1. What were the main challenges you experienced in getting matched?
There is this belief in the church (which differs from the so-called “outside” world) that when you turn 25, you’re too “old” to get blessed, therefore you have to rush into finding a spouse, be less picky and more realistic, since there are less options available (especially if you’re a sister). My Blessing broke at the age of 26, and because of this social stigma that I described, my parents tried to push me into get blessed again as soon as possible without considering that I needed some time to heal from my previous relationship.
Another challenge I had to face whilst getting matched was that many guys who were either older or my same age were too hurt from their previous relationships or too negative about the church. The third challenge I had to face was the comparison with my BC friends who were younger and already had spouses, jobs, their own apartment – and even children. I remember going to several baby showers and housewarming parties with a heavy heart.
The fourth challenge was the frustration of not finding the “right” person for me, after one failed Blessing and five matching attempts, I felt like a loser, like a person who wasn’t good enough for anyone to love me back.
2. What were the key decisions and efforts you made to overcome these challenges?
First of all, I put aside the social stigma of women having to marry an older guy. I started looking for candidates who were younger than me and there were more options and less pressure to choose “whoever”.
Second, to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop comparing myself to others. I decided to work on my self esteem, so I went to a therapist I found trustworthy enough.
Third, to put aside unrealistic expectations from my parents and from me, because all those failed matching attempts were the result of trying to please my parents’ or my own expectations. After having my fifth matching attempt, I told my parents that I wanted some time out and I wanted to do a family condition together for 40 days before contacting anyone else. I was doing conditions on my own before, but I realised a family prayer would be more powerful and effective. I took my past experiences not as failures but as wisdom gems, as lessons that could prepare me to become a better person and a better spouse, so I let go of the pain.
Soon after the family condition and through the help of a “fairy godmother” named Patrick Hanna, I found my spouse. The fourth decision, which is actually the most important one, was to stop trying to please others and start thinking of what I really wanted: what were my ideals and values about love, family, the church, etc. and try to find someone who is on the same page or as passionate about those ideals and values as I am. So my spouse and I, we didn’t “click” at first but we shared the same common ground, and gradually we fell in love with each other.
3. What would you have done differently and would you advise others not to do?
I would have tried to be less pessimistic and to understand that a relationship is not about pleasing someone or being someone’s puppet, but to actually create something between the two of you. So I would have been more clear with my parents about what I really wanted and how I really wanted it to be handled, instead of just “obeying” them and therefore coming to resent them.
This ‘people-pleasing’ mindset also wasn’t positive for my matching process and even my current relationship. I you’re like me, I would advise not to try to please everyone because it doesn’t build a solid companionship or relationship. I would also advise to find someone who shares your ideals rather than someone who merely attracts you, because for me, the aim shouldn’t be about just being happy, but to find purpose in your life and create an everlasting, meaningful companionship. I also think I could have worked on my self esteem issues earlier, instead of ignoring them or giving them less importance.
4. What lessons have you learned through your journey to getting matched?
I’ve learned not to judge or make premature assumptions of the other person, of his profile picture, his age, his family name, his nationality or base one’s opinion on first impressions. Also it’s important to ask all the essential questions as soon as possible instead of spending several months of small talk just to see if you both “click”; no one is going to die if you don’t know the other candidate’s favourite colour! Moreover, I would encourage people to ask the most obvious questions: Do you believe in God? Do you go to Sunday service? Do you want children? See if you are both on the same page about the most essential things. I have seen couples splitting up because they skipped this part in their initial process and when they found out, it was too late. As a side note, I would also figure out if the person suffers from any addictions and whether he/she is working on them or just letting time pass.
5. What would you say to another Blessed Child over 25 who is making efforts to get matched and Blessed?
First and foremost: be patient and relentless. Second: take the initiative to get matched rather than rely solely on his/her parents/friends/BFD staff. If the Blessing is something you deeply care about and your parents are aging and they don’t even know how to send emails, then I think it’s about time (to get involved). Third: do not be ashamed to ask for support from friends/family and BFD staff. I actually helped a 30 year-old BC to meet her spouse, and I feel I didn’t just do the right thing, but I gained two friends in the process. As a side note, putting yourself on the website might seem humiliating, but I think it’s really brave and in particular it shows both transparency and availability – that there is nothing “fishy” about you. Fourth: be open-minded, because the older you get, the less flexible you become and maybe the love of your life is not meant to be, say, a European or White/Caucasian. My final advice for any person of any age who wants to get blessed is to ask yourself the questions: Why do I want to get blessed? Why do I want a spouse? What kind of family do I want to have? What kind of life do I want to live? When I envision my future, is God in the picture? Be as specific as possible. If the answers are clear, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartaches.