Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

How Mr. Knightly Helped Me Find Mr. Right

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Like many women, my love of Jane Austen began in my teen years but it wasn’t until my 20’s that the lessons of her heroines and their leading men started to affect the way I viewed dating in my own life.

A Little Backstory

Back in the 90’s when I was in college and began to date more seriously, I had fallen away from my faith and dated guys without much thought to the type of men they were. If I were to relate to any of Jane Austen’s characters, I would definitely have been Marianne Dashwood dating a string of wrong-for-me Willoughbys. I had a knack for falling in love with man-boys who were poetically trying to “find themselves” and didn’t have any direction in their lives.

In my early twenties, I came back to the faith in a strong way and narrowed the dating pool to Christian men. However, when it came down to getting more serious, our differing faiths always stopped us from continuing the relationships.

During this time, God was also working on my heart at a deeper level. Specifically, I was wondering if I had a religious vocation. Frankly, the thought seemed absurd at first. I was Marianne Dashwood destined for romance and love!

However, after two years of turning my life upside down and seriously discerning, I reached a point of total surrender to God and accepted a call to a religious vocation. It was a time of deep spiritual growth and God wanted my unreserved “Yes.” Ironically, once I reached that point God made it known to me (and my spiritual director) that I was called to the married life.

This put me back into the dating scene, which scared me a little since I hadn’t had the best of luck. I remember my mom making an observation that I always picked guys who needed to be “fixed” and never a guy who motivated me to better myself. She said I needed to find qualities in a man that lifted me up and challenged me to be the best version of myself – a man who was seeking the Kingdom of God and who would work alongside me on our journey of faith. This was exactly what God had been putting on my heart and hearing my mom say the words out loud confirmed it.

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In Steps Mr. Knightly

During this time in the mid to late 90’s, there was a slew of Jane Austen movie adaptations – Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslette, Persuasion with Ciaron Hinds and Amanda Root, and Emma with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, to name a few. I loved those movies but the 1995 Emma really took hold of my heart.

A part of me didn’t like Mr. Knightly at first because he was so serious and judgmental of Emma. But another part of me admired him because he loved Emma enough to speak freely to her and to call her out when she was behaving badly. He loved her, faults and all, but challenged her to be a better version of herself. I watched the movie and read the book more than once and each time Mr. Knightly’s qualities shone brighter. There was a kindness and compassion in the way he cared for his tenants and rescued Jane Fairfax from her humiliation. He displayed quiet generosity in the way he did little things for his neighbors without fanfare. Plus, his maturity and wisdom allowed him to see beyond the obvious in situations, such as his suspicions of Jane and Frank.

I thought of all these things as I stared at the TV screen and thought – I need to find a Mr. Knightly!

It may sound like a joke, but the thought would not leave me. I was determined to break the cycle of dating the wrong kind of man. I knew I had a weakness for “needing” to be in a relationship even if it was a bad one. I knew I had to start dating with God and my faith in mind. I needed to understand that it was okay to be one my own and wait for the right kind of guy.

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So I sat down at my desk and made a list of all the qualities I should be looking for in a man I dated. I crossed out all the superficial things I loved (like he wore Doc Martens or Converse and listened to alternative music) and instead thought of Godly things that mattered.

All these years later, I still have that list. It reads:

  1. God is #1 in his life.
  2. He is Catholic.
  3. He actually lives his faith and is seeing holiness.
  4. He has a job capable of supporting a family.
  5. He loves his family and respects his parents.
  6. He loves my family and mom likes him.
  7. He loves children and is open to life.
  8. He has a beautiful smile and a sense of humor.
  9. We have things in common to talk about and discuss.
  10. He has traits of Mr. Knightly that will inspire and encourage me to seek greater holiness.

I copied the list onto a piece of paper that I would use as a book marker in my planner. I added a photo of Mr. Knightly from the movie as a reminder to stand firm and not give into the next cute agnostic poet who was out of a job and living in his parent’s basement. I knew I may not find someone with ALL these qualities but I needed to at least start working towards that goal.

How Does the Story End?

I wish I could say that after this revelation I found Mr. Right immediately but I did not. However, every day when I saw my little Mr. Knightly list, I prayed for my future husband. I asked that God strengthen him in his faith and prepare both our hearts for our future marriage. It was difficult, sometimes really difficult, to be patient and to trust in God when I saw no answer in sight, but I persevered.

