|My niece in her First Communion Dress. Isn't she beautiful?|
I also have to wonder at my motivations for getting engaged or talking about engagement in the other relationships before my ex--was I just that desperate to be married? Was it because of pressure from family? Was I that silly and immature (that would be a resounding YES!!!)? I look at me way back then, and go, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????" I've spent time looking at the journal entries, and I know that some of it was just being in love with the idea of being in love. The fact that my parents expected me to leave college with an MRS degree, not the BA and MA that I ended up with also contributed.
So did our culture...even as I am rediscovering my love for Country music and other genres, I'm finding that some songs are just problematic. They glorify sex as love (remember "I think we're alone now"?), or they talk about love as it should be, and I find myself longing for a love like that rather than being content with the place where God has me.
This song is a case in point. I love this song for lots of reasons. The singer is great and the sentiment is one I think just about every female would love to say about their significant other. I would also argue that every woman in a good marriage has things their husbands do on a regular basis that "makes them cry" in a good way. At the same time, this kind of song is perfect fodder for envy, and maybe the creation of unrealistic expectations. When a guy hears stuff like this, does he think, "there's no way I can live up to this," or does he go, "I want to do that for my significant other"? If I were a guy, I might lean more toward the former than the latter.
This is another example. While it is a lot more realistic, it still makes me wonder if I will ever truly fall in love. And this thought is usually followed by wondering whether any guy I would be willing to date would be willing to date me. I can think of all of the reasons why they wouldn't be: I'm divorced, which at least points to the possibility that I'm not willing/able to commit to a forever relationship; It also points to some major baggage; I'm chaste, which is very rare in our society, especially for a divorcee; I am a faithful Christian, and expect them to be the same; I'm Catholic and I plan to raise any children I have as Catholics; I have a history of major depression; I have eclectic tastes in music; I have food allergies out the wazoo--even I have trouble keeping track of them; the litany goes on and on....
Then I find songs like this--the songs that say exactly what I feel about a particular situation. I've come to the conclusion that, like the name of this song, I'm hard to love: I'm one of those high maintenance females that guys don't like to date. I'm working on that, but my many allergies mean that I'm going to be higher maintenance than most women. I mean, at some point I'll have to have a conversation with him about not using fabric softener anymore, and just choosing a restaurant is fodder for nightmares...This is not the picture of low maintenance!!!
And yet, lately I have found myself praying that the Lord would allow me to be head over heels in love at least once in my life--with Him and maybe with another human being, even if the second comes to nothing. Is it wrong to want to experience the pinnacle of what it means to be human? It might be that I'm overdosing on Country Music, and I need to cut back on my consumption...I probably DO need to cut back on how much country music I'm listening to, but I doubt that this is the only reason for my prayers. Scripture says in I John 4 that God IS Love. When we are in love with another person, the best of who we are comes out--it is also through love that we come to know God. Think about it--when we are in love with another person, we study them, try to think of ways to please them, and our longing is for their company...and that is what we should be doing with God. Additionally, love for others is probably the best remedy for selfishness, and all of us struggle with that particular propensity!
I know that I'm really not ready to begin any kind of relationship--my ex has only been out of the house for 7 months, and the divorce has only been final for about 5, not to mention the fact that I won't truly be free for a relationship until I have heard about what the Tribunal says about my annulment application. I can't help but think about it, though.
And that, in and of itself can be dangerous, as it can set up expectations that no human being could ever meet. I quit reading romance novels in college because I realized that it created unrealistic expectations of what a relationship should be. Really, I should know better, as none of my relationships have followed what is considered to be a "typical" pattern--you know, where the guy gets up the courage to talk to the girl, and then pursues her relentlessly until he wins her heart and they ride off into the sunset together....typical romantic comedy drivel! However, when guys have pursued me like that, it has felt more like the story line from Mr. Wrong, than it has happily ever after!
There is a very real part of my heart that wants....something, I'm not sure what to call it, in my romantic relationships....I guess the best way to explain it is a cross between being cherished for who I am, to not be afraid of showing the whole world that he wants to spend time with me, for him to be willing and able to stand toe to toe with me if he disagrees (I have out-stubborned most of the guys I have dated), to not be afraid to hold me as I blubber and get his shirt all wet, to value my opinion and me as a person, to discuss intellectual issues with an open mind, to be desired by him physically, and for him to proactively seek to help me get to Heaven. In short, I guess I want him to be in love with me, too, and that has also been missing in my relationships to this point (or at least it has from my perspective--I could be wrong).
That is why I take solace in the following verse from Jeremiah 31: 3-6
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:No matter what happens with the humans around me, God already loves me like that, and even when I cry out with longing for human companionship, the Lord is there to comfort me, cherish me, and draw me closer to Him.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
4 I will build you up again,
and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt.
Again you will take up your timbrels
and go out to dance with the joyful.
5 Again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them
and enjoy their fruit.
6 There will be a day when watchmen cry out
on the hills of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”