Last spring, I had my first crush since breaking up with Greg over a year before. I can’t say who it was because I never know who’s going to pass by my little corner of the web world. Suffice it to say that my world was thrown completely off-kilter. I hadn’t had feelings like that in a long time, since before Greg. Having become a devout Catholic since that breakup, though, I had a different perspective on things. I knew God was in charge and I had to trust in Him. I just wished that His plans would look a little more like mine. I did what I could to subtly let this guy know that I was interested. Hana noticed that I wore my hair down for church one morning when I knew I’d see him. “I am not using my hair to catch a man!” I insisted. I kind of was, but only because I was determined to get him to ask me out, and not the other way around. Men react strongest to visual stimulation, so I wanted to make sure the best parts of me—in a completely chaste way—were visible to him. It didn’t work out, and after some nasty moments of anger at and mistrust in God (and his starting to date someone else!), I moved on.
Now, though, I’m in a similar position. Maybe I’m just a victim of spring fever; though, considering yesterday’s sleet and chill, I have no idea what season it is. This guy is equally unavailable, however, because he already has a girlfriend. I wish I had gotten there first. I am now stuck with the task of realigning my heart to respect that relationship. It’s a tricky situation. If he or I were married or engaged, there would be no question: he’d be automatically off-limits. Father Bill suggested I act as though we were; neither married people nor consecrated celibates stop feeling romantic attraction, so it’s good training for my future. On the other hand, dating is not the same as married or celibate. Dating relationships end. If his did end with her, I’d still be interested. How willing am I to harden my heart against him romantically if that is a possibility? Not very.
All of these thoughts remind me of my inconclusive period of discernment. I have gotten closer to God since I decided to make that effort, but I’m no closer to hearing the call. I caught up on my Boundless articles recently, including two particularly good ones on marriage and dating. Carolyn McCulley writes about developing “Humility That Attracts and Encourages” men in the process of marital discernment. Dating is hard, so she has good advice on how to make it easier for Christian men to take the lead. Scott Croft tells his friend, “Brother, You’re Like a Six,” so we should all redefine our expectations for spouses in light of the Bible and our everyday lives. If I do eventually figure out that I’m called to marriage, I have to prepare myself to be a good wife and mother. Boundless has some suggestions on that as well, in Candice Watters’ old blog, Why Family.
Love is complicated. So is God, but He is infinite. Therefore, godly love is infinitely complicated. (Quite the depressing syllogism there.)