The blessing of being single.

As a survivor of domestic violence far be it from me to make light of serious marital difficulties, but seriously, did everyone not get what they wanted for Christmas? Today is apparantly the busiest day of the year for divorce lawyers. How scary is that? Despite reading this I do however still have faith in the institution and Sacrament of Matrimony, that’s why I’m still single.

I know that might sound somewhat oxymoronic, but although singledom isn’t always enjoyable and my impatience resists it, it truly is a gift and not a burden. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I embrace it, but I know that this is a time of growth and not just in the spiritual arena, but throughout the whole spectrum of my life.

I actually got a bit upset a few weeks ago, not about being single, but because for the umpteenth time a friend jokily commented that I should think myself ‘lucky’ not to have a man to concern myself with. HUH. She didn’t mean to be insensitive, I’m sure….and I didn’t let her know that her comment had bothered me. But this is fairly typical of the banter that I believe many singletons have to contend with. For the most part I am not offended, but sometimes it does wear a bit thin.

What bugs me is that for the most part, my single status was not a choice. If I’d had my way I would still be with my daughters Dad, never for a moment did I evisage him dying after our only sharing a couple of years together….the second time around the investment of my heart was severeley mistreated by another and despite my turning a blind eye to all manner of abuses I was forced to leave the marriage. Am I really so lucky? Am I lucky to be single? I don’t see it that way.

I love to love and I would like nothing more than to find that someone special to love for the rest of my life, but I am coming to appreciate that these things can’t be forced. I’ve had all too many flirtations and experiences with men before the children came along, but it seems like another person lived that life, it’s so far remote from who I am now.

I am still human.

I still have desires.

I am still tempted.

But I can (or at least, so far I’ve been able to) attest that while I have at times been plagued by impure thoughts (which I blame on the evil one) I have thus far been able to overcome those desires and temptations without succumbing. It’s not easy. But how is sex outside the context of spousal love, going to fulfill me? What is self gratification, other than a bit sad? I can wait. However long it takes. And if I never have sex again? Then what loss is that to me? For sex without love, without sacramental union, is as nothing.

There’s more to a relationship than sex though isn’t there (though there was a time I when I wouldn’t have believed it). Couples don’t spend their whole lives making love do they? They have to eat, work, sleep, empty the trash, go to the loo, take the kids to school etc?

Of course, I’m fortunate to have the freedom to look like crap in the privacy of my own home, to slob around, to drool on my pillow (For any prospectives out there….I don’t actually do that, just kidding 😉 to wear my p’j’s until midday if I want, because I can.

But how lucky does that make me? In the context of a loving relatinship, I could argue that I should be totally able to be myself….or then I might oppose that self proffered argument and say that if I really love someone I should want to make every effort to look my best….hmmm, just as well I AM single if I’m still conflicted about that don’t you think! Just foolin’.

I’m not lucky because I don’t have the companionship of a husband. I’m fortunate because God is giving me time to grow in ways I never thought possible.

I’m approaching 40 and maybe something is wrong with me, I’m just not worried about it….and I’m just so not worried about being a wife..I’m not even worried that I may never be called to marry again. I would like to, but what I like and what I want don’t come into it. Look where my meddling has got me so far!

I used to have a fairly obscure mental tick list about the kind of men I would date or ‘be with’.

  • Must be male
  • must be tall
  • must be manly
  • must adore me

Seriously, I wasn’t picky!

What’s really funny is that a while back there was a man at church showing an interest in me and I thought, well, we’ll see. Now I look at him and I am so grateful that I have not encourgaed him….I hate that he talks to his friend during the consecration. Little things like that just bug me so MUCH! I suppose if I’m fair I could say that he may be poorly catechised, after all at least he goes to Mass every Sunday! But still. The bar has been raised. With Jesus for a role model who stands a chance? It’s not as though I’m even a great catch myself and I’m raising the bar….what about that!

Seriously though, I’m not looking for perfect, I’m not even looking really, I only want the one who is perfect for me. I’m being faithful to the Lord in this because this is what I feel called to do. I have often wondered if it may be that the Lord will provide a man for me who not only is my brand of perfect, but who could be to Primadonna the father that she never had…and the father to Wonderboy that could offer consistancy and be an example of how a man should love his wife…but it wasn’t to be (though it’s not always easy to accept) and y’know, I’ve not done that bad a job of raising my kids alone. They’re not delinquents. They go to Mass, they are loving, compasisonate individuals. Perhaps the Lord has helped me to learn that I have had strengths even amidst my weakness. Even when I cried that I could not go on alone, even when I’ve been a rotten mum?

