Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Mom has given me lots of advice over the years.
If you want friends, you have to be a friend. Drink lots of water. Read books more than you watch television… the list of good advice is endless.
But it wasn’t until a few months ago that she told me, what she prefaced as, her “best piece of advice.”
The circumstances of my life that prompted her to give me this piece of advice was such. I was sad, confused and not sure which direction I should take my life and namely, my career. Up until this point I had been solely focused on what was proving to be quite a difficult career path and I had found no instruction, book or mentor on “How To Become An International Travel Show Host”.
I had decided that would make me happy.
Living in Chicago, I was far from family, friends and though God is everywhere and knows no bounds of geography – I was far from Him too. I was just so focused. If I could just hit my career goal – I was convinced, that everything else would fall into place.
Well, it didn’t. And I’m not even sure it was headed that way. I was having a lot of fun but enjoying very few real relationships. And though I didn’t even know it, I was lonely.
It wasn’t that I didn’t go out, or date or enjoy the company of men – quite the opposite actually. But what I saw in most relationships wasn’t something that I cared to emulate in my own life. I saw men cheating on their wives, women wanting to be wives so badly they would ‘accidentally’ get pregnant and both sexes- allegedly in committed relationships- always on the lookout to upgrade.
I would rather be a little lonely than a fool.
And so I had system… date many, get attached to none and focus on my travel dream.
Also, since I had not achieved the elevated career position I so desperately desired, it didn’t make sense to settle for any man in my current circle of influence. After all, if he were similar to me, I would outgrow him, but be “stuck” with him when I became rich and famous. It’s the brutal truth of how I thought. So though at times, I wanted a boyfriend/husband, I wouldn’t commit or say “forever” to someone if I knew I didn’t mean it… if I thought I could “do better” someday.
Truth is… no one was good enough for me – not even me.
I wasn’t good enough to find the man of my dreams because I had not fully realized my vision of being somebody. And as the years drifted on, I became numb to my desire for an authentic relationship.
Oh sure- I suppose secretly I hoped for some version of the Cinderella story. The handsome prince sees the potential in the struggling artist and saves her. But outside of a white horse, fiery dragon and kingdom as far as the eye can see- I wasn’t going for it.
As you can probably surmise- that never happened. And besides, my dating strategy was working for me (or so I thought).
“The first few dates were always the best ones anyway”, I’d advise to girlfriends. “The men are on their best behavior, take you to the fanciest places they can afford and getting to know a new person, or at least the parts they want you to know, is extremely exciting.”
All fun. All surface. No one gets hurt.
With this philosophy, I took what I thought was just a “winter break” from Chicago and retreated to reassess my career path at my parent’s house in Texas. Contrasted to the relationships that I had most recently witnessed in Chicago, spending time with my parents opened up my eyes to something completely different.
I wanted what my parents had.
Day in and day out, what I had once called “boring”, now looked genuine, rare and desirable. I saw true love, up close. Sweet comments and thoughtful actions now appeared more precious than gold. They were a team in the best possible sense.
But could someone really love me just for me? Doubtful. I needed to achieve first. Then I would deserve the man of my dreams.
Mom treaded lightly in a conversation that began on the topic of my career.
“I just wish I had someone to help me. Someone to talk to who really cared…” I told her.
She replied, “It sounds like you want a soul mate.”
She had been intentional in using the word “soul mate” instead of the word “husband”. She understood my disdain for being “that girl “and soul mate was a phrase I had not associated with female weakness.
A soul mate… My soul mate… Someone that saw the best in me. Someone that would support me and care for me regardless of my social status, bank account or body measurements.
Ugh. She got me. I burst into tears.
“Jen… my best piece of advice for you is to marry a Christian man,” she said. “A man after God’s own heart, dedicated to living a life pleasing to Him and loving you the way that God loves the church.”
I reflected on her words the next few days and considered her advice in the context of how much she has proved that she loves me. (I could go on and on about how much this woman loves me but suffice it to say, I am truly blessed.)
I thought about the sincere intention with which she gave me her “best piece of advice.”
Up until this point, her track record had been about 99% accuracy in giving me solid counsel (regardless of it I took it). And though it was not the advice that I was looking for – I was hoping for some strategic career guidance, it was still her best piece of advice.
The woman who is kind to unkind people, generous with her time and resources, wise in so many ways and has always had my best interests at heart told me…
It is not good to be alone. Marry A Christian man.
My way wasn’t working. And so, God willing, I shall take her advice. Perhaps you who read this should take it too. She’s really smart and almost always right.
Thanks Mom. I love you sooooo much.
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