Tiffany’s Love Story: The Struggle Between Marriage and Singleness
I’ve been a little bit dreading starting this post. You see, this month we’re sharing our love stories– Christina shared a super romantic story of her and her hubby, and MaryAnn talked about the obvious hand of God changing her heart as it relates to her marriage.
But me? Well, my husband and I’s love story is a bit complicated and pretty messy.
It all started in college. I lived in an all-girls dorm. Jake was good friends with the girls down the hall. As is the nature of dorm-life, we got to know each other through waves and “hey, how’s it going?” as we passed in the hallway or piled into a small dorm room to watch a movie with 35 other people.
A series of small events happened to change our relationship from casual to interested:
- My friend across the hall asked me to go to a party at the local campus ministry and make sure Jake didn’t start liking someone (my friend obviously was crushing on him). “But don’t start liking him.” Uh, you have nothing to worry about, I replied. We chatted a bit that night, and I was true to my word.
- Free Open Diary/Xanga. A big bunch of us started engaging in what began the blogging world as we now know it. We shared our ideas and thoughts and feelings about God and life and culture on the webs. As I read his entries, I began to respect him more and loved his unusual ideas and geniusness (seriously, my husband is super smart).
- AOL Instant Messenger. We chatted online many nights over Christmas break and became much better friends. Again, thank you internet technology.
- By the time school started back up at the end of January, I was more interested in Jake, but I’m not sure I was “all in” yet. And actually, I didn’t think he was interested in me like that, so I kept expectations low. So, on Valentine’s Day, a group of us single ladies made some fun shirts, did our hair all fancy and went out to dinner together. SO MUCH FUN. Later that night at our campus ministry gathering, Jake told me that I looked really pretty. UM WHAT? Needless to say, that night raised my expectations.
So I’m not sure how it officially started, but we ended up dating a month or so later. Then we broke up. Then we got back together. Then we broke up again. We couldn’t seem to get on the same page.
The Call of Singleness
We ended up “friends” for the next couple years of college, and while we obviously still liked each other, something was holding us (ahem, Jake) back. He was seriously contemplating the call of singleness for the sake of the gospel. For those of you who are unfamiliar, in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul talks about the choice of staying single so that one can dedicate one’s entire life to sharing the gospel. Jake had dreams of moving to the heart of Africa, living in the jungles, and sharing Jesus with unreached people groups.
Have you ever read the Journals of Jim Elliot? That was our life living itself out. And while it sounds a bit romantic reading about it from the mouth of Elisabeth Elliot, it was really difficult to walk through. I loved him, but felt like I also wanted him to do what he wanted to do and of course follow whatever call God had on his life. And while he loved me, he also liked being a college boy while wrestling with this weighty call on the side.
My college friends can tell you how crazy I was to stick with him through all of that. And in reality, we didn’t do it perfectly. We were just friends one night but ended our night with a kiss the next. We visited each others’ houses over the holidays, even though we were ‘just friends.’ We were both struggling to understand. And both of us weren’t mature enough in the relational department to do this gracefully.
Confused yet? 🙂
Fast forward lots of discussions, lots of tears, lots of heated conversations (I’m pretty feisty).
The Turning Point
I was just about to leave for a summer trip to China. We were out on the back patio of my townhouse, sitting on a blanket, looking at the stars. We were talking about what I was excited about, what I was nervous about, etc. At the end of the evening, he asked me if I would like to be his girlfriend. I was floored. What?! I thought we weren’t dating? What about singleness? He explained that he came to the conclusion that the single life, while an honorable calling, wasn’t for him, and that he was in love with me. He wanted me to go to China feeling completely free to focus on what I was going for, and not worried about the status of him and me, or what was going on back home. Needless to say, I was on cloud nine in that plane the next day ;).
Six months later we were engaged and the rest is history!
So, I guess what I want to say is, if your love story is messy or hard to explain to others, or if you just wished you would have made different choices along the way (while still having the same outcome, of course), it’s okay. We all have different stories and that’s part of what makes us unique. And in reality, this love story makes perfect sense for the way God has wired both Jake and I. Fiesty. Deliberate. Idealistic. Risky. Thoughtful (sometimes to a fault). Stubborn. And your love story probably does for you too :).