Tag Archives: relationships

Young, Catholic, and Engaged

Okay, first of all…I must apologize for my missing the past two posting deadlines.  Between Christmas and travel and family visiting, things just got busy—not to mention I was graced with a cold that made it difficult to string together complete sentences, let alone blog posts.  But enough excuses.  I’ve been really excited to tell all of you that, as of December 30th, I’M ENGAGED!!!

Tyler proposed last Friday at the beach, and we are planning to get married at the end of this year.  We’re both (obviously) really excited, and though we of course want this year to go by super fast, we’re also looking forward to what God is going to do in our lives over these next several months to prepare us, not just for the wedding, but for the sacrament of marriage.

Anyway, I start winter quarter today—pray for me!  I’m taking Johannine Literature and Christology & Soteriology.

Also, two friends of mine recently started a pretty awesome Catholic blog.  You can check it out here: AllYouCanEatCatholics.blogspot.com.  (They’re both insanely smart converts to Catholicism—one is earning his MA in Theology and the other is a design/graphics genius).

Happy Thursday!

Mini-Marriages

Do you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend?  If you answered “yes,” then allow me to share something with you that my uncle shared with me when I was younger.  That person you’re dating right now?  One of two things is going to happen: You’re either going to one day get married, or you’re going to break up.  And I hate to say it, but odds are that you’re more likely to break up (it’s a funny little thing called statistics).

I’m not saying this to bring you down; I’m saying this so that you’ll keep things in perspective.  Yes, the guy/girl who dumped you may be a jerk that didn’t realize what he/she had, but there’s no reason why your world has to end because of it.  And just as relevant, there’s no reason why you need to go on a yearlong mission to prove (through Facebook albums, partying, or serial dating) just how “over him” you are.   Fact is: when it comes to dating, break ups are pretty common.  Dramatic and public “mini-divorces” between you and your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend should not be.

As my uncle would say, the only way to avoid the pain and the drama of the “mini-divorce” is to not enter into the “mini-marriage” in the first place.  If you go on every date thinking, “we’re either going to get married or we’re going to break up”, then you’re probably going to have a much more mature outlook than the person thinking, “this could be the one!” before they’ve even finished the appetizer on the first date.  When it comes to dating, it’s so important that we guard our hearts.  We want them to be intact enough to give to the person God has created us for, and ultimately to God Himself entirely.

(Seeing as I stole his wisdom for this post, it’s fitting that I plug my uncle’s Young Adult Ministry — serving 18-25 year olds all over the country 🙂 )

Why True Love Doesn’t Always Wait

It’s Human Nature 101:  We all have a desire within us to give love and to be loved in return.  And while we may seek to fulfill and express this desire in many different ways (some ways healthy and good for us… many twisted and damaging to us) it usually all comes back to this basic principle.  We’re human.  We need love.

And when it comes to love, there is often a lot of emphasis in our society placed on “waiting”.  Obviously at this point I could point to how us Christians talk an awful lot about “waiting” until marriage.  After all, true love waits, right?  But we also hear a lot of talk about “waiting” in our secular world, too.  When things don’t work out with what’s-his-name, for whatever reason, it’s ok, because we tell ourselves that Mr. Right will come along eventually.  We just have to wait.  It’s classic Disney.  “Someday my prince will come.”  But until then, I’ll just wait.

This is all well and good.  And it is certainly true that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13, anyone?).  However, in all this talk about waiting for marriage, and waiting for Mr. (or Miss) Right, it seems we all too easily forget that Love is waiting for us, too.  And in this case, a response is required on our part—right now. (And later today.  And tomorrow.  And every day for the rest of our lives)

waitingpin

You don’t have to wait another minute for your love story to begin, because Love has been waiting for you since the moment of your conception (talk about Love being patient!).  This Love waits on you even when you refuse it and turn away from it.  This love waits on you even when you spit in its face.  The one who created you loves you more than you are capable of understanding.  And until we begin to realize this, we’re really missing the bigger picture of this whole “love” thing anyway.

If God does one day call you to marriage, I’m sure that your Mr. (or Miss) Right is going to be amazing and is going to love you more than you even know.  But, whether you believe it or not, the fact that God loves you is always going to be a bigger deal.  (And the right “Mr. Right” will tell you that himself).