What I didn’t know at the time was that my future husband (Brian) was in the seminary and he was going through his own vocational discernment. He was praying to God for guidance. He eventually discerned that he was called to marriage and left the seminary to return home. He prayed a nine-day novena to Our Lord asking God to help him in finding his future wife. On the ninth and last day of his novena we happened to “meet” online. (Talk about answered prayer!)

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There began a friendship that was to blossom into love. I had found a man who was unlike any other guy I had ever dated. (My mom still marvels over that!) No man is perfect, but Brian was a perfect match for me – he had the qualities I was looking for and challenged me and inspired me to be a better person. He gave me roots to tame my flightiness. In turn, I challenged him to love and laugh more and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We complimented one another. I had found my version of Mr. Knightly and I’m happy to say that 18 years later he still makes my heart skip a beat.

A Note to My Single Friends

If you find yourself dating the wrong kind of men, maybe it’s time to quiet yourself before God and ask him why. Is there a deeper reason you keep choosing the wrong kind of guys? Do you feel like you don’t deserve anyone better? Do you have the need to be a guy’s savior? Do you need healing from past hurts or bad habits? I’d recommend finding someone to discuss these concerns with you – a priest, a spiritual director, or a friend who is knowledgeable and strong in the faith.

Maybe there is no deeper reason and you just need to be a little more discretionary in who you date. If it will help, make a list! Ask God what qualities you should be looking for in a man – not superficial things like blonde hair and blue eyes or tall, dark and handsome – but the things that matter. Is he a Godly man? Does he take his faith seriously? Is he honest? Does he have integrity or are there red flags? Do you have things in common? Does he inspire you to love God more? These are the kind of qualities that will make a strong foundation for a relationship and eventually a marriage. No man is perfect (and you and I certainly aren’t) but you want someone willing to work towards holiness with you.

Or perhaps, you aren’t dating Mr. Wrong and you know what you are looking for in a man but you still haven’t found Mr. Right. When I was single, I hated when people told me to be patient and wait for God’s timing. It’s easy to say but sometimes it sucks to live it out. I knew I had to trust and be patient but it wasn’t always easy.

However, I found that the waiting was less difficult when I, first, keep myself close to God and worked on my relationship with Christ. Second, when I kept myself busy with life and doing God’s will for me at that moment. Lastly, when I prayed for my future husband. When the heart ache came to me I offered it up to God for my future husband and whatever struggles he was going through at that moment. This helped keep hope in my heart, knowing that my prayers could help him even though we were separated at this time.

As someone who felt like the least likely to find true love, I say wholeheartedly, don’t lose hope. God is capable of doing amazing things when you follow His path and trust his timing.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

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In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

 

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A New Creation: An Interview with Chastity Speaker Crystalina Padilla-Evert

(This post was originally posted on the old Revolution of Love website. The interview was done in 2003 but over a decade later it still gets numerous hits and yesterday I got a request to put it back online. This one is for you V. )  😉

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Revolution of Love - An Interview with Crystalina Evertl (logo_crystalina)

When I found out that Crystalina Padilla was engaged (update: now married with children) to Jason Evert, I was curious to find out more about her since I knew she had to be someone special to capture his heart. Now I can see that she is the perfect match for him…a beautiful young lady inside and out. Although she had made mistakes in her past, Crystalina is a living witness of the power of God’s mercy and love. As a chastity speaker she is inspiring numerous girls and young women to strive to be the true women of God they are called to be. I hope her interview touches your heart as it touched mine. -Bobbi

RoL: Hi, Crystalina. I’m so happy to have this opportunity to get to know you a little better. Why don’t you start off by giving us a little background about your life. Were you always a practicing Catholic or was there a definitive point in your life when you made a change of direction?

Crystalina: I was a cradle Catholic. I’ve been a Catholic all my life but I didn’t always follow the ways of Catholicism. When I was about fifteen I was pretty wild just doing my own thing and I became very sexually active. I lost my virginity and from that point on – and it lasted for about three years – I was in and out of sexually active relationships. It just all went downhill from that point on. At the end of those three years I went to a retreat my mother had forced me to go to and there was a young man there, who was not too far from my age, who got up and just laid it out for me. He talked about all of the girls, all of the pornography, all the sex, all of the partying…everything he had been into. I felt like he had grabbed my hand out of the audience and he walked through my life. As if he could see the things that I was most ashamed of and hiding. He put them right in front of my face.

