Thank you so much for the introduction. My name is Robert. I’m 32. I’m married. It’s a fascinating topic we’re looking at today about relationships and marriage. Saint John Paul II said that the future of humanity depends on who man is for woman, and who woman is for man. I’m very much unqualified to give this talk myself, because I have stumbled like a drunken man in the dark through this topic through my own mistakes and through my own trial and error. But I hope to be able to impart something that might be of use for you in your future vocation, and in your lives. I hope I manage to resonate some notes that hit the right chords today.
Of course in the New Testament in Romans 8:28 we read that God can do good through all who love God. God can do great things. He can even turn things that have been wrong into blessings and to good things as well. As Christians, we can’t do evil in order that good might flourish. But God can work through all things for the greater good.
First of all, I’d like to share a bit of my own personal story of how God has worked through my own life. Secondly, I’d like to look at some of the teachers of the Church, the saints and sinners throughout the centuries who have imparted wisdom about marriage and relationships. Third, I’d like to look at the Bible, seeing words of wisdom with regards to marriage and relationships are based. Then also looking at some marriage studies, some statistics, and further stories as well.
My first experience of dating really began at primary school. At primary school it was kiss chase when I was six years old. It was a popular game at school. I think I was the reigning school champion at this game. The rules were to run around the playground, kiss as many girls as you possibly could and make them cry perhaps. I was very successful at this game. It was all very much innocent and fun at this age. Nothing wrong whatsoever at age six. I went on to secondary school, age 13. It was Valentine’s Day. I decided to write a Valentine’s Day card to one of the prettiest girls in the school. Included in the Valentine’s card I included Cadbury’s cream egg thinking if anything is going to win over this girl, it’s going to be a Cadbury’s cream egg. I’m not sure what I thought she might think. This guy is like, ‘Hey, if he included a Cadbury’s cream egg in his Valentine’s Day card as well, then he’s definitely the guy for me.’ Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. My proposal was rejected. So strong was Cadbury’s advertising that I thought I was invincible at the time, having one of those cream eggs in my possession that it could woo anybody in the world and I would be invincible with a Cadbury’s cream egg. That was the first experience at age 13 of rejection. That certainly was good that I tried at that age as well.
I went to a boarding school. It was very much a lad’s culture there. About 75% guy and 25% girls. From the lad’s culture at the school it really wasn’t a great foundation for understanding relationships and treating women honorably as well. It was at university that I realized that I really wanted to take my faith seriously. I was an Anglican. I became a Catholic at university. I was a convert myself. At the time of my conversion, Age 21, I realized the teaching of the church was right over here with regards to family and marriage, and my own personal life was in another place. So the first few years of being a Catholic was an attempt to reconcile that distance between my own life and the teaching of the Church. That’s why I found this topic so interesting to really understand what the Church teaches about marriage and love. John Paul says that family is a school of love, and a future of humanity passes by way of the family as well.
Well, it wasn’t until 2010 that I met my future wife. It was through a mutual friend who told me to buck up and to get my act together and ask her. We went on a date that was disguised as a business meeting to begin with. I think I would’ve scared her off by asking her on a date at the very, very beginning. Meeting after meeting continued, and a romance began to blossom after a year and a half. We got married last year in Galway, in Ireland. Our love blossomed so much in the first ten months of marriage, that we called our love by name. Our daughter Hannah was born in April of this year and is now six months old. Praise God. So it’s been quite an exciting development on my journey.
Being married has really transformed my life. It’s been a blessing. I came back to London in 2008. I took a couple of years of searching and discovering, looking for what God’s plan was for my life as well.
It was three years ago, we had just started going out, Kara and myself, and I somehow got roped into organizing a dating party in London. It seemed to go okay. We had about 70 people there. One of the girls asked me at that party. She said, “There’s only two types of guys out there. There’s just hedonists, and there are wet fish as well. There’s very few guys in between.” I said, “There’s more than three billion men out there in society. There must be somebody who is the right person for you. To say there is no man at all can’t possibly be the right answer.”
