The other day I had one of my married couple friends tell me there were some things I needed to do to get married and proceeded to give me unsolicited advice on the subject. This is the story of how it made me feel. My disclaimer is that what follows are not so much the facts of the event but the feelings I encountered while living it.
They told me to be vulnerable. I understood this and am generally willing to do so. What made me feel bad was their judgment. This is the downside of being vulnerable, the possibility that being vulnerable to someone you care about will give them handles to hold you with while they judge you. It appeared they didn’t realize they were judging me while they dispensed their advice. If someone tells you that what you are doing is wrong or needs to change without you asking them for their advice definitely feels like judgment.
I told them getting married is not a goal of mine but they just glossed over this as if it was nonsense, some temporary life phase, or the utterance of a child.
There were times it felt like someone asking me to clasp hands with them in the middle of a restaurant and pray out loud to Jesus with them despite my not wanting what they were selling. I am not a broken puppy. I would definitely ask for help if I thought I needed it but I will not be bullied into asking for help for something I don’t even want.
What came later was personal testimony as to what they or rather he went through to get to this point in life where they were able to make that decision that led to commitment and marriage. There were few facts, no science, and no way to even be sure that following this ‘advice’ was likely to work. I was encouraged to take a chance but what good is a chance at something I don’t want? Does what I want for me even matter?
Here’s the thing. I know all this was done out of love despite how it was delivered or how useless to me the testimony was. I am happy with how my life is, actually excited about it. I don’t want to be encouraged to change it. I want to be encouraged to lean more into it. I definitely don’t want and can’t use advice that will lead me to something outside of what I am running towards. Lastly, I would like some consideration. If you have something in life I want, I will ask you about it. If I think you might have answers to something I am working with and I consider you a friend, I will reach out to you about it. I am happy about your success, happiness, and commitment. You do not need to change what is working for you on my account and I would never encourage you to. Am I not worthy of the same consideration?