I met my wife during my second year of Seminary. We met through an online dating site, and the first hurdle I had to survive was telling her I was in school to be come a Pastor. My online profile simply read “graduate school.” Telling potential romantic partners you’re in Seminary is a great way to leave yourself high and dry – better to let them get to know you a little bit first before you drop that on them. At any rate, she told me later that she’d initially decided that was that after she learned about it, but decided to give things a chance because I was charming.
When we started dating, I knew that my personal timeline had me leaving for internship in two and a half years – I wasn’t much for the “standard” path through seminary, so it was going to take me a while longer than usual. Two and a half years would turn out to be just the wrong amount of time, though. After we’d been officially dating for about ten months, when internship was now a year and a half away, we had to address the real question of what we were going to do about it. We had, essentially, three options. One, I could move away for a year and we could try to maintain the relationship long-distance. Two, we could get married and go together. Three, I could change my plans and put off internship to give us more time to develop our relationship.
We sat in my seminary apartment mulling things over, and ultimately found ourselves drawn towards option two. We thought about the timeline required and figured out what the best date to have a wedding would be so that it could work with internship. And that is my super romantic story of how I proposed – “if we get married here we could stay together on internship, so I guess we’ll do that.”
On that timeline, it was slightly over two years from our first date to our wedding day, which I have to say was a bit rushed. We’re still dealing with some of our relationship issues, and I can’t help but wonder if we’d waited longer if things would be different – I’d have preferred another year or so before tying the knot, but I didn’t want to put off internship any longer.
There’s a second aspect to this story, too, which in a way is even better. I interviewed with seven different congregations for my internship placement, and as part of the process ranked them in order of preference. I was ultimately assigned my absolute last choice – a church that literally nobody else wanted to go. One of the major reasons listed as to why other churches rejected me was that supervisors were worried that I wouldn’t be able to balance being a newlywed with the responsibilities of being an intern. I’d based my entire relationship’s timeline around being able to make it work with internship, and that timeline ended up being one of the primary reasons I couldn’t do an internship anywhere I had any interest in whatsoever. I’d been stuck in what felt like an impossible situation, and tried to resolve it as best I could and it still ended up leaving me high and dry.