Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.
You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.
Why do this?
The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.
To help you get started, here are a few questions:
You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.
Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.
When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.
Tiny hands that long to clasp a finger. Small legs that await to take a first step. Little eyes that desire to return a loving gaze. A mighty heart that beats to the fullness of life. Then, stops.
In the name of health care. In the name of family planning. In the name of choice.
This silent human being has the face of a child—yet, the courage of a warrior. Sedated, trapped, with no choice, but to accept the fate that deliberately ends its beating heart.
This small human bravely accepts the only choice it is given—death. An end chosen by others. An end celebrated as a freedom. An end that popular opinion has forbade us to mention. To those choosing, death comes as a welcome end to an unwanted life. Yet, death it still is.
Legal jurisprudence waives its gavel and calls it “just.” The masses tout the benefits of providing such a “health service.” The general public asserts it is the ultimate authority on what is “right,” and informs us to stay closemouthed.
But, we won’t keep silent. For you, little ones, are already silent. Silent martyrs.
We march on after years of legality deem acceptable this horrific act. We raise our voices after others are miffed at listening. We passionately pray for life to be protected.
We persevere on because these martyrs are silent. And, the silence is piercing. It echoes through the halls of eternity and reaches the very ears of God. When all has passed—when our laws are nonexistent, when popular opinion is nothing more than a sentence in a history book, and when this generation has passed from this to the next—the truth will prevail.
That truth is that every human being has a dignity that deserves to be protected. These martyrs bear witness, as the Greek word for martyr is derived from the word, witness. These silent martyrs bear witness for heaven’s timeless truth—that every human being has an inherent dignity because he or she is made in the image and likeness of God. And, that that dignity of each and every human life must be respected.
In an attempt to silence these martyrs—in an effort to destroy them and forget them forever—we have seared their sainthood in our memory. Their brave souls, despite their silence, speak these eternal truths—that each and every human being represents the ultimate end of society. That every single human being deserves to be treated with the very basic golden rule—that we must do unto others as we would have others do unto us. And, that we have been entrusted by our God to hold on to the responsibility of preserving that human dignity.
And, their witness will live on forever. When transient popular opinion, that touts phrases like “health care” and “choice,” will be but a passing thought, these saints, who have stood for these eternal truths, will receive their vindication.
These little silent martyrs reflect the greatest sacrifice ever known to mankind—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Christ’s journey to the cross, he did not open his mouth. Instead, he uttered not a single word. Like these little ones, he was silent. As the prophet Isaiah describes it, “Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth.”
God often times speaks to us in this silence. “God sometimes speaks to us with words, as in history, with situations. And God at times, many times, speaks to us with his silence…I look to Jesus on the cross and discover the silence of God. The first silence of God is on the cross of Jesus. The greatest injustice in history and God was silent,” Pope Francis recently said in a virtual audience to Americans.
And, bearing this silence is not an easy task. Silence often times makes us uncomfortable. We want facts, explanations, and answers. Yet, we must bear this silence—the silence of lawmakers who ignore this travesty, the silence of popular opinion that looks the other way, and the silence of these precious little martyrs that have no choice.
This silence is painful, but our cross to bear. As Jesus told his disciples in the gospel of Matthew, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” We may tire of perpetuating our beliefs and discussing our opinion, but we must continue to do so. We may grow weary of articulating our passion for life, but we must bear the task at hand. We must bear the cross of silence.
So, we treasure the silence of these little martyrs and hold it in our hearts. We speak for the voiceless, and carry the truths they bear witness to with our lives. Their cry may be silent, yet it is clamorous in our hearts. Their voice may be muted, but they speak eternal truths to our generation. When we carry on the truth they bear witness to, their lives continue on this earth. Their death becomes our life.
They may be silent, but these martyrs will forever speak God’s undeniable truth—that each and every life has a dignity rooted in and entrusted to us by our Creator. And, that truth is deafening. Let us continue to pray and defend the lives of the defenseless.
There is so much information out there about love and relationships. It’s as if everyone is so afraid of commitment because of the high divorce rate that we have psychoanalyzed love to “make sure” it will work. Articles range from topics such as “How do you know if he/she is the one,” “quick fixes for your relationship,” and “signs you are in love,” to name a few.
