, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I survived a miniature family reunion this weekend in New Jersey. Relatives gathered from near and far — including both coasts of Canada, Texas, Argentina, and The Garden State itself. We spent several days riding the magical carousel of eating and talking, eating and talking, eating and talking. Conversations effortlessly (and loudly) filled every empty space with multiple languages, laughter and much-needed reminiscence.

pizzaOn my final night there, we ordered a few pizza pies from a local joint and gathered around the table for — wait for it — more eating and talking. (If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?) I found myself in a particularly heartfelt, honest conversation with my brother, his wife, and my cousin, Daniel. We talked about faith and how sometimes it’s hard to believe in God, sometimes it’s hard to understand his ways. We each had areas of faith we struggled with, yet all somehow landed on the same playing field in the stadium of mere humanity.

Between bites of pizza and garlic knots, I shared that it’s not always easy trusting God to bring me a husband. And it was then that my 22-year-old cousin taught me a pretty important life lesson. Here’s how it went down:

I mentioned that I’ve been praying for my husband, but God still hasn’t answered that prayer. So we turned to my little cousin — who’s also single — and asked:

“Do you pray for a wife, Daniel?”

And without hesitation, he answered simply:

“Well, I don’t pray for a wife. I pray for a girlfriend.”

Whoa! Light bulb! Fireworks! Sirens! Hello? Are you with me?

My sister-in-law looked at me with exclamation points in her eyes and shrieked, “Maybe you need to pray for a boyfriend first! Don’t just jump to a husband!”

And then my brother chimed in with his annoying brotherly humor, “Yeah, it’s like praying for your kids’ college education before you even pray for kids.”

Okay, okay. I know sometimes it takes me a while to get things, but I think I’ve finally latched onto something here. And I can’t help but hear my girl Jordin Sparks singing softly in the background:

One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen
When it’s supposed to happen
And we find the reasons why
One step at a time

Perhaps instead of attempting to leap forward like some kind of Spider-Man, I need to just settle into a pair of cute high heels like the ones Jordin donned on that American Idol stage — and take one step at a time. My blog, after all, is called I Kissed My Date Goodnight, not I Kissed My Husband Good Morning.ย As sexy as the latter sounds, if I were to jump to that before dating, I’d be mortified.

I have no plans to meet my husband at the altar. I have no intention of getting set up in some forced, arranged marriage. I have zero interest in being surprised on my wedding day.

date nightI plan to date. I plan to get to know a great guy on various dates to various places, eating various foods and watching various romantic comedies. I plan to hold his hand, to look into his eyes, and to ask him all about his life, his childhood, his dreams. I plan to kiss him goodnight. Many, many times.

So perhaps my little cousin was right. It might do me some good to start praying for a great boyfriend. Yes, I’ll pray that he has the qualities I’m looking for in a husband, and I’ll pray that he has the godly character to become a strong family man. But it’s a process. Rome wasn’t built in a day. My wedding isn’t going to happen tomorrow.

Deep breath.

One step at a time.

Now, who wants a slice of pepperoni?