The Arranged Marriage
- Monday, November 05, 2001
Editor's Note: This article originally ran on Crosswalk in November 2001. We've not re-run it. It has made its way into our Most Popular articles of the week (and hence the Crosswalk Weekly newsletter) by way of Lisa Whelchel being in the news via her appearance on the TV show Survivor and the details of her divorce. In other words, people are finding this archived article through search engines, not because we've made spectacle of it.
I’m so thankful that I waited to follow the Good Shepherd’s voice to find the man I was supposed to marry. I must admit, though, that it didn’t happen quite the way I imagined it would. I mean, come on, what daughter wants her Father to choose a husband for her?
Steve, and I became friends when I was assigned to a prayer group that he, as a pastor, was appointed to oversee. His boss, Pastor Jack Hayford, had organized “affinity” groups in our church to provide a safe place where members who were in the entertainment industry could be open and transparent about their prayer needs. Our group consisted of four married couples, Michael and Stormie Omartian, Gabri Ferrer and Debbie Boone, Dominic Allen and Charlene Tilton, and Bruce Sudano and Donna Summer. Other than Donna’s manager, Susan Munao and the other pastor, Minnie Whaley, who was an elder in every sense of the word, Steve and I were the only single people in the group. Looking back, I can see that it was a set-up right from the start.
Our group met once a month, and every month I had the same prayer request. At twenty-two I was ready to get married and start a family, and I wanted to find God’s choice of a husband for me. Steve and the others were dutiful to pray. I should have known something was up when Steve asked if he could lay hands on me and pray. Just kidding!
But not entirely.
Over the next two years, Steve and I began to spend a lot of time together, and we became good friends. (Interpretation: I was not at all attracted to him.) Every so often, he would take me out for “the talk”—the one where, because of his integrity and desire not to take advantage of his position as a pastor, he would confess that he was feeling more for me than friendship. I would assure him that although I thought he was a really nice guy (girls, you know what I mean), I was not feeling those same stirrings. We would then resolve to continue going out as friends as long as it didn’t get too uncomfortable for either of us.
I had a plumb deal. I had someone to go to dinner and the movies with, and my boyfriend wasn’t jealous. Oops, did I forget to mention that I had a boyfriend? I’d better fill you in. I had been dating a contemporary Christian singer/musician who was on the road a lot. One weekend when he was home, we were out on a date, and I felt I had to tell him about my relationship with Steve, just to keep everything up front and—even though he wasn’t the Jewish guy—kosher. I mentioned that Steve and I had been spending a lot of time together and said that because he was so “safe,” he was the logical person to escort me to functions when my minstrel was out of town. I watched my music man from across the table as he struggled to place the name with a face, “Steve, Steve.… Oh yeah, the church organist! I don’t have to worry about him.”
So now I had all my little ducks in a row. Well, actually, I was not so sure about one little duckie—Steve’s feelings. He was so sweet; I just couldn’t bear the thought of his feelings getting hurt because of unrequited love. This time I initiated “the talk.” As gingerly as possible, I suggested that we not spend as much time together. I encouraged him not to take it personally; after all, I was planning to break up with my boyfriend as well.
I explained that I was going through a personal revival with the Lord. I was even considering joining YWAM (Youth with a Mission) on a mission trip for a year after the last taping of The Facts of Life. I told him that it would be best if I just concentrated on my relationship with God for a while. There. I had said it.
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