You must be wondering why on Earth I am writing about this topic on my blog. Well, let's start with some facts: I'm a girl. And I'm 20 years old. Oh yes, and I'm Middle Eastern. What does that have to do with anything? Typically, girls in my culture are expected to get married and have a happy marriage. This may seem old-fashioned to some, but it is traditional. My parents (and many other Egyptian parents), do not force their girls to do this, but many do. So, for the sake of some girls out there, this post is for you. I hope it helps you and gives you the peace of mind that I have been blessed with. For the males out there, this is so you can appreciate what some of us go through! It might also apply to those males who have not found a life partner yet. Either way, I think it is worth reading. Just a reminder: most people are too shy to speak about this topic, so please appreciate that I am bringing it out in the open! :)
It is tough being in a society where dating and marriage are fantasized over. This is not wrong - it is a part of life. But it makes it difficult sometimes because there seems to be so much pressure on finding the 'right person'. It is hard when you come to this age and so many people around you are dating or getting married. You start to wonder, 'what is wrong with me? Why am I the only one who has not found someone yet? Why am I different?'. And then you start to criticize yourself, thinking of what is wrong with you.. You might name parts of your body that you hate, what you dislike about your personality, why you are not as good as others, etc. See how destructive this can be? You end up feeling so down because you have not found someone, and now also because you dislike yourself.
This is why it gets frustrating when people ask me if 'anything new is happening' with my love life. They want to know if I am dating, have someone in mind, etc. And I am sure they mean well. But it is tough getting these kinds of questions. To be honest, I do not know what is happening new in my life. I am unsure of whether or not I will be married, have children, etc. I do not even know where I am going in my career right now. I feel annoyed - at myself. I am angry that I do not have a plan for my life like others seem to. I am frustrated that I have not found someone who loves me and wants to spend their life with me. I am sad that I have no idea where my life is going, what my future hols, and who is in it. At the of the day, I feel like I do not know myself at all. and I am hopeless.
Having an eating disorder made it worse because I often blamed myself for having so many shortcomings. 'No one will ever want to be with me because I had ED. They will be scared of me and not want to spend their life with me. They will think that I am weak and ugly and fat. There is nothing good about me. I am an unsuccessful person. No one wants to be with someone who used to have an eating disorder. That is why I am not dating anyone. That is why I am alone. And my personality? It sucks. I am not fun or exciting. I am not funny, either. I am boring. I am not beautiful or special enough. That is why I will never find anyone for me. That is why I am not dating, engaged, or married'.
So I prayed. I told God how I felt and let Him know how frustrated I was. I complained to Him and told Him that I felt awful about myself and about my future. I asked Him why I was alone and why I was not in a relationship with anyone. And then I reflected on my own. And this is when I started to see that I was wrong to see my life this way. I was missing the bigger picture. Maybe I am not in a relationship with anyone. But does that mean that I am unworthy? No. Maybe it means that God is saving me for the right person. I do not know what God has in store for me, but I DO know that He knows what is best. I know that my idea of a perfect life and future is worldly - it is based on my own thoughts. But God is All-Knowing. He sees my future and is not limited by my human thinking. So, perhaps God is trying to tell me that this is not my time yet. Maybe I will be in a relationship later on in my life. Maybe it will be tomorrow. Or maybe it will never happen. Either way, I am confident that God will do what He knows is best for me. God does not play games.
Perhaps God is trying to tell me that my time has not come yet because there is more that I need to do before I become tied in a relationship. I don't know what that thing is, but it might be something important. Maybe I need to complete my education first so that I can get a stable job and income. Or maybe I need to grow physically, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. Perhaps my heart is not yet ready to support the love of a partner and children. Maybe I need to first learn HOW to love others with out condition. Maybe I need to learn more life skills, such as empathy, sacrifice, obedience, and kindness. The problem with today's society is that love and relationships are often sought out but not well planned and cherished. Are relationships all about getting gifts from someone and feeling special? Is it only about hugs/kisses and having someone to talk to? Or is there more to it? Relationships are about so much more than those things. In fact, relationships are more about giving than getting. You need to give the other person love, care, and time. You need to be committed. Maybe I am not ready for that yet. Maybe I still need to grow. I have a tough time taking care of myself and being a well-balanced person and leading a healthy and stable life. Am I ready to take on the challenges and responsibilities of another person? Thinking about this changed the way I thought about this topic...
Lastly, we need to remember that in the church community (and many other religions), marriage's purpose is to edify. What this means is that getting married and being in a relationship is supposed to strengthen our faith. It it supposed to bring us closer to God and help us grow in Christ. Do I want marriage for this purpose - to grow spiritually? Or do I seek relationships because of society and because others are getting married? Do I want to be in a relationship because I want to get closer to God? Or do I want it because I just want someone to make me feel loved and special? Do I believe that having a partner will make me a better person, or do I want this because I want to feel that someone loves me and thinks that I am wonderful? Do I want a relationship because it will make me a better Christian, or do I want it because I am sick of feeling like the only one without a 'special someone'? Thinking about this issue from these perspectives really changed my life because it showed me that maybe I am not ready for a relationship. And maybe I do not want it for the right reasons.
With regards to people asking questions - well, they will always ask. They want to know, after all. Perhaps I cannot control what people ask me. Maybe I cannot control their curiosity about why I am still single now. But I can control how I react to this. I can choose to not let it bother me. Instead of focussing on what I do not have, I can focus on what I DO have. I do not have to worry about if anything new is happening now, because I need to focus on what is happening NOW. Tomorrow will come, along with its challenges, experiences, and joys. But right now, I am living in TODAY.
The next time you feel sad or frustrated about this topic, give this some thinking. Or take a look at this blog post and remember what I said. It will not ALWAYS make you feel 100% better, but I guarantee that it will help you reconstruct your view and feelings on relationships. I pray that each and every one of you finds the right person, if this is what God has in store for you. If it is not, I pray that God grants you His peace and comfort and helps you realize that you have other wonderful things planned ahead of you. Remember that what you want may not be what God wants. But in the end of the day, what God wants is bigger, better, and bound to be full of blessings. We all do not have the same lives, and this means that God has different plans for each of us. Instead of being angry about what is NOT happening in you life, thank God for what is. And instead of wondering why you are not in a relationship, think about the other amazing things that God is planning for you. Do not waste your time being sad that you are 'alone' - because in fact, you are NEVER alone as long as you have the love of your friends and family, let alone the love of God the Creator! For those of you in a relationship, I pray that God strengthens it and that it grows in God's love and grace. For those of you not in a relationship, I pray that God continue to fill your life with what HE sees is best.