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Posts Tagged ‘marriage minded’

Do you despair in your singleness?

We women handle feelings of despair differently. For many, it’s a reason to be insanely busy–less time to think.  Others let despair preoccupy their thoughts until they wallow in it.  I avoided (mostly!) these extremes in my single years, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel the great weight of it. There were a few nights when despair pressed so heavily on my heart that it was hard to breathe.  One of those nights was after Jones got married, I am sorry to say. I usually didn’t have a hard time with weddings and I was overjoyed for the bride and groom, but that was a long, sleepless night.

It is hard. hard. hard. to walk the thin line of hopefulness when you feel crushed down, but the extreme alternatives are not helpful.  Wallowing is not only unproductive and hopeless, but unattractive.  Busyness for the sake of squelching your desire for marriage and relationship only numbs and dulls a woman’s heart. In contrast, the heart of a woman walking the thin line of hope is tender and brave, open to new people and opportunities, and I believe that some of a woman’s greatest personal and emotional strength lies in how she handles the feelings and her time.

Emily Stimpson is a woman trying to walk the thin line of hope.  She now writes a column and has recently published a book about being single (The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years: The Nuts and Bolts of Staying Sane and Happy While Waiting for Mr. Right)  And she has this to say about despair and hope in her recent column.

It’s despair that leads us to date people we shouldn’t and do things we oughtn’t. It’s despair that makes us bitter, hard and cold, the embodiment of everything the culture tells us we’ll be if we’re living a chaste single life. And it’s despair that turns us in on ourselves, preventing us from seeing the needs of others and loving them as they need to be loved.

Despair is not our friend. Hope is our friend. Hope is what gets us through a string of bad dates or a stretch of none at all. Hope is what keeps us going after a breakup or when we feel like the last single person standing. Hope is what allows us to trust that God really does know what he’s doing.

She concludes that “remaining hopeful may be a single person’s greatest task.”  I couldn’t agree more.  We’re going to talk a lot more on this blog about cultivating hope.

As usual, we would love to hear from you. Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to thank a veteran or serviceman or woman for keeping us free.

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My grandparents will celebrate anniversary #70 this week.  That’s seven followed by a zero. Spelled seventy.  Impressive, hmmm?

I was privileged to live near them for several years in my adulthood and got to observe a few things about them that, as a child, I did not notice.  For example, Grandma could be very stubborn and sometimes passive aggressive. Grandpa didn’t cook. I don’t think he even mastered the bowl of oatmeal that he had every single morning until the instant came along.  Grandma told me once that when they had company, she often felt a little resentful that she was in the kitchen cleaning things up while others visited. So, there were things that provoked them both.

That’s the short list; here’s the long. Grandpa is a gentlemen. The old school style. Women are ladies and he treats them like a gentleman treats a lady.  He opens doors and speaks respectfully and carries all of the suitcases and drives across town and always wants to pay for your meal. That’s how he treats all the ladies, so he treats Grandma very well.  I have never heard him speak disrespectfully to her or about her. He loved to talk about how he wanted to marry her the first time he saw her when they were teens, and about how she sometimes rode her bicycle to the construction site where he was working, greatly distracting his attention.  He also loved to tell about their engagement and the circumstances of their wedding  just as the United States got involved in WWII.

Grandma knows all of their stories.  She also knows all of Grandpa’s jokes and military stories because she’s heard them all. Multiple times. And yet every time he tells one, she watches him, listens attentively, and does her best to help with a name or place if he asks.  She is proud of the way he looks, especially his flat stomach and upright carriage, and she will tell you that while she pats his stomach approvingly.  She has trouble walking now, and holds Grandpa’s arm for support wherever they go.

They always give each other cards for their anniversaries. And they would usually show them to me when I stopped by the house.  “Did you see the card that Grandpa gave me?” Grandma asked on one of these occasions. I read it and teased her a little. “I guess everyone knows,” I said. “It’s no secret any more that you love each other.”  “Yes,” said Grandma. “I don’t know why he loves me, but he does.”

Their solid commitment has seen them through parenting four children, multiple military separations, health difficulties, and the hard times everyone experiences.  I would say that their marriage was stabilized by their personal commitment to each other, their marriage and family, and by their Christian faith.

One tangible result of their commitment is family stability for two more generations. The stability of their marriage, and that of my parents and other grandparents, inspires me to do all I can to continue our family’s great marriage heritage.

More about them tomorrow.

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There aren’t very many people I’ve read about that filled me with as much loathing as Tucker Max. I didn’t even want to ask my friends if they had heard of him and his exploits because I didn’t want to give him any more attention, but Tucker Max has changed. He is 35 and is no longer drinking and exploiting women and writing about it in detail.

Max changed his life when he found himself economically successful, but without anyone to share his success. In his interview with Forbes magazine, Max tells Michael Ellsberg that with the help of a good psychoanalyst he now understands that he was using alcohol and sex to fill an emotional hole that stemmed from his painful childhood.  He also understands that he hurt people, and shares that he would like to someday marry and be a father.

Two thing I take away from this article for the marriage-minded woman:

1) Change is possible. If Tucker Max can change from a drinking, narcissistic womanizer to a maturing man who desires fatherhood, then so can anyone.

2) Change needs to happen BEFORE a person is in a serious relationship that could lead to marriage.  If Tucker Max knows it, then you should know it, too.

No person can change another person, so if you’re dating someone with an addiction—from substance abuse to spending—please know that you cannot change them.  You should stop planning a future life with them, and exit the scene. But if you know that you need to make some changes, or see a pattern in the men you date (for example, you’re attracted to drinkers), then you need to consider putting a hold on dating for a while and seek professional help to work through the patterns in your own life. Everyone has issues to work through at some point in their life, but we can only fix our own.  When these issues are unresolved, they affect our closest relationships–especially marriage.

If you have a personal issue that you need some help with, troubledwith.com is a place to start.

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