As an adult who has been jilted in love big-time, I have found that my cynicism is almost overwhelming. With my divorce date approaching, my children have started to ask questions and make suggestions about my potential love life. I have been appropriately honest with Cecely and Titus from the beginning of all of this. We have talked about me not dating until I am divorced for my own personal beliefs and reasons. I also don't want them to be blind sighted by changes that will come up in our future. Through the eyes of Cecely and Titus, they just want to know that I am going to be taken care of. They want to know that they are going to be safe. They want assurance that we will all be happy. I love that they feel like they can talk to me about all of this. Today, we had a lengthy conversation about who they wanted me to date. I asked them what was important to them about the man I would date. Their responses were:
- He has to be funny.
- He has to be nice to you all of the time.
- He has to hold your hand, but not just on Sundays.
- He has to make you smile and laugh.
- He has to like movies.
- He has to be nice to us and play with us.
- He has to like Star Wars (that was Titus-specific).
After that conversation with my kiddos, my mind went into over-load. I thought of how much I have been through. I thought of how I like the freedom I have in my life right now. I thought of the fears that consume my heart at the thought of letting another person back in. I thought of the risk that goes into any relationship. I thought of the selfish desire I have just to relax and have fun. I have learned that marriage is not a lighthearted decision, nor is it a lifestyle for the faint of heart. I know me. When I'm all in, that's all there is to it...and marriage is an all-in commitment. I will hang in there until the person kicks me out or until there is a Biblical reason for the relationship to end. I am not ready for that at all. I am not even wanting to entertain that thought. I realize that to many, this is me being a cynic. To me, this is me being a realist based on my life experience.
On the flip-side of the coin, I will acknowledge that I hate being alone. I will admit that I have a need in my life to serve someone else, to take care of someone. I have the great desire to have God show me the person He has for me to live life with and to grow old with. But, even admitting those things makes me nervous. I do not believe God wired me to be alone. I believe He has given me great things to offer another person. I may be the biggest hypocrite on the planet...I want to be loved, but I am very scared to let someone love me. The very idea brings fear to my heart.
The good news is, I'm not in any rush. God gives us seasons, and I plan to take advantage of each one He presents to me. Right now, I am still in a waiting season, a healing season. I know that some hurts will linger and bring challenges to any future relationship. I also know that God has shown me grace and forgiveness so that I may show them and receive them. I do not know what God has in store for me...I know He has already written my story. I am happy to take it chapter by chapter. Sometimes I think it would be nice to flip to the last page and know what's coming; but, I have learned, if nothing else, through this journey that His time is always perfect.
So the battle between cynicism and hope persists in my head and heart. I have these moments when I think I do want to be the girl who wants to be swept off her feet. Then, I immediately flip to the thought of being suspicious of any man who may be trying to sweep. I did make a list of my dream man...I wrote it out several months ago as an assignment for counseling. When I look at the list, I see a healthy amount of realistic qualities with a sprinkling of romantic ones. In my mind, the solid qualities outweigh the fanciful ones. I would rather have a person I can trust and who is steadfast than one who brings flowers or writes poetry...just my personal opinion.
As I look over my Dream Man List, I do think it's funny that some of the things I hope for are the same things Cecely and Titus hope for. The following is a tiny excerpt from my lengthy list:
- Loves, follows, and obeys God.
- Has a good sense of humor.
- Understands my sense of humor.
- Love my kids, play with my kids, protect my kids
- Is affectionate.
- And...the kids are right, he has to like movies.