Anyway, my current mental tick list, if I had one, which I don’t really, would have to have at it’s core just one simple wish, that God give me the man who best suits me, because God alone knows all the desires of my heart. I don’t have physical preferences, I don’t want to be adored (well just a little) but I do want a man who loves the Lord as much as I do (or more than me)…and that if there’s any adoration to be done, that it will be him taking me by the hand and leading me to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to spend some time with Jesus. What a turn on! No, I’d better rephrase that, I don’t mean to imply that it would be a sexual turn on….rather that I can’t think of anything more romantic. If I had a list of ways a man could make me love him that’d be pretty close to the top.

I really feel for anyone who does not have Jesus at the centre of their relationship. Marriages can and do work even between atheists, I’m not suggesting that all happy marriages are to be found only between Christian couples, but perhaps what is missing is that those failed marriages are thos where the spouses fail to love like Christ loves. In my marriage I wasn’t loved with a Christ-like love and I was not always able to offer it in return. Christ’s love is selfless. I may have a long wait. But that’s okay.

It’s funny, but I can hardly believe that I actually signed up for those online catholic singles agencies a couple of years or so ago. I don’t know what God had in mind to teach me when I joined them, maybe it was to clarify in my mind that I can not search for love, I have to wait for it to come to me? I have no more interest in pursuing that course in the quest for love. The awfully big adventure isn’t in finding the man, it’s in the journey to our first meeting and in the subsequent life that we may share togetether. Did I relaly think I could force God’s hand and win? Where’s that got me so far?

Am I lucky?

No I’m not lucky.

Am I content being the way I am right now?

Definately.

God pour down your grace on me, I’ve lot’s more growing to do!

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13 Responses to The blessing of being single.

  1. EVE says:

    Perhaps you may find inspiration in some words of St. Francis…

    “Grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand,
    to be loved as to love;
    for it is in giving that we receive…”

  2. Angela Messenger says:

    Deb, great post. I was a single mom too and I can relate to much of what you say.

    You are lucky your mum and dad live close by to help and even your ex is there to take Joe sometimes. I didn’t have that at all. Maybe that’s why I was looking for love in “all the wrong places” as the song goes. You at least have a backbone and strong morals!

    Having Christ as the third person in your marriage most certainly enriches it as I have come to know these last few years.

    And the biggest turn on…a man praying the rosary, on his knees, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Wow.

  3. Catholic Fire says:

    Deb,

    I really enjoyed this post. I, too, was involved in an abusive relationship at one time in my life – many years ago.

    I waited 20 years after that relationship ended to remarry. God hand-picked my wonderful spouse – a holy Catholic man.

    When the time comes, the Lord will bring the right person for you into your life – He answered my prayer in His time.

    You are blessed in so many ways and you are so wise in recognizing that we can’t force things that should happen naturally. A spouse is God’s gift to us.

    God bless,
    Jean

  4. ukok says:

    Eve,

    that is one of my favourite reflections and hymns. Thanks for sharing.

    Angela Messenger,

    You are so right that I am fortunate that my parents live nearby. They are an immense help to me. God has been good to me, indeed he has.

    I know just what you mean about the man on his kn ees praying the rosary. The more devout a man, the better. The more that he has a wellspring of love for the lord burning in his heart, the more that he will be able to love me.

    🙂

    Jean,

    Your testimony gives me hope, especially because you were single for such a length of time. This August it will be 8 years for me. I don’t know if I will be called to be single for the rest of my life, there’s a lot of refining for me still to go through before I think I’ll be suitable wife material for any man!

    As always, Jean, it’s a pleasure to hear from you. I’m so very glad that God blessed you with the perfect man for you to spend the rest of your life with.

    God is Good!

  5. Alexa says:

    Hi Ukok! You already know my story… I didn’t think it was going to happen — finding a devout unmarried (virgin even!) man after George died. I wasn’t really looking…but I did look. (hard not to!)
    Anyhow…Reminder that I was 40 when I met Rob and almost 41 when I married him. I had Rocky 2.5 months before turning 44.
    All in GOD’s time…
    And I too was pretty content being single — my only fear was my only son growing up and me being alll alone. My parents and I don’t have a really close relationship. It’s not a “Leave it to Beaver” type of family I come from.

    Love ya!
    Alexa

  6. cheated are the clouds says:

    somewhere out there is a man who is thinking the same thing he is being nutured by God and is waiting for the call to search you out, I have been married for 28 years and let me tell you I had a lot of problems because I never learned how to be happy with myself and content with myself, it has been a long journey into self discovery, we have to be content to be alone and know who we really are before we can be truly happy with a spouse, it took my wife and I a long time to learn this, but we did you have done very well by the sounds of it, you should be proud of yourself for raising your children alone, when your times comes you will be blessed beyond you very own imagination God bless

  7. Suzanne says:

    I agree with “cheated” in everything he said. You’ll see! 🙂
    How’s Joseph?

