Today is day 183 of the romantic relationship with my beau. Six months, half an anniversary, the six-mensiversary, a nanoversary, halfaversary, something somewhat silly to celebrate. Or is it?
Rather than swoon to you about the awesome man in my life, I thought I’d take a crack at how we got here. How did I land a great, Catholic man who wants to grow in Christ with me? Where did I go right that God would present me with someone who truly wants to discern God’s plan? What help can I possibly be to others with only six months under my belt?
How we got here
Whenever people “give advice” to single people from their [haughty] chairs, it often inspires temptation of mild violence. I hope to avoid that.
I’ve known my beau for almost three years now, so our road has been a long one with a large percentage of a friendship-only identity. We met in a young adult club. I can hear the sound of facepalms everywhere:
Of course you met at church! I’ve already tried that! I exhausted my pool there, give me another direction!
Remember that the majority of our relationship has been strictly friendship; we surprised each other as we became better friends. “Hey! Where have you been?”
A little over a year ago, after a series of weekly dinners in a group of church friends, several non-church-related events, and many email exchanges, my beau and I became great friends. We became best friends.
Then, despite my best efforts to control my mind (like nailing warm butter to a wall), I looked up one day and realized I had a big crush on my best friend.
Believe me when I say the “trust in God,” “it happens when you least expect it,” “you have to be happy being alone before you can be happy with someone else” cliches bugged me to no end. So as not to cause another wave of facepalms I won’t explicitly say those cliches are mostly true… I’ll just hint at it.
Get to the practicalities before I click out of this post.
It may feel like being single is a long game of twiddling thumbs, but single folks are living as God calls them and building up a storage of lessons and challenges.
When the rich friendship between me and my beau sparked, I had just ended another romantic relationship. I was not in the mood, nor was I prepared for anything new, so I remained in a natural state of openness. There was a project that needed fixing and healing: me.
So, to the single folks out there: invest yourself in a big project. Sign up for Habitat for Humanity. Organize a spiritual book club. Start planning a trip, missionary or otherwise. Volunteer with a local youth group and go as a chaperone to FOCUS, Steubenville, NCYC and other conferences.
This project may start taking over your life, especially if it involves your passion for Christ and His people. The better to distract you from over-thinking, my pretties. Muhahaha!
Another project to invest in is creating a young adult club at your church, which leads me to the second practicality: surround yourself with good people of like faith.
One hang up with these clubs stands that they are often filled with those far beyond their twenties, yet single and ready to mingle. If this is the case at your parish, create a “younger adult club.” You may have to talk to some strangers, or ask your more outgoing friends to help you gather the troops, and start small.
Meet for lunch on a Saturday and just talk! Go to a festival, concert, or other event. Pretend you’re in elementary school and go bowling again. Invite people over to watch a movie and tell them to bring a friend each.
These posts that encourage single people to trust God is leading them to their vocation are beautiful and devout expressions of faith. I know I looked to them as I was discerning God’s call to enter into a romantic relationship with my beau, but the truth is: it’s much easier than these posts could ever communicate.
A few weeks before we DTR’d (Defined the Relationship), I posted a reaction to something my friend said to me: “So you’re an actively dating commitophobe who desperately wants to find Mr. Right?” Commitophobia is a-okay, if it’s a result of discernment and a symptom of refusing to settle. Hot dog! That’s convenient because I have dated very little in my life.
There were no pangs of commitophobia with my beau; for the first time in my life it was easy. And he was my confidant! Jackpot!
There have been lessons and challenges on this side of the relationship veil, as there will be in the future, but I always felt confident about our direction. One step at a time.
This brings me to our initial question: is it silly to celebrate six months of a romantic relationship? The secular world would say yes, especially since we are chaste and live in separate homes. Six months is a hiccup of time in the grand scheme.
I look back at the practicalities, at my history of commitophobia, at my beau’s history, and at our deep comfort with each other, emphatically shaking my head. We won’t hold a parade, but it’s not silly.
We are growing in faith together through daily and weekly Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Holy Rosary, and goofball laughing sessions. As we continue to move together as two people who Love each other, we keep that in mind.
Other people’s Love stories do not add to, nor do they take away from ours. Therefore the balance to strike is that of remaining chaste and learning together at God’s pace. If I have to hang out with my best friend who motivates me, encourages me, Loves me, and protects me, I guess that is my Cross to bear.
What can I say? You have to be happy being alone before you can be happy with someone else. Trust in God because it happens when you least expect it. Oh, shoot.
Here’s a new one: it’s easier than you think. So stop thinking; pray and live.
Hop over to Startling the Day for more!