I thought to myself, what is the difference between this guy and me? What’s the difference there? I just watched him for awhile. He had this peace and this joy and this confidence that he carried about himself. I didn’t see that in my friends. I didn’t see that in the places I went to and I definitely didn’t see that in the guys I was dating. I noticed one thing in this guy that I couldn’t find in anyone else, something that he had above all of them. It was that he wasn’t ashamed of himself. I sat in my seat at that retreat trying to find one day that I actually hadn’t been ashamed of myself, but I couldn’t find one. So I think from that point on I really just turned my life around.

I devoted my life to chastity and purity and I think I just got this overwhelming rage, in a sense. As the years went on, I was really preaching this message of chastity and trying to help all of the young girls that were living that lifestyle I was once living. I was trying to get them out of it and tell them, “Look it’s okay…you can turn your life around. You can stop living this way.” I think half the time these girls that are living this lifestyle just need to hear that…”You can stop living this way and you can turn your life around. It is never too late.” They are never really hearing that.

RoL: What do you do to maintain and deepen your own relationship with Christ?

Crystalina: Well, every day Jason and I do an hour of Adoration, the rosary, Mass, confession every two weeks and honestly just trying to always maintain and keep Christ at the center of my life…the center of everything I do. That is really my strength in that it keeps me pure and keeps me living this lifestyle out. I think I tried so many things to stop living that horrible lifestyle I was in and nothing seemed to work. But the minute I did it with God, that was when my 180 happened. Honestly, I tell people if they really want to live this lifestyle out, they’ve got to do it with God or they’re just not going to do it at all. They are fooling themselves and they are going to fall on their faces just like I did. So if they really want to live it out, they’ve got to do it with God.

RoL: I read that you were involved with a program called “Challenge”. What it is and how did you get involved?

Crystalina: The Challenge Task Force on Chastity that I attended was a conference they were having in the Bahamas, where I met Jason. It was for young people who wanted to live out chastity and preach it in their own archdiocese around their homes and start a ministry or learn to become speakers. I think it was my starting point of really getting involved with chastity. I was doing some work at home but I think I more or less got really involved with it when I went to the Bahamas and met Jason.

RoL: There are a number of Catholics who have fallen into the trap of thinking that they can be sexually active in areas other then actual intercourse and still consider themselves virgins or at least “not as bad” as those who go “all the way”. How would you respond to someone who thinks this way?

Crystalina: Well, I actually met a lot of girls who think this way and live this lifestyle out but when it comes down to chastity and purity you’ve got to either pick “yea” or “nay”. It’s one or the other. You can’t always try to push the envelope because eventually you just go to far. I was always pushing the envelope and sin took me further than I ever wanted to go or ever expected to go. When those that live this way do approach me, I try to point out how they are lying to themselves and how much they are hurting themselves. Purity is a way of life. It is a way of thinking. It is how you act, how you dress, what music you listen to, and the way you carry yourself around the opposite sex. If you think you can push the envelope and that you’re still being pure, it’s a joke. Either you pick the lifestyle of chastity and embrace it or you just don’t. It’s that simple. There’s no in-between.

RoL: What would you say to a person reading this interview who has already been sexually active but wants to make a clean break and start living a chaste life. What would they need to do?

Crystalina: The first and foremost…the starting point is confession. If you’re Catholic, go to confession. Make a very good confession. I avoided confession like it was the plague. I wouldn’t even do a confession; I would lie in there. It was just terrible. When I really turned my life around I sat down and made a list of all my sins because I knew once I got in line or was there in front of the priest, I’d be freaking out and I wouldn’t want to go through with it. But the fact that I had this list really showed me how bad I was living this lifestyle and how much I didn’t want to go back to it. Then when I was in there I wouldn’t get nervous and forget these things. So I took this list in there, which came to five pages front and back. But it was so beautiful the peace and the joy I had leaving that confessional. I hadn’t experienced that in years and it was just awesome. It was only through the grace and power of God that I became who I am today. So the starting point is confession.

Another thing, every morning say a simple Hail Mary or even a rosary every single day. And if you are in a sexually active relationship, take the sex out and see what your relationship is based upon. If there is no sex then you can really step back and say, “Okay, is this love or is this lust? Do they love me? Are they using me? What’s truly going on?” It really gives you that clarity of mind to see what your relationship is about and what it’s truly based upon. And from that point on, keep the sexual element out of the relationship. Know that sex is something that is meant for marriage and the gifts of marriage are to stay in marriage. You will be rewarded for that. You can’t get the peace and joy that comes with chastity in random sexual relationships. It just doesn’t happen. Chastity is so freeing. So go to confession as a starting point, say a Hail Mary every morning or even a rosary, spend time in Adoration and keep the physical out of the relationships. And know that it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done or if you have fallen, you can start over. God can make you a new creation like He has me.

