My love story with Maurice is actually the best love story ever because the irony of it is funny. I don’t like sappy or intense love stories. I only like funny ones: romantic comedies only! I don’t like giving dating advice either because I don’t know much about dating. So when someone asks me for advice, I give them shadow work advice. For example: Did you know that your romantic relationships are a direct reflection of your relationship with your parents? This means that if you want a healthy romantic relationship with someone, you might want to do some shadow work to see what you’re subconsciously attracting.
There’s always good news and bad news here. For example, my husband is a lot like my father (that’s the good news). But on the same token, I’ve never felt completely deserving of my father’s love (that’s the bad news). I value achievement like my mother does (good news); but I don’t value consistency as much as I value passion (bad news).
When I met Maurice in the spring of 2008, I was very confused. I was excited to have met such an attractive, creative, and genuine soul, but there were things in my shadow that I didn’t know yet and that made me push him away a lot. You don’t know why you do what you do until you do shadow work. You carry your relationship with your father and your mother around with you, and this is what makes you choose some partners and reject others.
Maurice and I met at church while I was going to Bible school. Now mind you, this was a time in my life when I took myself way too seriously and thought that I was a star. I thought that I was special and that God had a huge calling on my life for ministry, and that I simply could not settle for anything sub-par in any area of my life. I was majoring in women’s ministry in undergrad and even considering going to seminary for systematic theology. I thought that I was meant to marry a pastor: someone who had an equally high calling on his life and took everything in life just as seriously as I did. I remember a classmate joking that only Moses could qualify to date me. The plan was to graduate, and then have a huge wedding at my hometown church.
I did not believe in shadow work at the time. I only believed in the sin nature. I would wonder why I was so “driven by the flesh” in my private time. I would repent, I would attend accountability group meetings, and I even got counseling at the school, and nothing worked. I was still a sinful person. In my sin, I became infatuated with someone at church that I thought was perfect for me. He was spiritual, he was knowledgeable, he was moral, and he was very serious. Literally at the same exact time, I met Maurice. He was spiritual, he was knowledgeable, and he was moral, but he was always laughing. Now I was all for laughter and fun, but serving God was serious business. I was definitely attracted to him, but he just didn’t seem mature enough for me.
I think that the other guy was interested in both me and another girl. After a few months of cat and mouse, he eventually chose her and I felt rejected. Maybe I was even heart-broken. I didn’t understand why he would go for her over me. She wasn’t as spiritually disciplined as I was. I mean she was so laid back about everything. Didn’t he need someone that was more like him? It took me a few months to really get over it. I remember waiting for the bus one Sunday morning and whispering to God: “I surrender. I know you have my best interest at heart. I’m letting this go.” Then I got on the bus to go to church. After service, I was hanging out in the sanctuary greeting people, and Maurice walked up to me and asked me out. He was so confident and sincere, and… SEXY! I wanted to say, “Hell yeah I’ll go out with you!” But I kept my cool and we exchanged numbers.
I was immediately conflicted about dating this man. What would people at church and school say? He didn’t come from a Christian upbringing like me. He wasn’t going to Bible school like me. He was a graduate of an art school, he worked at UPS, and he was an open book. He was just a normal guy- a really hot normal guy with a million dollar smile- but a normal guy nonetheless. He was a “new Christian” and I most certainly was not… but I took a leap of faith and gave him a chance. I fell in love with the sound of his voice, the way he looked at me, the way he prayed for me, the way he hugged me. Before I knew it, we were Facebook official.
I started making connections in my mind about my hesitance toward falling in love with Maurice. I was afraid of being normal. My shadow told me that it was more honorable to be miserable and special, than to be happy and normal. Could I really love a common man with a heart of gold? Or was I going to leave him and look for that pastor I was supposed to have for the sake of ministry? This was a result of feeling like I never really deserved my father’s love. This was a result of the sense of entitlement that I got from my mother.
I started asking God for signs. If Maurice and I were meant to be together, he would need to make it very obvious. One day a friend and I were having lunch and I explained to her my concerns. “You have a good man,” she told me, “You need to get over yourself.” I shrugged. I knew she was right. I saw the way that people would smile at us on the street as we walked by. I saw how his family embraced me, and my family embraced him. I felt our connection when he kissed me. This man really brought out the best in me even when I would show him the worst. And on August 14, 2010, the super serious spiritual girl married her hilarious, hard-working best friend on the south side of Chicago. And we didn’t get married in a church in front of hundreds; we got married in a restaurant in front of 35.
Maybe my parental shadows and things not working out with the really serious guy were the perfect catalysts for me to start valuing authenticity more. I had to come face to face with my demons in order to know what was best for me. And it’s a good thing I didn’t marry a pastor. That wouldn’t have worked out too well.