I’d Hold Your Hand And You’d Understand

February 16, 2007

With the passing of Valentine’s Day, and as spring approaches, a young man’s heart turns toward love.  Or in my case, the absence thereof.  In considering this absence, I’ve found myself considering my approach to the topic, questioning what I’ve really learned from past mistakes and successes, and trying to ascertain what the most Godly course of action would be in the future.  I’m asking these questions not because there is a particular girl on my radar at the moment, actually quite the opposite: for the first time since college, I find myself in the acquaintance of a great number of beautiful Christian women.  So now what? 

On that last occasion when I knew lots of fine (and I do mean fine) upstanding women, I developed a bit of a reputation.  In fact, one of my first posts on my old blog was about that reputation: I was considered somewhere between a player and desperate.  I wasn’t successful enough to warrant “player” status, nor was I so universally unappealing that I became “desperate”.  For lack of a better descriptor, I was simply girl crazy.  In my college years, a number of my close friends called me to account for my behavior, rightly pointing out that I was not honoring my sisters in Christ as I should.  Ever since then, I’ve been very paranoid about any behavior that would link me to this time in my past.  Not to say that I’ve done a perfect job of avoiding my own self-imposed stereotype, but a conscious effort has been made. 

Flash forward eight years.  I’ve lived by the above credo, doing my level best to treat all the women in my life with respect and only informing them of my affections when I can’t hear the chorus to Wilco’s “I’m The Man Who Loves You” one more time lest I explode.  But the game has changed around me.  My old attitude is as relevant today as the eephus pitch.  Not that I’m going to revert to the 18 year old me, who had much in common with a Labrador Retriever who needs to go pee outside; it’s more complex than that.  I’m in my mid twenties.  Most of my college friends are married or heading that way.  Both of my brothers are married.  I don’t say this out of self-pity: my point is that this is the time of your life when you get married.  Plain and simple.  Moreover, I seem to recall some passage near the beginning of the Bible telling everyone to get busy.  Or be fruitful.  Or something. 

The stakes are different now.  This is what I should be doing right now, not what I should chill out and wait a couple years for.  I’m not saying that I’m going to enter a suicide pact with some equally mopey chica, stating that we’ll marry each other on our 31st birthdays or some nonsense like that.  But there is a certain urgency at work here.  Not the urgency of a deadline, like when you’re studying for an exam the next morning.  It’s the urgency of committing every resource you have to achieve a goal that you’ve been aiming at for a long time, like winning an endurance race.  There’s no reason for me to screw around with niceties any more than I should mess around with women I’d have no business with if we weren’t liplocked.   I want to get married, and if I’m going to achieve this goal, I have two simple rules that I’m going to have to abide by: 

  1. Be risky.  The old saying goes that you have to risk something to gain something, and this is no different.  I’m a sales man.  I approach dozens of strangers each week and try to convince them that I have something to offer that will make their lives better.  There’s no reason for me to sit in an emo corner and wait for some girl to make her affections known to me.  I’ve gotta be proactive.  If that means a certain rejection percentage, so be it.  So long as I’m asking out girls who are actual marriage material, there’s nothing to lose.  If I’m still worried about coming across as girl crazy or whatever, here’s a clue: I am.  And that’s ok.  This is part of what I believe God wants me to do right now. I’m not playing with anyone’s emotions, I’m just making an offer that can be either accepted or rejected. The law of averages will work.  Playing the field is not an invective anymore, it’s just common sense.  I’m not a threat anymore; I’m an asset waiting to for investment. 

  2. Be committed.  I can’t half-ass anything here.  Love isn’t worth doing if you’re holding anything back.  I bear the scars from this practice, but I realize now that it’s one of the things that I’ve been getting right all along.  I’m not going to be masochistic about it, though.  I need to sense better when I’m ahead of my companion and either match pace or go home.  I also need to date girls who aren’t so inclined to put the entire burden of the emotional risk on my shoulders; the stakes should be equally high for everyone, even though I do have the responsibility to initiate and protect.  But I shouldn’t let past experience keep me from risking the possibility of getting hurt.  If I want to play it safe, I’ll go skydiving.

That’s the manifesto.  A lot of credit for challenging my underlying thought processes goes to the inimitable Mr. Hon, who bears no responsibility for how this plays out.  Thanks are due to him and everyone else who has put up with my crap over the past several months.   I’m only brown nosing now so that if/when this goes horribly wrong I still have a supportive cushion to fall back on.



  1. Be wild! The averages do work out…eventually.

  2. no brown nosing required. you know it.

  3. bah. I put up with about 1% of the crap you gave everyone else, but got 0% of the linkage.

    That’s ok, you know you could send all the crap you want my way if you’re ever so inclined. It’d be nice to hear from you.

  4. Word. I’m with Dan.

    Except I’m ok with the lack of linkage. You continue to pay me back every time I call you to complain about something. The good news is that it should be a good while before I wreck another four day old car. 😉

    Oh…I adore Wilco.

    I think we should make Waffles and Wings a monthly tradition.

  5. I’m glad you have the Hon around to give you a little insight. Lord knows I’ve been in your shoes a while. I’ve said the very same thing a thousand times, but it boils down to actually being proactive as you say, rather than hanging back and waiting. Though there is a time to wait and see about some people, there are those with whom you have just a small opportunity due to circumstance or whatever, and you should just be yourself and make a clear move.
    On the other hand, don’t fret if you aren’t hitched up by your 31st. It’s not the end of the world. Mike and I assure you of that. There are few worse things than a bad marriage, and singleness isn’t one of them.

  6. I think you’re right on, but brace yourself. Within six months of deciding I actually did want to get married, I was a wife. 😛

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