The Science of Shouldology

There are a lot of things that I think should be a certain way. I should always get at least eight hours of sleep. Lunch should always be healthy while dessert should not. Chik-fil-a should stay open on Sunday, or at least deliver. Your toenails should always be painted if you’re wearing sandals.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always looked at things how they should be. I used to think I should graduate high school at 17, go to college for four years and graduate on time. After, I should find my dream job, then find my dream man and we should get married.

I never pictured the “should” beyond there. What should our marriage look like? Should we always kiss when we get home from work? Should I always cook dinner? Should I say something when I’m annoyed for no reason? Should I give him some space so we’re not smothering each other? I never had an example to pull from, so the shoulds were never formulated in detail when scrolling through my usual childhood daydreams.

As a curious kid, I painted pictures in my head with all types of details and story lines about how things should be. I would let my mind drift, especially on long car rides, about a boy in class that I had a crush on. Sometimes the boy was a celebrity, particularly Chris Brown circa the “Yo (Excuse Me Miss) era. I imagined our first date, first kiss, first argument, etc.

Once I met my fiancĂ© in 10th grade, I thought he was cute but deliberately blocked him out of any daydreams because I didn’t want to jinx anything. See, by this point I figured anytime I thought too hard about anything I messed it up. So, with Doug although he drifted in and out of my mind, I kept our relationship strictly in real life instead of fantasy. When we finally started dating, the reality of being with him was better than anything I could of imagined; my restraint had paid off.

Let go of the inhibitions formulated from your past that you are sure of and embrace the unknown that has been sent by God.

Essentially, I don’t know what’s going to happen on the first day of my marriage, the first year or the first 10 years. All I know is that I without a doubt know that my fiance was sent to me from God. As I listened to my church’s podcast while writing this post, a word stuck out. My pastor said “God is using you to bring someone else out of something.”

When Doug and I first got engaged, a friend of mine commended us for setting an example for our generation. I didn’t think much of it, but as time went on I saw people my age attempting to navigate dating online and in-person and not being successful. Couples were formed and broken up in the time that we had been together. A few people close to me even shared that they had began to evaluate their own relationships based off mine.

Everyone was thinking about the should because for most 20-somethings, marriage is either foreign or unappealing. Why? That’s a different discussion for another post. However, as I listened to this word, I was comforted with the idea that a blessing I received could also mean something to someone else. I’m hoping that single people don’t succumb to self-pity and convince themselves that they’re not marriage material because they’re not where they thought they should be based off childhood daydreams. I’m also hoping that anyone in a great relationship stops questioning their should and unapologetically embraces their reality.

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