My marriage is not based on a set of choices over which I had no control. It is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love (in theory, don't imagine that many others were lined up and knocking at the door). He is not some elusive soul mate, not some divine fulfillment, not some perfect step on the rigorously laid out but oh so secret "Plan for My Life."
But he is the person that I giggly chose to go out on a date with in college. He is the person who chose to not dump me when I announced that I was moving to France for a year, then Kentucky for another year. He is the person who asked me to move to D.C. and I chose to do so. He is the person who decided to ask me to marry him and I agreed. At any step here, we could have made other choices and you know what? We might have married other people, or stayed single, and had happy and full lives.
But now I delight in choosing to love him every day.
I like it better this way, with the pressure on me and not on fate, cosmos, or divinity. I will not fall out of love, cannot fall out of love, because I willingly dived in and I'm choosing daily to stay in. This is my joyous task, my daily decision. This is my marriage.
Someday I hope to have daughters and sons. I am going to pray for their futures everyday, and I will pray for who they might marry, but also what job they will have, who their friends will be, and most of all, that they delight in becoming more like Christ. But when my daughters come home starry-eyed from camp announcing that they can't wait till the day they meet the man God has for them, I will probably pop their bubble and remind them that God doesn't have a husband stored away somewhere for them.
He has a whole life, one of rich and abundant choices. And it is awesome.
Oh, and for the record — I like James so much more than my imaginary, obnoxiously religious, youth pastor future husband. When I asked him if he had written Future Me letters as a child, he told me he was too busy memorizing Pink Floyd lyrics. But then he ran in the next room and wrote down what 14-year old James would have said in a letter to 14-year old Hannah: "I hope you're hot." That's why boys didn't get swept up in that movement ... they knew the truth all along.
(Also for the record, I actually think a lot of the high Evangelical movement was awesome, especially in so far as it made young people do a ridiculous amount of churchy activities so that we weren't out doing drugs or at home watching reruns because we didn't even have Netflix yet. I was at youth group every time those doors were open and I LOVED it.)
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