A Husband at Thanksgiving: An Answer to Persistent Prayer

“A Husband for Thanksgiving” might sound like the title of a cheesy, old-fashioned Hallmark movie, but this year it’s instead a headline that applies to my own life. After 39 Thanksgivings as a single girl, I’m finally going to celebrate the holiday as a happily married woman.

And I couldn’t be more grateful.

Those who met their spouses early or easily in life may not understand what a miracle this is or appreciate how difficult intentional dating is these days.

Especially when you’re as bad at it as I was.

Thanks to dating apps, I’ve met literally hundreds of men and dated even more over the course of several years. And yet, in the end, I still had nothing to show for my efforts except misery and exhaustion. And I had no one to blame but myself.

Now I have to thank God for saving me from my own inability.

Looking back, I’m ashamed of all the mistakes I made. I sought form over substance, thoughtlessly releasing nice, stable Christian men who made sincere if sometimes clumsy advances in favor of dashing young guys with no interest in long-term commitment.

Then, every time I’ve met a man with whom I seem to have mutual interest, I’ve unknowingly done almost anything to sabotage it. Instead of offering him softness and sweetness, I tried to impress him with razor-sharp wit. I would text him casually to show interest, although I’m pretty sure I come across as clingy and needy. When those same men flirted with me or took me on fun dates, I assumed they were genuinely interested in me and started making plans for a future relationship.

Too often the same men talked big but acted small, and their interest never extended beyond a handful of dates or the hope of a happy ending. It turns out they call such behaviors “charm” for a reason. And yet I’ve always fallen for the magic.

What can I say? I’m a slow learner.

I envisioned myself as a kind of amalgam of literary heroines: Anne of Green Gables, Elizabeth Bennet, maybe even Ophelia, apart from the whole “descent into suicidal insanity” thing. Perhaps studying Shakespeare too intensely, as I did then, has unforeseen consequences. Hey Nonny Nonny!

During those years, I tried to frame my life around an old-fashioned ending to a Jane Austen or Hallmark movie, complete with a handsome bachelor, an unexpected snowstorm, and a sweet, chaste kiss full of promise.

And I thought Tinder and Bumble would take me there. I’m nothing but optimistic.

To the surprise of no one but myself and perhaps my loving and supportive mother, I was still single in my mid-30s, despite years of effort and decades of earnest, if misguided, prayer. I knew in my heart that marriage is a divine desire, so I knew my intentions were pure. But when I still couldn’t find a husband, it felt like God wasn’t keeping His end of the bargain. It felt cruel to give me the wish but not the fulfillment. I had found that God either ignored my prayers or, worse, answered them and still didn’t care.

Only He cared about it. He cared so much that he would not allow me to have a relationship with anyone just because I was feeling lonely. He loved me so much that he never deviated from his plan, even when I threw tantrums or wallowed in melodramas. He loved me enough to remain absolutely unruly, even as I tried my best to sell myself short.

Persistent prayer ultimately failed to convince God to let me have my way. Instead, it was slowly shaping me into the woman and future wife that God wanted me to be. God used this time to prepare me, not punish me.

And through a secular dating app, he brought me the right man at the right time and wouldn’t let me turn him away because I had all the good men with promises that had come before him.

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks to God for my husband and our new sacramental union. I also give thanks for my previous single life that forced me to seek him out and rely on him in ways I never thought possible. But I’m thankful it’s over.

Thank God I now have the answer to my most abiding prayer and because of his perfect plan for marriage, this will remain the answer as long as we both live.

Until death do us part.

https://www.theblaze.com/op-ed/a-husband-for-thanksgiving-an-answer-to-persistent-prayer A Husband at Thanksgiving: An Answer to Persistent Prayer

Laura Coffey

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