If I hadn’t managed to open my rather closed heart and mind, I wouldn’t be getting married in June. When I first began to date my fiancé, I found all manner of things about him to judge and criticise. I’d done the same with boyfriends in the past. If I’d have continued like that, I’d still be alone.
Most of us hope that our future will include love and marriage. After all, that’s why we’re on a dating website: to meet a life partner! But the church’s focus on married couples and families means that many of us grow up believing we won’t be fully-fledged adults until we manage to secure a spouse. It’s easy to pick up the idea that life doesn’t really begin until we get hitched.
In order to find love, we have to expose ourselves to potential hurt. We have to open our hearts and be vulnerable. The problem is it doesn’t always work out. We might decide the relationship isn’t right, or the person we’re falling for might want out, leaving us with a bruised or broken heart. How do we come back from this?
Recently I was speaking to a friend about marriage, and as I listened to them talk about how much they wanted to be married, I felt like I was looking at a younger version of myself. I could definitely relate to the longing and desire to have someone to share your whole life with. This was me only a few years ago. I gave her some well-meaning advice which I hope she took on board, but it got me thinking; if I could speak to my younger self, what would I say? What would I want her to know? So, I wrote a letter.
‘I find Mothering Sunday really tough,’ confided my friend. ‘I’m happy for those who’ve been blessed with children, but I’ve spent my whole life yearning to be a mum, and a service celebrating motherhood is just a painful reminder of my grief.’
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Since the UK launch in 2000, thousands of Christians have found friendship, love and marriage through the site.