RoL: Working with so many young women, what would you say is the main thing they wish guys would understand about girls and relationships?

Crystalina: Well, I think girls are always saying, “respect”. Why don’t guys respect us? Respect, respect, respect. Girls just want so much respect from these guys and for them to really understand their feelings. But the thing is… when I was younger I wasn’t acting much like a lady so the guys didn’t feel the need to rise up and act like a gentleman around me. The problem with girls these days is that they don’t act like ladies, therefore they are not getting the gentlemen they would like to have around them. Girls need to rise up if they want to get that respect. The way you act and the way you dress is the way you will be treated. Honestly, there is so little respect for a woman these days… for her body and for what she does. It’s very hard but I think the way a woman carries herself demands respect, to an extent. So she needs to really check herself… how she dresses and how she acts. Yes, women have the power to turn a guy’s head but we also have the power to turn a guy’s heart. I think it is mainly up to us how a guy treats us by how we dress and act. So yes, I always here that girls want respect from guys but the girls have to learn to earn it in the same sense too.

jason-crystalinaCrystalina and Jason (Photo Credit)

RoL: Lastly, I want to congratulate you on your engagement with Jason. I’m so happy for you both!

Crystalina: Thank you very much.

RoL: Tell me, what did you think of Jason when you first met him? How did you know he was the one for you?

Crystalina: When I first met Jason I knew that I was going to marry him. When he walked in that door it was the strangest thing. My stomach just dropped and I knew there was going to be something so far and beyond that day and that trip. It has been beautiful because we’ve been friends for a year and then we courted for a year and now we have a nine-month engagement and on June 7th we’re going to be married. It was just amazing that we both had the same passion [for chastity] and we’re living it out and we’re going out to help all these teenage kids. It is so fulfilling…how God has worked through both of us to do this. Actually, living and having a relationship with purity it just awesome. I’ve been on both sides of the tracks and there is just no comparison to chastity and purity.

RoL: That’s beautiful. Any last comments?

Crystalina: One last comment is to those who have made past mistakes. If you’ve “been there and done that”, you can stop and you can turn your life around. You can become a new creation of God just like I did.

RoL: Thank you so much, Crystalina. It was wonderful to get to know you better. I know you and Jason will have a wonderful future together! Our prayers are with you both!

Crystalina: God bless you and thank you!

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For more information about Crystalina, visit The Chastity Project and Women Made New.com. Find Jason Evert’s interview here. For other posts about dating and the single life, browse here.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads Letterboxd, Spotify or Instagram. 😉

 


Living As A Man of God: An Interview with Jason Evert

(This post was originally posted on the old Revolution of Love website. The interview was done in 2003 but over a decade later it still gets numerous hits every week. It’s new home is here.)

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Revolution of Love - An Interview with Jason Evert(logo_jason)

Back in late 1998, I had the great privilege of working at Catholic Answers in San Diego, CA. While there, I became acquainted with one of their apologist Jason Evert. Jason made an incredible impression on me – this (then) twenty-something guy was personable, funny, sweet and handsome, as well as devoutly Catholic and in love with his faith. He didn’t just preach it; he lived it! I haven’t talked to Jason since I left in ’99 to get married so it is an honor to interview him and his (equally sweet) wife Crystalina Padilla. I hope you enjoy getting to know Jason through this interview and if you ever have a chance to see him live, do so! You won’t regret it! -Bobbi

RoL: Hi, Jason. I really appreciate you taking the time to share with us. Why don’t you start off by giving us a little background about your life. Were you always a practicing Catholic or was there a definitive point in your life when you made a change of direction?

Jason: I was raised Catholic. My family would always go to Sunday Mass and say grace before meals but that was pretty much the extent of our spirituality. I began to dig a little deeper probably my junior or senior year in high school when I went through Confirmation. I had a very solid priest and solid youth minister who were both very devoted to Our Lady, to the Pope, and to the Eucharist – those three, in my estimation, are pretty much a grand slam. Because of their spirituality I was greatly influenced to start looking more into why I was Catholic and why I was not some other faith. I started to ask some tough questions and found some answers. I began to fall in love with the faith. So it wasn’t an overnight “St. Paul conversion” experience. It was definitely something gradual that began with the faith and the fervor of this priest and youth minister.

