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Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Perspective: Guest Post from Derek Johnson

Today I'm happy to welcome a new guest-poster, Derek Johnson.  He is a graduate of the college I'm currently attending, a writer (including at his blog, Thoughts of a Wandering Mind), photographer, and Confessional Lutheran.  Derek has a unique perspective to share on dating, relationships, and marriage, and I'm glad that my readers have a chance to read what he has to say!

I came across Jaimie's blog earlier this year, and while her experiences of dating and college didn't exactly match mine, her posts did cause me to remember a seemingly innocuous moment from when I was in a youth small group Bible study my senior year of high school. There were five or six of us, and our leaders asked us at what age do you want to get married. I said I wanted to get married by age twenty, which was at least three or four years before anyone else in that group of people. Over ten years later, I'm still single, it's safe to say I missed the boat on that one. 

But I'm not jealous of Jaimie, or of any of my other friends who got married in college. I actually underwent a shift in thinking when I went to Concordia University Wisconsin from 2003 to 2005. I wanted to get married then, but as I stood and watched people around me fall in love and marry with seeming ease, I began to realize that God didn't want me to get married yet, and that was His plan. This was coupled with a falling out I had with some friends at school.

When I left college, I went through a couple of phases to be where I am now. What is unique about them is that they all concerned me and my “ideal partner” and gave no practical considerations to the estate of marriage. I looked at marriage as an escape and relief from the life I was living as my parents housesitter/employee. (This was the period of time I was mainly interested in dating older women, looking at potential mates on online dating.) But gradually my interest waned.

And then I came around: I needed to stop looking at marriage like it was something that would happen in the future, even though it could happen in the future. What was more important was finding a place in life where I would be a positive contributor to the people in my life, and marriage, if it were to happen, would take care of itself. 

Concurrent with this was a realization that to be a man in a relationship means that you have to take the lead. All through high school and college, I was very impressionable to strong-willed women, mainly because I grew up in a household with a domineering mother (and paternal grandmother). I figured it didn't matter much if a woman asked a man out. Now I realize that there is something fundamental about what a woman needs out of a relationship that requires the man to take the lead and be her head.

This was a place that I came to out of a lot of struggle. Leading people in general makes me uncomfortable, and I'm unsure of myself often. But my weaknesses and fears aren't what this is about. God designed the marriage this way, for reasons that are beyond the understanding of man. Even women who have a high standing in the world want a man who can take of them, much less most of the conservative, religious women who I am more likely to marry. And I can be that guy (I think). 

Now in my life, God has called me to certain tasks. Be a good friend, worker, and volunteer. Write the best blog I can and find people to share it with. Listen to other people and celebrate what they do well and have a positive impact on their lives. If, through this, God blesses a woman who has the same goals as I do, with whom I can communicate, and who I can get through tough times with, I hope my sin doesn't get in the way. 

Unlike Jaimie, I wouldn't have the chance to grow into habits with my partner. (For those of you who are curious, it is around the age of 26-27 when person's self-image as an adult is set, or at least that was my experience. Perhaps it is different for others.) For those of you who find a spouse during that time, I'm very happy for you. You'll probably be better husbands and wives than I ever will be. I suspect people who marry young become more at ease with each others habits and don't have to go through as intense negotiations of personal space as those who marry later in life. But God always gives all of us our own lots in life, thanks be to Him.

Derek Johnson is a Seward, Nebraska native.  He works for his family company Blue River Hybrids, and in his spare time, he takes photographs and writes ( a lot).  He is a coop artist a Noyes Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska, for whom he maintains a blog and where he displays photographs of the rural scenery of Nebraska and other states.  He is a contributor to the website Husker Locker.  He is a member at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Seward, Nebraska, where he volunteers on the Worship Committee, the Personnel Board, the tape ministry, and in many other ways.  His hobbies include long walks, cooking, and reading.  His goal is to become a freelance writer/photographer and novelist one day.  For more of his writing on dating, Lutheranism, sports, society, and other subjects, visit his blog at, or his archives on  Follow him on Twitter @derekjohnson05, find derekjohnsonmuses on Facebook, and subscribe to his Youtube channel derekjohnsonmuses.

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