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“He may be the ideal man”

I’m sure every person has a mental picture of what
they would like their soul mate to look
like. When I was growing up I knew that
I wanted a man who was tall, lean, with
light skin and elegant hands (I have a
thing about stubby fingers). He would be
a respected man in the community, be
very educated, and be super romantic. To
be completely honest, I wanted to be a
pastor’s wife. So when I met the man
who would become my husband, I didn’t
spare him a second look. In fact, I didn’t
really bother to make note of his
existence. He really didn’t look like
anyone I would usually be attracted to: he
was tall, yes, but very bulky and slightly
overweight; matter of fact, his face still
had the baby chubby look to it.
We started off as friends, so I didn’t
really take time to contemplate his looks.
Our friendship started really casually and
kind of happened without me even
noticing. Our churches had the same
pastor and we would see each other at
youth events. We started taking a youth
leader class together with a few other
mutual friends and had some projects to
complete before we could get our
certificates from the class. So in the last
month of our program we started meeting
up to work on the projects together. He
invited me to Bible studies and they were
really amazing, so we would end up
having long talks about God, life, and
everything else in between.
It wasn’t until he expressed to me that
he was starting to become attracted to me
that I realized he was totally opposite of
what I wanted my man to be like (or so I
thought). So I let him know immediately
that I didn’t see him that way, and he
was okay with that. We continued being
friends, but the more time I spent with
him, the more my heart was touched by
his sincerity and integrity. And he was
just a really good friend: encouraging and
always willing to listen and give godly
advice. He would remember little details
of our conversations and surprise me
with encouraging text messages, cards,
and other small gifts. And that made
me….. panic.

As time passed I became more and more
anxious because I could feel myself
“falling” in love with him even though I
didn’t want to love him. I kept reminding
myself over and over that his looks
weren’t what I was looking for, that we
weren’t compatible because I was done
with school and he wasn’t. I was already
working in my career and he was still
trying to figure out what his calling was.
I came from a close-knit family and he
came from a very broken up home. It just
seemed like aside from being sincere
Christians we were opposites in every
way.

I made up my mind to break things off
with him before they could even start. I
told him I needed to meet with him to
talk. We met up at a park. My heart was
pounding so hard, I felt like I couldn’t
breathe properly. I tried to explain to him
that I didn’t want to go any further with
our relationship, but in reality I had no
idea what actual words were coming out
of my mouth. Now that it was time to
break things off I just couldn’t bring
myself to say the words. I broke down in
tears at the end and ended what I’m sure
was a confusing speech with “But I can’t
see myself not having you in my life.” Or
something like that before I burst into
tears. My husband (then friend) was
taken aback, to say the least. He could
see that I was struggling with the
decision I was making and that I myself
wasn’t convinced of what I was saying.
Long story short, we’ve been married for
6 years, have two kids, and we’re still
best friends. He’s turned out to be an
even more awesome guy than I imagined.
And I’m excited to see what else God has
in store for us as a couple. But I said all
that to say this: sometimes you have to
get out of your own way. I learned from
my experience that the person you marry
ought to be the person that you can be
completely vulnerable with. It should be
the person who makes you feel that you
can be all of yourself with: the good, the
bad, and the ugly. That person may not
have the characteristics you prefer (6’7
height, caramel-colored skin, six figure
salary, etc) but at the end of the day you
need to ask yourself what you’d rather
have: a stunning wife/husband who’s
looks make everyone envy you, whose
bank account can assure that you’ll never
have to worry about money, OR the
person that you feel comfortable kissing
with your morning breath, puts up with
your stinky farts, or won’t look at you
crazy for wanting to arrange your shoes
in alphabetical designer order.
The Bible says that there is a friend that
sticks closer than a brother. That is the friend
is the one you should marry. And believe
me, the emotional attraction that you
start to develop with that person will soon
become a physical attraction as well. It’s
kind of the natural order of things that
when someone captures your heart, you’ll
start to see them in a new light. Once I
let myself fall in love with my husband,
the physical attraction grew on its own. I
love my chocolate honey bear! So my
take-home message is: don’t automatically
friend-zone people who don’t meet
“standards” that are actually superficial
preferences. It’s okay to have them, but
don’t make them more important than
the person’s character or the connection
you have with them.

Gifty Bemah, UCC.

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