I read a post the other day by Matt Fradd titled, “There Isn’t Someone Out There For Everyone, and Yes, You Might Die Alone.” It stirred up some deep feelings I’ve been struggling with the past few years. It also stirred up lots of comments, both angry and otherwise from his readers. It’s no surprise. Its premise is that Hollywood, Hallmark, and even well-meaning “spiritual” aunts (his scare quotes, not mine) have repeated the same phrases so much that they’ve become clichés. Maybe you’ve heard them:
- “There’s someone out there for everyone.”
- “God has someone out there for you.”
- “Everyone has a soulmate who’s especially for them.”
His response? Maybe there’s not:
“Due to the fact that many men have been emasculated and juvenilized by porn, there now exists a huge imbalance such that unmarried Catholic women who are willing and ready to marry outnumber unmarried Catholic men who are neither willing nor ready by a huge proportion.”
Though I never had a porn problem, I can say with certainty that my years of confusing lust with love has left me where I am: 49 and never married, unsure even about what it means to love truly or desire purely.
God’s Gift to Women?
More and more over the last couple of years I’ve been reflecting on God’s plan for me in my relationships. It’s quite likely that God already put me together with someone He wanted me to marry (let’s call this God’s Plan A) but I screwed it up because I didn’t know how to love, or because I rejected love in favor of lust. Now, sadly, most women my age are divorced (men too, of course) and often not able to marry in the Church (a non-negotiable for me). That means it’s possible that my chance has passed me by. It’s also possible that God never wanted me to marry. Maybe that’s God’s small gift to womankind.
My Mom the Prophet?
That may not be too far off. About twelve years ago, my high school girlfriend’s father died. He was a friend of the family so my mom and I went to the funeral. There I was, chatting with my friends from high school, when my mom joined the conversation by telling everyone that I was the son who was always going to be single.
Now, I love my mom to death, but seriously mom?
Maybe she knew something I didn’t (mom’s usually do). I do still wonder if I’ll find someone to marry (notice I didn’t say, “Find the one God called for me”) and I’m still searching, but more and more I’m thinking that, if it doesn’t happen, I’m OK with that.
So What’s Behind Door Number Three, God?
The truth is, God never promised to give me everything I want, only everything I need. “Ask and you will receive” (Luke 11:9) doesn’t mean He’s a magic genie who’ll give it to me in the way I expect it or want it. No good parent would do that. If they did, their kids would be 500 pounds by age 10 because all they’d eat would be ice cream and candy. I could have a better life than I ever dreamed of if I’d only accept what God offers. But I need to accept it. He won’t force it on me. And if I reject it, I may miss out.
I’m reconciling myself to the idea that — as mom proclaimed — I may be single the rest of my life. That may be God’s Plan A or it may be that I rejected God’s Plan A for so long that my options ran out. Either way, I still desire to see what God can do with me now. I’m doing my best to cooperate, but it’s a struggle. I do know one thing for sure: God’s Plan B (or C or D or Z) is infinitely better than any Plan A I could come up with.