Sexual Attraction

Last week I promised to talk about sexual attraction!  As you may have guessed, I do feel it is an important component when considering a man for marriage, primarily for this reason:

 “…you will be sleeping with this man and sharing the marital embrace with him for the rest of your life!  He will know if you are not sexually attracted to him!”

So, if sexual attraction is important, what can you reasonably expect when considering a man’s offer of marriage?  Why does it seem that the men you are sexually attracted to are not the men who are pursuing you for marriage?  Finally, does our idea of sexual attraction change over time and if so, how does this happen?

What Can You Expect?

I love Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Passion and Purity.  In Chapter 6 of the book, she tells us about a young pretty girl who is determined to marry a ‘handsome and wealthy’ man.  I cannot do the story justice so I am going to let you read the super-short 3-page chapter (page 42-44) for yourself.

Elisabeth:  “What if God chose for you a man who is homely and poor?

Pretty Girl:  “Oh, but He wouldn’t!”

Elisabeth:  “Why not?”      

Pretty Girl:  “Because He loves me.”

boykissgirlThe Snakes Reasoning 

Ah, the snake’s reasoning.  I remember reading this chapter when I was single and thinking that sexual attraction may be something I will have to do without.  If I get a husband at all, I thought, I should just be grateful and not complain about the lack of sexual attraction. Based on my experience, I was sure that if God had a man for me, he was going to be someone I was only marginally attracted to.

You see, the men to whom I was sexually attracted were not the ones proposing marriage to me. Yet, it seemed that I could easily capture the interest and attention of the ones I did not find sexually attractive.  The negative effect was two-fold for me:

Self-Doubt:  If only I was more attractive, I could capture the interests of the men I was attracted to.

Guilt:  If only I wasn’t so picky, I could accept the ones that were attracted to me.

Change My Heart/Change My Vision 

When I see photos of the 20-year-old Gregg, I have to be honest and say that he was not my type (sorry Gregg).  He was into his career in the rock band, away from his faith and living under the influence of the culture.  He was just beginning to be pruned and healed by God.  Like everyone, he had some things to work out.

I also needed pruning and healing.  God needed to first change my heart and teach me what was important.  Then, He changed my vision so that when Gregg and I finally met, I could see Gregg the way I needed to see him. God had to first form Gregg into the man he needed to be. The only way God was able to heal both of us was through time, suffering, healing, pruning and experience. By the time we met at 37, I was very attracted to Gregg physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.  My vision had truly changed.

How Our Vision Changes 

My original approach to discussing Sexual Attraction was to try to convince you to examine what you are looking for in a husband and then figure out what to trade-off.  But, when I look at my own experience, I really did not have to trade-off anything.

I sincerely believe that God has to change our vision through His healing grace. It is not something that we can do for ourselves although we are required to participate in the process. 

Healing 

When you read this it might look like I am saying that you are single because you need to be pruned and healed.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I have no idea what is causing the delay in your vocation.

Yet, it is easy to see a trend in the culture that causes delayed marriage and it is these same trends (the hook-up culture, contraception, cohabitation, abortion, divorce) which are causing the wounds.  These are the wounds that need to be healed in all of us.  And, that healing takes time.

Remember God our Father is committed to healing you.  He designed sex and wants you to have a healthy sexual relationship with your husband.  God knows exactly how to heal you. I want to encourage you that God is “working all things for good.”  Let go of the self-doubt and the guilt and instead embrace the healing.  Participate and trust in the process.

Pruning 

Did you see this post by Arleen Spenceley where she interviewed Audrey Assad? I loved what Audrey said about ‘sanctification and ’tilling the ground’ in her tips for singles. She accurately described what I mean by ‘pruning.’

Arleen Spenceley: What’s one tip for readers who are single?

Audrey Assad: Single life is just as much a path to holiness as marriage is, so don’t miss the occasions of sanctification while they’re still there! Enjoy it as much as you can, and seize the opportunities for holiness that exist in your current state in life.

Arleen Spenceley: And a second tip for singles?

Audrey Assad: If you’re called to marriage, you’ll be a better and more whole spouse if you till the ground of your heart during your single years.

Time, Chastity and Superabundance

We all need to be pruned and healed of our ideas of what we want in marriage when it comes to sexual attraction.  If this is a stumbling block for you, I want to encourage you that a man whom you might not be attracted to at 20 years old, may be very attractive to you when he is 25 or 30 or even 37. But, you must commit to staying out of the culture’s traps which will wound you in the meantime.

I am firm believer that God will supernaturally infuse all that is needed in this department, as long as Chastity is present prior to and after marriage. A lack of Chastity will keep your eyes from seeing a person with eyes of love and attraction.  Unchaste behavior causes more wounds and delays the much-needed healing.  Chastity, however, leads to wholeness and an ordered life. It allows you to see clearly and it allows for the veil to be lifted at the right time and with the right person.

Till The Ground

What qualities are you attracted to in a man?  Are you able to see sexual attractiveness in a man based on him displaying these qualities and virtues?

Generosity, HUMILITY, consideration, a good conversationalist, a good listener, a practice of faith, intellect, personal cleanliness, authentic masculinity, a sense of purpose, kindness, the way he looks at you, a desire to make you happy

If not, keep praying and living the Sacramental life.  Accept the pruning and healing that comes from the single life.  Let God ’till the ground’ of your heart.  Trust that God knows exactly what He is doing in preparing you for your vocation.   Keep praying for your husband; that he will be pruned and healed so that he can see in you what he needs to see.

God love and bless you!

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A Man’s Perspective on ‘Attraction’

Trust

 “In chaste, committed sexual love, I put my emotional center —  I put myself — in the care of another.  We are made free so that we can freely dispose of ourselves as a gift to the other.”

The Truth of Catholicism  by George Weigel

I would love to tell you that I found the above quote by George Weigel but the truth is my wife found it and added it.  However, I will say that I agree with it 100%!  Most men (who are thinking about marriage) want to marry a girl they can trust.  By the time Cindy and I met at age 37, I doubted I would meet and marry a nice, trustworthy, faithful Catholic girl who was also, to me, very physically attractive. 

But once I met Cindy, I changed… I saw something in her eyes and  it caused me to pause.  This part is hard to describe so I will just say that she had an almost immediate effect on me.  We spent the next 3 days sightseeing and enjoying each other’s company and I fell in love.

Us Engaged CropTrue Beauty

What I saw in Cindy’s eyes was her true beauty.  I believe that her soul and her heart were revealed to me. I was scared and even a little sad at first.  I began to realize that here in front of me was a woman I didn’t deserve!  She was so good and I was, well, not so deserving.  Then I remembered what I had prayed for.  I had always asked God to send me a good holy woman who believed what I believed and that just made her even more attractive!

