Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a number of newspapers across North America. This week's was written with two people in mind. I have two friends who have been dating wonderful men for several years, both expecting a ring that hasn't come. They are both Christians. They are both lovely. But the men seem not to have stepped up to the plate.
But I know the men read my column! (I don't think they read this blog!). So I wrote it in the hopes that it may nudge them. I didn't want to make it too obvious, but see what you think:
Earlier this fall my oldest daughter participated in a soccer tournament. She’s never played before, but her aggressive streak emerged as she challenged any opponent who dared to venture near their net. She even sprained her thumb at one point—and went back in the game! All this from a child whose favourite accessory at the age of four was a Band-Aid. Any little boo-boo had to be babied. No more.
My youngest daughter, however, doesn’t like to step outside of her comfort zone. She refused to play soccer, and I relented, since as a child I used any means necessary to escape from the evils of team sports in gym class. I felt for her.
But we all need to learn, at some point, to venture out of our comfort zones. Many of us develop these ruts in our lives, whether they’re at work, or with relationships, or with family. We like things the way they are, so please don’t move the furniture or change the brand of margarine. I’m happy because I know what way is up, I know what’s expected of me, and life is easy.
It sounds blissful, but I’m not so sure it is. Is easy really the best we can hope for in life? Besides, the danger of living in a comfort zone is that you become your number one reference: I am happy, ergo, things should stay the same way.
That has a selfish ring to it, doesn’t it? Whether or not we like to admit it, we are not islands. What we do impacts others. And maybe others aren’t happy in your comfort zone. Maybe they can see that there’s so much adventure ahead: adventure that you would probably love if you just took the plunge and jumped in.
Plunging, of course, isn’t easy. When our family stays at hotels, the first thing the kids go for is the pool. They love it, and so does my husband. They jump in and splash and play Marco Polo. Meanwhile, I’m glued to the top step thinking how cold it is. Occasionally I descend down to the floor, standing on my tip toes. After counting to three about fifty-one times I may actually jump in, at which point the kids are ready to get out because they’re prunes. If I had just jumped in initially, I would have had the shock over with quickly and then I could have played. Instead, I missed the fun.
Do you miss the fun in your life because you won’t take the plunge? You’re afraid to try for that new job, or to go back to school. You’re afraid to launch that new business, because you’re comfortable where you are. But maybe comfort isn’t as great as it’s cracked up to be. Maybe adventure is much better.
When it comes to relationships, plunging is even more necessary. How many times are people stuck in a dating relationship, when one wants to move forward and the other is happy the way things are? Why mess up a good thing? But what if by settling for that good thing you’re missing out on something great?
Or maybe the plunge is about kids. Your spouse wants them and you don’t. Or your spouse wants more, and you’re happy with what you have. Why disrupt the family when it’s going so well?
But what if that baby you’re missing out on is the one who would bring you the greatest joy and happiness? Besides, is it fair to say no to someone you love now, just because you’re comfortable? What if they’re not? And if they’re not comfortable, your own comfort zone is all an illusion anyway. It’s time to open your eyes.
A funny thing happened at that soccer tournament. My youngest daughter saw first hand what she was missing. And by the end of the day she was kicking the ball to help with drills, and she’d already signed up for next year. She regretted clinging to her comfort zone. She’s ready to take the plunge, because she knows it’s far more exciting.
I don't understand why some people won't commit. I could have written more about the blessings of commitment, but I had only 700 words, and I chose to spend them this way. Another time I might write again about why commitment gives you a better relationship, though it's a theme I've flogged a lot already.
I don't think dating is fair unless people have marriage in mind. Otherwise, what's the point? I know a woman who dated a man seriously from age 25 to age 41, when she finally realized he was never going to marry her. He always talked about the future, but he never proposed. So she left him, but meanwhile she had wasted all her child-bearing years on him.
I think women in that situation almost need to give him an ultimatum: either we go somewhere, or I walk. Because if he's not serious, why waste your time? And the sad thing is, it's him, quite often, who is missing out.
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Labels: columns, commitment, intimacy, marriage