If you love being single, I’m happy for you. I applaud you. But for the single folks who would love to be married, I confess my overwhelming need to practice the age-old art of matchmaking. It’s the curse of being happily married. I want everyone to experience the joy of a happy union. People tell me all the time how dangerous it is to try to match single people. These are the comments I get, “They’ll end up hating you if it doesn’t work out.” OR “You better be careful about getting into other people’s business.” Thankfully, I ignore the naysayers in favor of a more positive outlook regarding matchmaking. Not to say I haven’t had my share of failures or “setbacks.” But, how many failed attempts did Thomas Edison experience while trying to invent the light bulb? Precisely. Without Edison’s tenacity, we’d all be sitting in the dark right now. And though I know nothing about light bulbs, I’d like to think I know a little something about sparks of a different nature.
An attractive 28-year-old man in Texas was one of my first experiments ... I mean, projects ... I mean, opportunities. A fine Christian man with a heart of gold and a slightly unusual personality posed an interesting challenge. Enter Friend No. 1. I thought sure she was the right match and I enthusiastically set up the first meeting. An outdoor barbecue at a mutual friend’s house. And all seemed to be going well. Unfortunately, at some point in the evening, he began to sell himself like a used car. Kaboom! We later advised him to never spout his resume or act like a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. We buried the first matchmaking attempt in the backyard and everyone assumed I had “learned my lesson.” Thankfully, no.
Enter Friend No. 2. She was in my small group Bible study at church and I loved her. We invited them both to our home for dinner. She was perfect for him. They even looked perfect standing together. Hence, the term “looks can be deceiving.” She found him to be far less than what she was looking for in a mate ... and as the evening progressed, that became obvious to all of us. Kaboom (again)! Everyone knew I would never attempt matchmaking again. But they didn’t understand my Edison-like tenacity. I will say that at this point we had to provide a little counseling for the young man. His self-esteem was being trampled and I knew that if he developed a negative view of himself, he would project that onto the next woman he met. Phil and I managed to soothe his wounded soul and remind him that God had a plan, a wonderful plan.
Friends made terrible fun of me when I introduced him to Friend No. 3, a nursery worker at our church. “Lisa, give the poor guy a break.” “Good night, spare him the agony.” I’m glad I wasn’t listening. She ended up being the woman of his dreams. Beautiful. Kind. And the best part? She loved him. She loved him so much that she married him almost six months after their first date. They have two beautiful daughters.
Yes, of course, I cried at the wedding. I cried tears of joy because two people, by the grace of God, had found each other. I compare the whole process to a good day of fishin’. Sometimes you have to wait patiently on the bank for the right one to come along. But most times you need to adjust the bait a little.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.20.08
Lisa Smartt, Smartt View