 “…Why does it matter? What does last? – Who you are on the inside. But the crazy part is it doesn’t stop there, because once people know who you are on the inside, that’s what they start to see on the outside too. From my own experience, and from talking to a lot of guys, I can tell you that a girl’s appearance changes, sometimes drastically, as you get to know her. I’ve known any number of girls who, at a glance possessed only average looks, but who, as I got to know the delightful people that they were, actually changed before my eyes to become very attractive (it also goes the other way, but I won’t talk about those girls)….”

Guys On Modesty  ‘A Women’s Heart and Beauty‘  November 8, 2012

I would love to say I found the above post by guysonmodesty.com too BUT, once again, my lovely wife gets the credit.  Just like the first quote, I agree 100%!  I can tell you that I was completely attracted to Cindy’s commitment to go to Mass together and I loved the fact that we could worship Our Lord as a couple.  

Also, I truly respected her condition that I stay in a hotel the entire time I was in town!  This led to my complete commitment to try to be deserving.  It raised the bar in my mind that I would have to really put effort into this relationship if I might make myself worthy of being with this wonderful woman!

From a guy’s perspective, that type of spiritual strength and virtue can significantly enhance a woman’s physical appearance.  I will also say that a physically attractive girl can sadly become unattractive when the spiritual aspect of her personality is lacking.

Don’t Be Hot

You do not have to be what the world describes as “hot.”  Please do not strive for this.  Instead, just do your best to take care of and enhance your physical attributes.  Your love for the Lord and your commitment to Him will seriously multiply your attractiveness in the eyes of the man who God has for you.  And when you add Chastity to the equation, the trust and attraction factor will increase beyond your imagination.

What Is Wrong With Men?

There are still plenty of men out there looking for these traits but alas they are afraid to express this loudly for fear of being taunted by their peers. I had friends that would tease me for saying the honest truth that I did not want to “hook up” but that I wanted to meet someone I could marry. Well, this went on for seven years until I met my beloved.

Some men are really stuck and can’t seem to move beyond their base desires. These men who still value the hot, sexually available girls are not fit for marriage.  They seem to be immature and have fallen for the idea that secular media has sold to them. They think that it is more important that a woman be beautiful in the world’s eyes instead of in God’s eyes. You don’t want those men.  The “sudden vacuum” which Cindy described a couple of weeks ago is inevitable. 

I understand that these men who are stuck in this immature lifestyle can be discouraging for you girls to witness.  But, I want to encourage you with this:  Please don’t underestimate the number of men who are hoping to find you

When I was single, I begged God to help me find a girl like Cindy.  I felt very discouraged and just did not think it was possible.  I had to wait for God to work it all out (seven years).  I think there are a lot of men out there experiencing the same doubt and discouragement so please start praying for your husband.  He can use your prayers, believe me.

Where Is Your Husband?

You may be wondering why in the world you are single given the fact that you are taking care of yourself physically and spiritually.  Where are all the guys who supposedly need you; a nice, trustworthy, Catholic girl?  Where is your husband? 

This is where I would suggest looking in all the “right” places. Maybe decide to try a good Catholic singles website. You may be surprised how many single Catholic guys are out there!  Also, you may consider attending a church bible study or get involved with a parish youth group. I know of a couple fantastic single men at our parish who serve the church as a youth minister and a CCD teacher, for example. These guys are around and they are using their time and talent to serve the Church.  Run towards Christ and then look around to see who’s running with you!

I honestly don’t know where your husband is but God does.  I can assure you that once your future husband meets you, he will value you.  He will thank the Lord for you every day.  He will know he has found a precious wife and that he needs to spend the rest of his life proving he is worthy of you.

The Veil 

As Cindy always says, “Remember you are covered by a veil!  He can’t see you.  But the man who God has for you will be able to see you.  And, he will like what he sees!”

God bless all you beautiful Chastity girls!

Gregg

 

7 Myths Singles Must Resist: Myth #5 Attraction Is Physical

Based on the emails I get from you, the myth that attraction is purely physical keeps many of you from having confidence in God’s plan for your vocation. I struggled with this topic over the last couple weeks because I am trying to prove something that is a mystery.  Attraction is a mystery.  But, I also believe it to be supernatural and not all things that are supernatural are impossible to prove.  They are difficult to prove, but not impossible.

The approach I am using to bust this myth includes the profound insights from Blessed Pope John Paul II regarding human love and sexuality.  Here is a little primer on the approach and then I will tie it to my own personal experience.

You Are A Person

“The essential reason for choosing a person must be personal, not merely sexual.  Life will determine the value of a choice and the value and true magnitude of love.  It is put to the test most severely when the sensual and emotional reactions themselves grow weaker, and sexual values as such lose their effect.  Nothing then remains except the value of the person, and the inner truth about the love of those connected comes to light.  If their love is a true gift of self, so that they belong to the other, it will not only survive but grow stronger, and sink deeper roots.  Whereas if it was never more than a synchronization of sensual and emotional experiences it will lose its raison d’être [reason for existence] and the person involved in it will suddenly find themselves in a vacuum.” 

Blessed Pope John Paul II

In very simplistic terms, Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body distinguishes between the “gift of self” (chaste marital sexual love) and lust (to use).  Chastity is the virtue that fights against lust and allows for the gift of self.  The gift of self can only be realized when we understand which “self” we are referring to.  The ‘self’ is a person and that person is you. You are the gift. 

You, the human person, are both body and soul and this true gift of self requires the integration of your body and your soul.  The challenge is to bring these two aspects of yourself together.  In addition, you must fight against the forces of darkness which are always at work to build a chasm between your body and your soul.  To be holy means to be  made “whole” and the integration process, through the power of grace, makes us whole. 

Keep Body and Soul TogetherDisharmony

As a single girl I did not understand the amount of disharmony there was between my body and my soul.  I fell into the trap of emphasizing my body and allowed society (and myself) to distort and disconnect my body from my soul.  My guess is that this is happening to you.  We are living in a time where the body and the soul are more disconnected than in any other time in history. 

But this disconnect and disharmony is nothing new.  As a result of the Fall of Man, the relationship between our body and our soul is in constant tension. Because Man revolted against God, the body started to revolt against the soul. Now, the body no longer obeys the dictates of the soul. Our struggle is to find harmony and the only way to do this is through Chastity and a Sacramental life in Christ.

You may be asking, “What does this have to do with my vocation?”  Dr. Alice von Hildebrand teaches that marriages are going to pieces and collapsing because, unless there is harmony between our body and our soul, it is almost impossible for us to properly relate to the opposite sex.   I believe this to also be true in the dating world.  The disharmony is not only leading to divorce, it is causing delayed and missed marriage vocations.

