Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Finding the One You Love

jc and I were talking last night about how lucky we were to find each other. My older sister Baptist Nun told me a while ago that she has given up on finding a man. Big M was getting pretty desperate by the time church friends basically set him up with his wife. Only Mr. Clean found his wife in the traditional evangelical way. He seems to have escaped the pervasive anti-social tendency that the rest of us have some degree of. He dated so many girls in college that he was bound to find one that was marriage material. During the three semesters that we were in college together, I had to make a special appointment to see him, often over breakfast.
Robin and I stepped outside the mold completely when we chose our husbands. We were groomed (badly)from an early age to grow up and be the wives of preachers or missionaries. We were taught that the man is the head of the household and to disobey him is a sin, even for the wife. Even when I bought that, I determined that I would only marry a man who wouldn't want to tell me what to do.

A good preacher's wife is an unusual person. She greets everyone with a warm smile and a handshake for the men and a hug for the women and children. She is perfectly dressed and groomed. She remembers everyone's name after being told once. She is at the disposal of the female members of the congregation for counseling or prayer. She is at the disposal of her husband for child-rearing, housekeeping, and anything else he wants. She never complains and always has a Bible verse at the ready that applies to any given situation. She holds herself to a higher standard than is expected of the general population. Needless to say, there are few women who actually fit this role perfectly, so most preacher's wives are fakers.

I spent my first four and a half years of college pursuing this ideal. My dream was to become a nurse so I could gain access to some country that didn't allow missionaries. Many of my college crushes were on pre-med students that were H&P classsmates or Chemistry lab partners. I had a glowing vision of how we would serve god and mankind together as a team. Later on, a ministerial student seemed like an equally good catch.

Now for the ironic part: guess how many dates I was asked on in college? (asking anyone out myself would have been unthinkable) Well, I don't know exactly, but you could count them on your fingers. I don't know how it works in the real world, but in our small church community, college is your only chance. You go away to the big "meet market" where the boys are expected to acquire degrees and wives. It's perfectly acceptable for the girls to drop out once they are engaged; that's the point. If you make it through college without finding someone, you might consider a master's degree. Otherwise, you go home where all the single christian men you aren't related to are either ten years older or younger than you.

Back to the point: why weren't men interested in me? I know my fashion sense is poor and I'm not much for social conversation, but I'm neither ugly, fat, nor stupid. I think the bottom line is that I'm too honest and opinionated to suit that type. That's where my upbringing went wrong and that's my interpretation of why Baptist Nun is an old maid and Robin and I married heathens.

jc and I met on and I will forever tout its virtue, but that's another post.


ps-hoping that happiness is around the next corner for those who haven't found it yet.


Myra said...

I've heard it called the "M.R.S. Degree" when a woman goes to college with the goal of meeting a husband. :)

Mtanga said...

Posting this comment about a year too late, but I've got alot of catching up to do.

My second cousin is a baptist minister's wife. She home-school's her kids and can make a mean batch of cookies, but other than that she is the anti-thesis of the "Baptist Minister's Wife." In fact, she hates it when people ask her if she sings/plays piano/etc. She does neither.

She has a PhD in Education and she's damn smart and opinionated. She is financially savvy (they live off of what she makes through fipping property, NOT her husband's salary) and funny, too. I hesitated in telling her about my inter-religious/cultural relationship, but she surprised me. Not to mention she is an extraordinary mother.

Ahem. Anyway, she's an amazing woman. I wish I could reach out and orchestrate a meeting between the two of you; I think you'd hit it off.

Unfortunately, she doesn't blog :)