Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear Single Lady : On Opposites Attracting



Dear Single Lady,

I know that you've heard that opposites attract.  Heck, you've seen opposites attract everywhere.  In Cinderella, the Prince got to live a fancy-schmancy life while Cinderella scrubbed fireplaces and made friends with mice.  In Aladdin, Jasmine was a rich princess, Aladdin was a street rat.  And in my favorite, Beauty and the Beast, Belle was a poor, passionate bookworm, and the Beast was, well...a beast.  You get the picture.

I dated a lot of boys throughout my single lady years.  Most of them were opposite of me.  The opposites were always fun for a while - they kept life more interesting.  At the same time, though, the opposites always ended up ruining things.  In the end, we just couldn't see eye to eye on important stuff.  We were coming from such different life experiences, we would never work.  I figured opposites did attract initially, but they did not lead to happy endings, like in all the movies.  Thanks a lot, Disney.

Lesson learned.  

With my new-found wisdom, I decided to date a boy that was not so opposite and more the same as me.  Certainly things would go much more smoothly if we agreed on so many things.  

Things did go smoothly for quite a while.  We liked to do the same things, we liked the same movies, we liked the same music, we liked the same sort of style, we saw eye-to-eye on a lot of similar things, we had similar life experiences - smooth sailing.

...until I started realizing that there were a lot of underlying things that we were NOT in agreement on.  We had pretty different thoughts on the Lord, on how to live a full Christian life, on ministry, on gender roles, on the friends we surrounded ourselves with...  Though we could spend a delightful afternoon enjoying the same activities and hobbies together, the more we got into deep conversations about things that really mattered, the more my heart said, "Something is NOT right, here..."

I will skip a lot of dramatic details and tell you the end of the story.  I dumped him.

Fast forward to meeting Mr. Mark DeYounge.  (Spoiler alert: He is my husband.)

I was so convinced that Mark was SO completely different than me, I never even gave him the time of day.  He was never on my list of "eligible" bachelors that I would even consider dating.

He was a star-athlete, I was a musician.  His hobbies were adventurous and daring, I liked to read books.  He seemed pastoral and super polite, I came from a crude and rude family that felt free to burp at the dinner table and say "shit" when we stubbed our toe.  He was muscular and toned, and I was an artist with lots of cellulite that couldn't run a block without huffing and puffing.  His friends were popular and athletic, my friends were not-so-popular band geeks.  He was super outgoing and energetic.  I was an introvert to the max.  AND, he was younger than me.  

But then he asked me out for coffee.  I was stunned. 

"What the heck?!" I said.

Nope.  Just kidding.  I said, "Yes."

I think it was because he was so good-looking.  

Anyway, I found out that we were ridiculously opposite in many, many ways.  But, because Mark was super direct and willing to ask tough questions early on, I also quickly learned that we believed the same things about the Lord, about marriage, about gender roles, about raising kids, about worship, about finances, about friends - about everything that was really important.  And you know what?  It turned out to be a match made in heaven.  Like, literally.

So what if Mark would rather play basketball or go climb a mountain, than sit in a coffee shop and read a book on a Saturday afternoon.  Big flipping deal.  We both stand on the same foundational Truths that hold our marriage together, in the midst of petty things.  We are united on the main, important, big deal sorts of things.  

We would go to war and die for the same things.  We are living our lives for the same things.  ...and there is something beautiful about that that seems to really work.

The best part about this is that, in our opposites, we compliment each other.  In our sameness, we experience a pretty sturdy, unshakable form of unity that is only from the Lord.  We both admire each other and challenge each other to grow.

So, dear single lady, though opposites do attract, what things are the important things you need to find similarly in your match?  Take some advice from my years and years of the crazy dating scene - don't waste your time on fluffy conversation.  Ask tough questions and talk about deep and "big deal" sorts of things right away.

Here are some great questions from the Desiring God blog to consider with your significant other...  Use your own discernment as you use or toss them.

Let me preface them by saying that they are deep and a little invasive sorts of questions.  It might be uncomfortable to ask some of them.  But...if you are scared to talk about these questions with your honey, ask yourself "WHY?"  In my not-so-good relationships, deep down, I didn't want to know the answers to these questions because I had a sneaking suspicion they would be not-so-great answers, which would leave me alone, lonely and desperately single...again.  Friends, let me tell you...it is so much better to be single than to be in relationship with a boy that you are fighting with, or distant from, or bitter about.  Yuck.  Do yourself a favor and ask about the things that are important to you early on.  Your time is precious, your heart is precious, and you certainly don't want to waste either of them.  

| What do you believe about...well, everything? | How do you handle the Bible? | What sorts of doctrines or beliefs do you feel the most passionately about? | How important is corporate worship?  Participation in church life? | How important is it to be a part of an accountability/support group? | What are your daily personal devotional practices? | Who will lead our family devotions? | What is the meaning of headship and submission in the Bible and in our relationship? | What are expectations about situations where one of us might be along with someone of the opposite sex? | How are tasks shared in the home? | What are the expectations for togetherness and quality time? | Who does the checkbook?  Are there two accounts? | If and when, should we have children?  Why?  How many? | What are appropriate ways to discipline them? | What about school?  Home school?  Christian school?  Public school? |  What's your view of money?  Tithing? | How should families spend money? | What sorts of vacations, toys, and "splurges" are appropriate and helpful for us? | What makes you angry?  How do you deal with your frustration? | Who should be the main bread winner? | Should your wife work outside the home? | How will you incorporate your friends into your marriage? |


Much Love,
Married Lady Who Wish She Would Have Learned These Things Earlier in Her Single Lady Years
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40 comments

  1. Dear Liza, I feel like we sing the same song a lot. I am in full agreement with every word you wrote! I come at it from the lens of one who sees it through love and the loss of it....all the same-BEAUTIFUL! I appreciated your use of the word "platform." I love to tell gals that our platform for a potential partner should meet the standard of Jesus! It is better to be in no relationship at all than to be in the wrong one! Although my story is a little backwards...Married years and now single years...again- you have encouraged my heart! Thanks, Liza!

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  2. Love this! Even at my old lady age, this is still so important to remember. I always tell my friends, "I've waited this long! I'm not wasting my time on a buffoon who can't get his poop in a group!" Also, I laughed out loud when I read your "I was an artist with lots of cellulite who couldn't run a block without huffing and puffing" line. That is my world. And I'm very happy there. :) Hope you are well!

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  5. Bethany - Thanks for your encouragement! Hope you're doing well!

    Emily - TOTALLY. Amen, sister. :)

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