My Story

As a single girl, I struggled with common girl issues like body image. I was also in need of girl-type healing. You know, the type of healing associated with a poor understanding of our bodies. I was riddled with negative messages resulting in a negative relationship with food and a poor body image.  In other words, I, as a person, was disconnected.  And this led me to focus on this aspect of myself.   Because I was focusing on my physical body, I was attracting guys who had the same focus.  Thankfully, my commitment to Chastity kept me from being used.

I am also ashamed to admit that I was attracted to and attracting very good-looking guys.  As it teaches us in Isaiah 6:  What you revere, you resemble; you become what you worship.  Because I focused on the physical for myself and the guys I dated, my results yielded only the physical.  I experienced that vacuum in my relationships that John Paul II refers to above.

Once I started living a Sacramental life and committed whole heartily to Chastity, my body and my soul began to merge.  It was undetectable at the time, but looking back, I can see the healing proof. Once I took the focus off of the physical and allowed the Lord to integrate my body and my soul, I was able to love and be loved as a person, body and soul.  And, in God’s perfect timing, I met Gregg.

I am not saying that I was merged completely when I met Gregg.  In fact, with God’s grace, I am still being merged.  But, the process needed to at least start so that I could be loved as a whole person and learn how to love a whole person.

What You Can Do

What I have presented so far is pretty deep stuff so I will stop here.  Next week I will tie all this together with Chastity, Superabundance, The Veil and specific advice to help merge your body and soul  (posted 2/28/13).  In two weeks Gregg will share his perspective on attraction from a guy’s point of view! 

In the meantime, please go back and read the above profound and beautiful words by Blessed Pope John Paul II again.  Have you experienced this vacuum in your relationships?  Are you allowing too much focus on your body and is this keeping you in bondage? Think about what you are focusing on.  What do you revere?  You remain in my prayers.

God love and bless you!

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7 Myths Singles Must Resist: Myth #4 Men/Women Are Defective

This week I continue the series on Myths That Singles Must Resist.  Past posts include:

          Setting the Stage

          Myth  #1: Others are getting away with sin/sex is consequence free

          Myth #2 Part 1: God has forgotten about me

          Myth #2 Part 2: God has forgotten about me: A Perspective on Suffering

          Myth #3:  Something is Wrong With Me

Today’s topic is Myth #4:  Men/Women Are Defective

Rejection

When we are rejected by men, it is very common for our friends to try to make us feel better.  One way our friends do that is to say that the one who rejected us is ‘defective’ in some way.  

               “He is afraid of commitment.”

               “He is a selfish jerk!”

               “He spends too much time working.”

               “He is a miser with his money.”

This shirt is funny.    The best way to bust this myth is to realize that we are all ‘defective’ in some way.  Indeed, some more than others.  But, we are also human beings with a soul.  Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.  It is unhealthy to tear down the person who rejects us. 

A Man’s Potential

Instead, I think the rejection and perceived defect could be explained by (you guessed it) the idea that we each have a veil covering us.  The one who rejects us cannot see us due to our veil.  And, in the same way, we cannot see them because of their veil.  So, they look ‘defective’ to us.  But are they?

Here is what may surprise you.  That guy who is afraid of committing to you?  He will have no problem committing to the girl he loves.  The selfish jerk?  He can, under the right circumstance with the right girl, become a good husband.  Same with the guy who works too much and is a miser with his money.  Given the right circumstances, he can change. 

Love changes men.  But the love has to be fed by grace or it will die.  This is why chastity, including marital chastity, is so important.  Love is the spark but the grace of chastity is the fuel source that stokes the fire of love.  Marital Chastity, which includes remaining open to life, strengthens and cements commitment.  It sands off the rough edges of selfishness.  Chastity resets priorities and aligns them with what is best for the marriage and family.  Chastity infuses supernatural graces leading to Superabundance.

Give Him What He Needs

So, don’t worry about that guy who rejects you.  He is not defective.  He is just in need of love from the girl God has chosen for him.  And, he is in need of Chastity….from her.

When women expect to be treated with dignity, something remarkable happens:

Men discover that they’ll have to become gentlemen if they wish the company of women.” – Jason Evert

I actually feel sorry for him because the likelihood of him getting what he needs is very slim.  Unchaste behavior before marriage blinds men and they often marry the wrong girl for the wrong reasons. Sadly, their love will mostly likely die.  But even that marriage would be salvageable with marital chastity. 

“Since a woman is loved, it follows that the nobler a woman is,

the nobler a man will have to be to be deserving of that love.”- Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Even though men most likely are not aware of their need for chastity, the fact that they are not being provided the opportunity to experience this virtue is making them cynical.  Most girls are just not aware of the supernatural power of chastity and so it is not even an option for them or the guy.

Faithful and Fruitful

…and free

You, on the other hand, have great power to influence the man who God has chosen for you.  You can give him what he needs.  You can ensure the presence of fuel that stokes the fire of marital love.  And, you have all the keys to a loving, grace-filled marriage.

Mr. Rejection is not defective and neither are you.

A Good Example Of An Incorrect Assessment

In this blog post by someone I admire and respect, the following “he’s defective” assessments were drawn:  he’s an ass, and you are not. You didn’t do anything wrong, and he’s an undependable flake.”

Reading the letter from Mauled by a Bear?” was heart-wrenching because I could so easily relate to her experience of frustration!  But, I disagree with the above assessment because I don’t think the guy in the letter is defective.  This girl is just not ‘the one’ and he is communicating that to her with his wishy washy-ness.  We girls must resist the temptation to make excuses and we must not overlook what these guys are communicating. 

Ultimately, the advice provided near the end of the post is fair for both the girl and the guy: 

“But if you want to know if a guy really likes you, you have to leave the heavy social lifting to him. Let him be the first to text in a text stream. Let him be the first to email in an email stream. If he wants to see you, he will ask to see you. Men do what they want, and usually try to get out of whatever they don’t want. End of story.”  Auntie Seraphic @ Seraphic Singles

You remain in my prayers. God love and bless you.

** Next weekPart 2 of my Book Review:  Would You Date You? by Anthony Buono President of avemariasingles.com

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Praying For Your Husband

Woman In Love BookI have been dying to post this book review ever since I finished this book back in September.  Katie Hartfiel’s book “Woman In Love: Redefine The Journey Toward Your Husband To Be” is one of the best books I have read regarding practical and spiritual advice to single women.  

I immediately knew that Katie was my kind of girl when I noticed she used the word Superabundance’ several times in her book.  Although she applied the term a little differently than I do, I was impressed because it is a word that is not often used. 

Okay, where do I begin?  I will break the book down into three main points and try not to give away too much:

  1. It is a proactive approach to the vocation of marriage
  2. It is her personal story and therefore it held my interest
  3. It is a complete catechesis on Chastity

A Proactive Approach To Marriage

St Michael The ArchangelNow by proactive I don’t mean aggressive.  I mean she got down to business!  She wisely chose to participate, through prayer, in the spiritual well-being of her unknown future husband.  She proactively started praying for him when she was 17 years old. 

