peer advice, support, inspiration
Q:I have been in the matching process for a little while now, and between my potential match and I, everything has been moving very naturally and we feel comfortable. Our parents are on board with us being matched to each other, but there is a particular issue that has been yet been addressed…
Prior to high school I had become very involved with a boy and my life took a twist. As soon as high school started, I decided not to date and that I wanted to be matched. Since then, I have maintained my purity and developed my faith and relationship with my parents.
My parents and potential match are aware of this, but his parents are not… We are concerned about addressing this issue, particularly with his mom, because my match thinks it might be a deal-breaker for her. I don’t want to keep any “secrets” from either of our parents… at the same time, I worry that they won’t see me for who I am now, and will only judge me based on my past. I am not sure how to address this issue- what should I do?!
I also had a so-called “past” from my high school years and after STF, I carried it around like the scarlet letter, always fearing that I would get rejected because I was somehow damaged or dirty. I feared that no one would consider me because of this “category” I was in, and if a candidate was okay with my past, than their parents wouldn’t accept me. I eventually was matched and blessed by Father in a “special” category, and when that didn’t end up working out, I now had to carry this title of “previously blessed,” which felt like a even heavier weight. However, I think being a little older and less emotional helped me see that I was much more than my past (and these categories that our church just loves putting people into) and that in some ways, it was my past experiences that I had to thank for helping me become the person who I was today. I was grateful for all the lessons I had learned the hard way, about commitment, physical intimacy, forgiveness and understanding. At that point, I didn’t see people based on their past, but what kind of person they were right now.
The reality is, ultimately the matching is between two people and you both are the ones who will either love and accept each other completely, or bring the past into your new relationship. I think many parents have concerns regarding purity because they are afraid that their child might get hurt. However, if there was a choice between their child marrying someone who has no “past” but is also not committed or sincere, I believe they would much rather have the opposite.
I’d like to think we are moving away from a time of “black and white”, clear cut judgments of others based on their specific actions, and more towards looking at others as human beings who are learning, growing and becoming more mature and loving towards themselves and others.
Of course that is just one perspective, and when it comes to the matching, you’ve got six varying perspectives coming together in a big mash-up that is the beauty of the matching. The importance of having all of your parents’ support cannot be emphasized enough, as they will at times, be the rock that keeps your relationship above water. One practical suggestion I have for you would be to involve someone that you, your potential match, and his mother trust and feel comfortable sharing with. Tell them your fears and concerns and ask them to speak to his mother on your behalf, letting them know that you are both serious about this matching and that there is something they would like her to know before you get matched. I would suggest that this person be an older first generation, so that they will be easier for his mother to relate with.
You and your match should prepare yourself for any response, and talk about what you will you do if his mother doesn’t agree with the matching. Be warned that defensiveness will only make it worse, but understanding and emphatic listening can actually make you feel much more relieved than before. Holding on to secrets is the worst thing you can do for your mind and spirit.
When I told my mother who I wanted to get matched to, she said “NO” instantly. I almost threw out the idea because her reaction was so strong. But instead, I chose to listen to the reasoning and emotions behind her harsh and resounding “NO,” and ended up learning that it was an answer out of fear and mistrust. We had to work through that fear, and eventually, she became one of the greatest supporters of our matching, and my husband and her get along great.
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~ Matching Mentor