I had a story about a talk in America from a university chaplain. The university chaplain asked at his university in his homily, he asked how many girls had been asked out on a date in the last few weeks of the beginning of term. A very small number of girls put up their hands in a very large congregation. He spent the rest of the homily challenging the guys, saying that they wanted to step up and they needed to stop being passive wimpy men who were incapable of initiating love. Sure enough, all the girls were cheering in the audience, going, “Go Father! Go Father!” He challenged the men to be initiators of love. He mentioned going to a wedding and seeing the groom come up the aisle with the bride waiting at the front. “Here comes the groom.” Men are called to initiate love and they’re called to put themselves in that position of humility of being rejected, to ask the girls out. To ask the girls to initiate love in the first place. John Paul wrote a lot about the genius of women. He also said that women possess a deep mystery. Women are a master of their own mystery as well. He said that they were made for relationships, possess great beauty, and have a deep element of mystery as well. If you’ve ever read the book by Alice Hildebrand called “The Privilege of Being a Woman” it’s a tremendous book talking about the beauty and dignity of womanhood as well. Jason Evert has also written a very good book called, “How to Find Your Soul Mate without Losing Your Soul.” It’s an inspirational guide to courtship and marriage. Some people have an issue with the word dating, saying it’s a modern invention. That dating has only existed in the last 80 years. With the advent of the motor car it’s been possible to have dates without family involved. Prior to that courtship was a more frequent activity where you got to know the family of the other person involved. When I first met Kara, I accidentally met her parents first thing in the morning. I picked her up from the airport by surprise, and took her back home. What I didn’t realize is that I’d be meeting her parents as well, who in their dressing gowns, weren’t really at 8:00 in the morning, ready to meet me. Courtship has really involved meeting the family of the other person as well, getting ready to know the full environment of the person, all the different aspects of the person as well. So if you don’t like the word dating, just substitute it for courtship in my talk as well.
Attraction is something that is natural to human life. God is the author of life and love. He invented sex and saw it to be a blessing as well. Attraction is something natural between people. If there is an attraction it is a beautiful and wonderful thing. I’d like you to just think for a moment. Maybe you’re not married at this time. If it’s your destiny to be married, if God is calling you to marriage, in the future you will be married. Imagine your future husband or wife. So somewhere out there in the world right now is your future husband or wife if you’re set to be married. They might be in this country. They might be in North America. They might be in this very room. They might be sitting right next to you. Maybe not. But somewhere out there in the world, right now, is someone out there in the world is your future husband or wife. What would you want to say to them? What would you want to say to that husband or wife to be if you could meet them right now? If you could bring them one message, what would it be? What would you want to say to them? How would you want them to behave? How would you want them to be living their lives at this time?
I’ve heard beautiful stories of random encounters of couples who have baptized at the same church on the same day. Even to say a prayer for your future husband or wife. Maybe they need your prayers just at this time. Maybe they’re in a moment of need. But they are living, breathing, alive at this time. Maybe that’s the biggest way that you can love God and love your neighbor in this lifetime alone.
My boss is a man named David Bereit. He is the founder of 40 Days for Life. I work for a pro-life campaign, helping Christians to pray for an end to abortion. He had a story one day. He was in a restaurant. The love he showed to his wife whilst he was at the restaurant made the waitress at the restaurant cry because she’d never seen a beautiful marriage lived out before. She was so touched by their witness, by their example of how they loved each other in that restaurant, that he made that waitress cry that day. That’s the aim of my marriage, to make waitresses cry all around the place. At the moment I’m still working on it. I’m more likely to make they cry if I don’t give them a tip, but I still carry on working to be that beautiful example and witness to others as well.
