Our love story is featured today over at the blog Written By The Finger Of God. Again, it was an honor to participate and share our story. Thank you, Anabelle! Here is the link.
****ooops! Anabelle has closed her site so I have added Our Love Story here:
Our Love Story
I think our love story is beautiful and my husband, upon meeting you, will tell you the story of how we met, fell in love and married. I want to share those details in this post but, to me, the true beauty of our love story lies in the suffering, the waiting and the healing. We did not meet until we were 37 years old and were married about a year later at 38 years old. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary (now almost 16 years!) this month.
But in case you missed it, let me repeat it. Thirty-eight years of singleness! Thirty-eight years of hoping, praying, feeling forgotten, frustration and occasional despair. It was so hard that to this day my mini-mission in life is to encourage single girls with wisdom and hope while they wait for their spouse. I, through the grace of God, hope to accomplish my mini-mission with my blog, The Veil of Chastity. If you are in need of hope and wisdom and if your singleness has extended beyond your hoped-for timeline, then please come visit me at my blog.
Why did my husband and I have to endure this extended single life? I don’t know the specifics of God’s plan or His will but I can see an overall theme. The single life and its frustration brought us both to our knees before God. It enabled us to experience the brokenness required for dependence upon God and to convince us of our need to return to and live a Sacramental life. This brokenness, dependence upon God and Sacramental life were vehicles that God used to heal us and prepare us for each other.
A Textbook Case
On one hand, our story is special but on the other hand, we are a textbook case: Frustration, brokenness, dependence and then healing. Our journey is a reflection of the Israelites 40 years of wandering in the desert and ultimately being brought to the promise land. To me, the wandering in the desert part of the Old Testament and the Israelites healing while in the desert is more fascinating than the entering the promise land part.
I will summarize my journey by saying that I, like many, was poorly catechized. I did not know how critical a Sacramental life was to my spiritual, emotional and physical health. So, I wandered away. But, God chased me down and brought me back His church, my Catholic faith and a Sacramental life. But this took time.
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. I had an exaggerated fear of married life and all that it would entail. So, I tried to manage it and heal myself. But, God wrestled me to the ground and healed me enough that I could love and be loved by my husband. God healed me of my exaggerated fears and then blessed me with a compassionate and loving husband who understands me. But, this took time.
Finally, I was broken in response to not having what I wanted. I wanted to be married. I dated a lot and had relationships during my extended singleness. But, of course, each relationship ended in some level of rejection. Most of the time, I broke things off because I did not feel loved and cherished. Each time a relationship failed, my frustration grew. Looking back, this was a good thing because it cemented my dependence upon God. He was my only hope. But, this process took time.
Another challenge I experienced was in my commitment to Chastity. I was committed to it but each of the areas in need of healing I described above wreaked havoc on the firmness of my commitment. The time away from the Sacraments weakened me. I did not know that the sole purpose of my body is to glorify God. The negative relationship with myself blinded me to the connection between Chastity and my spiritual, emotional and physical health. This blindness led to temptations to win love through the physical realm. The rejection caused me to wonder if God cared.
But, I was thankfully stubborn in my commitment to Chastity. I was weakened, tempted and rejected but I was protected, by God’s mercy, from mortally jeopardizing my soul.
How We Met
Because God so intimately cared for us and healed us, I am convinced God also arranged our marriage. My husband and I met through a single catholic dating website. Neither of us had been married before.
When he first contacted me in Aug 2001, my husband lived in Kansas and I lived in Virginia. We were engaged in May 2002 and married in October 19, 2002. We had the most beautiful, holy wedding. And, we have a beautiful, chaste, fruitful and holy marriage.
In my blog and in my soon-to-be published book, I share a theory called The Veil. Think of The Veil as a simple metaphor: It is the idea that God places a protective veil over all of us and the purpose of the veil is to hide us from every possible suitor except the one that God intends for us to marry. I call the person God wants us to marry our ‘holy spouse.’
This protective veil makes us ‘unclear’, similar to looking through a Mylar plastic sheet, to those suitors who are not our holy spouse. These suitors may be attracted to us but they hesitate to pursue us fully because they can’t fully see us; we are hidden by the veil. This may feel like rejection but it is really God’s protection.
Suffering Leads To Hope
“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.”
As things progressed with my husband toward marriage, my Mom asked me how in the world he could have made it to 38 years old and never be married? Why had some other girl not snatched him up? Good question. He had plenty of dates and relationships before he met me but all those other girls were unable to see what a great guy he is. I am thankful for that. It was the veil! It covered and protected him too.
But, he had to go through about 7 years in his own dating desert prior to meeting me along with years of dates and relationships with women before that who left him feeling empty and corrupt. This was a suffering for him but it resulted in that loving and vital purification from God. And as Romans 5 tells us, suffering leads to perseverance, which leads to character and finally hope.
To me, my need for healing and the protective veil caused my extended singleness. And today, I praise God!
Update: Next week, I will share with you Our Catholic Love Story, Part 2!