The information overload is enough to make anyone’s head swim—and even give up on love altogether.
But, what if love is not that complicated? I interviewed couples who have been married 50+ years, and here’s what they say love is:
What is love?
Love is when that person in your life becomes more important than your own life—when you think about that person first, before you think about yourself.
– Jules & Rita—married 55 years
I have no idea what love is. I wish I could be of more help. But, I don’t think about it very much. Love, Grandpa.
P.S. Grandma was no help ether.
– Russ & Marge—married over 65 years
Love is the unselfish-giving of yourself. It means to give of yourself, agape love, unconditionally. Putting the other person first… The longer you are with them the more you love them.
– Paul & Peggie—married 60 years
How did you know you were in love?
We met as a result of a blind date and we liked each other right away. My parents were not that enthusiastic, for Jules had only high school and I had my AA degree. So, Jules went to school and got a degree, so he could support me. Isn’t that love?? We lived two hours driving from each other, and distance in those days…was a problem. We saw each only every six weeks to two months.
The questions you ask… people should just take care of each other and do what God says.
Paul made an effort to spend time with me. Our relationship endured physical separation. Our relationship continued even though Paul went to Canada to live for two years before we were married. He would go out of his way to spend time together.
Now, not all of these answers are identical, of course. But, a common theme I noticed is that true love is self-sacrificial.
It is practical, not an unobtainable ideal. It is hard, but worthwhile. It requires effort, but reaps lifelong rewards.
It means putting the other first. It means practicing self-denial and foregoing immediate pleasures for long-term goals that ultimately bring lifelong satisfaction. It means showing love with actions instead of falling back on fleeting feelings that change from moment to moment.
It’s less of a feeling, and more of a choice. It’s less thinking, and more doing.
Love is, then, self-sacrifice. As Christ laid down His life for us, so must we lay down our lives for each other. A complete gift of self—love is an image of the cross.
Dear Planned Parenthood,
We don’t care about your labels.
After the surfacing of an undercover video showing a director of yours discussing fetal body parts over lunch, you’ve mutated it into a debate about labels. In your official statement in response to the undercover video, you apologize for a lack of “compassion.” But, your word choice is telling.
You say they aren’t “body parts,” just “tissue.” And, you aren’t “selling” the tissue, just “donating” it. You claim you are simply collecting “actual costs,” not incurring a “financial benefit” from the transactions.
Why all this meticulousness over labels?
This is due to the fact that the whole legality of your actions in the video hinges on whether they fit within these labels. If you are just “donating” and receiving “reasonable payments” for the tissue, your actions may be legal. However, if you are “selling” or “receiving a profit,” then your actions may violate the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and other federal law.
But, perhaps your biggest failure is to ask the most important question—is it right? In the midst of your legalese flurry, you’ve overlooked the bigger picture. Putting laws aside, should we as a society be doing this?
It is barbaric. All things legal aside, dismembering children by extracting their hearts, livers, and lungs is Nazi-like—whether they are donated or sold. Crushing the skulls of living children in the womb is inhumane—whether you collect actual costs or incur a financial benefit. “Donating” or “selling” human body parts, or whatever label we want to slap on it, is desecrating human life. It is objectifying the most innocent members of society—those who have no voice.
And, this is why we are outraged. We don’t care what the labels are. We don’t care if it’s legal after your assiduous labels render it such.
We don’t want to argue the transitory parameters between “selling” and “donating.” We don’t want to exploit the boundaries between “reasonable payments” and “profits.” We don’t want to parse words and politicize legal verbiage all under the name of “science.”
We don’t care how so-called progressive interpretations of legal jargon adjudicate fickle definitions of morality. In our gut, we are abhorred. We are disgusted. We know deep down that no matter what label legal contortionists slap on it, it is inherently wrong.
We don’t care if the “tone” of your director was not “compassionate.”
We don’t care about labels. But, we do care about one thing. We care about the dignity of human life.
Instead of launching into a probe of the “ethical editing” of the videographers, why don’t we investigate the ethical ramifications of dismembering aborted children for science? Instead of coining body parts “tissue,” how about we call it what it really is—a child? Instead of placing value on a child’s body parts after an abortion, how about we place value on the child’s life?