Her prayer was not “God please give me a husband!” or “God, please give me ‘that’ husband!”  It was, instead, “God please bless and protect my husband.”  And, her prayers were honored.   

This, to me, is the best quote from her book:

The most important thing you can do for your spouse is pray for him.  Crawl into the trenches of the spiritual battle raging over his soul and be a warrior for him.”

Goodness, I wish I had this insight when I was 17!  I may not have had to wait 38 years to be married.   I can accept that it may have been God’s will for Gregg and me to have a delayed marriage vocation, but if I had known the power of this prayer, I could have positively impacted Gregg in his earlier years.  I could have crawled into the battle and been a warrior for him!!

But, I didn’t.  However, you can!

A Personal Testimony

Katie was honest about her story.  She did not have her spiritual strength handed to her on a silver platter but instead went through suffering and doubt.  God had to unlock her heart. 

Katie wrote, “The process of discerning our vocation molds us.”  She admitted that, “the time leading up to the revelation of God’s will can sometimes be seemingly torturous.”  An understatement indeed!

A Key Decision

She did a very wise thing, in my opinion, which set the course for her life.  She was determined to attend The Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Every single person that I have met who attends or attended Steubenville has impressed me with their love of the Lord and their solid Catholic identity and foundation.  This one decision seems, to me, to have been a driving force in the revelation of her future vocation.  She met Mark, her husband, at Steubenville practically on her first day!

What if she had attended some public college (like I did)?  Think of all the secular guys she would have met.  Her heart, which needed to be unlocked, could have hardened and locked up even more from all the hazards awaiting her there.  Her life today would have potentially been totally different!

Sometimes Our Wounds Protect Us

Katie met Mark, her future husband, at Steubenville and they immediately were interested in each other.  But, Katie was suffering from her parent’s recent divorce which caused her, out of fear, to keep her feelings for Mark hidden.  In other words, she did not chase him or overtly reveal her feelings for him.  She did, however, sweetly respond to his courageous initiation

After a while, Mark initiated their ‘relationship talk’ because her struggles with herself  “caused her to hesitate and prevented her from chasing Mark.”  It is amazing how God can even use our wounds as a natural protection.  As women, our reserved and silent, but sweet, response to a man’s initiation can often force a man (that loves us) to reveal his feelings.

Beyond Expectations

I can relate to Katie when she  wrote, “My expectations paled in comparison to what the Lord had in store for me.”  God knows what we need and in my case as well surprised me beyond my expectations with my husband, Gregg.

Katie thought she would have to “Choose between a man who was a strong spiritual leader and one she was attracted to” but happily reported that “Mark fit the needs of her soul while simultaneously captivating her on every level.”  She wrote that, “God chose Mark as His vessel to save her from herself.”

I can also relate to this!  I thought I would have to choose between a strong spiritual leader and a man I was attracted to.  But, to my surprise, Gregg met all of my hopes and needs

A Complete Catechesis on Chastity

Katie somehow packed a complete catechesis on Chastity in her book.  And, she made the information relevant and easy to understand.  She explained that chastity is a ‘yes, yes, yes’  as well as the Sacramental component of a chaste marriage.  She covered the bonding hormone oxytocin, STD’s, the problem with contraception, the benefits of NFP, reconciliation and much more.  She answered the question “How far is too far?” and provided rules for singles that are logical and clear.  She displayed a solid understanding of the Church’s teaching on Chastity as well as Theology of the Body.  Finally, she included quotes from Blessed John Paul II and others concerning marriage and chastity.

Help Lead Men To Holiness

Without  coming off as judgmental, Katie gives girls the straight facts on supply and demand, respect and holiness.  This quote nicely summarizes her wisdom:

“For every guy who gets what he is looking for, there is a girl who is giving it to him.  If women begin to demand respect, men would be more inclined to offer it.  Help lead men to holiness.”

Katie’s book also includes insights from Mark.  This quote was my favorite one from Mark because it parallels the terms and concepts I use in my book and on this blog :

“When the man that God has for them comes along, he will be captivated by this purity and it will be utterly beautiful to him.  He will never forget how superabundantly blessed his is to have such an amazing woman.”

I clearly do not own the rights to the term Superabundance or the concept of a Holy  Spouse.  But I think it is amazing that Mark and Katie applied the term and concept in a way that aligns with how I apply the term and concept.

Holy Spouse

Note that Mark wrote, “when the man that God has for them comes along…”.  To me, he reinforced the idea that God arranges marriage and has a specific person in mind for us in accordance with His will.  This is what I call our ‘Holy Spouse’ This concept among believers is not often discussed with such certitude.  Virtually all the books I have read concerning chastity and marriage seem to lead the reader to believe that God leaves it completely and sadly, up to chance.  Woman In Love will fill your heart with hope!

Katie and Mark Wedding

Katie and Mark on their Wedding Day
Gorgeous Dress and Veil!

Superabundance

Mark’s quote also described what I believe happens as a result of chastity before and within marriage.  The husband has this supernatural view of his wife.  He is “captivated” by her and she is, despite her faults, “utterly beautiful” to him.  And, he has a perpetual belief in how blessed he is to have her. 

As a result of the Superabundance in a chaste marriage, my observation is that the husband’s love for his wife grows rather than diminishes with time.  This, I believe is a result of the supernatural grace imparted during the chaste marital embrace.  The Catholic Church teaches us that this is a renewal of our Sacramental wedding vows and that supernatural grace is imparted.

Get. This. Book!  You will learn so much and be inspired to get in to the trenches and pray for your future husband! 

You can join Katie on Facebook here .  Go to Katie’s website to order her book.  There is a special bulk order price!  Also, while you are there, check out the video of Katie and Mark and you will be further inspired!

Her book is available on Amazon in soft cover  or for only $9.99 through Kindle.

** Next week: Mythbuster #3:  Something Is Wrong With Me

God Bless!

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7 Myths Singles Must Resist: Setting the Stage

I remember when I was single and how easy it was for me to believe ideas that were simply untrue.  But, because I didn’t have the benefit of hindsight, I wasn’t able to put these false ideas and myths into perspective.  I now have the benefit of hindsight and my hope is that by sharing this perspective with you, it will help you fight against some of the common myths which can vex the single life.

I will be expanding on 1 myth per week but first I want to set the stage for you and build a foundation to help you resist and understand the root of these myths.

Yes, Satan Is Real

Again, I am setting the stage for you so that each of these myths will make sense in light of its origin.  The father of all lies, Satan, wants you to believe these myths because they make God, our Holy Loving Father, look like an unjust, stingy and uncaring God who has left us to fend for ourselves.