RoL: How did you get involved with Catholic Answers? What’s your main role there?

Jason: I landed an internship with Catholic Answers after I finished my undergraduate work at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I flew to California and did that for about three months and they invited me to stay on board. I said I’d love to but I wanted to finish up my Masters. So I went back to school, did my Masters in about ten months and then came back to California. I have been employed by Catholic Answers for about four years now. My role is an apologist, which means any number of things, but basically it’s explaining and defending the faith. My main task in doing this is traveling around with my fiancé Crystalina to different high schools around the country speaking on chastity. I also write for Catholic Answers. A couple books I’ve done is Pure Love, a booklet on chastity and Answering Jehovah Witnesses, which is pretty self-explanatory. A new one coming out is called If You Really Love Me. After that will be Love, Sex, & Babies, which is a little book about NFP. So I write for Catholic Answers, do radio shows, and I speak on chastity.

RoL: With your work as an apologist, how important is it that a person knows their faith well? If someone wanted to learn more about their faith or be able to explain it to others better, where should they start?

Jason: I would say that it is imperative that a person knows their faith. St. Peter tells us in his first letter that we should be prepared to give an explanation, or even a defense, for the hope that is within us. So we need to have reasons for why we believe and not just blindly accept these doctrines that have been passed down from our parents and spoon-fed to us but to really know… why am I not Episcopalian, why am I not Buddhist. Fundamentally, there is only one reason to be Catholic and that’s because it is true. If it is not true then life is too short to be spent on believing pious little fairy tales but if it is true, then the whole world should kneel beside us. So it should be a lifelong endeavor to learn our faith and spread it. If you want to learn your faith a little better I’d say to start off with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Start reading that. Visit such web sites as Catholic.com or Jimmy Akin.com is another great site. Just start to study up about the questions you might have.

RoL: What do you do to maintain and deepen your relationship with Christ?

Jason: A couple of things… one of them would be morning prayer time, ten minutes in the morning just to be with Christ and talk with Him about the day and give the day to Him. Secondly, I make sure to go to Mass every day of the week. I try to get to the Sacrament of Reconciliation every two weeks and I try to do an hour of Eucharistic Adoration each day. I think those are really the pillars of faith, especially the rosary every day as well. I think if you have your life imbedded in the Sacraments and, as the Pope says, have an intensely Eucharistic life and are devoted to Our Lady then you’ll always stay close to Our Lord.

RoL: As a chastity speaker I know that you work with a lot of teens and people may associate you more with relating to high schoolers. Yet I believe that your message is just as relevant, if not more so, to single Catholics trying to live a chaste life, whether you’re eighteen, twenty-five or thirty-five years old. Any thoughts on that?

Jason: I would say, certainly. The virtue of chastity is not simply for single people. It’s a virtue that must be practiced by the married and by religious because chastity is essentially the proper use of God’s plan for the gift of sex. Because chastity is a virtue, it applies to all of us no matter what age you are or what vocation you are. We are all called to make this total gift of ourselves.

RoL: When I first heard that statement I found it particularly interesting – the concept that chastity doesn’t mean to simply “not have sex”. You’ve said that it’s more than what you can or cannot do; rather, it is what you can do and can have.

Jason: Definitely. Abstinence basically means no sex. Chastity, as I explained is a virtue that frees us from the selfish attitude of using other people as objects thus making us capable of authentic human love. It is not a negation of our sexuality. It is not repressing our hormones. It’s basically taking love and overpowering the lust so that we can be truly free. If we can’t say ‘no’ to sex, then what is our ‘yes’ even worth?

RoL: An excellent point…but everything in our society – from TV, movies, magazines, etc – seems to tell us that a normal, single, young adult is sexually active. A handsome, intelligent guy in his 20’s or 30’s is almost never portrayed as an emotionally balanced virgin. Yet you are a living example of true manhood…are you blushing yet?

Jason: Yes!

RoL: What words would you share with other guys out there – for I think a male virgin is more ridiculed than a female one – who may feel uncertain or even embarrassed about being a virgin?

