April, 2001

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The Marriage Game

Near my work place in the town area, I have a friend, Grace, that I know a while ago from Salmon Run, who helps out in a cafe started by some folks at Wesley. We mostly lost touch after I left my small group years back, but after meeting again at a recent friend’s wedding, Pam’s- also from the small group- we’ve been catching up quite a bit at her cafe.

Grace is a great friend, so I feel comfortable sharing anything on either one of our minds at the moment. One of the recurring topics is why haven’t I met the “right” person, even though my work area and a few selected interests I have allow me to meet hundreds of new persons every year.

Grace married her long time boyfriend from Wesley just earlier this year. In fact, it seems that all the wonderful women friends I’ve known are all settling down about this time. A church friend who teaches English language and literature- she asked me at the start of last year to help out the debaters at the school she teaches- will be tying the knot come year end. There’s even another friend- one whom I had an interest in some years back and still am tremendously fond of- marrying someone in November that she’d only known for barely half a year before he proposed! Both are still very good friends.

It just seems strange that though I’m comfortable being good friends with others, I suck tremendously in being able to find the right person myself. I count myself fortunate in the sense that I feel convicted of some dicey marital thingies straightened out in my mind. Essentially, I’m certain that I don’t need to marry for reasons to continue my family line (my elder brother has that dubious privilege- ha!); I’d like children to hold as my own at some point in time, but it wouldn’t be for this reason that I’d marry. I have no problems with adoption if it comes to that; nor does it bother me very much if the person has previously married before.

But there’s indeed a great deal of pressure- both subtle and some imagined- for young people to marry and settle down. Just two days ago, ST Journalist Teo Pau Lin wrote one such article on folks who can’t wait to get into the “game”. So what is it that I have left to believe? Essentially just two things.

Firstly; I recently met my mentor in NTU– the person who inspired me to teach- for lunch as well, and she laughed brightly when I reminded her that one of the things that keeps me looking forward are words she shared with me before I graduated 7 years ago. That some of the best persons she has known marry later- only when they’ve met a lot more people, have stable careers, and most importantly, reflected enough about life to have become more circumspect and moderate in their thinking. And these friends often settle down into married life only in their late thirties, a few in their late forties even!

Secondly, I have a recurring prayer that I first said at the end of my first relationship a decade ago. At the end of that painful affair, I felt convicted that I shouldn’t ever have to worry about finding the “right” person. Rather, if I could demonstrate Christian love to every person that our Lord blesses me with in my life, and if it be so in his plan, then our Lord would inspire in her the same feelings I would have for her. And if it wasn’t in our Lord’s plan, then I would pray for an reassuring heart to be able to continue on as before and enjoy the many other abundant blessings he would have for me.

Lastly, just last month, Grace and I were talking about how people would propose to each other, and I asked her how she thought I’d myself propose to the woman of my dreams. She thought for a moment, and said confidently, “Chek Yang, I could be wrong about this, but I’m sure it’ll be over a piano. You’d write the most beautiful song, play it for her, and somewhere in that you’ll ask her that question!”

I couldn’t stop laughing until a while; and even when I did eventually, I felt deeply cheered for the rest of the day. Thanks Grace.:)