“The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature ~ to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church #395

The Old and New Eve

Yes, The Fall of Mankind Is Real

Because of the Fall of Mankind, we are wounded, weak and subject to ignorance, suffering, sin and death.  We need to be protected from Satan’s lies and we need to be healed by God.  We need to choose the way of the New Eve.

“Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence“.  Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle

                                                     Catechism of the Catholic Church#405

You are in a spiritual battle so use your weapons! 

In her book, Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot writes:

If there is an Enemy of Souls (and I have not the slightest doubt that there is), one thing he cannot abide (put up with) is the desire for purity.  Hence a man or woman’s passions become his battleground.  The Lover of Souls does not prevent this.  I was perplexed because it seemed to me He should prevent it, but He doesn’t.  He wants us to use our weapons.”

A Three-Pronged Attack

There are 3 main ways that Satan attacks us when we are single:  Through our minds, our bodies and our eyes.

Our Minds:  Our minds are very powerful. If Satan can influence us through our thought life, then he can gain a foothold. If Satan can convince us that God doesn’t care about us and that sin doesn’t matter, then we are more prone to following our sinful inclinations to cohabitate, fornicate and contracept.  If he can convince us that God is distant, unjust and stingy, we will surely fall into despair.      

Our Bodies:  Our bodies are made to glorify God.  When you cohabitate, fornicate and contracept, you are living outside of your design.  I believe when you live outside the design of your body and you will eventually hate your body.  If Satan can influence us to the point where we hate or misuse our bodies, then he is ecstatic!  His pride swells because our bodies, as evidenced by the Incarnation, are holy.  Satan hates holiness and thrives on the profane. 

Our Eyes:  Our eyes influence our perspective.  What we see becomes our reality.  It takes effort, prayer and Sacramental grace to overcome what we see and instead believe that there is another realm of reality.  This other reality is the realm of the supernatural, the holy, the sublime and the mysterious.  It is where truth can be found.  But, the lies from Satan tempt us to take our eyes off of Jesus and instead focus on and believe what we see in the natural, human, physical realm. We see others cohabitate, fornicate and contracept and we think there are no consequences. 

Use Your Weapons!

Your Mind:  Protect your mind by shielding it from media (TV, books, websites) which are unholy and secular.  Instead, frequent Catholic Blogs which are faithful to the Magisterium. Read Catholic literature and the writings of the Saints and Doctors of the Church. Participate only in holy conversation. Most importantly, bathe your mind in the wisdom and truth found in Sacred Scripture.  Read something from your bible every day to transform your mind.  The scripture below from Deuteronomy can be translated into: “Memorized these truths and write them on your forehead!

“…Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads…”. Deuteronomy 11:18

Your Body: Protect your body with the virtue of Chastity.  Bathe yourself in the Sacraments and glorify God with your body.  Glorify God with modesty and by celebrating your fertility.  Honor its miracle and power.

“…Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship…”  Romans 12:1

Your Eyes:  Because of the Fall of mankind, our eyes are in need of healing.  We see others cohabitate, fornicate and contracept and we are easily misled.  Medicate your eyes with prayer, fasting, Eucharistic adoration, scripture, Confession and of course the body and blood of Jesus in the Holy Sacrament so that you can see the truth.

buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.”     Book of Revelation 14:18

The Myths

Now that I have set the stage, I will address the following Myths over the next several weeks:

Myth #1   Other people are getting away with sin/sex is Consequence-free

 

Myth #2   God has forgotten about me

 

Myth #3   Something is wrong with me

Myth #4   Men/Women are defective

Myth #5   Attraction is Physical

Myth #6   I Am Too Picky

Myth #7   I Can Change Him/Her

The Veil

I realize that the concept of the veil is just a metaphor.  But, as you read about each of the myths, consider the relationship of the veil when it comes to explaining each myth. If you are covered by a veil, the only suitor who will be able to “see” you is the one that God intends for you to marry.  So, in the meantime, the veil will most likely lead to rejection, the feeling of being forgotten and the idea that something is wrong with you. This can really test your patience!  And, Satan knows this and capitalizes on it.

Satan also knows that if you use you weapons and commit to chastity, God will be glorified.  God will be glorified by your patience and faith in the midst of your trial.  Then, God will be glorified by your beautiful, chaste, fruitful marriage.  Your marriage will be filled with grace and Superabundance and the world will be blessed and inspired by your witness.

But in the meantime, Satan will harass you. 

As Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “The Lover of Souls does not prevent this….He wants us to use our weapons.”

God bless!

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Our Catholic Love Story, Part 2

Last week, Anabelle shared Part 1 our love story on her blog, Written By The Finger Of God.  But my husband, Gregg, may have (understandably) felt a tad bit left out because the majority of what I shared was about me and God.  My hope was to glorify God, Who is my first Love.  So the overall focus of Part 1 was on God and His healing.   

Part 2, however, is about our courtship which, to me, can only be fully appreciated in light of the details in Part 1.  So, head on over to Anabelle’s blog first and read Part 1 if you don’t already know the details!  Part 2 is lengthy so grab some coffee and a snack!

Run Toward Jesus

Upon meeting single Catholics, Gregg tells them to ‘run toward Jesus and then look around and see who is beside you.’  This, we both believe, is the best way to know that a potential spouse is the one God intends for you.  I believe that is what happened with us.  We were both members of an on-line Catholic dating site.  This was an indication of our desire to meet and marry someone who shares our faith.  Participation in a Catholic-specific dating site is one method of eliminating the rest of the world that is not running toward Jesus.

The Beginning

Gregg contacted me in August 2001.  He later revealed that he loved my picture and my profile.  He also thought it was cool that I am a mechanical engineer involved in the design of Naval aircraft.  He is a big aviation nut so this part of my profile was intriguing to him.

Within a couple of weeks from that first email, the tragic events of 9/11 happened.  Gregg, knowing that I lived close to the Pentagon and supported the military, was not sure if I was harmed by the terror attacks. Thankfully, I wasn’t.

As soon as phone service returned that week, we spoke on the phone for the first time.  I could tell this guy was different and I had a feeling our courtship was going to be different.  And, it was!  Gregg pursued me with a great deal of courage and chivalry.  I was sincerely overwhelmed.

The Courtship

Gregg flew to Virginia from Kansas four months later in January 2002.  He, of course, stayed in a hotel.  I had a feeling after our four days together that this courtship was a “go.”

The four months between our first contact and our first meeting in-person gave us the opportunity to get to know each other simply through conversation. We talked and talked about everything (and still do).  I found him to be interesting, smart, sweet, kind and very impressive!

