My friend Jacob is distraught over the breakup with his latest girlfriend. He’s going through a rough time. Alvhild (don’t ask me where the name comes from) was the third or fourth “she’s the one” girl with whom Jacob would spend the rest of his life, raise a family, blah blah blah.
Jacob tends to get a little obsessive about these relationships, and he takes their inevitable endings pretty hard - harder each time as he gets closer and closer to age thirty. I say “inevitable endings” and it might seem unkind. I mean, he’s certainly entitled to have a loving, productive, long-lasting relationship, right? Right. And yet the intensity he pours into these relationships simply cannot be sustained – at least, not to this casual observer.
It is his religion that encourages (pressures?) its members to marry young and multiply. The religion is all about family. The insufferable cynic in me thinks it’s just a little self-serving. Get married and have a bunch of kids who become church members…who grow up and get married and have a bunch of kids who become… You get the picture.
Either way, the church’s influence is such that young men like Jacob feel they are somehow inferior or inadequate if they do not live up to the expectations. They are taught to want to have a family, whether they actually want one or not. Religion has a way of doing that to you. Little room for individual or independent thinking. (There’s that cynic in me coming out again.)
So Jacob is up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he moved to be near Alvhild while she attends the University of Alabama. She has a plan for her life: She wants to be a nurse. After graduation, she plans on moving out to Utah to go through BYU’s nursing school. Her plans apparently don’t include him. (Then again she’s 19; her “plans” change on a daily or weekly basis.)
But Jacob isn’t taking this breakup lying down. He plans on also moving to Utah, just to be near her should she have an epiphany and reconsider her love for him. I know what you’re thinking – I’ve said it to him as well: The girl may consider a move like that to be, well, stalking. With such statements Jacob gets defensive. And huffy.
“People tell me that it’s probably God’s Will that we’re not supposed to be together,” he says. “But what if it’s God’s Will that we’re supposed to be together? And what if He wants me to not just give up, but to move out there and keep pursuing her?”
Ahh, how do you argue with such logic?
He may be right, I suppose. But I prefer to think of it this way: If some company from Utah called out of the blue and offered Jacob a high-paying job as a phlebotomist (the field in which he is trained), then I would say go for it! The Universe/God would be sending him a clear message. Otherwise, I wouldn't risk the Temporary Restraining Order that's sure to come.
We cannot presuppose to know God’s Will. All we can do is simply have faith, live our lives, and go where He puts us. We can’t force the issue. We cannot tell Him which road to take us down, or which exit to select.
Nor should we.