Instead of apologizing “for the staff member’s tone and statements,” why not apologize for objectifying a child’s body parts? Instead of apologizing for a lack of “compassion” in the way the remarks were given, why not apologize for a lack of compassion for the unborn?
Instead of fretting over labels, let’s fret over our legacy.
What will our legacy be? We launch spacecraft into the beyond in search for the smallest cell we can dub “life,” yet annihilate the skulls of those in the womb. We concerned about a lack of compassion in the tone of your director’s statements, but overlook the compassion given to the unborn.
In our age of technological advances, we now know that life begins at conception. We should know better—especially when the life is more than a lump of cells and has human body parts in the form of hearts, lungs, livers, and skulls. Tissue is not body parts.
We can exhaust the labels all we like, but the fact remains the same—we are killing and dismembering human beings in genocide proportions.
It is easy for us to justify our actions in the myopic and instant age of iPhones and Facebook newsfeeds where marketing firms can slap labels on something and everything is OK. But, history isn’t as forgiving.
So, let’s ditch the labels. Let’s stop the elusive and impotent attempts to categorize actions under the guise of legality and science. Instead, let’s do what’s right.
“What should I look for in a future spouse?” No one will miraculously change once you are married, so it’s important to see if your significant other has qualities worthy of marriage while dating. However, an even better question is: “What kind of person should I be for my future spouse?” The following list will offer a few helpful points to consider:
This is one of the most important traits a spouse should have. Spouses “are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.” (CCC 1644). Marriage survives on this key virtue—always putting the needs of the other first.
Self-sacrificial love—it means putting the other person’s needs above your own. It is a beautiful expression of true love. For example, in “The Gift of the Magi,” O. Henry tells the story of a young married couple with little money buying each other gifts for Christmas. Della cuts her beautiful long hair to buy a chain for her husband, Jim’s, watch. Jim sells his watch to buy Della a comb for her hair. While they both ended up with gifts they couldn’t presently use, they then realized how priceless their love was—they loved each other so much they both were willing to sacrifice for each other.
Pope Pius XII noted that “[h]appiness in married life is in direct ratio to the respect the husband and wife have for each other.” Respect is to deeply admire and recognize the good in another human, and is key to a good relationship. It means valuing others’ opinions and interests and being genuinely interested in what someone has to say and what is going on in his/her life. It means seeing that person as a child of God.
Does your significant other show a genuine interest in getting to know everything about you? Does he/she engage in conversation with the intent of learning your opinion as opposed to putting down your opinion? Does he/she respect your boundaries?
There is no “i” in “team.” Forming a lifelong “partnership” (CCC 1601) in marriage requires that both parties be a team player. It means always thinking about how the other person may be affected by your actions. It means getting input from the other on decisions that you may think only effect yourself.
A team shows up together to win a game. They have to communicate practice/game times. The team is in it to win the game as a team. The same is true for relationships. After dating awhile, does he/she want to integrate you fully into his/her life? Or, does he/she treat you as a casual friend they hang out with? Does your he/she constantly make his/her own plans and tell you after the fact? Or, does he/she make plans with you?
Marriage “is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together.” (CCC 1644). The purpose of marriage is for husbands and wives to help each other get to heaven, so it’s important to be have the same goals regarding faith. And, sharing the same faith with your future husband/wife will only strengthen your marriage.
Does he/she have a desire to grow in his/her faith? He/she doesn’t have to have the equivalent of a theology degree, but a desire to grow is essential. Or, are they lukewarm about faith and go to church out of habit?
Keep in mind that these qualities must already exist in a person while you are dating them, and they will not miraculously appear once you are married. You can’t date someone expecting them to change, otherwise, you are dating an imaginary person.
Don’t settle for the excuse “things will change when we are married.” I’m not saying people don’t change, but don’t expect them to. If he/she doesn’t behave a certain way when you are seriously dating, don’t expect them to when married.
These qualities are a good place to start; but, there are others. A priest gave me great advice when he said, “Pray to God for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to show you who you should marry. In the end, God will direct you to your future spouse if you remain open to His Will.’”
I don’t know about you, but I am glad Lent is over. While I’ve always appreciated the sacrifice and meaning of it during Lent, sacrifice is so hard! I remember one Lent I gave up chocolate, and I started to dream of chocolate some nights. I felt like such a terrible person for almost lusting after chocolate so much that I actually dreamed of it.
