The Groundwork for Success

Her: "Why won't you tell me what you had for breakfast? What is the big deal?"

Him: "If it's not a big deal then why are you pressing the issue?" Thus went our last conversation. For three hours I tried to get him to tell me about what he had for breakfast, and he spent three hours not answering my question.

Actually, it's not at all about my having an obsession with breakfast, nor is it about his having something to hide. It's about differing communication styles and what's valued when communicating. "K" (name not revealed to protect his anonymity) is a "big picture" thinker, whereas I'm more detail-oriented. Since we live about 2,800 miles apart, I miss him very much and his sharing with me his everyday life helps me feel closer to him. He, however, couldn't care less about what I had for breakfast. He feels closer to me when we're sharing our mutual passion for Franciscan spirituality, when we're sharing how certain life experiences have shaped our world views, when sharing our plans for the future and whether or not each fits into the other's vision. I had to chuckle even in the midst of argu…uh…"discussing"…the lack of details in the sharing of his morning regimen, because his larger world view and profound spiritual insights are what attracted me to him to begin with.

These aspects of his personality and mentality still attract me. I can't deny it. He challenges me to mentally stretch and step outside myself. For example, last April we were at the mall off of Hollywood Boulevard. in Hollywood, California, as that is where we were to take the shuttle up to Griffith Observatory. Standing near the Kodak Image Center, I was facing the map while K was facing the mall itself — which would put him facing three o'clock if I were facing twelve o'clock. I told him that the Kodak Image Center was on our right, so the shuttle stop would be down the way from the Kodak Theatre (which was right next to the image center). K must not have heard me because I heard him speak aloud, "Okay. The Kodak Image Center is to the left…" I thought he must have gotten sunstroke and lost his ability to know right from left. After he pointed in the same direction as I was toward the shuttle stop, I realized that he wasn't the confused one. It was my ego. It knew it was right so it didn't occur to me that there was another way of seeing the situation. His different perspective brought me out of my self-centered world.

K and I started writing each other here on Catholic Match in September of 2006 and took our profiles "off the open market" three months later. He had sent out about 20 emotigrams that day in September and waited to see who would respond back. I was writing with four men at the time when I was one of the lucky ladies to receive one of K's emotigrams. I liked his profile and it was obvious by what he wrote that he was a serious Catholic who knew his Faith! This isn't why I responded to his emotigram, however. I…uh…liked his photo. I thought he was quite cute. (There. I said it).

For him it was because I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and, yes, he thought I was cute, too. Yet, after a few emails it was clear that I didn't just like the photo. I liked what he had to say. It resonated strongly with my Franciscan heart. He liked what I had to say, too, which helped point him toward the spiritual path he now felt drawn to pursue — the Franciscan path.

It's interesting that we found each other's photos so attractive because we don't fit each other's "criteria" as to what we each normally find attractive. Yet, there we were, thinking, "Wow!" about the physical appearance that is opposite of what usually makes us go, "Wow!" When we met for the first time at the airport, it wasn't his physical appearance, though, that made me go, "Wow!" It was the chemistry. We are both chaste, but to quote K, "Even in eye lock they have to pull us apart with a crowbar!"

He met my family. We all went to see a play at a somewhat local theatre. K put his arm around me and I felt perfectly comfortable having his arm around me in front of my family. He felt comfortable, too, and this was his first time meeting them.

He spent a week here and we went hiking, spent time at a wolf sanctuary, spent time at a nearby lake…yet after he returned home, he sent me a text message about what he missed the most. It wasn't "I wish we could have spent more time with the wolves." It was, "I wish we could attend Mass together regularly." That was what he missed — being with me at Mass.

Well, we're not heading down the aisle just yet. Right now we're in the process of figuring a way for me to move to where he is. It isn't about his not willing to sacrifice for me, because he made it quite clear that he would move here if it came down to it. The decision of my moving there came about because my heart isn't tied to my geographic location (his is) and there just happens to be a Catholic university less than 15 miles from where he lives. This university happens to be the only one in his state that offers the master's program in the field I'd like to enter. Being a recovering "sign seeker" I'm doing my best to not see this as a sign, but just between you and me, I'm hoping it is one anyway. ;)

Pray for us, then. Pray for all singles who seek to fulfill their hearts' truest longings. Pray that all singles have the courage to face the truth in ourselves, to what's preventing those longings from getting fulfilled. Sometimes it's childhood issues; other times it's sin. Still other times we make practical thinking a false idol, which leaves no room for the supernatural. Other times we use belief in God's will as an excuse for not taking responsibility for being stewards of our own lives. Often it's just plain timing. In fact, it's all timing. Whether it's our own doing or not.

Regardless, when we walk in grace, grace manifests, often in ways we never expect. This will be my prayer for you then — be open to grace. For your heavenly salvation and your salvation right here and right now, be open to grace. Pax et bonum. And K, if you're reading this, what did you eat for breakfast this morning? I won't tell. ;)

 

This article is reprinted with written permission of 4marks Magazine and is part of the 4marks.com network which offers a variety of online services to Catholics, including our online Daily Catechism program, Catholic Trivia, Temperament Test and single Catholic service. To learn more about any of our services or how 4marks is helping Catholics connect online in order to deepen their faith offline visit www.4marks.com.

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  • Guest

    Nina,

    I'm not the least bit surprised that you were attracted to somebody with a temperament contrary to your own.  So too was I, and so too are most people.  And as you have noted, it is because they have strengths that you lack, and vice versa. 

  • Guest

    Arkanabar: 

    Thank you for your comment. It hit me (in a good way) in a very sensitive spot. 

    My husband and I have been married for 28 blissfully happy years. Yet I am certain that any compatibility survey would have concluded that we were the worst match possible.

    He's calm and tolerant – I'm neither.

    He loves the outdoors — I literally fear everything about it.

    He's a hot dog and french fry guy — I'm a yogurt and raisins girl.

    He's athletic — my hips are exhibit A.

    Yet my husband brought me back to God, and for that I will forever love him. I thank God for bringing such a wonderful man into my life. I am often reminded of the Sound of Music song, that "somewhere in my youth or childhood / I must have done something good."

    Oh, and Nina: My husband is a "big-picture thinker" — and I'm a woman of detail. May God bless the two of you on your journey toward eternity.

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