There’s an old saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get your Prince Charming.
That was certainly the case for me. One young man, with whom I had a summer romance, had to have everything his way. And I mean everything. A sandwich, for example, had to be made to his exact specifications: “First the mayonnaise, then the lettuce, then the meat, then the tomato, in that order only.” If the sandwich had all the same ingredients but the mayonnaise was next to the tomato, he absolutely refused to eat it.
This attitude of his drastically affected our relationship. Any behavior of mine that wasn’t completely up to his standards was cause for criticism. For example, he told me how rude I was for phoning him while he was watching television—as if I could have known what he was doing while I was dialing. Trust me, nothing makes a girl feel more special than being told talking to her is not as desirable as watching reruns of The Munsters.
One night, at the end of our date, we arrived at my home, only to find two police cruisers, their red and blue lights flashing, parked at my house. Desperate to find out if my family was okay, I jumped from his car and ran inside. Fortunately, it turned out the police had overreacted to my mother’s complaint about a neighbor. But would you believe my boyfriend griped that I hadn’t kissed him goodnight first? In fact, he told me, I should have spent at least five minutes making out with him before checking on my family.
The last straw was what he said when he was leaving at the end of summer to go back to college. He told me that if I wanted to hear from him, I needed to mail him a self-addressed, stamped envelope “because it’s too much work to get an envelope and a stamp together.” Guess I wasn’t worth even that much to him.
[SIDENOTE: Don’t you occasionally wish you could go back in time with the perfect retort? Only years later did it occur to me that I should have responded with “You’re right. It’s too much work. I don’t think I can manage it.”]
If you’re wondering why I put up with such abuse for an entire summer, I can only say that like many young women, I was desperate to be loved. I was willing to endure an awful lot of bad for the little scraps of good I was getting. People do this far more than they realize. Consider: who hasn’t spent half an hour in the hot sun waiting in line for an amusement park ride that lasts just a few minutes? At the time the trade-off seems worth it.
Anyway, when I thought back on this relationship, it got me thinking about how we sometimes treat God the way this young man treated me. Instead of saying “Thy will be done” how often will we “eat the sandwich” only if it’s made exactly the way we want it? How many times do we tell God “Don’t bother me right now. I’d rather watch an inane television show!” instead of communicating with Him through prayer? And, worst of all, how often do we insist that God kowtow to us by doing all the work of our relationship with Him while we just sit back and reap the benefits?
I know I’m often guilty of such behavior.
My relationship with God is already far too lopsided for me not to put into it the effort that I should.
In case you’re wondering whatever happened to my ex-boyfriend, I managed to track him down on Facebook. I saw that, not only is he still single, but the first post I read by him was a complaint about women.
Thank goodness I had enough sense to break up with him.
And thank goodness that, despite everything, God hasn’t broken up with me.