(Photo courtesy of The Rock Church San Diego)
Single Story: Nova and Ricky Page
By Nova and Ricky Page
He says, “You complete me” and she says, “shut up, you had me at hello.” This romantic notion had millions swooning at the thought that once you find “the one,” they would ultimately complete you (as though you were somehow sub-human, not quite a whole person until you found that one). That one, would change everything and make you somehow the best version of yourself. This ideation can become quite the quandy. What do you do until then? Do you passively do life and sit back for someone who can make you whole? But then, what if you miss it? The what if and if only questions consume you. If you miss the person, or someone else got to your person before you did, your life is surely destined to be filled with creating forever homes for rescue cats on the weekend and binge watching every Netflix series known to humankind.
Is that what a single life is meant for? Is it just the excruciating gap of time in between your last break up and your eventual walk down the aisle? That sounds more like dying than living to me. There are voices that tell us that we will never be fulfilled or enough or able to truly grow until we ultimately have someone endorse us. Can I just be honest? Stop that thought. It is not a nourishing one that will help you grow as a person. It will stunt your growth. Perhaps you have heard the saying that who you are when you are poor, is who you will be when you are rich. If you are generous with little you will be generous with a lot. What does this have to do with nourishment, singleness, and your soul you ask? If you in your singleness decide that you are not worth the investment of nourishing (providing food for your mind body and soul) then you will be that very same person in a relationship. If you don’t invest in nourishing yourself, and then try to mooch off of someone else’s plate who has done the hard soul work and investment, all of the sudden, you become this person who has a hole that needs filling as opposed to a person who comes to the table with an impressive portfolio. Instead of becoming an asset you become a liability.
Nova: When I met my now husband, I was a hot mess. I had gone through a messy break up, I was knee deep in a devastating eating disorder and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was a serious liability and I knew it. I saw him and really wanted a man like him. But I was not ready. In fact, he had a girlfriend when I met him. He wasn’t ready either. It would have been easy to just date someone in the meantime to fill my need to be wanted, but I knew I had to just stop the insanity. I had to be honest and be OK with being just me. I know, I don’t mean to go full hallmark card, but full disclosure…being single wasn’t hard because I couldn’t be alone, it was hard because I didn’t like what I found inside when I was alone. I was malnourished, needy, insecure, and angry.
In any good recovery program they will tell you that the first step is to admit there is a problem. From that starting point, now it is up to you to show up, have accountability, and commit to anything that will help prune the dead branches off the tree and make room for new life…new growth. So how do you nourish yourself and thrive in singleness? Be honest with yourself, be open to feedback and make room in your life, cutting out the things that keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns, to facilitate new areas of growth. For me, her name was Mrs. Hildebrand.
She was kind, generous, honest, and willing to ask the tough questions. She challenged my ideas on what a life well lived might look like. However, the most important thing that she did was direct me to Jesus. She reminded me that He was the source and that I would be wise to run to the source of all life and desire to become like him. He would be the only one who could nourish my emaciated soul. No human could fill me, change me, or make me whole. It would be him and him alone. This would be the beginning of a love story that is still in the making.
It wasn’t about an event, rather, it was about partaking in a nourishing meal daily with the one who has proven to love me, father me, and give to me my daily bread. The point of this article isn’t for you to be like me. Rather, it is to nudge you to make time and room for a loving heavenly father that says “you are worth the investment….let me nourish your soul…and discover my complete love….a love that lacks nothing. Perhaps even now in a quiet whisper he gently says “I am the THE ONE you have been searching for…come sit with me…let’s have a nourishing meal together.”
Ricky: Two years before I met my wife…I had found my way to the Lord on the side of the freeway in my 1976 Camaro, after catching my serious girlfriend at the time in the arms of another man. That night I committed to following the Lords plan for my life, because my plans for my life were not working out that great. As it turned out, His plans would lead me 2500 miles from my home to small bible college in Saskatchewan, Canada. After traveling all that way to be a student I decided I should avoid the distraction of a relationship, so for two years avoided women like the plague. By my junior year I realized that singleness was definitely not Gods will for my life, and began to assess my options. I had never been in the Christian dating game before so I wasn’t all together sure how it worked. Unlike my dating life pre-Jesus, I decided to choose a girlfriend for more than her body. As a result, I ended up dating a girl who was really sweet but whom I wasn’t the slightest bit attracted to. Everyone around me seemed to be convinced that she would make a great wife, therefore leading me to the conclusion that settling was my only option. Then I met Nova! She checked all the boxes, not just my boxes, but apparently every other single man on our college campus boxes as well. Unfortunately for the other guys, she gave her heart to me. Because we both were committed to purity and one of us was a bit untrustworthy in this department, (I’ll let you guess which one) we decided to abstain and restrict most physical touch. Not an easy task, but one that lead to creative dates, long walks, lots of talking, and ultimately an awesome friendship. A friendship that drives our marriage still after 25 years.
I the past 25 years we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of dating, engaged, married and divorced couples. We know that relationships can be challenging, and in many cases doomed from the start. Most pollsters would agree as they record well over 50% of most marriages ending in divorce. Nonetheless, Nova and I believe it is entirely possible to love each other and like each other while living in a thriving marriage. So much so, that we started a internet show/ Pod-cast called Marriage_ing where we provide weekly council, advice, tools and hope to couples everywhere. On this show we attempt to do more than just solve problems. Our goal is to inspire couples to live out, what we call, their “Oneness” Super Power.
Find out more about Nova and her husband Ricky by checking out their relationships YouTube channel, Marriage_ing