"Usually, their doubts are somewhat eased, but mine still rage. Do I really know anything about relationships? If I did, wouldn’t I be in one? What do I know about sharing a life with someone? Accommodating my dog is about all the space I can make for another being in my life on most days. What business do I have counseling people about commitment? In seconds, I am back in that same hopelessly inadequate frame of mind, terrified that nothing in either my education or my life experience has prepared me to be a pastor in this situation.
In one particular session, inevitably, we’re talking about unrealistic expectations; I jokingly mention the list I’d made in my early 20s of the characteristics I absolutely required in a partner. Let’s just say I was an academic snob who expected some combination between an adoring audience, a mind reader, and a professional hockey player - with a PhD. “Oh, that’s why you’re still not married at your age,” says the shining young groom. Apparently I missed the memo that thirty is still considered old maid material. I have to bite back a snarky response about my hesitance to marry perhaps being related to the amount of time I spend listening to couples gripe at each other in front of a perfect stranger. I won’t say it, no matter how much I want to. I’m a professional."