Some people look for the actual perfect spouse. There are some girls who say, I’m looking for a guy between 6’2 and 6’3. He has to have an IQ of over 130. He’s got to have a completely unblemished record. He’s certainly got to be of military service. Whatever it is, looking for the absolute perfect person who is without blots or stain. Rather than looking for the absolute perfect person as a spouse, think about what Jesus says in the Gospel. “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” Maybe it’s ourselves that we need to look at our own holiness and sanctification. Maybe God’s waiting for us so we can catch up with Him, so he can reveal the person that we’re destined to be with. Maybe it’s the other way around, we need to look at our own sanctification, our own imperfection, before God can really reveal what he has planned for us as well.
I’m not here to preach a prosperity gospel today that hey, if you follow A, B, C, then you’re going to meet the perfect spouse and you’re going to live happily ever after. That’s not the case at all. In the Old Testament, in Jeremiah Chapter 29 God says, “I have great plans for you, declares the Lord. Plans for you to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” But we can’t be guaranteed happiness in this life. If we live according to God’s ways in a graceful manner we’re more likely to see blessings through God in our life.
Father Michael Ryan is a marriage counsellor. He has been counseling married couples for 25 years. He’s written a book. His main advice is this, that in marriage you need to have five positive comments to every negative comment you have in a marriage in order to have a happy, fulfilling communication in your own marriage. So his message is with the interaction and communication with the spouses, you need to have five positive words of affirmation and communication to every single negative word of communication. There’s a guy called Gary Chapman who has written a very famous book called, “The Five Love Languages.” You might well have heard of it. The five love languages are essentially different ways that couples communicate love to one another. Some couples have a different love language to their spouse. So the five love languages he has are physical touch – hugs, kisses and more. Gifts – Christmas presents, chocolates, flowers, whatever it might be. Quality time – spending good quality time with your spouse, spending weekends or evenings together. Words of affirmation – saying positive words to one another and giving each other affirmation. The fifth one is acts of service – maybe washing the car, washing up, etc.
One couple, for example, my love language I would consider words of affirmation and physical touch. Kara’s love languages would much more be quality time and acts of service. That’s how she feels love in the relationship. I need to think of the ways that I can love her through her particular love languages rather than my own.
Gary Chapman’s written many excellent books. I highly recommend you look into that book if you haven’t seen it before. Because family, after all, is an acronym. F-A-M-I-L-Y. “Forget About Me I Love You.” There’s a chance to forget about ourselves and think about the good of another person. It’s the plan that God has to bring us into fullness, rather than have our own ego and pride, helping us to find God’s plan for love and life through the person he’s destined for us.
In the Catholic marriage vows, there are four aspects to the marriage vows in a Catholic ceremony. First of all, the marriage should be free, your own consent to get married. It has to be total, a complete gift of oneself to another. It must be faithful for one partner for the rest of your life. It must be fruitful and open at least to the gift of new life as well. What is beautiful about our Catholic faith is through confession and through forgiveness that God gives us a new chance every time. Because no matter what’s happened in the past, we aren’t defined by our past. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, it’s always possible to start over in the Christian life. God wipes our slate clean, can help us begin again to start fresh. He brings the forgiveness and reconciliation through the death of Jesus on the cross. We can start afresh, start anew with him every single day.
What are some of the stories in which some holy men and women have in their own marriages and in their own search for love and happiness as well? You might not recognize this family here straight away, but it’s actually the parents of the last Pope, Benedict XVI. Sure enough, Pope Benedict’s father advertised for a wife through a Catholic Lonely Hearts agency. The Pope admits that he never knew about this, but his policeman father, and his cook mother, met in an archive in their home state of Bavaria. A newspaper advertisement had been discovered that brought together the couple who would produce the future spiritual leader of millions. This was how the newspaper advert read. “Middle ranking civil servant. Single. Catholic. 43 years old. Immaculate past. From the countryside. Is seeking a good catholic, pure girl who can cook well and who can do all the housework, who is capable of sewing. A good homemaker in order to marry at the soonest opportunity.” This is a true story. “Personal fortune would be desirable, however not a precondition. Offer as possible with picture to Box 734.” So the ad was placed there on the 7th of March, 1920 in the edition of the local Messenger Newspaper, a Catholic publication, seeking to bring together lonely hearts of the same religion. God worked through that newspaper article, and sure enough the father of to-be Pope Benedict XVI chose *Ratzinger, as shown here, with his brother and sister here as well. They had a beautiful marriage together. Low and behold, the future Pope of the Catholic Church was born thanks to the blessing through that advert in Catholic Lonely Hearts Agency. Don’t be afraid to use any means possible God is calling you to, to choose a possible husband or wife.
