Sunday, December 5, 2010


Last night my husband and I were talking about a friend - let's call her Jane.

Jane was a friend of my husband's in high school, and is now a facebook friend with whom he keeps in some touch.  Last night while he was perusing his news feed he shook his head and said, "That poor girl."

Curious, I came over to the computer desk, "Who?"

"This girl from my high school, Jane."  He said.

"What's the issue?"

"She's one of those girls who completely defines who she is by who she's with."

I nodded.  Somewhat sadly.  This was a phenomenon I understood well.

He continued, "She just got divorced less than a year ago, and she's engaged again."

"Did she know this guy before she got divorced?"

"No," he said, "It wasn't like that.  It wasn't two months after she and her husband split she was posting on facebook that she needed a man, and she was surfing all the dating sites."

"Yeah."  I said.

I wasn't sure if I should post about this, considering there are a lot of women and girls in my life who do, in fact, define themselves by who they are with.  But, as per usual, I figured that was a pretty good reason to post about it.

Sometimes, that whole, defined by your boyfriend thing works out for girls.  They find themselves genuinely interested in the things their boyfriend is interested in and the changes are sometimes positive.  Sometimes those girls end up married to that man and he cares enough about her to work hard to discover who she really is underneath all that insecurity.  I've seen this happen.

The truth is, however, this isn't the norm.

Most of the women and girls I know who are defined by their relationships are on a serial dating track that seems to spin in an endless circle and lead to nowhere.  When they get married, they end up supremely unhappy, because the person they are inside has been so suppressed.

It reminds me of that movie, Runway Bride, with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.  She kept balking when she walked down the aisle and running away, because at the wedding she realized that she wasn't who she was at all.  That she had become who that person wanted her to be.

The most poignant scene for me was when Gere's character went to all of her exes and asked them what sort of eggs she liked.  All of them said the type, and then, "...same as me."  She had changed even the sort of eggs she liked to fit the man.  When he questioned her, she didn't even know what kind she liked all on her own.  They had to do a taste test to figure it out.

The movie was a good example of how this can happen to a woman, and what it makes her feel, though I must say I was a little disappointed that it made it seem like she needed ANOTHER man to figure out who she really was.  It just continued the cycle of dependency stereotype that has been propagated forever.  The very stereotype that made the woman who she was in the first place.

I guess what I'm trying to say is two-fold.

1.  If you don't know who you are when you're single, you probably don't know who you are at all, and you'd better take some time to figure it out.

2.  If you think you need a boy to make you complete, or a man, for that matter, then you need to go somewhere else to fill that void.  It's not fair to a guy to require them to complete you.  To be your whole world.  To define you as a human being.  That's too much pressure for any man.  Maybe that's why the relationship cycle has become serial.  They run scared.

Can you blame them?

Ladies, I want to tell you - the only One who can fill that void is Christ.

I know this seems like a cop out answer.

I know that when you're down there in the dating trenches it feels like that boy is the whole world and sun and stars.  That if you could just be with him, you could be happy.  That if you could just be with someone, you wouldn't have to feel alone.

I want to say that there are girls I know who had that philosophy.  And now they are married to that boy.  And feel more lonely than singleness ever felt.

Juliet's question, "Dost thou love me?"  Am I beautiful?  Am I lovely?  Women have asked them since the world began and we keep going to men to answer that question for us.

The problem is that you can go to every man in the world and he will falter.  He will mess up.  He will hurt you somehow, sometime.  Maybe that relationship can be patched and there can be healing.  But if your worth is totally tied up in what that man thinks of you at any given second of the day the chances are high you will be disappointed.  You're talking about a human being.

The only One who can consistently answer that question, Juliet's question, "Dost thou love me?" with a resounding yes, unconditionally, every single time, is Jesus.

So take it all to Him, ladies.  He can take it all.

May you find peace and comfort in this.


The Lord says,
[Return to me]
Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
my love will know no bounds,
for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to [you]
like a refreshing dew from heaven.
[You] will blossom like the lily;
[you] will send deep roots into the soil
like the cedars of Lebanon.
[Your] branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon...
O, ...stay away from idols!
I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
all your fruit comes from me.  - based upon Hosea, Chapter 14, verses 1 - 8

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