Then, Easter came. I reflected on Christ’s resurrection… and I ate a lot of chocolate. And, that was the end. I spent an entire Lenten season reading daily devotionals, preparing for Easter, practicing self-denial, and then it was over—in a day. That’s what the vast majority of us, myself included, do—we spend 40 days sacrificing during Lent and end the fast with one day of celebration.
This year, though, I’ve realized that Easter day is not the end, nor should it be. There is so much more to Easter than just the single day of Easter. In fact, Easter is an entire season—meant to be celebrated for 50 days. It is not simply “a feast,” but the “Feast of feasts!”
Easter is more than an end to suffering—it is a resurrection of our suffering. When we sacrifice during Lent, we join in the mystery of sacrifice with our Lord. When we celebrate during Easter, Christ redeems our sacrifices. He resurrects them according to His purpose. We can have no Easter without Lent.
The Easter season is a season of joy! While sacrifice during Lent is meant to empty us of ourselves to make room for Christ, Easter is a season meant to fill us up with Christ. We’ve spent 40 days emptying ourselves to make room for Christ, and we should spend the next 50 days of Easter filling ourselves up with Christ.
But, how can we celebrate the Easter season of joy for 50 days? First, we must recognize that joy isn’t the same as happiness. Happiness is based on our external surroundings and what happens to us, while joy is a choice. Joy is rooted in Christ, and must be continually sought after in order to obtain it.
So, what are some practical steps to being joyful?
Use the muscles you got at the spiritual gym. Lent was the time we worked out in the spiritual gym, and now we can use those muscles to practice joy. “If you don’t feel like you are a particularly joyful person,” Curtis Martin says, “you can do something about it. Like building a muscle through repeated weight lifting, joy is strengthened by practicing natural virtues.” Lucky for us, we just spent 40 days working on practicing virtues, so now we can put our “muscles” in action to practice joy. Let’s reflect and look for ways we can do so in our day to day lives.
Be thankful for the small things. In the same way St. Theresa de Lisieux became a saint through serving God in the “little way,” we can follow her example by thanking God in the small things. Every day, there is at least one small thing where we can be thankful for God’s provision. It can be as small as a parking space opening up in a crowded lot, and we can say “Thank you, Lord!” No matter how small, let’s look for that one thing every day where we can thank God and celebrate with joy over. We will find ourselves increasingly joyful!
Make decisions confidently, without fear. Good Friday was the culmination of suffering during Lent—it was about humiliation, mockery, and shame. Easter is the joyful triumph of suffering. It means we Christians do not have to fear persecution, revilement, or mockery because Christ has already suffered that and overcame it. Even on a daily basis, we can make decisions with bold confidence instead of fear because of Christ’s victory. How many times have we made a choice based on fear of rejection or failure? Let’s not live by fear, but by faith!
In closing, let’s reflect on these words from Pope Francis about joy:
“There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures…
“I can say that the most beautiful and natural expressions of joy which I have seen in my life were in poor people who had little to hold on to… In their own way, all these instances of joy flow from the infinite love of God, who has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ…
“Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being.”
When I first entered the “dating scene,” I had a list of ideals that my future husband would have. I’m not talking about standards, because those are good to have. I’m talking about an idealist image—nothing short of a movie. But, I came to realize that no man made me “feel” a magical way all the time, and I could never imagine a man “completing” me. That’s when I realized I was looking for God in a future spouse, instead of someone who brought me closer to God’s ideal love.
When we expect all these things from one human being, we make our future spouse our idol.
When we look for God in the wrong places, Fr. John Powell pointed out, “in the end we are always left with the same painful emptiness which we were led to believe we could fill.”
Just think about it: God, in His infinite love, is the most powerful and complete love we will ever experience. In our journey of faith with our Lord, are we happy all the time? Do we have a magical feeling of love for God every moment?
No, we don’t. Even in our relationship with God, we don’t experience the perfect and everlasting happiness of heaven here on earth all the time. We don’t experience it all the time because we are fallen humans.