What impressed me was the way he pursued and wooed me.  I have souvenirs of our courtship ranging from love letters and emails to teddy bears and jewelry.  The necklace he sent to me for Christmas (even before meeting in person) was beautiful.  It had a very delicate a rosary-like design with these gorgeous little bluish-grey pearls and a pendant of the Virgin Mary.  So elegant.  I wore it in our wedding along with the matching earrings he had specially made for me.

The souvenirs were nice and flattering but what was really impressive was his strong interest in me and his willingness to go outside and beyond himself in order to get to know me.  Keep in mind, our courtship was completely long–distance.  But, he rose to the challenge.  He was willing to prove that he would be a wonderful husband.  And he succeeded! 

For example, his house was located in an area with weak cell phone reception.  Once he met me, he would get in his vehicle and drive 5 miles to a location with reception.  He did this just so he could talk to me after work.  This was a strong clue to me that he was not a lazy or selfish guy.

The Pursuit

His courtship and pursuit were unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Oh, I had relationships and plenty of dates.  But those guys (affectionately known as my ‘stupid old boyfriends’ ~ LOL) were lame and inconsistent in their pursuit.  I have more stories about them to entertain you in my book, but suffice it to say, their efforts were lame-O (bless their poor little blinded-by-the-Veil hearts!).

Gregg, on the other hand, was trying to pull me towards his heart and into his life.  Right after our first meeting, he invited me to his hometown to meet his family and friends.  By the time I arrived, on Valentine’s Day 2002, his family and friends knew all about me and did everything in their power to welcome me and let me know that Gregg was head over heels for me.  Just like him, his family and friends were (and are) wonderful!

It was a romantic weekend which included Mass, of course, a NASCAR party hosted by his friends and a gig with his part time rock band.  Yes, Gregg was not only into his faith, sweet, kind and interesting, gainfully employed and a homeowner, he was also a talented musician.  I had to pinch myself.  I was hooked.

The Attraction of Chastity

Gregg knew, based on my profile, that I was different.  My profile stated that I taught 7th grade Catechism and Chastity.  Oh, did I mention our physical attraction?  Suffice it to say, it was (and still is) verrry strong.  We both knew that this physical attraction would need to be supported with the virtue of chastity.  If you ask Gregg, this was a major attraction for him.  No other girl he knew had this commitment to our Lord or to waiting until marriage.  He knew he had found something special in me and was highly motivated to win me over.  And, he did!

We are engaged!

The Engagement and Wedding

Let’s see, by my Valentine’s Day visit we were talking on the phone daily and “love” had been spoken.  He came back to visit me in early April and met my family.  They adored him and he immediately loved them.  

We began talking about marriage and engagement R.I.N.G.s (a story for another time).  He wanted to know my requirements for color, cut, clarity and caret size.  My goodness, this wonderful guy was planning on proposing to me!  I really did not have any major engagement ring requirements in light of that wonderful fact.  But, he wanted to know in order that I would be happy.  Another very good sign of a very good and considerate man.

I visited him again on May 2nd and he proposed.  Oh, and yes the ring was perfect and stunning.  Wedding plans began and we were married October 19, 2002.

Beyond My Hopes And Dreams

You can tell a lot about a man simply by observing him in the courtship phase.  Why is this important?  I think it is important because there are a lot of women who are disappointed in their husbands.  I wonder what they could have noted in the courtship phase that could have been a warning to them of what to expect in marriage?

A kind man in courtship will be a kind man in marriage.  A sacrificial and unselfish man in courtship will be a sacrificial and unselfish man in marriage.  A man deeply dedicated to the Lord and his faith in courtship will be the same in marriage.  And so forth.  A man’s character very rarely changes so it is wise to pay attention to his character during the courtship phase.

I will give you two examples of Gregg’s character, both of which happened in the last 48 hours.  Yesterday (as I write this) was a first Friday of the month and our church hosted Eucharistic Adoration.  It was our day off from work so I planned to go and adore our Lord for an hour.  I asked Gregg if he would like to join me but he said, “I would love to but I have ‘day off’ tasks I need to get done.”  So, I happily headed up to the church by myself.  As I was there adoring my Lord, Gregg walked in and joined me. I felt like the luckiest girl alive.

The second example happened just a few moments ago.  Today is Saturday (as I write this) and Gregg had to run an errand about 2 hours from our home.  He was sort of close to my Mom’s house so he called her and is taking her and my sister out to lunch.   There were many ways he could have spent his Saturday, but he chose to spend it with my Mom and sister (who are also wonderful).

Gregg displayed these same character traits during the courtship phase.  You get the picture.  Keep your eyes wide open before marriage.

The Healing

The Holy Spirit constantly carries out this work in the most interior part of our being with wonderful subtlety and the delicacy of a wholly divine art.”     St Bernard of Clairveau

In Part 1, I discussed the healing that took place prior to meeting Gregg.  Along with the Sacraments, God continues to heal me through what I believe is a very effective method –  our family.  I believe the love of my husband heals me.  Being a Mom heals me in a way that only a child can do. 

A little healer.

Our love story would not be complete without making a connection to Chastity.  Not only does Chastity prevent us from damaging ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically, it is also critical to our healing after marriage.  The marital embrace, when we are open to life, heals us.   Isn’t that crazy and beautiful?  God is a genius!

And, of course, I believe Chastity leads to the good fruit of Superabundance.  This good fruit includes children and many other common human desires such as faithfulness, devotion, sacrifice, reliability, gentleness, constancy, affection, admiration, freedom, security, peace, compassion and protection.  The Catechism also teaches us that in the case of marriage, the practice of chastity (remaining open to life) naturally leads to patience, temperance, prudence, honesty and trust.  These good fruits cannot help but heal us. 

I am not saying that Chastity guarantees that you will become a wife and a mother.  But, I do believe that the Lord is committed to healing you.  Work with Him and let the Holy Spirit, with His wonderful subtlety and delicacy of a wholly divine art, heal you.  He may just surprise you beyond all your hopes and dreams.  I pray He does.

God bless!

My First Movie Review

Today I offer my first movie review!  In the future, I also plan to write book reviews and blog reviews as a way of providing a variety of resources that impart wisdom and hope to single girls. 

The movie “Paul VI: The Pope in The Tempest” is about the life of Pope Paul VI.  First let me warn you that the movie is only available in Italian.  This language hurdle would have normally been a show-stopper for me.  But, since there are English sub-titles, I found it very easy to understand.  To give you an idea of how easy it is to grasp this movie, even in Italian, our 7 year-old was able to follow (read) along and he loved the movie (he is a history buff).  So, I am confident that you will also be able to easily follow along.

Rather than attempting to summarize the whole movie, I’ve decided to provide this Editorial Review directly from Amazon.com:

“Pope Paul VI was a leader in the Catholic Church as a priest, bishop, cardinal and pope through one of the most difficult periods in its history from the Fascist regime and World War II to the constitution of the Italian Republic, from the Second Vatican Council to the protests and the terrorist attacks of the 1960s and 1970s.

