Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

March 7, 2009

Are You My Husband?

Dating.  Let's face it.  It can be very awkward.  It can be fun and wonderful, but in the beginning, it's awkward.  

1) You meet someone that you might not know very well (or possibly someone who was a friend and is now potentially more), and you pick a setting to get to know one another.  The setting can dictate the conversation or it can stifle it.  If it's an enjoyable outing then you make plans to meet again, in a new type of setting hoping to learn more about the other person. (Although, sometimes you might give the guy a second date just to make sure that the first really was as bad as you thought!)   

2) Young professionals need to schedule these meetings around their work and social agendas, and so they are not spontaneous and rarely follow the whims and movements of anyone's affections. College provided the opportunity to bump into each other in the library or in the dining hall and to go for midnight walks or sit on the sidelines of a soccer game together.  

3) If you are like me, by the mid-twenties the temptation to solely consider dating as a browsing through the possibilities of a potential husband while having an attitude of "let's get these initial dates out of the way and skip to the relationship part" is all-consuming.  I call it the "Are you my husband?" syndrome, because it reminds me of Dr. Suess' story of a little bird who is looking for his mother and stops to ask various animals if they are indeed who he is looking for.  

This Dr. Suess Syndrome is really the only thing that I feel I can change to make the process less awkward.  Though I know that a basic human instinct is to find a mate, it's easy to get lost in the present when I'm essentially sizing up each man that I go out with from the get-go to be my husband.  A wise colleague advised me to enjoy the other's company, to stay in the present moment, and to really connect on a human level and get to know each individual man.  

Although the little bird in the story eventually finds his mother (how nice for us if life was tidied up so neatly!), I do not know how my own story will end or how my single vocation will deepen or be changed into a married one.  I think it would have been hard to sit the bird down and say, "Just enjoy the journey of finding your's all about the ride." But the single life really isn't about the frantic search for a husband.  It is a vocation rooted in the present moment, in the gray, and although it can be filled with awkward first date stories and unfortunate conversations over dinner, it's okay for now that the plot line is uncertain.  

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