Last night, a friend of mine from the young adults group at my church emailed out a link to this magazine to a bunch of us ladies in the group. It’s a new magazine geared towards Catholic women, written by young adults. I haven’t gotten to read the entire thing just yet, but I did read one article, “My Dearest Sisters.” “My Dearest Sisters” is an excerpt from the book of the same title, written by a young man expressing his thoughts on women, modesty, and chastity. In it, he basically says that women are worth more than they think, and their actions should convey as such. They shouldn’t be quick to give themselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to every man who shows them attention. Rather, they should be more concerned with falling in love with God and letting that be enough and then patiently waiting for God to bring them a man–someone who will value their faith and virtue, and encourage them in it. It’s a beautiful sentiment. It’s hopeful, optimistic.
I can’t believe it.
I say those words not in a, “Oh wow, this is so beautiful, I can’t believe God loves me this much, this is amazing!” type of way. I mean I literally cannot believe what this man is saying. I want to believe it. I agree that what the author lays out is how things should be, but it’s not how things actually are. I have a hard time believing when:
–I don’t see a lot of single men at Mass or at young adult functions at my church, and those men who are active in the parish seem to be either married or dating someone. To see a man participate in faith activities because his faith is personal and important to him, and not because he is involved with someone who has a deep faith, is a rare occurrence.
–People who break the so-called cardinal rules of virtuous dating (or whatever you want to call it) by having premarital sex, living together before marriage, etc., not only seem happy, but they’re the ones who are taking that next step and getting married. Seems to me like a even though the milk is being gotten for free, men are still willing to buy the cow.
–Women who are a lot braver than I are making bold, well-articulated cases for chastity and being ridiculed for it.
–There seem to be more men who aren’t willing to pursue our hearts than men who are.
–Women who are striving to be virtuous and chaste, and honestly trying to live out their faith remain single while their counterparts are out there dating and in relationships.
I say these things not to pass judgement on women who don’t subscribe to a particular faith or religious theology; I say them because sometimes I wonder if we, the Christian girls, have got it all wrong. What if this so-called man the author outlines, the one that is supposed to fall in love with us and our virtue and faith, doesn’t exist? What if we just substituted a Disney-branded fairy tale for a God-branded one?
I’m afraid I’ve lost a little of my faith when it comes to love, dating, sex, and marriage. I feel it chipping away with every man I meet who says, “I’m spiritual, but not religious” (translation: I’m not religious or spiritual, this is just a fancy cop-out that you hopefully won’t notice and still want date me anyway). I feel it chipping away the closer I get to 30 and see that the number of people on the abstinence bandwagon is shrinking rapidly. I feel it chipping away with every passing birthday and holiday I celebrate as a single woman, that elusive spiritual man who values virtue and chastity nowhere in existence.
I find it hard to believe that there is a man out there who will fall in love with me and my faith. I find it hard to believe that my single station will not change. I find it all hard to believe.
Edit: If you’d like to read the article I’m talking about, it is on page 48 of the magazine I linked to above.
Edit 2: I should say that the statements above are based on what I’ve observed, and may not represent the whole of the post-modern dating/relationship culture.
Edit 3: My friend Arleen wrote a response/follow-up post that can be found here.Check it out. Yay, dialogue!