the man. Women, we already love with all we have. So if our man loves us more than we do him, it will balance out.”

True, men and women do love differently. 

But when you start to measure, what conversion chart do you use? 

Two of his “I love you’s” equals 10 of mine?

Three of his kisses equals 5 of my hugs?

Nine of his hours spent helping me with my thesis equals 3 days of me taking care of him while he recovered from surgery?

Or is it 10 of his hours?

It’s tricky talk when we begin to speak of love in matters of portion. 

Love is intangible and if it can be weighed, the scales don’t exist.

 All in all, love is rarely what you say but always what you do. 

So make sure you’re doing something.