When I was thirty-two, there was only one thing missing from my life, but that one thing seemed so important that the lack of it darkened all the other good.

I was in a great career—I was teaching theology and Bible to college students and taking them on international trips during breaks. I loved my job. I loved it so much that I had just started a grueling PhD program that would allow me to stay in the career long-term. And what provision I had! The entire program was covered by scholarships and grants.

I was in the best shape of my life—I was a regular at the kickboxing studio and had earned belts in karate. Kicking and punching to pounding music after work felt like dancing to me, making me feel alive. My toned body had boundless energy.

I was connected with friends and family—I had good friends at church, work, the gym, and even the local coffee shop. Though I was sometimes lonely, even longtime friends were just a phone call away, and I made good use of that phone.

But, even with all that, I felt deep, deep lack because I was missing a husband; I was single. All this good was occurring in my life, but I mourned that I was missing someone with whom to share it.

Now, it’s one thing to desire marriage; it’s another to worship at the altar of marriage, thinking of oneself as lesser without a ring, and feeling as if one’s identity is incomplete without a partner. Since no man had told me I was worth committing the rest of his life to, I felt less valuable as a person. I wanted marriage more than anything. I worshiped at the altar of marriage.

So, when he asked me out, I said yes. I doubted it would go anywhere since we were vastly different, but I said yes. And he did all the right things. He romanced me with fancy dinners, flowers, and kind words. The first few months were filled with euphoric beginning- of-relationship feelings, and, being in our thirties, we also spoke of a future together.

Sure, there were his health issues, our communication problems, and significant differences in background, life goals, hobbies, and personal pursuits, but I was thirty-two and wanted a family. He was a good man and wanted it, too. Having dated no one for years before him, I truly thought he was my last chance.

Though the road wasn’t always smooth, he got my parents’ blessing on our union and asked to put a diamond ring on my left hand. Just days before, we’d had a hard conversation about deep and important relationship things that needed to change, but I still said yes. And so, I found myself, thirty-three, moving toward the long-desired marriage but with a less-than-desirable fiancé.

The inner turmoil this caused made me a rather stressed-out insomniac. On the one hand, I was no longer alone, but on the other, I knew deep within me that we wouldn’t make it. Still, I didn’t want to let go of the possibility of marriage and children—wasn’t this my last chance?

Even more than that, I had given my word. I had said yes, that I’d marry him. Everyone knew of our engagement—though they hid concern behind their words of congratulations. If I couldn’t make a relationship work, then I was more of a failure than I’d ever thought. Everyone would know that I was a failure who couldn’t keep her word. Read more. Pre Order Everbloom: Stories of Living Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives here!

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