Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don’t seem to get?
I consider friends some of the greatest loves of our lives. They are among our first loves—the ones by which we learn affection, companionship, and even sacrifice. But when they get involved in relationships, and that wily romantic love of eros gets in the way, naturally, our dynamic with them changes. I actually only have one non-single Catholic friend. A. is great when it comes to single-me and L., another mutual friend. Sure, we see A. less, but I don’t see our friendship as a struggle. I think two very important things help:
1) She didn’t meet her man until she was nearly 40, so there is no condescension or pity, nor tone-deaf suggestions of how to date based on her struggles with the 3 guys before she married at 23. Uh uh. She gets what we’re going through because she lived it herself, which means she never has trouble relating to us.
2) We speak the same language. A. is a practicing Catholic who pursues the Truth and Good and follows it as we are all called.
Honestly, my real struggles are with non-single (and some single!) friends (and family, too L), unmarried, and un-Catholic. Among the biggest disconnects:
– vastly different attitudes toward marriage and children
– a lack of comprehension of the goods of chastity and modesty
– a downplaying of the importance of finding men of virtue and good character
– a refusal to see the wisdom and prudence in my desire to only date practicing Catholics (family especially)
In many circumstances, these issues would be friendship-killers. But over the past decade, my pals and I have built-up trust, affection, and otherwise congenial companionship that I’m unwilling to throw away because they didn’t get the same formation I did. So I have to try to handle it some way. Sometimes I try to patiently explain myself, but eventually end up just saying “I’m doing it this way, and more debate about it is not fruitful” because they persist. A big pet peeve is that they tell me to “be more open-minded,” which apparently means changing my views to theirs and dropping the wonderful, protective, loving teachings of the Church. Or I might respond with an exasperated sigh and a “You know this about me and exactly why—so just stop it” look. At least they respectfully move on to another subject. What I try to keep at heart is that they are my friends, love me, want to see me happy, and want to try to help. But their advice is not true help.
I think this is because our greater society has a problem with understanding or supporting our way of life. They have a misunderstanding of what true joy is and even a lack of joy within themselves. They see Catholic women marrying agnostic men, having babies without any thought of the cultivation of faith and being “happy.” Or they see a young woman in the city with a string of monogamous relationships (lasting an average 3-6 months a pop) and “happy” (especially since she’s never gotten pregnant). And then think that if only you gave up your route for theirs, you’d have a better chance at happiness, too. But that response disrespects my authentic self and how God created me (and all of us) to be.
So something that’s really hard for me personally to do, but something I want to work on, is evangelizing: I want to better communicate the joy that is having a partner in faith to parent children; the joy that is not having a dinged-up heart, disease, or pregnancy “scare” from the hook-up culture; the joy that is knowing that even though finding a husband is like hunting for a needle in a haystack, my haystack is actually really, really small. Just the true joy that being a cherished daughter of God really is.
- Online Dating Post goes up Thursday!
- This is my 96th Post! To celebrate the upcoming 100th post, I am having a special giveaway on November 20! Stay tuned!