There’s another couple as well. This couple you might recognize them. They have been blessed in 2008. They are of course the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. They are called Louis and Zelie Martin. They managed to meet on a bridge in Lisieux. It was a providential meeting. This is how it was described in the history archives. A providential meeting united these two people thirsty for the absolute. Both of them looked for their own religious vocation. I spent three years in the seminary as well. One day a zealot crossed the St. Leonard Bridge. She passed a young man with a noble face, reserved air, and a demeanor filled with an impressive dignity. At that very moment, an interior voice whispered to her in secret, “This is he whom I prepared for you.” The identity of the passerby was soon revealed. She came to know Louis Martin. You might know the rest of the story. Of course they had many beautiful daughters, most of who ended up in the convent of Lisieux. One of their daughters, of course, went on to become one of the most famous saints in the Catholic Church as well. It was through that providential meeting, she heard a whisper of the Holy Spirit in her own heart, and sure enough, later on they decided to get married very promptly indeed. St. Theresa of Lisieux said how lucky she was to have such wonderful parents. It was almost as if they were from heaven itself.
St. Vincent Ferrer, who was a 13th century Dominican. He had this quote. “As long as the wedding cake lasts, the man will be infatuated. But afterwards, he will come to himself and say, ‘That foolish woman wishes to be the master.’ And the squabbling will begin at home.” He describes, St. Vincent in this quote, how it’s all romanced and loved at the beginning, and a little bit later on the romance can wean off a relationship and things can become a little bit harder later on.
I move forward two slides to mention Fulton Sheen. Fulton Sheen wrote an excellent article saying what to do when marriage becomes difficult. He asked this question. What do we do when marriage becomes an anti-social, cruel, unfaithful, tyrant or bossy spouse, or even a chronic invalid? He offered this bit of advice. “Always view the other person as a gift of God. If we are selfish, we get rid of the other person because they are a burden. But we should take on the burden as something coming from God himself. We bear each other’s failings, and we are then fulfilling the love of God. A man who loses his life will secure it. We’d all like tailor-made crosses, but when God chooses it, you cannot take that cross. What sickness is to an individual, an unhappy marriage is something that God might send to a couple, meaning that marriage might be a martyrdom. This is not robbing a soul of peace, or a death sentence as some believe. A soul is not sentenced to death who goes to fight for his country. It is noble to be wounded for the love of God.”
That talk by Fulton Sheen is called “What Every Couple Should Know about Marriage and Prayer.” The essence of what Fulton Sheen is saying is that even if marriage becomes extremely difficult, we should always see the other person as a gift. Even St. Francis de Sales had a very interesting comment to say about marriage as well. He said, “The occasions of suffering are more frequent in marriage than in any state at all.” He said, “Let married people remain on a cross of obedience.” He compared marriage to the joining of two pieces of wood together with super glue that would be harder to separate the two pieces of wood how they were before, and actually the severance and challenge it would take to separate the two pieces of wood would do tremendous damage to them. St. Francis recognized there were more occasions for suffering in marriage than in any other Christian state in its entirety as well.
