I’ve always wanted that feeling. The kind of feeling you get when you know that the person you are sharing your life with is your best friend and that together, no obstacle is too difficult to overcome. Authentic love reaches even further than this. I know this because I have witnessed true love but just because I can attest to its existence doesn’t mean I’ve made the best decisions to attain it.
A few years ago, while on holiday near the coast, a friend and I set out on an adventure which was destined to be epic. Our mission was to meet up with two young ladies whose acquaintances I had made some time earlier and enjoy a night out on the town. However, on the night that we were supposed to meet the pair, Mother Nature’s mood took a turn for the worst: heavy fog and torrential rain meant that the roads were virtually impassable. At one point, we almost completely lost control of the car. Nevertheless, we set forth. We would not let minor hurdles deter us from our course. Looking back on that night, it strikes me as odd the lengths at which I was willing to go in order to meet these girls. If I was willing to put my life in danger for the possibility of a hook-up, imagine what I could achieve if I directed those energies into something positive.
After some deep thinking, I realized that something had to change; I decided that I would embark on a different kind of journey, one that was not centered merely on pleasures of the flesh. I decided to give up all the unproductive distractions and vices that fed my lust – like pornography and promiscuous behaviour. I made sure that I surrounded myself with positive influences such as good books, cleaner music and television shows. I made sure I kept in the company of friends who brought out the best in me.
Make no mistake, this lifestyle change did not occur overnight nor was it at any point an easy task, but every day that I remained pure gave me the momentum I needed to keep going. God was leading me to a place where I could be happy with myself. In addition, I was looking for authentic love, the kind that I knew would endure. And once I began on my journey, I noticed that my attitude towards women in general was improving: I could now accept women for who they were and not for what I wanted them to be, a mere apparatus.
I learnt that chastity should not prevent you from finding your soulmate; it should only strengthen your resolve for deciding what you are worth. By no means have I become a saint. I wrestle with my baser desires as much as anyone else and sometimes I fall short of being the man that I want to be. In the end though, I believe my life has changed for the better. I do not feel the same pressure to prove my manhood by the number of women I can become intimate with. I am now able to be myself around women. This is when I feel truly masculine. My friends often warn me that my standards are too high, but their misgivings don’t faze me because deep down, I know that I am preparing myself to be the man and husband that my future wife deserves.
If you’re like me, then celebrate single hood. Observe Christ’s presence in the silence of those seemingly lonely nights. Appreciate the acquaintances you make at the singles table of your friend’s wedding. Use the extra time to spend with family and loved ones. Take the opportunity to grow in virtue so that one day when the church bells are ringing and you are standing at the altar, your fully committed expression of love will be something over which all the angels and saints rejoice. Tune out all negativeness and mixed messages that the world blares at you and don’t be afraid to live out your true purpose in sanctity and through the virtue of chastity because what you have to offer is sacred.
To sum up, I would like to share a quote from St Therese of Lisieux: ‘The greatest honour God can bestow upon a soul is not to give to it great things, but to ask of it great things.’