Jason: Chastity needs to be rehabilitated nowadays but the fortunate thing is that the tide is turning. The majority of high school students now are virgins. It’s no longer a four-letter word. In fact a lot of high school students are very proud of the fact that they’re virgins. It used to be that if you were having sex and you were sleeping around it was “wow, you’ re bad, you’re living on the edge.” Now it’s almost boring because it’s so common place. I think women, and even men, long for a better kind of love. We are saturated by sex, we’re not satisfied by much, and sometimes we don’t know what the problem is but virginity is not a curse. It is not a stigma. It’s a gift and we need to return to that sense of virginity being a gift of yourself. There is no greater gift that you could possibly give than that total gift of your body to another.

Baby photographyJason and wife Crystalina.

(Photo Credit)

RoL: I know a couple years back you were struggling with finding the right spouse and knowing where God was leading you. I was so excited to hear that you’re now engaged to Crystalina.

Jason: Thank you.

RoL: What was it that most attracted you to Crystalina and how did you know that she was the one God had chosen for you?

Jason: When I first saw her she offered me a piece of pizza so I knew she was a keeper because she’d feed me well. (Laughter.) Actually no, we met in the Bahamas at a chastity conference and we immediately hit it off. We both had a passion to spread the message of chastity and she really was pure. She was living a sacramental life. It wasn’t one of those relationships where you have to hope and pray that you could fix the other person and bring them into the faith and convert them and make a project out of them. It was one where God had really prepared us for each other. She, and I, had taken a break from dating for years before we met, just to sort of sit still and say, “Lord what is it that you have in mind for me?” We wanted to do His work unreservedly; instead of jumping from relationship to relationship. I think once we really did that, that is when He brought us to each other.

RoL: My sister went to a chastity talk you and Crystalina were giving awhile back and she was telling me some amazing Catholic love stories. Would you mind sharing some of them with us?

Jason: One is of a fourteen year old girl that I know of who fell out of bed in the middle of the night and freaked out and said, “Oh, I really need to pray for my future husband.” So she got on the floor and prayed for her future husband. Ten years later me the guy, fell in love, got married, and said to him, “Honey, I prayed for you one night.” He said, “Well thanks.” But she wanted to figure out when it was so she opened her diary and found the exact day and said, “Look there it is. That is the night I prayed for you.” He opened up his journal and flipped to the exact same day, because he had kept a record of his life back them as well. He was a veteran and had fought in the war. He said to her, “Honey, that was the night when the enemy troops came across our lines. They slaughtered almost every man in my platoon but they spared me. So thank you for your prayers.” That is a little love story about the power of prayer.

RoL: Do you have any last comments about your new book or do you want to give us your two cents about your favorite things in life?

Jason: My new book will be out in March. It’s called If You Really Love Me. It is the 100 top questions teens have on dating, relationships and sexual purity. And two cents on my favorite things in life… I love living down here in San Diego and surfing in my free time, whenever I do get that, and that’s about that. But my last comment would be – the peace and joy that comes form chastity is worth more than all of the pleasures of the world.

RoL: Thanks so much for your time. It’s great to hear from you again, Jason. Our prayers are with you and Crystalina and your work!

Jason: Thank you. God bless you and what you’re doing!

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To find out more about Jason Evert and his work visit The Chastity Project.

Jason’s other books include: Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves and How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul.

You can read Crystalina’s interview here. For other posts about dating and the single life, browse here.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads Letterboxd, Spotify or Instagram. 😉

PPS – This post contains affiliate links.


Dating Q&A: I May Have Faults but Can’t I Want a Guy to Like Me as I Am and Not Expect Me to Be Perfect?

NOTE: I have shut down our old RoL website. I am moving the most popular posts over to the blog so they will still be available online. This week I will be moving the posts about Dating.

Revolution of Love - Dating Q&A  (logo_dating_perfect1)

(Many times we receive emails asking similar questions. We have turned some of these questions into posts so others can benefit from them. Brian and I aren’t experts and we simply share our experiences with you.)

Question:

Dear Bobbi, I wanted to ask your advice. I love God but am not “super religious.” I like to go out and have fun. I have a sense of humor but my jokes may be considered crude, but that’s just how I am. I want to find a decent Catholic guy but I also want him to like me for who I am not expect me to be “perfect.” Any advice? Thanks, Jane Smith

Answer:

Hi Jane,

Since none of us are perfect, I should hope a guy does not expect you to be! I guess my answer partly depends on what you call “fun.” It could be going out and having a margarita and some laughs with your girls or going out and getting so plastered that your friends have to carry you back home. As such, I’ll answer in a general way. 😉

When I was dating, my mom used to always tell me,  “You won’t get a holy guy if you are not trying to be holy yourself.” Even when I was younger and not living my faith, I came to realize that I attracted guys that reflected my own weaknesses. When I was cussing and talking crudely I was with the same type of guy. When I was partying or not being very “moral” I was with the same type of guy. If I did not respect myself…etc, etc.

