If I happen to mention I write about faith and relationships, the questions flow. When to date. Who to marry. How to make good decisions. Even who to spend time with. Who, how, what, where, when. So many questions. And, of course, there’s a dizzying array of possible answers…
The other day I finally got around to watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s brilliant TedX talk on that a friend recommended to me ages ago. In it Chimamanda talks about equal partnership between men and women. Midway through her talk, she refers to the different standards especially in dating and marriage when it comes to men and women. Where women are sometimes rebuked or dismissed as failures when they haven’t married before a certain age, men are usually simply excused as ‘he just hadn’t had time yet’.
Last Friday I found myself, unusually, with nothing to do. It’s a rare treat in a busy London life, but the thought did flit through my mind ‘I wonder if anyone wants to come over…’ I couldn’t really be bothered to come up with a plan, though, so I just stayed in and watched TV.
During the week I heard from a friend that both she and someone else in our church had been home alone and thinking much the same. If only we’d said something…
So why didn’t we?
Mental illness affects every part of a person’s life; it can be tricky to decide you’re ready for dating and it can be even harder to know when and how to tell a potential partner that you have a mental illness. Whether you consider yourself fully recovered, recovering or if you remain ill, it’s up to you the language you use but I would say it’s important you’re comfortable with yourself and your history before you consider inviting someone else to share your life. Even if you feel your illness is completely behind you, if you have a susceptibility, it may come back, and both you and your partner need to consider the impact it may have on both of you – this subject doesn’t need to be doom and gloom, it’s just another thing to consider alongside others such as children, money and living arrangements.
Part of knowing God’s will is knowing His timing for events in our lives. There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3 v 1). Verse 11 states, ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time.’ God operates outside of time as we know it, and He hardly does things according to our schedule. If we can grasp and accept this ultimate truth, I believe our stress and frustration levels would drop significantly. He knows the best time for things to happen in our lives and if we allow Him, He will make things beautiful.
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