I believe we’ve missed St. Thomas More. He also gave some tremendous advice, great advice for those looking for a husband or wife, or who is married or engaged as well. This is from his complete works. “To candidates how to choose a wife, number 143.” It’s written in Old English, so stay with me on that one. “And so my friend, if you desire to marry, first observe what kind of parents the lady has. See to it that her mother is revered for the excellence of her character, which is expressed by her tender and expressionable little girl. Next see to this, what sort of personality she has, how agreeable she is. Let her maiden countenance be common without severity. Let her modesty bring blushes to her cheeks. Let her glances be restrained, have no roving eye. Armed with this learning, she should not yield to pride and prosperity, nor to grief and distress, even though misfortunes strike her down.”
Essentially what Thomas More says is have a look at the kind of parents the future husband and wife might have. Also, have a look at her character as well, in order to make a wise decision in choosing a future spouse.
Also, we have St. Gianna Molla. St. Gianna Molla had this piece of advice for married couples as well. Let’s just find it here. St. Gianna Muller was an Italian doctor who was married with four children. Her last child, she was in a difficult pregnancy. She chose to give life to the child rather than go through an abortion and procure damage to the child. She died slightly after the birth of her fourth child. But what she says is this. She says, “Now is the time to prepare yourself for family life. You cannot fulfill this path if you do not know how to love. To love means to want to perfect yourself and your beloved, to overcome your selfishness, and to give yourself completely.” What Gianna Muller was saying, marriage preparation isn’t something that happens just a few months before you got married. It’s something that stretches back all the way to the beginning of your life. The time for marriage preparation is right now. Some couples spend hundreds of hours preparing for their actual wedding day and just a few hours going through a really solid marriage preparation course. But marriage preparation is something that starts right now, rather than something that happens a few months before marriage.
What does the Bible say about marriage and relationships as well? In the Old Testament, Esau seems to give away, forfeit his earthly inheritance to Jacob for one single meal in the book of Genesis. You might think, what in earth is he doing? Why would he forfeit his whole earthly inheritance for just one meal? It seems a crazy thing to do, to lose the inheritance of his father just for one bowl of soup, or just one meal. A modern context of that phenomenon might be that its possible even through one act of infidelity, through one act of infidelity in marriage, it’s possible to lose a whole earthly inheritance of being married through a one-night stand, through one act, it’s possible to lose everything that God intends to give us. That’s something that might happen. That might be a contemporary example of what Esau experienced in the Old Testament.
St. Paul talks a lot, mentions marriage in the whole of 1 Corinthians 7. A basic synopsis of what St. Paul says is that you should live your vocation to which God has called you. Sanctification can happen through a spouse as well. That unmarried people are anxious to please the Lord. He says don’t look for a particular opportunity, but be gracious in accepting the vocation in which you are at the present time as well.
I spent a little bit of time in Canada. I was in the town of Niagara Falls, right by the water fall. I studied a couple there, a married couple. They had experienced a lot of difficulties in their marriage. They had been to a weekend retreat called “Retrouvaille, helping married couples in difficulty.” Through that weekend they had experienced the grace of healing in God, and through their own difficulties in their own marriage, they had reached out to many other people who were in a similar situation as well. They were the local leaders of the Retrouvaille group. They helped other married couples in difficult situations bring reconciliation and forgiveness in their own marriages. It might be that God works through your weaknesses to help build up other people for the kingdom of God. That was a beautiful witness and testimony that through their own difficulties in their own marriage that they helped other people in similar situations.
I’ve just been in Latvia in Eastern Europe doing some prolife work with prolifers there. It became obvious to me during my time there that it’s not possible to live two vocations at the same time. There was somebody who phoned up the local crisis pregnancy center. He had gotten two girls pregnant at the same time. He phoned up. He was unsure of what to do next. To live two vocations at the same time is impossible for the Christian life. If you look at the life of the parents of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, it’s almost as though they lived both the married life and the celibate life at the same time. For mere mortals in the Christian life, living two vocations at the same time is not something that’s necessarily going to end in happiness.