  8. Leann says:

    well said.you seem to have things well thought out.I waited 18 years for the one I thought the Lord sent.and I got a big shock.now have to wait to under stand what went wronge.thought we would be together forever.but he scared the day lights out of me.been in the hospital mental ward 4 times in the last 3 years.it has messed me up alot.if not for the Lord I would have not made it.I saw your comment on alexa I think.

  9. ukok says:

    Leann,

    I’m sorry that you have had such a terrifying ordeal after waiting so long for love to come along. The problem is, when the other spouse is nasty and abusive, it freaks us out so bad that we end up really nervous and depressed and then we get brainwashed into thinking that it’s our fault and before we know it we start believeing all the horrid things they say about it. I think the psychological abuse was way worse than the physical.

    I was hospitalised for depression when I was about 21 or there abouts. This was before my daughters father died and before I met my abusive ex-husband….I had a troubled teen life and went off to live with a cult for a couple of years so it eventually all culminated in a breakdown, unsurprisingly.

    I picked myself up, dusted myself down and had a career as a portrait photographer when it suddenly happened. I snapped. I spent 10 weeks on a psychiatric ward and struggled with depression.

    Thanks be to God that depth of depression is a thing of the past and He has healed me from wanting to end my life by giving me two wonderful children to love and care for!

    It hasn’t been all rosey since though. My ex husband, because he knew about my earlier experience with depression constantly threw it in my face, saying I was a psycho. Of course, he was the true psycho because I’d been stable for years before I met him and was raising my daughter successfully. His behaviour screwed me up. I stayed with him for 6 years of abuse you wouldn’t believe. Finally on our son’s 4th birthday I made the decision that I had been unable to make previously, I decided to leave. Once I’d made that decision all hell let loose. But we’ve had 8 years of peace and family contentment since I left and thank God for that!

    I will remember you in prayer.

  10. Leann says:

    when I was younger I spent 3 weeks in the hospital for a brake down.it was about the time my girls would be leaving home in only a year or two.I couldnt figure who I would be after they left.I had lost me.thanks for your comment.it helps to know people who under stand.hubby wasnt abusive he was just into doing and saying weird things.he heard voices and did things to him self.it was more then scary at times.the last straw was when some thing not him talked to me through him.that did it.I still get chills thinking about it.glad your doing so good.I have been pretty good tell this last two years.alot happened.moms passing the hubby and the mess with my daughter.but the Lord has helped me so much.well thanks again.God bless you.

  11. CO says:

    🙂 Whew.. this brings back some good memories, and some sad ones. After the divorce, I stopped dating at the height of attractiveness to just be a good mom.. that seemed my vocation, now. Five years passed wherein the only guy I walked with was the Lord. That sounds wonderful, but it was lonely, frightening, and just very sad sometimes. I felt if He had wanted me remarried, it would happen (after an anuulment). But whereas I wasn’t even waving hi to the mailman, let alone dating, how could it happen? I said, “Lord, if you want me to remarry, I guess You’d have to drop a man into my lap.” Well, He did. I met him at church, and then, at the Webelo Scout signup – he was to be my son’s Den Leader. I can’t tell you all of what the Lord was preparing, but He took in my criteria sheet and even added unto it! All I could say, all along, was, “Thy will for me be done. You know best.”

    I lived in a housing project at the time, and neighbors (all women..) said of my non-dating: “Oh, I could never do that, Carol.” I always replied, “Oh, yes, you can. Trust Him, and love yourself as is.” It IS very very hard to be alone — especially as a single parent. Where’s the other half of the applause when a child excels or soars? Where’s the other half of the concern when a child is hurt or sick? Why is there never anyone but me to make sure they have all that they need? And yes, at first, the loss of sexual closeness (IF there was more than bodily closeness) is hard to overcome, but it fades. It fades.

    In all this, He asks us deeper into trust of Him. His grace, if we see it, if we can just see it, does suffice.

    May God bless you. As is. All of you.

  12. Nelson says:

    The advice I usually give ladies:

    1. Work on being the kind of lady you’d want to be with if you were a man.

    2. Just go about your daily life doing interesting things.

    3. Character first.

    4. Don’t worry.

    Nelson Guirado

    http://www.nelsonguirado.com

  13. ukok says:

    Leann,

    So sorry you’ve had such a rough run of things, and for your Mum’s passing particularly. May she rest in peace.

    I know how hard it is to move forward with our lives when there are such memories of our past that still haunt us, but you’re right, God is GOOD!

    CO,

    Your words had such a deep impact on me, I can’t tell you! Thank you so much for understanding exactly what it’s like. I love what you said about the only guy you walked with being the lord. I’m going to remember that. He’s my man!

    Thanks so very much!

    Nelson,

    Thanks for your considerate response to my post. I agreee with all your pointers 🙂

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