His papacy ran from 1963 to 1978, during which he wrote the prophetic, controversial document Humane Vitae that strongly proclaimed the Church’s teaching on the sacredness of married love and human life, and the evil of contraception which the Pontiff said would open the door to abortion if allowed. He was the first travelling Pope who began to visit the dioceses of the 5 continents like no pope had ever done before.

This exciting and insightful film covers fifty years of history that changed the Catholic Church and the world. Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempestis a story that draws emotion and lessons from history itself, dramatically mixing stunning reconstructions and real film footage.”

You may be wondering why we should care about this man who died over 30 years ago?  I think there are many reasons but I will offer two.  First, he was a modern-day prophet and second, he understands women and reveals us to ourselves.  Hey, anyone that can explain me to me is definitely worth a study! 

Pope Paul VI visits the Holy Land, 1964.

A Difficult Period In History

My review will focus on the topics in the bolded text above.  Specifically, Pope Paul VI’s prophetic encyclical, Humanae Vitae and the impact our Holy Father’s wisdom had on the Church and on the world.

The Editorial Review above states that he was Pope of the Catholic Church during “one of the most difficult periods in its history.”  I agree with this evaluation.  Before watching this movie, I had very little insight into the historical relevance and timing of Humanae Vitae and the difficulty that the Pope endured as a result of releasing the encyclical. 

Hidden Treasures of God’s Wisdom

“He (Christ) is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge. I tell you, then, do not let anyone deceive you with false arguments, no matter how good they seem to be.”                                                                               Col 2: 3-4

Up until The Lambeth Conference in 1930, all Christian faiths were against contraception and believed it to be morally wrong.  Protestants like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wesley, Melancthon Jacobus, Matthew Henry, Christian Gottlob Barth, the Synod of Dort, Jerhard Gerhard, William Dodd, Alfred Edersheim, and a bunch of other Protestant theologians all saw Genesis 38 (the spilling of the seed to impede conception) as a condemnation of birth control. But, the Lambeth Conference surprisingly allowed for contraception in limited circumstances for Anglican Protestants. By 1960, a mere 30 years later, most Mainline Protestant denominations had removed prohibitions against artificial contraception. 

By the 1960’s many of the Catholic laity, theologians, priests, Cardinals and Bishops were unable to see a problem with artificial birth control. I say “unable to see” because most, at that time, saw artificial birth control as a good thing and their arguments in support of it seemed to be good.  But, Pope Paul VI found the hidden treasure of God’s wisdom and was not deceived with false arguments.

Humanae Vitae

Humanae Vitae, released by Pope Paul VI in 1968, reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s traditional view of marriage and marital relations and condemned the use of artificial birth control. The encyclical states that “of its very nature (artificial birth control)  contradicts the moral orderand that “it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.”

As you can imagine, the encyclical did not go over well and was very controversial! 

Even the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control, formed by the Pope for the purpose of studying the topic, disagreed with the Pope’s conclusion.  The Commission recommended the Pope go against the consistent historical teaching of the Church and allow artificial birth control. But, Pope Paul VI courageously went against the recommendation of the Pontifical Commission and went forward with the encyclical.

Prophetic Pope

This is one of many examples in history where Jesus’ words ring true:

    “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future.”              John 16:13

Indeed, the Holy Spirit did tell Pope Paul VI about the future and guided him in truth; a truth which others found impossible to see.  The Pope predicts, with amazing accuracy, that wide-spread acceptance of artificial methods of birth control will result in several negative societal, marital and spiritual consequences, including an increase “need” for abortion.  The specific consequences he predicted, all of which have come true, were:

  1. a “general lowering of moral standards” resulting from sex without consequences, and
  2. the danger that men may reduce women “to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of [their] own desires” and
  3. abuse of power by public authorities and
  4. a false sense of autonomy

 His Wise Words

In the movie, you can feel the pressure Pope Paul VI was under and the inner conflict he experienced.  But, it is his words that I will forever remember.

During one of the meetings with the Pontifical Commission, Pope Paul VI said, “Sterilizing the poor makes the rich feel less guilty.”   This was in response to the Commission trying to make the point that artificial birth control would allow poor families control over their fertility.

Pope Paul VI also said to them, “We are trying to understand the meaning of Love.  What is more important than that?  Be strong!”

In a different conversation, a priest said to the Pope,

The world has long awaited an encyclical that discusses sex.  You cannot publish one that says the same things that a Pope would have said a century ago.  What will our followers and women in particular, think when they read: ‘Any action that impedes procreation must be avoided.’? How much longer can we ignore the needs of the modern world?”

In response, Pope Paul VI said,

I didn’t write this encyclical to discuss sex but to talk about Love…about Life…about men and women. I’ve asked myself, “What’s the value of love and life and of men and women?  What will become of this civilization of love, of men and women?  What will a population in search of personal pleasure be like?  Won’t these contraceptive methods make us lose respect for women?  Won’t they transform women into an object of pleasure?  Won’t they give us the illusion of freedom in exchange for losing faith in the parental roles?  How can love deny the transmission of life?  Isn’t life the greatest gift God has given us? The Pope cannot say something is right if it is not.”

Chastity and Superabundance

What is the connection to Chastity? The most basic definition of Chastity is the virtue of saving sex for marriage and remaining open to life within marriage.  Artificial birth control has made it very easy for sex to take place outside of marriage with the false notion that it is ‘consequence free.’  Here we are, almost 50 after the introduction of the pill, and premarital sex is pretty much a given in relationships.

Abortion is a tragic but normal part of our reality and it is a natural consequence of failed contraception. Contraception has led today’s society to believe that sex should not result in babies and when it does, they are perplexed. How did this happen?  Now, they must get rid of this baby.  In the United States, about 3,000 babies are aborted each day.  That equates to 1,350,500 a year.  That is one every 24 seconds.  For every 100 births in the United States, there are 31 abortions.   

Within marriage, artificial birth control breaks the unitive and procreative meaning of the marital embrace.  Artificial birth control blocks the channel of grace that is supposed to be available to us when we are open to life.  This channel of grace is what produces the fruit of Superabundance.  Artificial birth control cuts off access to grace and Superabundance.  Superabundance is what gives the marriage life.  Without it, marital love dies.

There are so many other severe consequences to the contraceptive mentality, some of which are not felt until it is too late. The Pope predicted this.

Love

The controversy concerning contraception and abortion is still going on today.  But, as the Pope said, it is not about sex.  It is about love.  It is about life and the greatest gift God has given us:  The ability to be co-creators with Him and to participate in the transmission of life. 

“How can love deny the transmission of life?”  Pope Paul VI

It is about Love. 

