Perhaps it came with the territory of being a female at a small, private Christian college, but there was SO much pressure to find a love interest. I mean, there was the “ring by spring” stereotype for a reason – and no, it is not just a joke (four of my section-mates the last semester my senior year were proof). (I’m actually a bridesmaid in one of their weddings this summer.) That being said, I was (and still am) absolutely thrilled for people who found future spouses or romantic relationships while in college. I wish them all the best, I truly do. That just wasn’t my college experience.
One of the biggest questions I get now that I am a college graduate (besides about my job options) is: Did you meet anyone when you were at school? To that, I just smile sweetly and respond with something like this, “I thought I had met someone, but it didn’t work out. However, I’m hopeful that a man is out there for me.” Then I get the classic response, “Oh, honey, it just wasn’t your time.” So, when I get mildly depressed about not being in a relationship, I get some dark chocolate, a bottle of white wine (or a 2 liter bottle of Coke), a romantic comedy, and a best friend. We talk about how we are still single, how we want to be in relationships but maybe aren’t actually ready, and how fabulous the other is all while watching How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014). It is always then that I realize that I did actually find love in college.
Maybe I should specify. I didn't find romantic love while in college. And going to a small, Christian school, I found the love of brothers and sisters in Christ, the love that professors have for their students, that friends and roommates have for each other, that God has for His Children, and that followers of Christ have for one another. Am I a little bitter that I didn't meet the man I'm going to marry while in college? A bit, but not much. Instead of finding a husband during those four years, I found people who will support and love me no matter my relationship status.
It doesn't matter if you find love with a romantic relationship, with best friends or roommates, with siblings or parents, with a community (or particular members in that community). It just matters that you find it. Don't get frustrated if people think you should be dating (or if they expect it), but work on finding love in the places that love you just as you are. These places offer grace and chances to grow in knowledge and in love. It starts with loving yourself, flaws and all, and being content with where you are now – not where you might be in a week, a month, a year, a decade.
As Jane Seymour always says, “Keep your heart open and love will always find its way in.”