In the same way, a person that is trying to follow God is going to be attracted to others who are also working to follow God. You can be different in personality but if you have a common core, so to speak, it can work.

Take Brian and myself, for example. Brian and I are very different. Brian is naturally prayerful and contemplative, while I am have to force myself to sit still and listen to God. He is methodical and I am more spontaneous. He doesn’t cuss but I am often biting my tongue to stop a four letter word from coming out of my mouth. We are both very different and far from perfect but in the things that matter – our love for God, our love for each other, a desire to raise a holy family – we are on the same page and working together as a team.

In general, whether you are single or married you want to take a good look at yourself and evaluate yourself honestly. We all have our own personalities and tendencies. Many time there are things about us that we think are a part of us. We won’t change these things for anyone because that is just who we are and we want to be true to ourselves. I know I have said this myself. And for some things, it was true. I am who I am. However, sometimes the trait I was defending  was not actually a part of who I was meant to be in God’s sight. It was closer to lack of virtue or a result of sin.

None of us are perfect and God certainly loves us as we are but he also loves us enough to want the best for us. You and I are both daughters of a King. Our lives (and conduct) should be a reflection of God’s love. However, God does not expect us the change who we are. We are unique with our own traits. Rather, He wants to refine who we are so we can better exemplify the person of Christ.

So guy or no guy, no matter how “holy” we are, there are always ways in which we can improve ourselves and come closer to God. So in that sense, we all are on the road of conversion and change. You don’t want to change the essence of YOU and what makes you unique, you just need to be open to God smoothing out the rough parts. 😉

Take it to prayer. Find yourself a good examination of conscience.  Review over it and see if there are some areas of your life that need working on – not just so you can “get a guy” but so you can get closer to Christ, who should always be the most important man in your life, whether married or single.

Start with the biggies. Are you living in a state of grace? Are you in serious sin?  I highly recommend confession! Then work your way down. Choose just one or two things to work on first. We all have enough points to work on to last us until a ripe old age!

Then as you work on these things in yourself, you’ll also be aware of the traits that you are looking for in a future spouse. As you are working to become more like the person you are meant to be, you will see God do amazing things in your life. You may be surprised to find the guy who is not “perfect” but perfect for you. And you, in turn, will be perfect for him.

I’ll be praying for you!

Love in Christ,

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads or Instagram. 😉

 


Dating Mr. Wrong: Questions to Ask about Your Relationship

NOTE: I have shut down our old RoL website that we started in 2002. I am moving the most popular posts over to the blog so they will still be available online. This week I will be moving the posts about Dating.

Revolution of Love - Dating Mr. Wrong: Questions to Ask About Your Relationship (logo_dating_mr_wrong)

During my dating years when I was in my 20’s, I went through a number of “phases.” At first I was not practicing my faith and dating any guy that I found interesting. This lead to a number of dysfunctional relationships, with a few being more damaging to my soul than others.

After my conversion and returning to God, I moved up in my standards and only considered guys who were practicing Christians. (I didn’t know any really practicing Catholics at the time.) This led to my meeting some nice guys, but when it came down to getting more serious our differing faiths always stopped us from continuing the relationship.

In my mid 20’s, I considered a religious vocation and struggled with the idea of never marrying. However, it was at this point that I learned the true meaning of a vocation (whether married to Christ or a man) and my relationship with Jesus grew and deepened. After some time I was eager to love Our Lord in whatever my chosen vocation.

Needless to say, religious life was not the route God chose for me so I was back to praying for a holy spouse, except that this time I was a faithful Catholic only interested in dating another faithful Catholic. Frankly, this greatly narrowed the amount of datable prospects. Where was I to find a guy who was a faithful Catholic, believed and lived all the teachings of the Catholic faith, was someone that I was interested in and, to top it off, was interested in me? Let’s just say, there were times when I was more than just a little frustrated.

In Love with Love

I distinctly recall times when I started to become a little lax in how I judged a man. As a result I had to ask myself if I was truly in love with John Smith or was I in love with Love? I wanted to be married and to raise a family so acutely, that as time went by I became more willing to look the other way when I saw “red flags” in the relationship or when my gut told me that things were not right.

