Well, the truth is that I continue to think about my blog posts after I have written them, and I mentally edit and rework my writings and reflect on what I have written.
And oh my goodness, reflecting on a couple of issues, I realised I had to drastically take action to revise what I had written.
Firstly 1. My husband must come first (after God)
Thinking about a few ideas that I had expressed, most emphatically in my post “What if I never get married” , it occurred to me that somehow I have lost sight of something that I had been carefully cultivating for so long in my heart. That is, that my husband ABSOLUTELY has to come second in my life only to God. Nothing can be allowed to come close to the place that he has in my life. That “nothing” includes my visions for my life. Even in cultivating my dreams for my marriage, I don’t want my husband to think that he has to fit in with those, but rather that I cultivate these only as a means of serving him, it’s not about me, it’s not about my dreams of a “perfect” marriage – although we all know that that does not exist. The irony is that this determination, to put God first, and husband second, LONG predates my decision to be great in life. I sincerely don’t know how it happened, that it totally got eaten up….
Secondly – re-examining my choice for Criterion No 1 – that is, that I have to be attracted to my husband. When I wrote that blog post, I tried to explain that it was not, and never first on my list of things I actually pray for, for instance, but rather I just put it at no 1 to kinda “get it out of the way” before moving on to more substantial “hard-core” criteria and characteristics. I don’t know how many characteristics I will eventually discuss – it may be 10, it may be 100, and while it not be “Number 1” in my thinking, it is still for me, essential.
However, I am now seriously sitting up and thinking that it was extremely unwise to list it first, despite my justifications listed above. The reason why I now think it was unwise is because I don’t want anyone to use my blog post as a justification for basing their marriage on attraction. (I also don’t want anyone to suspect that this is what I base my evaluation of guys on – for me attraction is important, but I know from watching others how silly it would be to base a marriage primarily upon this). And yet I also know that this is EXACTLY what many people do base their marriages upon – and suffer for their choices. I almost feel I have to beg for forgiveness from anyone who has read that article.
If you are that person who would use my blog post as an excuse to focus on someone just because of attraction, or physical appeal, then please listen to me, please don’t do this! I’m not trying to suggest that my blog posts might have great influence over people, but rather I know the way the human mind works, that sometimes when you want to do something, you use the slightest encouragement, sometimes from the most unlikely of sources, to justify your actions to yourself.
This is why this issue is so difficult. Sometimes, when you like someone, or are attracted to them, and the attraction is mutual, it is SO easy to read positive signs into things that they do, or into ways that you interact between yourselves. And if the attraction is mutual, then there is obviously the tendency for you both to act in ways that would impress one another, to act like a better person than you are, or than you are prepared to be, for the sake of winning favour from the other person. And then there is the role of imagination. Unfortunately my imagination is so powerful that sometimes someone merely needs to smile at me for me to ascribe to him all manner of postitive attributes – he is so honest, he has so much integrity, he is so sincere! It is as if these things exist in my mind, and when he smiles, it is as if he is agreeing to this list in my head, that yes indeed these characteristics do describe how he is. Actually, smiling can be a little dangerous, as when someone smiles, you don’t actually need much imagination to think of a future where he will be smiling at you, just as he is now, and you will be walking hand in hand, and it’s all very rosy and glowy. And then you get married, and then the real truth dawns for both parties.
This is one reason why attraction, though important, is deadly to base your relationship on. In fact, I now think that I should have phrased it differently – instead of saying that I had to be attracted to him, I could have phrased it that we can relate with one another intellectually and we can understand one another. For I believe that I have found that where these criteria are met, then there can be attraction, depending on other characteristics. However, where these criteria are not met, then there cannot be attraction, at least not from my side, no matter what else might be the case.
You know what, when it comes to evaluating a potential mate, I actually try to eliminate all thoughts of attraction, so I can more clearly see the guy himself. I know that ultimately it will be his character that will make me love or hate living with him and being united to him. So I try to aggressively cut out all thoughts of attraction in looking at the guy himself. This can be hard when you want to be in a relationship, and you are yearning for lovey-dovey things like holding hands, and a part of you wants to evaluate husbands for lovey-dovey holdy-handy potential. However, I’ve gotta be ruthless (not with him, but rather with my own tendencies). This is after all my future I’m thinking of. I hope that anyone looking at me will also be equally ruthless so that they can honestly evaluate my character, before they let attraction cloud their vision.
So, in looking at a guy then, if I want honesty as a characteristic, I want to see actual real signs of honesty. I don’t want to gaze into a smiling face and think “oh, he must be so honest!”. So yes, I do want honesty, but frankly, I want everything. I want a guy who sets high standards for himself and strives after them in holiness and purity, while acknowledging that he is totally imperfect. Otherwise, if my standards are higher than yours, then to submit to you I would have to come down to your level. And I would not want that.
Also, I need to know this guy. It takes time for character to reveal itself. This is something that you also have to bear in mind concerning attraction. That is, when I say “I can be attracted to him”, then I mean that I have to be able to be attracted to him after I have come to know him, and seen his character in action, and known that this is what he stands for (as much as you can know anyone before marriage). There are some people who kinda “grab” you by physical appeal the first few times you meet them, but then, once you’ve known them for a while, you barely even notice them in the room. Then there are others whom you might not truly notice at all on first meeting them, and yet, slowly you find that you are noticing them more and more, until you eventually have to say to yourself “I am going to aggressively cut out all thoughts of attraction until I have known him for at least X length of time…” Perhaps the thing to do would be to aggressively cut out all thoughts (not just thoughts of attraction) towards any particular guy until X time of knowing him has elapsed, to allow any “interesting” character traits to manifest themselves. For example, imagine if he did not believe in tithing?! Then what would a holy, Christ-centred girl do?!!!!! 😉
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
Photo of Castle Ruins by Brigitte Werner on Pixabay