Thank you, Pope Paul VI.  Thank you, Holy Spirit of Truth. 

God Bless!

Upcoming Reviews:

  1.  Women In Love ~ a book by Katie Hartfield
  2.  Would You Date You? ~ a book by Anthony Buono (founder of AvaMariasingles.com)
  3.  Made In His Image ~ a blog by Maura
  4. Held by His Pierced Hands ~ a blog by Meg Hunter-Kilmer

Stop Thinking Your Expectations Are Too High

In my post from three weeks ago, I shared that it is unwise to chase men. And, that if you find yourself doing the chasing, you should:

  1. Stop sleeping with him.
  2. Stop chasing him.
  3. Stop thinking your expectations for being chased are too high.
  4. Stop responding to lame and inconsistent initiation from him.

This week, I will address #3:  Stop thinking your expectations for being chased are too high.

This seems to be a very common battle that goes on with us women.  We fluctuate between two different beliefs.  The first belief comes from the deepest desires of our hearts and the hope that we will be loved and cherished, chased and pursued by our beloved. 

The second belief happens when that hope is not fulfilled.  It is the false belief that because our hope is not fulfilled, our expectations for being loved and cherished, chased and pursued are too high. So, we start to feel guilty and needy.  We know what we need from a man and yet when we are not receiving it, we start to wonder if it is even possible and are we worth it?  Are our expectations too high?

          Is it Possible?

When I was single, I observed many couples.  Some couples made me think, “That’s the kind of marriage I desire!”  But there were plenty of couples that made me think, “Oh goodness, is that what marriage is like?!  Yikes!”

I’d like to share with you an excerpt from my book because it reminds me of the time in my life when I was not getting what I needed from the guys I was dating.  Just when I was about to give in and believe that maybe my expectations were too high, I would witness the first kind of couple. The kind of couple that reminded me of the kind of marriage I desired and hoped for.  And, my determination and hope would be restored.  Jim and Regan were one of those wonderful couples.  Here is their story:

      “I just received a Christmas card from a couple that I met about 23 years ago.  The husband, Jim, and I were young engineers together working in the same office.  His wife, Regan, had a good job working for a lawyer and later became a stay-at-home Mom.  They were married young and during the time I knew them they had five children.  I lost touch with them about 15 years ago but then I reconnected with them a couple of years ago.  We just send Christmas cards now but it is enough for me to smile and remember them and the impact they had on me.  

     Jim and Regan clearly had what I longed for as a single girl; a happy marriage with a man who would make me feel loved, cherished, chased and pursued.  But, they were special.  They practiced chastity before their marriage and were open to life within their marriage.  Yes, they had five children, which seems like a lot, but they were all ‘wanted” and for the most part, all planned.  They used natural family planning (NFP).  

      My insight into their marriage was provided by Jim and wow did he adore Regan!  It was like nothing I had ever seen before.  God bless Jim because he graciously, but respectfully, witnessed to me about the power of chastity.  I believe the point of him sharing their personal story with me was to encourage me on in my own weakening commitment to chastity.

     Regan was committed to chastity and set the standard high even as a young girl in high school and college.  And, Jim gladly met the standard.  He had to have her.  He had to convince her to marry him.  She wanted to be an actress (locally) but the impressive wooing from Jim convinced her to marry him instead. 

     I wish I could describe to you his face when he would talk about her.  Each time they had a new baby, Regan would visit our office.  She looked so happy.  I mean, she beamed!  Jim told me that several minutes after giving birth she would say, “Let’s do that again!” 

     I have a friend who worked with Regan at the law office.  My friend was a receptionist and would occasionally have to take a phone message for Regan.  She told me that when Regan got a message that read ‘Jim called’, she would get a big smile and her eyes would light up.  The description from my friend led me to believe that Regan somehow floated away on a cloud of happiness. This was a completely independent, but identical, observation by my friend and me about this couple.

     Did they have perfect marriage?  I am certain they had their challenges, especially financially.  Jim drove the old station wagon with the wood panels on the side and Regan drove an old and very big van.  But, they were not caught up in status and materialism which is often a death-blow to marriages.  They had everything their hearts desired.  They had each other and all these cute children that bonded them in love. They had a strong Catholic faith and they lived and practiced it.  They built their life on the Rock rather than on sand and they were firmly grounded.  I knew, even back then, that they could withstand any storm.

     I wanted what they had and was convinced that Regan’s chastity was the key to their bliss.  They practiced NFP so there were times when they chose to abstain from the marital embrace. They were young and very fertile. But, when the door was ‘open’ again, you could almost read it on Jim’s face.  He was a very committed and brilliant engineer.  But, on the “door open” evenings, he left the office promptly at 4:00pm with a spring in his step and a slight blush in his cheek.  The silent message was “Goodbye everyone, I have a date with my wife tonight!”

     So, as I am writing this book, I get this beautiful Christmas card from them, still in love and surrounded by their five grown children. Regan and Jim are still glowing. Ah, chastity.”

 So, yes it is possible. And, no your expectations of being loved, cherished, chased and pursued are not too high.

Superabundance changes our vision!

            Are We Worth It?

My answer here may surprise you.  I visited a girlfriend of mine the other day and we got to chatting about our wonderful husbands.  I shared with her that I think it is amazing that my husband can love me so much given all my faults.  I wasn’t being self-deprecating.  I was stating my belief that his love for me is supernatural and that I believe  Superabundance changes his vision of me. 

I contend that the Superabundance, which results from our chaste marriage, significantly diminishes my faults and almost makes them invisible to my Holy Spouse. I also believe that Superabundance somehow then magnifies my good traits.  Chastity allows for superabundance and good fruits to flow.  These good fruits result in that interior gaze that Blessed Pope John Paul II talks about in his famous Wednesday talks referred to as Theology of the Body.  For example, he said to his General Audience on January 2, 1980:

 Seeing each other, as if through the mystery of creation, man and woman see each other even more fully and distinctly than through the sense of sight itself, that is, through the eyes of the body. They see and know each other with all the peace of the interior gaze, which creates precisely the fullness of the intimacy of persons.” 

So, no I am not worth it.  Not by myself.  Not without the grace of Superabundance.

                The Veil

I contend that we are covered by a veil and only the one that God intends for us to marry, our Holy Spouse, can see us. If you are not being loved and cherished, chased and pursued by the guy you are dating, it has nothing to do with your “worth.”  I contend that it is because he can’t see you.  But, your Holy Spouse will see you and he will like what he sees!

God designed us.  He knows what we women need.  He put those desires in our hearts.  

Your expectations for being loved, cherished, chased and pursued are not too high.  Commit to Chastity.  Wait on your Holy Spouse.  Wait on our dear Lord.

Next week I will discuss why you should stop responding to lame and inconsistent initiation from men.

God bless!