Marrying someone is the second most important decision a person will make in his life, next to receiving God’s offer of salvation. Many people have said that marriage to the wrong person will lead to a life of hell on earth. It’s true, and I’ve seen it firsthand. This is why for all of my teenage years, I was scared of commitment. I became interested in a few quality guys, of course, but once they got too close emotionally and would start doing “boyfriend” things, I would back out and cut off all ties. It wasn’t that I was playing them; I was just scared.
Maybe I was looking for perfection in this dark, imperfect world. Maybe I didn’t want the kinds of marriages I was seeing all around me. Maybe I was afraid of being tied to the “wrong person when the right one comes along.” Maybe I hadn’t found someone good enough. Maybe…maybe. A lot of maybe’s.
What if he ends up not being the person I thought he was? What if he’s got attitudes and habits that I don’t like but don’t find out about until after we are married? What if I don’t like him as a person anymore later on? What if he ends up not loving the real me later on? What if…what if. Also a lot of what-if’s.
People usually associate “commitment phobia” with men, but I had a really bad case of it, too. I knew that no one was perfect, but here’s the thing: I didn’t even have high standards. All I knew was that the person must be a gentleman, taller than me, and not ugly. (Ah, yes, I was part of the Shallow Hal group [movie references yay!]). Sometimes I would think I knew what I wanted, but some other times, I would really just take the next guy that came along. For many years, I was confused.
Here’s the truth about all of it: It really wasn’t about what I wanted.
My commitment phobia was not the result of other people’s faults; it was the result of my not being secure in the Lord. Secure in the sense that I stop looking at a man’s faults and instead look at only Him. Secure in the sense that look at myself and see that hey, I, too, am imperfect.
It’s an amazing thought to me, even now as I write this, how my imperfections–my insecurities–have actually become my security. The realizations of these have caused me and continually cause me to humbly kneel and say, “Lord, I really do not deserve any good thing, but I am grateful enough for what You’ve already given me.”
Once I reached that place of security in my insecurity a few years ago, I found that my commitment phobias had completely vanished away, and had been replaced by dependence in the Lord, that no matter where He chose to bring me in the future, whether in marriage or a lifetime of singleness, I would be okay.
It’s a long climb to reach that point of saying “God will take care of me, and I will be okay,” and actually mean it. It’s a huge climb. It’s not just one step of faith: it’s a bottling together of all the circumstances and difficulties and the heart’s response to every single one of them.
Seeing a person the same age getting married and having children equals worrying that I might never get married because that time of life is passing me by: now how do I react? Do I start raising my “game” or go on Tinder to find someone, too? Or do I surrender with all my heart, my mind, and my lifestyle (which might mean to stop dwelling on daydreams and to start planning awesome single bucket lists instead) to the Lord? Do I remind myself, and actually believe with all of me, that He can also sustain me throughout a husband-less life?
I found that contentment in Him was the first step to everything: to enjoying life to the most and to loving others the most. Contentment in Him awoke me to real life, and it wasn’t a dark life. People say real life is ugly. I argue that in Christ, it is beautiful.
Contentment in Him started from my accepting that I was not worthy of anything good, but that He chooses still to be good to me. Contentment in Him was a gateway to my being secure in Him and being assured that no matter what, He would take care of me.
And I finally found that if I was secure in Him, commitment to another human being–with all his flaws and imperfections, but with his heart striving to seek after the same Christ I was striving after– is not such a difficult thing to give.