Switching Loyalty

“I’m really struggling with understanding it isn’t wrong for me to desire romantic companionship, but also trying to remain content in my singleness. In my mind there is an gap. A disconnect.”

It was one of the fist steps in being vulnerable with my Bible study girls. Confessing that the “strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man” really wanted one. It was embarrassing almost. To be the one who took such “strong initiative” (as it was being said of me) to break up with someone who wasn’t right for me (even though I did it out of love), but to feel so weak. So discouraged. There was a disconnect. I am a person who doesn’t deal with ambiguity very well. Abstraction is okay with me. But ambitiousness? I had to decide and commit to either one or the other. Either I was going to be bound to singleness or to bound to seeking a spouse. I was too wounded to live in that shadow of not knowing. Of not deciding. Of not having some kind of loyalty to one cause or another.

I’m a very loyal person. So of course, my automatic reaction after the break up initially happened, was to assume I was going to die alone. To convince myself I should. If I couldn’t be with this one, then I shouldn’t be with anyone. Me and relationships just didn’t work. I was too broken. Too messed up by too many things. Too emotionally damaged to be in a relationship. So I took on the world those few days after being hardened by the situation. Carrying an air of apathy, and calling it confidence.

Inside, I was scared, and upset, and angry with myself mostly, and a little with him too. I found (and find) myself constantly wondering who could love someone who was so willing to break the trust of another human being. I thought this last relationship had been it. I thought I was all in. Marriage was the finish line and everything was heading that direction. Then I realized I wasn’t heading in that direction. The relationship I was in had changed. Circumstances weren’t right anymore. Both of us had some growing up to do. It was overwhelmingly devastating. I felt like my loyalty had been betrayed because of a difference in character. Like I had bent over backwards to make it work and he didn’t. It felt one sided.

In actuality, I was not betrayed at all. We were just different people at different points in our lives, and one of us was ready to move on. So, when I recognized that something was not right, I had to take the responsibility to do something about it. What made it hard was how selfish it felt. I had to make this change for me, because I was the one ready to move on while he was trying to figure stuff out. Not that I have everything figured out, but I am finished with school and have a job. He isn’t finished with school and was unemployed for two years. It took me some time to do some self talking. To realize it wasn’t wrong of me to make that decision for myself. I had to switch my loyalty from Him to me. I clearly felt what I was feeling with a good reason, and I had to respect myself enough to recognize that I wasn’t being unreasonable. Of course, I asked wise council from friends, male and female alike. I felt my ex was asking me to put my life on hold for him to figure out his own. Which I had been willing to do within reason, but found myself constantly adjusting what “within reason” meant. That wasn’t right for either of us. No one should ask so much of a person and no one should compromise so much when they have already made so many accommodations wight he other party having made so few. In turn, I was asking him to deal with my emotions while he put me through it, and at times I knew I wasn’t kind nor was I being completely honest with him or myself about what I was feeling. That wasn’t right either.

Ultimately it comes down to this: I may be loyal , but I’m a fixer too. A realistic one. If the situation was broken, and if it was possible for me to do something about it, I had to do what I could to fix it. In my dedication and loyalty to the relationship, I would do everything in my due diligence to find ways to make it work. We had it good. We had it bad. I tried and I don’t doubt he did too, but things weren’t working. I just had to call it quits.

So there I was in Bible study with a burning emotional lump in my throat as I tried to swallow, breath, and not cry (talk about multitasking). I hate when other people see me cry. I’m emotional enough as it is, but to have people see it is more embarrassing than admitting I wanted to be loved and to love in return…which shouldn’t have been embarrassing at all. The girls nodded of course. They didn’t criticize or condemn me, not that I was afraid they would. They understood. They got it. We’re all single women who just want the kind of love we can touch.

In my search to bridge the gap between wanting a lover and being content with singleness, I have begun watching a sermon series on Song of Solomon by Tommy Nelson from 2005. I don’t intend to watch all of it, because I am not married and much of it concerns that aspect of relationships, but I am watching the sections on Attraction, Dating, and Courtship (which is in two parts). I even shared it with the women in my Bible study, since we are all in the same boat of singleness and desire. It’s been helping me understand things a little more, not because it tells me to feel bad about wanting a spouse, nor does it makes me want one more, but because it encourages me to hold out and discern the character of potential spouses better. In turn that is helping to make me more content with singleness. To be more willing to wait for God’s best instead of living with so much worry and concern about who will love me next.

What God asks of me right now is to switch my loyalty. To be more dedicated to Him, and finding what He wasn’t from me rather than being loyal to my own desires to be a wife. It’s a journey, but I’m getting there. Pray for me. It’s gunna be a doozy.

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