Sometimes I was too wrapped up to see it myself. Sometimes it was a family member or a friend that was concerned about my choices, but I didn’t want to listen to them. I told them that I knew John Smith better than they did. I told them that I had prayed about it and saw countless “signs” telling me that he was Mr. Right. Looking back now, what were my signs? Were they circumstances that I twisted around to appear in my favor? Or were God’s “signs” actually the voices of my loved ones cautioning me? God was answering my fervent prayers all right, but the answer was “No” and I didn’t want to hear it.

Thankfully, I never did marry one of those John Smiths, but what if I had? I am sure God would not have abandoned me. I am sure He would have helped me to make the best of my marriage and grow in my love for my spouse. But it would not have been God’s first choice for me. My road in life would have been more difficult, leaving me feeling restless and discontent. It would not have given me the same peace that comes from doing God’s will first and foremost.

When In Doubt, Check It Out

So why bring all this up? Because too often I have seen friends in the same situation that I was in – where everyone saw the red flags but the person involved. Perhaps you are in a relationship and your loved ones are telling you that there is a problem. Or perhaps you have inner doubts, but are scared of what the consequences may be if you listen to them. That doesn’t mean you should dump your significant other right away, but you should definitely take all the time you need to work through these things. Marriage is far too important and too sacred not to. Besides, if you truly love your boy friend/fiance then you should want the best for them. If you believe that God truly loves you as His own child, then you should know He only wants the best for you. Now is the time to be certain that you are both following the path God has chosen for you.

Topics to Discuss

If you are not sure what kind of things you should be considering, allow me to end this article with a sampling of questions that you and your boy friend/fiance should both consider and discuss.

  • Am I in a state of grace? Am I working to grow closer to Christ by taking time to pray each day and going to Mass and Confession regularly? Am I working to be a woman of God now or am I waiting until I am married to be holier? Is my fiance?
  • Is this relationship bringing me closer to God? Have I been more lax in my faith because it makes him uncomfortable? Is God the center of our lives and all the decisions we make?
  • Do we both believe that marriage is our path to heaven? Have we been preparing practically and spiritually for marriage? Do we believe and follow all the teachings of the church? Are we sleeping together? If not, do we plan to use contraception once we are married?
  • Am I playing the role of the “savior” in our relationship? Are there serious problems or emotional issues that I am trying to save him from? Do I think that after marriage everything will change for the better?
  • Do I realize that love is not just an emotion or feeling but a choice? Do I realize that love is self-sacrifice and dying to self for the sake of another? Does my fiance feel this way? Have we discussed it?
  • Have I studied the meaning of the bible passage, “Wives be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church…” (Eph. 5:21-33) Is my boy friend/ fiance the kind of man that I want to be the head of the household? Do I respect and trust him to listen to my opinions and make the sacrifices needed to be a godly husband and father? Does he see religion as more “my job”? Have I discussed this with him?
  • How does my boy friend/ fiance get along with his family? How do I? Did he have a troubled childhood? Did I? Have we discussed these things and how it will affect our own roles as future spouses and parents?
  • How do we communicate with each other? Do we spend a lot of time talking with each other, including serious things? (our ideas about kids, finances, life style, etc) Do we know each other as best friends or are there certain things I am not comfortable discussing? Does each discussion get cut short by physical contact?
  • Are there behavior patterns in my boy friend/ fiance that should trouble me, such as: always criticizing, constantly jealous, too “clingy”, flirtatious with the opposite sex, has a bad temper, a foul mouth, reads/watches inappropriate material, drinks too much, is physically or verbally abuse, etc.?
  • Are either of us in debt? Are we able to afford to get married now? Will one of us be able to quit our job once a baby arrives? Do we both agree on what is a “want” and what is a “necessity”?
  • Are my loved ones and/or friends seeing problems in the relationship that I am just not seeing? Why are we disagreeing about this? Have I honestly dealt with these things with a holy confessor/spiritual director?

Be Not Afraid

If after reviewing these, you are troubled by some of your answers don’t be afraid to face and deal with them. Pour your heart out to God. Turn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Seek the guidance of a holy priest, spiritual director, or mentor who is a strong, practicing Catholic to help you see the matter more clearly. It’s a tough business but don’t forget that you want more than just a happy wedding day, you want a lifetime of love that will bring many years of happiness as you, your spouse, and your children work together to build the Kingdom and bring glory to God.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads or Instagram. 😉