This is an idea that in a way flows quite smoothly on from the post of love versus infatuation which I wrote last week. That is, it occurred to me a few days after writing the post – not for the first time – that my attitude to marriage might be elevating a kind of fantasy at the expense of a relationship with a real, flesh and blood man. I cannot deny that I might have a tendency to do this. After all refusing real life in favour of a dream ensures that the dream guy will always be perfect, because he is a man that I create and control completely in my own imagination. He will never say the wrong thing, he will never demonstrate any bad habits and I will never actually have to submit to him. There will never be any awkwardness in interacting with him. By continuing to cultivate the dream then I can almost have my cake and eat it; I can tell myself that I am working towards marriage, while being able to continue to live my own life, not truly subject to anyone else, living as I like, eating, working, dressing, spending my time just as I please, without having to take into consideration any preferences that a real husband would have. If I were to drag this whole thing out of the realm of my imagination, however, immediately reality would hit, as I would then have to deal with a real man, with real failings and real demands, and have to live in the muddle of real compromises and imperfect communication that marriage represents for most people.
So yes, there is a valid argument that a “Mr Wonderful Dream” is a convenient little device for someone who does not actually want to deal with the realities of life. However, I believe that I actually do want a real man. Although an airy dream of no actual, physical substance might be a lot lighter and easier to manoeuvre, I am genuinely eager to put that all aside for a real, imperfect man. I must admit that there are many things I am not looking forward to, like discovering bad habits, or negotiating the freedoms I freely enjoyed in singleness without any need to negotiate with anybody, or any other of countless things. I also appreciate that marriage is a huge sacrifice (I almost feel as if I’m only succeeding in talking myself out of this thing as I’m writing it!) – especially if and when by God’s grace the time comes for children, and sleepless nights, and endless clearing up… I know that it will be worth it. It will be difficult, and challenging, and at times seemingly impossible, but it will be worth it, and it will be great to have someone else who is committed to fighting this battle alongside me. In holding out a long list of criteria, I’m only trying to maximise my own chances of success, and minimise many of the avoidable frustrations of marriage. The dream has been wonderful, now I am ready for the real thing. However, sincerely speaking, he does have to be good! 😉
1 John 1v8:
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
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