The Cross of Love

What is love? What is dating? What is marriage? Can’t I get a little single around here?

First things first, I am happily in a relationship; one that has been put to the fire and test several times now. I’m not going to speak to you about my relationship, however, I am going to share with you about that time prior to my relationship, that “dreaded” stage in our lives we call, “being single.”

I may be alone in this, but personally, I loved being single. I loved everything about it. I liked going out, the dinner dates with friends, the laughs and the hassle-free lifestyle.  I mean, of course I thought about dating and getting a boyfriend, but I knew that I’d have to change and I wasn’t ready for all that. All that being said, however, I still wanted a relationship in the future where someone valued me as the woman and daughter of God that I am.

What I want for a future husband is someone who is going to respect me, value me, and listen to me. I want a man who will open the doors for me, push me to grow, and help me to set new goals for myself. I am going to support whoever I am going to marry. I will listen to them, and like any good woman, let them lead me as the head of the household.

As I was discerning my vocation, I found that I definitely wanted to make a family. I kept hearing from friends and family about what a good catch I was, but I couldn’t seem to find a man who met the criteria. Then I started dating Jesus. I knew He was the one source in my life I needed, and the one source I wanted. Everyone told me that He loved me, but I had to ask “what was love?” At that point in my life, I thought loving Jesus was as easy as getting a bracelet at a gift shop with “W.W.J.D?” on it. I was wrong.

Loving Jesus forced me to look into a huge mirror and reflect on myself. I started to realize that the princess treatment I thought I deserved was an illusion if I couldn’t give my real King, Jesus Christ, the royal treatment He deserves.

If you are looking for the marriage of your dreams, make sure you date Jesus first. 

IMG_20141018_012455Dating Jesus is similar to dating anyone else. You have to take your time and get to know Him, especially in His Word and in the Most Blessed Sacrament. As time went along, my visits to the Eucharistic Adoration chapel grew longer. I started telling my friends that I had scheduled date nights, and I wanted things to get serious. The more time I spent with Him, the more I realized that if I wanted someone to cherish me, that it was out of my control and that Jesus would have to send them to me.

I then started to realize the effects of getting closer to Jesus. Dating Jesus was making me change. Up until that point, I had been so cautious and had only been dating Him conveniently. I wanted to know Him, but I wasn’t telling too many people about us. People knew me. They knew I was this wild woman who loved God, but I still had my flaws. I was afraid to let them know I was really trying to be committed. Jesus, however, had other plans for us. As things continued to deepen in prayer, I felt Him ask me, “I see what you want in a man, but are you giving that to me? I am love. You can’t give a man love if you don’t know Me.”

Why did He have to get all personal? I mean, He is supposed to love me regardless of my flaws, He created me, He knows what my issues are and why they are there. Then He put me on the spot. I didn’t even know how to answer. I didn’t know him, not the way 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 tells me I should.

If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

When Jesus started asking all those questions, I started asking them to myself. I started wondering how I could be better for Him. I wanted God to send me a man, but if I didn’t know how to love God, how was I supposed to know how to love one of His sons? I started doing a lot of self reflecting. Was I giving to Jesus what I wanted a man to give me; my time, my effort? Was I listening to what He had to say? Was I trusting Him? I knew it was going to take some time before I made changes, but when I started to see my flaws in the grand scheme of things, I started to realize how far I was from where I needed to be.

IMG_20140616_015200Some people may think that being close to Jesus only happens when you go to church. As I have grown in my relationship with Him, I have realized it is so much more than that. Being close to Christ in a real relationship with Him affects everything. It affects your friendships and relationships with others. It affects how you experience pain, trials, and sufferings. When I was hurt by a friend or loved one, my usual reaction was to cut them off and be done with them. I would simply leave the situation until I realized how I have hurt Jesus by my sins and failings. Would I want Him to cut me off and call it quits? No. So how did I figure I deserved to be treated better than the manner I was treating others? That became the question in situations where my feelings were hurt. I focused a lot on the Sorrowful Mysteries. I would ask myself, “would I do this to Jesus?”

IMG_20141010_160255

As I continued to grow, I started looking at what I wanted in a relationship and would then look at my relationship with Jesus. I began diving into the lives of the Saints and came to understand even more that if I wanted my relationship with God to work I would have to start sacrificing worldly things in my life. I had to ask if I was I giving my time, effort, love, and attention to His calling. Like any good relationship, communication, trust, and a firm sense of direction are the key elements in the growth of the relationship. Where was my communication with Jesus? Was I talking to Him daily; praising Him, trusting Him? Where did I want our relationship to grow? Was I fully committed or was I just passing the time? I had to start adjusting my priorities. I ultimately wanted that relationship where I was becoming a better person because of Him.

My relationship with Jesus is growing ever more and more now that I understand what I want to give Him in return for what He has given me. I know that there are a million other things I can about write in this blog regarding how I feel, but I’m still growing and I know that in due time, I will have a deeper sense of how far I have grown. I don’t want other people to compare their relationship to mine. I simply want to issue a challenge to anyone reading this, whether you are single, engaged, married etc. If you are currently in a relationship (dating or married) that is lacking, chase after Jesus. I encourage you to picture Christ in that other person and treat them with that same love you ought to give to Jesus, but begin with giving Jesus that love first and then to that other person.

Happy loving!

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About bilokayy

I'm just a Roman Catholic woman with an agenda to spread the word about Catholicism. (That's right, no "hidden" agendas here.)