So pray for your vocation.  Pray for your future spouse.  But most of all, pray that God will open your heart to receive His love, and pray for the grace to love Him in return.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Married

Last week, a friend of mine shared this article with me and wanted to know my perspective on it.  In a nutshell, it’s an article written by a Catholic, basically arguing that Catholics should encourage their children to get married young.

From the article:

Many Catholics, like society at large, encourage their children to postpone marriage. Go to college. Get a job. Get financially stable. Date around. Find out who you are first, then consider marriage. Problem is, by the time you do all these things to find out who YOU are, the one things you can count is who you are is ‘not married.’ This is why people now do not get married until they are in their late twenties, if at all. By then, society has messed them up so much by a decade of self-centeredness that they will probably make lousy spouses.

While I don’t necessarily disagree with everything in the article, I think this is quite a jump to make.  Especially since I know there are many people who would LOVE to be married by 23, but that’s simply not God’s plan for them.  As unfair as it is to condemn young marriages across the board as being irresponsible or foolish, it’s just as bad to conclude that those people who get married in their 30s are selfish or will make “lousy spouses”.  Sheesh.

That being said, I do come from a family of people who happened to get married “young”.  My parents were married at 19, and all four of my siblings were married by their 25th birthday.  It wasn’t expected; it just worked out that way.  My dad wrote a guest post a while back about what a father ought to expect from a man wishing to marry his daughter (spoiler: there’s no age requirement—but men without concrete plans to support their families need not apply).

Every relationship is different.  While it would be wonderful if every couple could get married the second they knew they wanted to, often that’s not practical—nor is it prudent.  It’s ok to postpone marriage because you need to finish college first; not everyone can juggle both at the same time, and it certainly does not mean you’re selfish if you know yourself well enough to know that you can’t.

I do, however, feel compelled to say something here about chastity outside of marriage.  It’s difficult.  And quite frankly, dating the same person for ten years without getting married doesn’t make it any easier.  There may come a certain point when prudence calls for either getting married or breaking up, so as not to continue putting you and your significant other in unnecessary temptation.  Of course, if you love each other, breaking up may not seem like an option, and perhaps this is a reason why you shouldn’t be dating anyone if you know you’re nowhere close to being ready to get married in the first place.

Bottom line: this is a vocation we are talking about here!  It’s not something that can be figured out by a divine mathematical equation (i.e. If x = your age and y = the age of your significant other, multiply the difference by the square root of the number of years you have been dating and voila!  Your wedding date).  If only it were that simple.  🙂

Rather than encourage people to get married young as a means of avoiding selfishness, why not encourage and pray for them to practice charity no matter what age they are or state of life they find themselves in?

As St. Therese of Lisieux put it, “My vocation is love.”

The Other 98%

It’s hardly our fault.  From the time we are very young we watch Disney movies that begin with “Once Upon A Time” and end with “Happily Ever After.”  From our earliest years we are told that the greatest good we seek in life is True Love.

And in theory, there’s nothing wrong with this.  I do agree that love is the greatest good.  It’s just that, if you ask around, it seems nearly impossible for us humans to settle on an objective definition for what real love actually looks like.

At my graduation last month, our commencement speaker challenged our graduating class with the task of redefining love for the culture.  “There are so many songs or stories out there about falling in love,” he said, “when falling in love really only makes up about 2% of what love actually is!”

You can see how this is problematic.  Not only are we looking for the treasure without a map, we haven’t even really any clue what the treasure will look like when we actually find it.  We know the 2% of how the story is supposed to begin, but we are less familiar with how to live out the remaining 98% of the equation.  Enter broken relationships and confused hearts.  The truth is, a lot of people could fill the first few pages of several books with the 2%, or the “Fairytales” of past relationships—but because we have believed for so long that “falling in love” is the whole picture, the remainder of our love stories are empty pages.  And then we wonder when “true love” will come.

A wise priest once told me, “Once falling in love ends, true love can begin.”  Falling in love is a feeling.  It’s a rare feeling, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed that it will only happen once in your lifetime.   True love is more than a feeling; it’s a choice.  And it’s not just one choice; it’s a series of choices.  It’s a lifetime of choices, and it usually comes down to the choice between yourself and your beloved.  You can tell it’s real love when you find mutual self-gift—when both parties involved choose their beloved over their individual desires.

If there were no choice in love, then it would not mean a whole lot for someone to say that they loved you.  The other 98% of love is not always easy, and it’s not always fun…and it definitely doesn’t always feel romantic and fairy-tale-esque, but it’s real.  Personally, I’d prefer to be chosen.