Some of you, perhaps the lucky ones, have been married a long time and have never had to take on the challenge of managing life by yourself. For you, there are unique moments of craziness, other forms of relationship lessons you face, but for those of us who are single, the strange odyssey persists in trying to find love, or companionship, or even a good date. We’re trying to figure out what it takes to have the partnership others already take for granted. If you’ve never had to consider the workings of Match.com or any other online dating services, I suggest you say your prayers and thank God for His grace and mercy.
Just for fun, I thought I’d give you a peek into that world. Of course I can only address this from my perspective. But let me say, the whole process takes a kind of patience and discernment you may never have considered before. You have to learn to discover the disconnects in the profiles. This one doesn’t post a picture…why? Maybe because he’s married or maybe because he’s overweight, or maybe because he’s just fishing and doesn’t want his girlfriend to know. Maybe he simply doesn’t have a picture to share. As you read the profile, you quickly weed out the ones who can’t write one good sentence to save them, or who talk about their love for PDA, you know public displays of affection. Some are even willing to share what great lovers they are and how good you could be feeling right now. Some are creative story tellers, but once you exchange a couple emails, you discover they’ve forgotten some of the details of their own story…and it goes on. It becomes sadly fascinating to realize how many lonely people there are in the world. It becomes scary to realize you’re there too.
Yes, I have friends who have met life partners on Match and sites like Match, but it’s an endurance race, a test. Is it better than meeting someone at the local tavern or at church? Who knows? It provides an opportunity to ask more questions, sometimes those you probably wouldn’t ask for three months of regular dating. Somehow being behind a computer screen makes it easier to ask. Mind you, the person may or may not tell you the whole story.
That’s even more fascinating really. Why would anyone fabricate their story? Eventually you could meet and the truth will be discovered. Nevertheless, they create a biography that is pure fiction; good fiction sometimes, but still not a word of truth in it. Then there are those few who actually use the site as it was intended. They post a profile that gives some idea about themselves, at least what they’re comfortable sharing in a public forum, and then they wait. Sometimes they hope, a few even pray.
That would be where people like me come in. We’re praying that a partner who really is honest and hopeful and loving and kind will post a bio and through the grace of God somehow connect. We’re praying that he won’t be put off because we’re not a Barbie doll with plastic features and a foolish sense of spending. We’re praying that he’ll see us even as we are, get past the number of birthday candles, the cellulite, the dipping bank account and actually care that we’re a real person in an awkward and crazy world, looking for a needle in a haystack. That’s the hope…who knows the reality.
Sometimes I imagine God hosting Match.com. He has his giant book of potential life mates and page by page, He moves the players around until one day, they actually connect. One day the miracle happens. One day, they get to leave the world of the matchless and the lonely and live as He intended, two by two…in loving partnership. That is the fantasy that gives me hope. The Odyssey goes on, but the odds get better the longer you play. Any day now, you could be turning a new page…the prayer could be answered. Pray for me, will you?