Posted on October 20, 2014, in Catholic, Dating, marriage, Relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “I will listen to them, and like any good woman, let them lead me as the head of the household.” –> Excuse me? Are you saying that men are the head of the household? If I am reading this correctly, then I feel it is very offensive and very oppressive toward women. I am sincerely hoping that I am reading it incorrectly. I believe that men and women are equal and that together they should lead the household and family. I believe that together they are a team and partners. Together they hold each other up and support them. I would never respect a man who believed he was the ‘head of the household’. If I am reading this wrong, please correct me. I sincerely hope you do. Because ‘like any good woman’ I believe in equal rights for both men and women and do not believe that there needs to be a ‘head of the household’ when there can instead be love and equal partnership.

    • There is a fantastic book named, “The Privilege of Being a Woman”, I definitely recommend you read it.

      Summary reads:

      “Women historically have been denigrated as lower than men or viewed as privileged. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand characterizes the difference between such views as based on whether man’s vision is secularistic or steeped in the supernatural. She shows that feminism’s attempts to gain equality with men by imitation of men is unnatural, foolish, destructive, and self-defeating. The Blessed Mother’s role in the Incarnation points to the true privilege of being a woman. Both virginity and maternity meet in Mary who exhibits the feminine gifts of purity, receptivity to God’s word, and life-giving nurturance at their highest.”

  2. Thank you for your response. The book you suggested sounds like it entirely misses the point of feminism; feminists do not believe that women try to ‘gain equality with men by imitation of men’…women are not trying to BE men, women are just trying to have a voice, like men do. Women wanting to vote does not mean that we are trying to be men, it just means that we feel we have opinions and knowledge something worth saying. Women wanting to work at jobs does not mean that we are trying to imitate men. It just means that we feel we can contribute to society in a greater capacity than staying at home raising children. Of course trying to IMITATE men is foolish and destructive but saying that it is the attempt of feminism to do so completely misses the point of feminism which simply urges women to have a voice.

    • Hey Fiercewarrior,

      Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts about feminism and Kalena’s most recent post. I hope it is okay with you if I share some thoughts on this with you.

      I can certainly understand how the idea of “letting men lead as the head of the household” can be confused and misunderstood. I believe, however, that there can be both a healthy and unhealthy feminism. Feminism is described as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” This is something that we can both agree on. There needs to be a healthy form of feminism that upholds the true human rights and dignity of women. Things have come very far here in the Western world, while they are still struggling in this regard in many other countries.

      You said that, “I believe that men and women are equal and that together they should lead the household and family. I believe that together they are a team and partners. Together they hold each other up and support them.” I believe we are on the same page here. Equal partnership in marriage is really important. It ensures a good balance in the household and that both partners carry the weight. You are absolutely right that men and women are equal and that together they should lead the household and family, as a team. There is, however, an important distinction to be made here. Equality does not equate with sameness.

      Kalena alluded to a passage that you may be familiar with which I think is important to reference to understand where Kalena is coming from. St. Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians:

      22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

      The scripture above has to be read and taken in, it its entirety. If we simply focus on one aspect of it, it can get us into a whole lot of trouble. The whole verse above has to be seen not through a mere human lens but through the lens of Christ. Spousal love is meant to be complimentary. If we see Christ and the Church as a model for marriage, we see that Christ lays His life down to the extreme out of love for His bride. That type of sacrifice is done freely without demand. It is done with the simple hope that the other will love Him in return. It is not controlling or manipulative. In response, the Church (you and I and all of the baptized) are called to return that love freely and without reserve to Him. This is what marriage is called to imitate.

      The Church is called to trust the Lord, her Divine Spouse knowing that He knows what is best for her. Similarly, I know I can trust my husband to make certain executive decisions for the family. I respect him in that role. I trust Him because I know that he loves me, our family, and knows what is best for us. I know that he knows my heart as well. It is not always easy to set aside my wants or thoughts, etc, but I know our marriage and relationship has become better for it.

      I do not simply trust him with blind faith, however. I can see that my husband makes many sacrifices for me. I know by the example of his life that he is a man that I can trust with my welfare, because he lays down his life in service for me. He does not try to force me into serving him and what he wants. There is a mutual respect and care for one another, built on trust and communication, and love for the Lord and each other. This is not a dictatorial relationship, just the contrary. I have the freedom to be who I am, as a woman. I have a clear voice that is heard and listened to. My husband also has the ability to voice his opinions. For I, or anyone in a similar situation to call my husband the “Head of the Household”, does not denote that I am the lesser of the two of us. It is simply acknowledging that I have willingly chosen to allow my husband the ability to make executive decisions for our family. Although that really never happens without us discussing and making the decision together, I recognize, that just as Christ is the head of the Church because of His sacrificial love, I too can trust that my husband can lead us as a family, because he seeks to serve us, in the imitation of Christ.

      An additional thing to note, the Church has always sought to put before us the example of true feminine identity – the Blessed Mother. Although she is a docile “handmaid of the Lord”, you can see by her example that even she could stand on her own two feet and did not simply live passively, relying on St. Joseph for everything. She was a whole person in herself, who could stand up, even in the face of God the Son, and tell Him what He needed to do. St. John Paull II wrote about the “feminine genius”. Mary exemplifies that perfectly.

      I hope that this helps to understand where we are coming from on this. We love you and we are praying that you have a fantastic Christmas.

      ~ Julie – on behalf of Team Orthodoxy

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