There are a lot of things that I think should be a certain way: I should always get at least eight hours of sleep, lunch should always be healthy while dessert should not, Chik-fil-a should stay open on Sunday — or at least deliver, your toenails should always be painted if you’re wearing sandals.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always looked at things how they should be. I used to think I should graduate high school at 17, go to college for four years and graduate on time. After, I should find my dream job, then find my dream man and we should get married.

I never pictured the “should” beyond there. What should our marriage look like? Should we always kiss when we get home from work? Should I always cook dinner? Should I say something when I’m annoyed for no reason? Should I give him some space so we’re not smothering each other? I never had an example to pull from, so the "shoulds" were never formulated in detail when scrolling through my usual childhood daydreams.

As a curious kid, I painted pictures in my head with all types of details and storylines about how things should be. I would let my mind drift, especially on long car rides, about a boy in class that I had a crush on. Sometimes the boy was a celebrity, particularly Chris Brown circa the “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" era. I imagined our first date, first kiss, first argument, etc.

Once I met my fiancé in 10th grade, I thought he was cute but deliberately blocked him out of any daydreams because I didn’t want to jinx anything. See, by this point, I figured anytime I thought too hard about anything I messed it up. So, with him, although he drifted in and out of my mind, I kept our relationship strictly in real life instead of fantasy. When we finally started dating, the reality of being with him was better than anything I could have imagine —my restraint had paid off.

Let go of the inhibitions formulated from your past that you are sure of and embrace the unknown that has been sent by God. 

– Noelle Bailey

Essentially, I don’t know what’s going to happen on the first day of my marriage, the first year or the first 10 years. All I know is that, without a doubt know, my fiance was sent to me from God. As I listened to my church’s podcast while writing this post, a word stuck out. My pastor said “God is using you to bring someone else out of something.”

When my fiancé and I first got engaged, a friend of mine commended us for setting an example for our generation. I didn’t think much of it, but as time went on I saw people my age attempting to navigate dating online and in-person and not being successful. Couples were formed and broken up in the time that we had been together. A few people close to me even shared that they had began to evaluate their own relationships based off mine.

Everyone was thinking about the should because for most 20-somethings, marriage is either foreign or unappealing. Why? That’s a different discussion for another post. However, as I listened to this word, I was comforted with the idea that a blessing I received could also mean something to someone else. I’m hoping that single people don’t succumb to self-pity and convince themselves that they’re not marriage material because they’re not where they thought they should be based off childhood daydreams. I’m also hoping that anyone in a great relationship stops questioning their should and unapologetically embraces their reality.

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