If we don’t have this magical “in love” feeling all the time in our relationship with God, how can we expect to have that with a fallen, imperfect human being? There are limitations of love between two human beings. In the words of Sebastian Moore, “We are limited by our own boundaries, our awareness. We cannot get inside, interior, to another. We cannot meet totally.”
God alone satisfies.
Instead of looking to a human being to “complete” us, we should be looking to God. We make our future spouse our “god” if we look for someone who satisfies in the way only God can. Reuel Howe noted, “Much marriage … unhappiness [is] due to the failure of the partners to accept … their finiteness … Instead, they hold themselves up to ideals … possible only to God.”
While marriage is an ideal, it is also a reality.
The ideal of marriage says that “authentic married love is caught up into divine love.” (CCC 1639). It’s a reflection of Christ’s perfect love for His bride, the Church. But, it only a reflection. If we expect a relationship to measure up to the ideal, it never will. We are all fallen human beings.
Thankfully, husbands and wives don’t have to do it alone, because God grants grace to those who are married, so that they have special assistance in their lifelong partnership. “‘Christ is the source of this grace… through the sacrament of Matrimony.’ Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens…’” (CCC 1642).
Let’s be sure we don’t make marriage such an ideal that is no longer a reality.
Let’s keep in mind who truly completes us—God. God’s love for us is the greatest love story of all time. Let’s dwell in His love and be satisfied with the everlasting and perfect love He shows for us every moment of every day. Let’s not look for that perfect love in a human being, but be satisfied with God’s perfect love, and rest in that.
Stay tuned for part 2, “What should I look for in a future spouse?”
“The first few months we dated, I never knew he binge drank. I would have never guessed it because, after all, he went to mass every Sunday. One time, he invited me to go out with his friends. He kissed me when he was drunk. I felt so dirty after. No girl grows up dreaming one of her first kisses would be in a dive bar with a wasted boyfriend.
I justified it, saying he only drank that much once or twice a month. But, his actions while under the influence were unchaste—flirting with other girls, grinding on the dance floor, and trying to go too far when kissing me. Also, I noticed binge drinking became as important as our relationship—date night Friday, binge drinking Saturday night, and church Sunday.
I stopped going out with his friends because I started binging myself. So, I would sometimes sit home alone on a Friday night, knowing my boyfriend was out binge drinking with his friends. I felt so abandoned. I felt so alone. I knew this wasn’t what love was supposed to be.”
This is a true story, retold with permission. She eventually got out of that relationship destroyed by binge drinking.
What is binge drinking? Binge drinking is defined as a man consuming five drinks or a woman consuming four drinks in a two hour period.1 This raises the blood alcohol level to .08 and is scientifically proven to physically and mentally impair every person. Regardless if someone says he/she is “in control” after that much to drink, science speaks for itself.
What’s the big deal with binge drinking?
It is unchaste. Binge drinking is easy to excuse away as something young people do. But, it is unchaste because it violates the virtue of temperance.3 Chastity moderates food, drink, and sex because they are the “greatest forms of pleasure” and how the human race is preserved. 4 “Abstinence and sobriety” are essential to living a chaste life—they regulate the nutritive appetite in food/drink and the procreative appetite in sex.4
It leads to hook-ups. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to casual sexual encounters—whether it is grinding, kissing, making out, or going all the way.5 Hook-ups most commonly occur while drunk because it lowers inhibitions and masks shame that would normally occur after hooking up.6
Like porn, it removes intimacy and love from sexuality. Hooking up, which most commonly occurs while drunk, reduces sexual actions to a purely mechanical and physical action, in the same way that porn does. Even if it’s “just a kiss,” hooking up removes the love and relationship element from sexuality.
It ruins your relationship with God. Galatians 5:21 compares binge drinking to sexual promiscuity when it says “drinking bouts, orgies… those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Living a chaste lifestyle is necessary to our relationship with God and staying on the narrow road to heaven.
It can’t be justified with excuses. “I only do it to spend time with my friends” is not a valid excuse. If almost every activity with friends involves binge drinking, the friendships are hollow.7 “I don’t do it all the time” is not a valid excuse because the very nature of binge drinking is that it isn’t done all the time —binging includes periods of abstaining.
