Day 223 – Guard your heart

Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23

One topic I have been kind of avoiding on this blog is relationships. Well, I write about relationships all the time, but you know what I mean. The one with romance and kisses and feelings. I wrote one of my earlier blogs on being single and I remember people responding to it in a very supportive and positive way.

So here’s what I wrote on day 38 of this crazy, vulnerable blogging experience:

“I am currently not in a relationship and have been running away from anyone who would come slightly close in the past couple years. Not ready for a commitment. Too comfortable with being on my own. Yet I do feel that something is changing. I am slowly warming myself up for the idea that I could be ready to meet someone new or fall for that one person that has been there all along. There is no one who can do that for me. I will just have to do that on my own, because becoming together takes courageous singles.

Reading back what you wrote before is definitely interesting, to say the least. Much of what I wrote half a year ago is still pretty valid. I am still single. I think I am still very comfortable with being on my own. Yet that change, getting ready to commit to something long-term is also happening. And it’s taking time. Much more than I thought it would.  But that’s okay.

A lovely new friend came over for dinner tonight and we had a very similar conversation. Well, we talked about lots of things, but this was one of those many topics. Commitment, guarding your heart and yet somewhere feeling that we might be changing from independent, single ladies to independent, in-relationship ladies. The question is: where did all the single men go?

I recently listened to a podcast from some American economics professor. I am too lazy to look it up, if you’re interested, comment below or send me a message and I’ll look it up. But basically, he argued that for young women with a university degree it’s getting really hard to meet a guy. Women traditionally tend to want to marry up, so marry someone with a higher socio-economic level. But that argument is kind of not valid anymore when you can take care of yourself as a smart, young and independent woman. And that messes with subconscious brains of guys because although they might think that they would love to marry an independent, fierce lady, their brains are wired in a way as to want to take care of a girl. But that girl doesn’t really need his support anymore. So subconscious guy-brain is kind of intimidated. I am probably oversimplifying all of this, but I definitely see a point here. Take my own sector of work for example. In Kampala, there are plenty of young, independent and strong women that happen to be single. I am definitely one of them. Makes sense right? You wouldn’t be so likely to move to a foreign place if you had a long-term boyfriend somewhere else. But then where are all the single guys? I don’t see so many of them here. Most of the young men that I am meeting are in relationships or married already and here with a partner. Where does it go wrong? Where doesn’t it match up?

I don’t have all the answers to these questions. Maybe I am making a problem out of something that really isn’t an issue. Either way, it’s not really going to make a difference for my own future. I don’t need hundreds of single young men to show up at my doorstep. I would be perfectly satisfied with just one.

All jokes aside though, more than ever I realise how hard it can be to be single. There is some sort of comfort in this idea of being with someone else. I believe we as human beings are made to be in connection with others. Hasn’t science shown countless times that there is a strong correlation between a healthy marriage and living longer and happier? I think it’s very natural to want to be with someone. In that sense, being single should be hard. Since it’s a phase that requires patience, bravery and maybe lot’s of frustration and waiting. And of course, the grass is always greener on the other side.

But for now, I am not going to sit in a corner waiting for my prince to come along. I don’t think it works that way. I am also not going to join Tinder and throw myself in a crazy dating life extravaganza. After tonight I am realising that I am going to need more time to figure this whole family life future and single life freedom out. I should probably make a list or something about what I am actually looking for in someone. I already know three important things: 1. God comes first in his life. 2. We have to be friends first that can talk endlessly about anything. 3. Wisdom and warmth. That’s actually two, but they go together for me. I could probably make a much longer list, but maybe I’ll keep that one to myself for now.

Also it’s not really about the list. Even though it’s good to know what you are looking for. Clear expectations and all. But honestly, it’s really about me. Because I won’t be able to magically let that perfect guy appear. In that future relationship, I will only have control over one side. My side. So I better be the best, most beautiful, broken and flawed marriage material out there. Giving myself freedom and space to enjoy this wonderful single life and also questioning my heart about whether I am actually a good match with someone. Not asking myself how this future husband guy is going to make my life so much better, but asking myself if I could be of service in his life, in his relationship with God and with the world around him.

And just simply writing this all down, talking about, thinking about it, makes me realise that I’ve come a long way. Whereas I used to run away as soon as I would receive as much as a couple interested glances across the room, I am now ready to smile back and take up the challenge of questioning myself: “Am I ready for this?” It’s going to be hard to slowly let go of my single life. It’s also going to be hard to remain single for long, long-term. It’s confusing. But all I know is that my heart is taking it’s time to get ready. But if you try and really make an effort, it might be yours for the rest of your life. Just be aware that I am guarding it well.

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