I hesitated to share this part of my story with you because it requires being more vulnerable than I wanted to be.
As this blog came to me in the night, I asked, “Really? You want me to share this? I don’t think I can do that.”
“Just write and see what comes,” came the reply.
Since you’re seeing it posted, it means writing it somehow allowed me to share the weakest point of my life with you in a way that I could stomach. So here goes…
Of all the men I dated, there was one who stole my heart instantly. We were drawn to each other like two mega-strong magnets. Within weeks we were talking marriage and a possible elopement. We connected on so many levels, and the chemistry was instant and intense. I was convinced he was “my SAM.”
The only fly in the ointment was he was struggling with his faith. He hadn’t been to church in some time and didn’t know if he believed what we’d been taught anymore.
He said he still believed in God, just not all the rules. I’ve had friends, very good people, who have traveled that path. So I had compassion for him and felt he just needed some time to find his way.
With an immense amount of hormones and dopamine coursing through my veins I prayed about marrying this man and felt as if it was my choice and his. I pressed for a clearer answer and felt like I heard God say, “Love him back to me.”
I proceeded forward. The deeper we got into the relationship, the less clearly I could discern truth from error.
At one point, this man encountered a stressful challenge in his career. I observed that while under this level of stress, he was not a happy or positive person. It also became clear that not only was he questioning his religious beliefs, but also his entire faith in God hung by a thread.
Without his faith, his ability to gracefully cope with stress was minimal, and it began to adversely affect our relationship.
I had a choice to make. Did I proceed with someone who did not share my values, hoping he’d come around? Or did I walk away? I couldn’t bring myself to end the relationship. The magnet was just too strong. So I kept going forward, thinking I could somehow, “Love him back to God.”
Eventually, I came to a point where I questioned my own beliefs. Could I tweak my conscience to believe in an “anything goes, do-whatever-feels-good God?” It became clear if I were to continue a relationship with this man, I would have to choose that God.
My heart was splitting in two.
I was so crazy about this man that for two months I debated about whether the values and morals I’d been raised with were really necessary. I’m ashamed to admit I nearly abandoned my core fundamental values. Yet I believe everyone probably comes to a point where they have to consciously choose.
In the end, it was probably my children who saved me. I knew I had to stay strong for them.
I’m a big Star Trek fan, and there’s a scene from the First Contact movie that typifies my dilemma so well. Data (an android with no emotions) is kidnapped by the Borg Queen. She offers him a chance to have what he’s always wanted – the opportunity to feel human. She activates his emotion chip and implants human skin on his body. For the first time Data knows what it’s like to feel mortal, sensual even.
While the crew evacuates, Captain Picard stays behind to save his friend. In the process he too is captured by the Borg Queen.
In a touch-and-go moment, we wonder if Data has sold out to the Borg Queen by becoming her mate. He seems to be going along with her plan. At the last second, Data rescues the crew and releases Picard. After the rescue, Picard asks Data about the Borg Queen. Here’s the exchange:
Lieutenant Commander Data: [about the Borg Queen] She brought me closer to humanity than I ever thought possible. And for a time, I was tempted by her offer.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: How long a time?
Lieutenant Commander Data: 0.68 seconds sir. For an android, that is nearly an eternity.
I could say the same thing about the man I dated as Data said about the Borg Queen. He brought me closer to my humanity, my emotions, and my desire for connectedness than I ever thought possible. And for a time, I was tempted by his offer.
It was only for a short time, but for me it felt like an eternity.
In the end, the choice became crystal clear. I could not keep straddling two worlds. I either had to choose this man and walk away from my values and morals. Or I could walk away from the man and choose to remain true to my integrity and to the God I’ve come to know and love.
God won. My integrity won, but not without battle scars inflicted on my heart and soul.
For a long time I felt like God betrayed me with his answer to, “Love him back to me.” After much prayer and contemplation (without hormones and dopamine coursing through my veins), I have come to believe that answer was not from God. It was either my own imagination or came from another source.
I do not believe it’s my job to love anyone back to God. It’s God’s job to save, not mine. My role is simply to love.
The first person I must love is me. I need to love myself enough to hold to my own integrity. If I betray myself, I certainly cannot love another rightly. As my friend Judy Hansen says, “Be the love.” What another person chooses to do with that love is entirely up to them.
Through it all, I’m learning that Jesus Christ heals hearts. He wears His scars so I don’t have to suffer with mine.
This experience changed the way I selected men. I created and began listening to my affirmations about men and money after this. I also changed the way I crafted my online dating profile. I’ll share more about that tomorrow.
Marnie (Pehrson) Marcus is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.