It ruins relationships. Binge drinking affects relationships “as a drug, as cultural ritual, and psychologically.”7 Relationships involving binge drinking experience problems, including:
· flirting or cheating under the influence;
· abandoning his/her significant other to binge or expecting he/she to join or tolerate it;
· being too exhausted to spend time with his/her significant other the day after a night of binging;
· resenting his/her significant other when he/she wants to do something instead of binge;
· saying hurtful comments to his/her significant other under the influence;
· delaying commitment so he/she is “free” to binge whenever he/she wants.
Seek to live a chaste life—say no to binge drinking. While there is nothing wrong with alcohol, it must be used with temperance. Confess your binging habits in Confession. Pray to God for strength to turn away from it. It will lead to healthy and holy relationships.
1. Drinking Levels Defined (Drinking Levels Defined) http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking
2. Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
3. Catechism 2290 “The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine;” “Knowingly to take too much drink to the point of being drunk, is a mortal sin (St. Augustine).
4. “Chastity” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03637d.htm
5. “Hooking-Up” Can Unhinge You”https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201307/hooking-can-unhinge-you
6. “In Hookups, Alcohol Is College Students’ Best Friend”https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/strictly-casual/201401/in-hookups-alcohol-is-college-students-best-friend
7. “Is Alcohol Spoiling Your Romance?” (Psych Central.com)http://psychcentral.com/lib/is-alcohol-spoiling-your-romance/0001792?all=1
Many people walk away from true love because they think it should look like a Hollywood movie. “He/she didn’t make me happy.” “I didn’t have the feeling he/she was ‘the one.'” Our society says that one day we will wake up with a rainbow over our bed showing us who “the one” is. On the other hand, many times people marry for the wrong reasons. “I know he/she is the one.” “I can’t live without him/her.” These are all amazing feelings to have. But, they are just that … feelings.
Feelings are not reality. The minute the feelings go away, it’s easy to doubt. “Relationships shouldn’t be this hard.” “A relationship should make me happy.” Even Pope Francis said, “You can’t base a marriage on feelings that come and go. But rather on the rock of true love, the love that comes from God.” We should base our decision to marry on solid reasoning – such as whether or not that person challenges us to be a holier person.
Are you in love with yourself? If every action we take is based on our every whim and desire, and if we expect someone to fall in love with our selfishness, we must think again. True love doesn’t mean getting whatever we want. We can’t act how we did when we were single and expect our significant other to fit in the cracks.
What is true love then? True love means self-sacrifice. St. John Paul II said, “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.” Matthew Kelly said, “Love is a willingness to lay down our own personal plans, desires, and agenda for the good of the relationship. Love is delayed gratification, pleasure, and pain. Love is being able to live and thrive apart, but choosing to be together.”
Every relationship has some disorder. The Catechism says, “[Evil] makes itself felt in the relationships between man and woman… the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin.” Of course, we must discern the degree of disorder. But, disorder happens even in healthy relationships.
Sin may be the problem, not the relationship. We are quick to think that if a relationship has problems it means the relationship itself is a problem. Sometimes a relationship may not be worth continuing. But, in a Godly and healthy relationship, some “problems” are normal because sin is in every relationship. Every relationship has ups and downs.
Surprisingly, true love includes suffering. Matthew Kelly asks, “Are you willing to suffer for love? How much are you willing to suffer in order to have a truly amazing relationship? Are you prepared to let go of all your whims, cravings, and fancies, in order to pursue something more…?” Relationships aren’t about being perfect and happy all the time, but being forgiving. Pope Francis said that “Nobody is perfect. The key to happiness is forgiveness.”
“Marriage is work…. and a lifelong commitment,” Pope Francis says. “In a way it’s like being a goldsmith, because a husband makes his wife more of a woman, and she in turn should make her husband a better man.” A common complaint is that the other person is trying to “change” them. Yet, change is good if it makes us holier. For example, asking a significant other to drink less alcohol at a social gathering may be viewed as forcing unwanted change. But, this change is good as it makes us holier.
Why get married if it includes suffering and work? Marriage helps us become a better person. “After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving,” the Catechism says.
“Dear young people, don’t be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness.” Pope Francis says. Ultimately, marriage to someone who is your best friend and shares your love for God will bring happiness, even amidst the suffering and work.
Let’s give ourselves a reality check on love. Is our viewpoint on true love a Hollywood one, or a Godly one?