Looking back in the Old Testament, David had an affair with his neighbor after spying on her while she took a shower. Martin Luther, on his wedding night, provided lodging for a refugee. Even John Wesley who was one of the most famous preachers in British history, he gave homilies and talks all around England. His wife had a habit of heckling in his talk, during his sermons, from the congregation. Many other people throughout history have had challenges and difficulties in their approach to relationships. Dorothy Day was abandoned by her atheist lover for having their child baptized when she became a catholic. St. Augustine, who said love God and then do what you will. Upon his conversion he abandoned his mistress who had lived with him for 14 years as well. We all know the history of Henry VIII in this country. He had a reputation for getting rid of his many wives, sometimes through decapitation as well.
The contemporary British philosopher Roger Scruton describes sex as either consecration or desecration. Relationships are a challenge. We find God working in and through many relationships, no matter how challenging they are.
It’s in the New Testament, in the book of Matthew where Jesus talks about the gift of celibacy as well. In Mathew 19 he says, “Some people have been eunuchs from birth. Some people have been eunuchs by men. Other eunuchs have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is able to receive this, let him receive it.” He talks about the gift of celibacy in Mathew Chapter 19, that it’s a gift. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to give yourself completely to God without reservation is a wonderful thing. It’s a vocation in the church. Both marriage and the Eucharist is where a person becomes a sacrament in the Catholic Church.
It’s in the Old Testament you read about the book of Tobit, Chapter 8. A basic quick synopsis of the book of Tobit here we have Tobias with his wife Sarah, as well as an angel who was helping Tobias at the time. A brief history is that Sarah was a bit of a challenging wife. She had been married lots of times before. Just at the very beginning of each of the marriages, I think it happened seven times or so, that her husband mysteriously died and passed away. So Tobias took the courage in marrying Sarah. He knew it was a risky thing. His father-in-law was already digging his grave at the time giving the reputation of Sarah’s previous husbands that all passed away. Logically that was the next thing that was going to happen to Tobias. So in Tobit chapter 8 we read that at this fine moment in the bridal chamber, just after his marriage. You can see he’s on one knee. He looks like he could be praying in this picture. He said this particular prayer. He said this on the evening of my wedding night to his bride. He said, “I take this wife of mine, not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live to a happy old age.” Together they both said, “Amen, amen.” For sure enough, Tobias managed to live to a happy old age. He didn’t pass away like Sarah’s previous husbands. You can see in the picture the angel is helping to distract the demon who has caused so much difficulty to Sarah’s life. I’m not going to butcher the story anymore, but that was the basic synopsis. Tobias says this prayer in the Book of Tobit. That I take this wife of mine, not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. He calls down the blessings of God to help consummate his marriage that they might live happily ever after as well.
It’s also in the Old Testament that we read about the book of the Song of Songs. The book of the Song of Songs is erotic love poetry found in the Old Testament. St. Thomas Aquinas asked to have the book of Song of Songs read to him on his death bed. St Bernard of Clairvaux also wrote an extensive commentary as one of the most popular books by some of the saints and theologians in the church. In the book of Song of Songs in ancient times the rabbis weren’t allowed to read the book of Song of Songs because it was deemed too racy. The book starts with a yearning for an embrace. “Oh that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth.” The book oozes with analogies, similes and cravings. The author is sick with love. The imagery is vivid as the writer proclaims that my beloved is like a gazelle or young stag. He even says, “Your hair is like a flock of goats moving down the slopes of Gilead.” I don’t think that would be a very good chat up line today. If I walked into a bar, and you walked up to somebody and said, “Your hair is like a flock of goats moving down the slopes of Gilead.” You’d probably get a slap, or at least a bizarre look for trying that one. In the book of Song of Songs the author’s heart is ravaged for the sake of his beloved, whom he also calls his sister and a bride. The author lovingly describes his lover’s anatomy in a litany of praise. “Your neck is like an ivory tower, your rounded eyes are like jewels.” For those reluctant to read the bible because they perceive it to be boring, this book is the perfect introduction in and of itself. So in the book of Song of Songs we hear about the beauty and the majesty of married life and the blessings that God can bestow upon each of us living in a state of grace in marriage, married life as well.
