For the past four years, biochemistry has been my boo thing, my love, my one and only. That major was one needy piece of work and two days ago, I decided to call it quits. Now, mind you, it was an open relationship so if I wanted to be in a serious thing with someone else, it was allowed.
Actually, it felt more like it was strongly encouraged in order to validate my womanhood.
Most of the past four years of my life have been set in the context of a private Christian university where the ideas of getting a “ring by spring” and an M.R.S. degree run rampant. A place where relationships, dating, love, and marriage are often topics of conversation among peers and every so often from the chapel speakers. I was a hopeless romantic who was eagerly looking forward to the day when I will get married.
But while I was talking to one of my best friends about love and relationships three weeks ago, she asked me, “Why do you talk about relationships so much?” I was a bit confused. I didn’t think I talked about it so much considering that most of my conversations this past semester revolved around science and my life outside of romance. But then she told me that she had been spending a significant amount of time among people affiliated with secular universities and these conversations of love are non-existent. She also told me that marriages tend to happen later in these circles (around the late twenties/early thirties) while I observed marriages happening much earlier in among young adult Christians (late teens/early-mid twenties). My friend went on to say that talks of career advancement and the work force tend to be the point of conversation among her peers who attended non-religious affiliated universities, a reality that greatly contrasts with serious relationships and marriage being central to many of the conversations she’s had with her friends who have attended Christian universities.
And just like that, I stopped being a hopeless hopeful romantic, not because I am pessimistic about love but because I realized that I bought into this notion that a grand portion of my life revolved around this idea: A person fails at romance considering the high rate at which new relationships and engagements are flooding their newsfeed compared to the virtual non-existence of his or her love life. It was almost like I unknowingly hit a subscribe button which resulted in the inboxes called my brain and my heart to be cluttered with a bunch of false and unnecessary thinking — that there is something wrong with you if you’re single. That the friends trying to hook you up are right and that “you need to get man.” That your singleness is a disease. That it needs to be fixed. That marriage is the ultimate telos that you are to spend your life working toward. I subconsciously bought into all of this. And I was immediately turned off to these ideas once I realized where they were coming from. With these ideas now removed, my concept of romance and the eagerness to pursue it really don’t have much of a foundation to stand on. But I realize not everyone who comes from a Christian background comes to this realization.
Friend, if you are single, know that your singleness is not a disease. While relationships and marriages are not bad things and have brought joy into the lives of many, it is not the most important thing in life. Marriage and relationships have been put on a pedestal in Christian culture both here in America and abroad. It has convinced many that there is something wrong with you if you’re are single. That you’re among the sad group of kids sitting on the bench waiting to be worthy for someone to pick you. But life isn’t meant to be lived sitting and waiting. And neither can you expect your life truly to begin when someone sees you as the one they’ve been looking for.
But wait a minute.
Does that mean my best friends will stop getting texts from me saying that I just saw a really attractive man whose face was carved by the hands of God himself? Will I refuse to discreetly get them to look at a crazy fine gentleman that just walked by us if we’re hanging out in person? Girl PLEASE. I have eyes. They are fully functional. And I will be crazy observant till the day I die.
It’s just a huge sigh of relief to know that if said guy were to stop and say hi, if our encounter resulted in a great conversation, if he asked for my number and a date (or four) were to happen that eventually turned into a serious relationship, I can take solace in the fact that it was my decision, made upon my readiness and my desire for that kind of thing at that point in my life.
Because I can tell you now that if that were to happen today, I would decline. I’m still getting to know this chick named Mary and I don’t know her as well as I should. Have you heard of her before?
Have you ever felt like you were inadequate because you were/are single? Was a big part of it due to the Christian culture you were surrounded by or did you experience it at this level outside of Christian culture? Or are you one of those people that honestly feels indifferent towards relationships?