Of course Jesus is the best spouse of all. That, in my own marriage I notice first of all my own imperfections, and the imperfections of my wife as well. A marriage is supposed to be a sign pointing towards heaven. Celibate life is supposed to be living heaven on earth. Recognizing both that I can’t make my wife completely happen, a ton of bliss, or she can’t do the same for me. We are human. We are imperfect. We cannot fully complete the deepest yearnings and longings of our hearts together.
Moving on to the next slide. This is us on our wedding day. We got married on the 8th of June, 2013. For my journey it has been a real blessing being married. It has transformed my life in terms of bringing me out of my own comfort zone at many times as well. There are both times of honeymoon and storms of marriage as well. Working on my own imperfections I realize having a wife is like having an enhanced conscience at times. I’ve got a simple saying. “Happy wife, happy life.” Make my wife happy and life is basically going to be a lot easier as well.
Of course ten months into our marriage our love grew so strong that we gave it a name as well. This is our daughter Hannah. She is now six months old. The best thing about children is you can photo bomb them, make silly faces and they don’t notice at all. It’s certainly been a challenge being married with a baby as well. Waking up in the middle of the night. They look awfully cute in these pictures, but at 3:00 in the morning, changing nappies, babies don’t tend to be so cute at that point. It’s been a beautiful extension of our marriage as well. I’m looking forward to what God has next planned in our life as well.
Just going back a bit. I’ve still got a couple of minutes. It was ten years ago. I was volunteering on a telephone line in London. This guy was talking to me. He’s saying, “I just started a relationship with a girl. We met through the internet. She lives in Northern Ireland. How far is too far in a relationship? Can we do this? Can we do that?” Rather than answering his question directly, I said think about how much do you want to protect your relationship for the future? Rather than using each other, think of protecting not only your own heart, but also the woman you have started a relationship with as well. Rather than see how much you can get out of the relationship, trying to go to close to doing something wrong, realize how much you can protect each other. In Hebrews 13 it says, “Let marriage be honored among all.” Even in the book of Proverbs it says a beautiful wife is more precious than pearls. To honor marriage and to honor the marriage bed before you even meet the person of your dreams is also a beautiful and wonderful thing.
I’ll leave you with this satisfied prayer. It’s an anonymous prayer, but I found it very beautiful. I’ll read it to you now. It’s quite long.
Everyone longs to give him or herself completely to someone, to have a deep and committed sole relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and unconditionally. But God says no, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with being loved by me above. By giving yourself totally and unreservedly to me alone. I will love you my child, and until you discover that only as me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not be capable of the perfect human relationship I have planned for you. You will never be united with another until you are united with me exclusively of anyone or anything else. Exclusively of any other desires or longings. I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow me to give you the most thrilling plan existing, one you cannot imagine. I want you to have the very best. Please allow me to bring that to you. Just keep your eyes on me, expecting the greatest things. Keep expecting satisfaction knowing that I am. Keep learning and listening to the things I tell you. You must be patient. Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t look around at the things that others have. Don’t look at the things you think you want. Just keep looking at me or you will miss what I want to give you. Then, when you are ready, I will surprise you with a love far more wonderful than you could ever dream. You’ll see until you are ready, until the one I have for you is ready, I am working this very minute to have both of you ready at the same time. When you are both satisfied exclusively with me, and live life I’ve prepared for you, you won’t be able to experience the love that exemplifies relationship with me. And this is perfect love.
St. Catherine of Siena says if you are who you really should be, you would set the world ablaze. With God all things are possible. I have no idea what he has planned for your life, but it’ll be interesting in that journey of discovery to find out.
Thank you very much, indeed.